Tips Before Buying a Barong Tagalog
If you’re considering buying a Barong Tagalog, the traditional formal attire of the Philippines, here are some tips to help you make an informed purchase:
- Research the Different Types: Barong Tagalogs come in various styles, fabrics, and designs. Familiarize yourself with the different types, such as piña (pineapple fiber), jusi (silk blend), or polyester. Each type has its unique characteristics and price range.
- Determine the Occasion: Consider the purpose of your Barong Tagalog. Is it for a wedding, formal event, or casual wear? The occasion will influence the style and level of formality you should go for. Traditional designs are usually more appropriate for formal events, while modern variations can be suitable for casual occasions.
- Quality and Authenticity: Look for authentic Barong Tagalogs made by skilled artisans or reputable brands. Check the quality of the fabric, stitching, and embroidery. Authentic barongs often have intricate hand-embroidered patterns called “calado” or “pina-cochon.” Ensure that the materials and craftsmanship meet your expectations.
- Fit and Size: Proper fit is crucial for a Barong Tagalog to look elegant. Take accurate measurements of your chest, shoulder width, and arm length before purchasing. If possible, try on different sizes or consult with the seller to find the right fit for you. Tailored or custom-made barongs can ensure a perfect fit.
- Comfort: Consider the climate and the occasion when choosing the fabric. Fabrics like piña and jusi are lightweight and breathable, suitable for warm weather. Polyester barongs may be more affordable but can be less breathable. Comfort is important, especially if you’ll be wearing it for an extended period.
- Price Range: Barong Tagalogs can vary significantly in price. Set a budget and explore options within that range. Remember that quality, craftsmanship, and fabric choice will affect the price. Be wary of extremely low-priced barongs, as they may compromise on quality.
- Buy from Reputable Sellers: Purchase from trusted sellers or established stores that specialize in traditional Filipino clothing. They are more likely to provide authentic barongs and offer reliable customer service. Online platforms, specialty boutiques, or local stores in Filipino communities are good places to start your search.
- Care and Maintenance: Barong Tagalogs require proper care to maintain their beauty. Follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer or seller. Some barongs may need hand-washing or dry cleaning. Proper storage is also essential to prevent damage and preserve the fabric and embroidery.
- Consider Accessories: To complete your Barong Tagalog ensemble, think about the accessories you may need, such as a camisa de chino (undershirt), cufflinks, formal trousers, and shoes. Ensure that these items complement your barong and enhance your overall appearance.
- Plan Ahead: If you’re purchasing a Barong Tagalog for a specific event, give yourself enough time for the shopping process. It may take a while to find the perfect barong, especially if you’re looking for a specific style or need alterations. Plan ahead to avoid any last-minute rush.
Barong Tagalog is not just a piece of clothing but a representation of Filipino culture and heritage. By considering these tips, you can find a barong that suits your style, fits you well, and allows you to embrace the beauty of this traditional attire.