Modernizing the Barong Tagalog Might Mean Putting It on a Woman
Leave it to the ladies to breathe new life into this traditional piece
The Barong Tagalog is a staple most men only unearth from their wardrobes for key events like weddings and formal ceremonies. Well, not anymore.
In Keeping with Tradition
Borrow the look straight from the boys. You can make small, subtle variations in styling by substituting all the elements of the traditional Barong Tagalog ensemble with women’s pieces: a white tank stop instead of the standard white undershirt and black cotton skinny leg trousers instead of basic cotton dress pants. Tie the look together with a classic strappy heeled sandal et voilà.
MANGO Satin Lace Top, P1,495
|RAM JEWELRY Carrie ll Ring, P3,430|
STEVE MADDEN Black Single-Strap Heeled Sandals, P3,950
Always loved the idea of women’s tuxedo dressing? Consider this a local rendition and an alternative to those long gowns or cocktail dresses at your next formal event. Here’s your chance to whip out your power heel, too.
Get the Look:
RIVER ISLAND Oval Rose Gold 90’s Print Sunglasses, P849
DOROTHY PERKINS Small Fit Black Arrow Poly Trouser, P1,195
ZALORA Navy D’Orsay Faux Suede Pumps, P979
Layer Your Pieces
A Barong dress or Barong Tagalog with a loose fit and relaxed silhouette is your best bet if you’re thinking of incorporating the traditional garment into your everyday wardrobe. Wear it over wide-leg trousers and throw on an oversized blazer. You can offset all the baggy elements with sleek sock boots for balance.
ALDO Therrawien Necklace, P524
VERO MODA Gilly Blazer, P4,749
JOYSTYX Liza Sunnies, P349
O’NEILL Hard Rock One Piece, P3,990
SUPRE Wide Leg Jersey Pants, P1,350
PUBLIC DESIRE Danger Sock Fit Ankle Boots, P1,919
A Dressier Option
Here’s a new take on power dressing: A Barong dress is versatile enough to take you from days taking care of business to nights out for events. It’s a piece you can easily play up or pare down with different makeup looks and hairstyles.
Complete the Look:
MAYBELLINE Color Sensational Powder Matte Lipstick in “Rosewood Red”, P299
|PAPILLON CLUTCH Double Elegant Clutch, P1,461.75|
NINE WEST Tornaydo Pumps P2,979
Now, Dress It Down
The great thing about the Barong dress is that much like its traditional counterpart, it comes in all types of cuts, shapes and fabric blends. Barong dresses in cotton or linen (compared to the pricier piña or silk) can easily mimic a t-shirt dress. Dare to wear a Barong with sneakers? You can take style cues from Krystal Menez.
DC Kalis Slim S Shoes, P3,470
ASICSTIGER GEL Lyte III, P3,900
Pair It with a Long Skirt
In a Barong and a full skirt, the Filipina is a head-turner. It goes well with all styles, too, so you can go ballgown one day, serpentine the next.
RED’S REVENGE Mismatch Pearl Bar Bell Dangle Earrings, P499
ELLYSAGE Paneled Maxi Skirt, P2,799
VINCE CAMUTO Tiernan Heeled Sandals, P2,629
Try Something with a Cape Sleeve
An excellent way to pay homage to tradition is to stick to its distinct, conventional foundations (in this case, material, collar style, buttons and embroidery) and then play around with the other elements built on it. Cape sleeves, in particular, are unconventional but classy, dramatic but fun.
Shop similar pieces at Kultura Filipino.
Rock the Peek-A-Boo Bra
All that see-through material is an invitation to push the boundaries a little and have more fun with your style choices. Undershirts and tank tops are pretty predictable. Why not spin for a cute bralette?
SEEK THE UNIQ Hoja Pequeña Earrings, P2,500
SOMURA Black Bralette, P399
NAMI Ghost Ring Three-Piece Set, P1,790
What About a Bow Tie Sleeve?
Young Filipino designers, especially those with a storied history of working with silk, piña and other indigenous fabric, know how to marry the traditional with the modern better than anyone else. Cebu-based designer Hanz Coquilla, who is well-known in the Philippine pageant circle for his stunning ternos, is just one of them. If you’re looking to invest in a custom Barong Tagalog, look no further.
Shop made-to-order Barong Tagalog styles by Hanz Coquilla Alta Costura.
Art Alexandra Lara