Filipino Clothing and Various Influences

The greatest factors influencing our Filipino clothing are foreign rule, behavior and environment.

Spanish Influence

Philippine history records Spain’s three centuries rule in our country. Such long period of time enabled them to change the dress styles of our ancestors. Our current national clothes of barong for men and Maria Clara for women are modernized versions of what they introduced to our forefathers.

Filipiniana dress and barong tagalo

Filipino clothing (filipiniana dress and barong). Courtesy of Pitoy Moreno.

Our talented fashion designers have done even more innovations to make our Filipiniana dresses and barongs stand out and be more elegant. They can be worn for formal functions. Common uniforms among corporate offices and banks issued to male employees are barongs. Even foreign expatriates and visitors delight in wearing our trendy comfortable barong.

We laud our famous fashion designers who introduced and popularized our national clothes including our needle works and raw materials such as piña, jusi, abaca, Mindanao silk and local beads in international fashion. Their clothes graced famous men and women not only in the Philippines but in other countries. Pitoy Moreno, known as Fashion Czar in Asia, have adorned many First Ladies and popular women of our country, in Asia, in America and in Europe. Other famous Filipino fashion designers include Inno Sotto, Rajo Laurel, Beatriz Tesoro, Christian Espiritu, Auggie Cordero and Monique Lhuillier among others.

American Influence

Ruling for about 50 years in the Philippines, and being looked up to by Filipinos in terms of financial prosperity, America has great influence in our dress style. Their coat which we call “Americana” with matching tie is worn for formal social functions. Another great influence is the wearing of jeans and t-shirts. Their Levi’s brand captures a sizeable market in the country. Other American brands of clothes available are American Apparel, Nike, The Gap, Banana Republic and Guess among many.

Local Brands

current Filipino clothing

Besides American brands, Filipino clothes is dominated by famous brands of successful Filipino entrepreneurs such as Bench, Penshoppe, Loalde, Kamiseta, Maldita and Bayo.

Photos courtesy of Bayo Clothes, left and, two photos right.

Influence in Youths

The young generation is the major population of the Philippines. They are exposed to televisions, movies and media. Besides Filipino, American and European films, Asian telenovelas captured their hearts. These youths choose their heroes/heroines from famous screen personalities from whom they imitate some of their dress styles. Hence, present Filipino clothing is blending of present fashion from various nationalities.

Many famous singers, movie stars, fashion models and TV hosts/broadcasters who came from poor families inspire Filipino youths. It can’t be denied that many Filipinos got talents and many too are poor. They hope to be successful entertainers/media men some day. This plus the inherent nature of being artistic, flexible and possessing body structure that can easily wear any clothes style fuel their fashion flair. The presence of imitation clothes and many Filipino accessories in flea markets facilitates Filipino “fashionista”, even among poor families.

Climatic Influence

Philippines has tropical climate with two distinct seasons-rainy and dry. Our country’s climate also dictates our dress style. Comfortable clothes like maong trousers and skirts with t-shirts are our common attires. Ordinary clothes at home and even on travel are shorts, also called “puruntongs” with t-shirts or sleeveless tops. Jackets with hoods are fashionable during rainy days and during cold December and January nights.

Rich Clothes Heritage

Filipino tribal clothes

Lots of changes have affected Filipino clothing but we are still grateful that our rich dress heritage has been preserved by our ethic groups who live in remote areas. The weaving, the color combination and the ornaments like intricate beadworks indicate their ancient culture. We get chances of viewing their rich cultural clothes and dances during town festivals such as Kaamulan in Bukidnon.

Filipino tribal attires in Kaamulan courtesy of Darny Estañol.

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