The Barong Tagalog is a beautiful, elegant and distinctly Filipino garment. I only have one and I look forward to wearing it every chance I get. I even recommend grooms choose the national garb over a suit because it’s hard not to get right. And it always looks amazing in photos – especially when the backdrop is an old church.
Yet despite its simplicity many struggle to get a Barong Tagalog right. After having one made I’ve come to understand the best way to wear it. Here are my rules for wearing a Barong Tagalog.
1. Keep it understated.
Choose pure piña fabric in its natural color and intricate rather than ostentatious embroidery. There are many embroiderers of piña fabric but the most beautiful comes from Lumban, a small town in Laguna that does amazing handwork.
2. Cover your butt.
This rule of wearing a jacket also makes sense for a Barong Tagalog. You do not want to look like you are wearing a skirt nor would like your butt to stick out. Keep the length in between the distance of the collar and the floor; give or take half an inch.
3. Wear an untucked long-sleeved camisa de chino.
A tucked short-sleeved camisa de chino cuts you in half and doesn’t look very elegant. Wearing an untucked long-sleeved camisa de chino gets rid of the translucency and makes the Barong Tagalog look like a jacket.
4. Get high armholes.
Low armholes and large sleeves look sloppy. Having higher armholes means a wider range of movement without the excess fabric in the sleeves.
5. Treat it as tropical garment.
It shouldn’t sit too close to the body and should be comfortable to wear in warm weather. Choose a straight silhouette with enough fabric to easily put it on (if half open) and move in.
6. Ensure the collar sits high and hugs the neck.
You should be able to fit one finger in your collar. It should stand and not lie flat.
7. Choose a point collar.
A classic point collar is the best choice for formal affairs.
8. Always fasten the collar button.
Keep the collar button fastened for a dignified look.
Read more about my Barong Tagalog here.