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How Filipiniana Dressing Fits Into the Modern Filipina’s Wardrobe

According to designer Patis Tesoro.
How Filipiniana Dressing Fits Into the Modern Filipina’s Wardrobe
IMAGE Courtesy of Tesoros
According to designer Patis Tesoro.

Wearing Filipiniana used to be reserved for formal occasions. Yellowed photos of our lolas in ternos come to mind. But these days, you’ll see more local textiles being incorporated into the current crop of styles available in the market. A woman who needs no introduction when it comes to Philippine fashion is Patis Tesoro.  Following her exhibition of the latest embroideries and apparel at Tesoro’s Makati, we speak to the prolific designer about how to wear modern Filipiniana.

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IMAGE Courtesy of Tesoros

Embroidered denim dress

With the resurgence of wearing Filipino-made fabric in fashion right now, Patis thinks it has gotten quite mainstream. “A lot of people, young people are doing habi, local habi, and so it makes it more mainstream because of that,” she says. And that’s a good thing! Contemporary brands like Herman & Co. and Piopio make use of indigenous textiles and champion local artisans to produce their collections that have become more accessible to stylephiles everywhere.

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IMAGE Courtesy of Tesoros

Halter blouse

Having access to Filipiniana clothing or Filipiniana-inspired fashion makes it much easier to incorporate it into your current wardrobe. Patis recommends mixing up your Filipiniana wear with contemporary pieces when in a corporate setting. She tells us, “Very contemporary—jackets, skirts, pants, with a T-shirt or a blouse using ethnic weaves or even a piña sleeveless blouse.” Think of it as the highlight of your outfit without going over the top.

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IMAGE Courtesy of Tesoros

Long camison in piña-seda, all-callado by hand with black silk cocoon dugtong

When it comes to wearing Filipiniana to formal events, you can still update your look to fit the current trends. Patis suggests layering with contemporary pieces as well. Some key Filipiniana pieces you should invest in? “Traditional pieces which you can layer or mix and match,” Patis says. Go for pieces that you can wear multiple ways! Kimona style blouses and embroidered tops can be worn with different bottoms. Accessories and pieces laced with indigenous patterns can be layered and thrown in for various occasions. Don’t be scared to experiment and add your own personal touch to the styling.

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IMAGE Courtesy of Tesoros

Belt bacuat

If you think that your Filipiniana pieces will remain unused until your next formal event, you can definitely dress them down by donning more casual ones with it. Patis would style a piña or woven top with either baggy or slim pants to keep the look low-key. As for her favorite from her latest exhibition? Her pick is the contemporary sarong paired with a T-shirt.

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IMAGE Courtesy of Tesoros

Tapis with Southeast Asian orange seaweeds design

There are infinite ways to introduce Filipiniana into your wardrobe. And now that more brands are making these pieces available in the market, it’s not too hard to do so. Start with a piece in your favorite silhouette or in your go-to hue. Choose something you would normally wear but in a different material—a button-down with details in local weaves, perhaps? Don’t limit yourself to formal wear! How about a piña top worn with ripped jeans or a sarong worn as a skirt? It’s very much part of our culture and what a waste if we don’t let it live on.

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IMAGE Courtesy of Tesoros

Philippine ethnic mix vest

Filipiniana has never really gone away and will always be in fashion. The doyenne of Philippine fashion says it best, “Cultural identity for as long as the Philippines [exists] is here to stay.”

Tesoro's is located at 1016 A. Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City; 1325 A. Mabini Street, Manila; and is also available in Landmark Department Store.

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