All this time we’ve been spending at home has us reconsidering the wisdom of our grandmothers and their house dress of choice. Shorts and a tank top do the job just fine, but there’s something about wearing a duster that gives a whole other level of comfort, and, don’t be surprised, style.
Now this revelation came upon 2 sisters who eventually turned it into a business. “I came home from the United States recently only to find myself overheating and sweaty most of the time,” shares Corinna Vistan-Takahashi, who had worked at Marvel Studios before moving back with her family. In search of clothing that would beat Manila’s heat, she discovered a duster in her mom’s closet. “I immediately understood why our lola’s loved wearing these. They’re so cool and comfy!” she says.
Together with her sister Lana Vistan, who’s worked in fashion merchandising for 18 years now, they set up Dusters of Manila, an online shop selling just that, dusters. Now in their 40s, they’re well-versed with the “Titas of Manila” joke, and are even more aware of how busy women are. To help out their fellow “titas,” they reimagined the duster to suit the requirements of today’s modern women. “It’s light, comfortable, and the perfect dress to wear when you need to get all your things done like taking the kids to school, doing the groceries or even going to mass, yet you still look put together and composed,” they share.
Whereas before, one would change out of a duster before leaving the house or receiving guests, the ones they create are meant to be worn for any casual occasion. They’ve picked out silhouettes that are both stylish and comfy, locally sourced printed cotton fabric, and work with a seamstress for their limited production. “We plan on producing and releasing 2 or 3 new styles in various fabric prints every three to four weeks,” they said, adding “We don’t want to produce a lot of quantities per fabric and style so that our customers still feel their dusters are unique and special.”
Currently, each style is made in a free size that fits a US size 2 to 12, but the sisters shared that they are already planning designs that can fit plus sizes. Priced reasonably at P1400, their first two collections sold out quickly, MECQ notwithstanding. They recently started posting photos of their third collection with new styles in the mix, and if the inquiries in the comments are anything to go by, it’s going to sell fast.
If you’re feeling ready to unleash your inner tita, or really just ready for the style and comfort that these modern dusters offer, visit their official Instagram account @dustersofmanila to place an inquiry and make a purchase.