Definitive Guide to Wearing a Barong Tagalog

Classic Barong vs. Coat Barong

The classic barong is a popular choice due to its traditional style and versatility, making it suitable for a wide range of social events and settings compared to the more formal coat barong. A classic barong made from fabric in its natural color pairs best with dark-colored pants, such as black, dark gray, brown, or blue. However, for beach weddings, light-colored pants like pale khaki or light gray can be a stylish match for a classic barong. With a coat barong, pants in dark or light colors, like beige, cream, or even white, can make a great combination.

The Fabric

You only have a handful of fabric options for a formal barong. Each fabric that comes in its natural color, has its character and charm. Therefore, a wise choice of fabric can result in an exquisite fashion that can be carried over into the way you carry yourself.

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The Embroidery Design

There are countless designs to choose from and to help you narrow these down, we have classified our designs by design style that refers to the design layout and the size of the area and the panels it covers, and design type that refers to the design form and the embroidery style (free-form or counted-thread). If you want to appear subtle or if you want to wear the same barong every chance you get, then keeping your barong understated with a pechera design is the best option. On the other hand, if you want to appear sophisticated, you can always wear a piece with a raya design or a batok with sleeve patterns. For a more intricate piece, you can add a FRONT or FULL all-over calado to any design style you like.

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Barong Tagalog Design
Calado (Callado)

The Embroidery Method

The impact of the embroidery method (whether by hand, hand-guided machine, computerized machine, or a combination of hand and machine) depends on the fabric, fabric color, thread, and density of the embroidery design. It dramatically affects the barong's aesthetics.

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The Fit

A barong with a perfect fit feels better and looks better. This will give you added confidence that will allow you to project the most positive version of yourself. A barong with a perfect fit has the following characteristics:

  • The collar should hug the neck with just the right space allowance that you'll be able to fit one finger in it.
  • The seam where the sleeve attaches to the body should not go lower than the point on top of your shoulder where your arm meets your body.
  • Fits comfortably around the chest, armpits, and across the upper back giving you a full range of motion
  • The sleeve length should come down to the wrist.
  • The barong length should come to the bottom of your butt. 

The Undershirt for a Classic Barong

The barong undershirt is usually overlooked, but this is one crucial aspect that can make or break your appearance in a classic barong. The light, delicate, and translucent barong fabric makes the undershirt visible, and the gaps created by an off-the-rack shirt underneath the barong make it look inexpensive. This becomes worse with a white short-sleeve shirt increasing the contrast. To address this problem, choose a custom-tailored long-sleeve camisa de chino that complements the color of your classic barong, and wear it untucked. For better sweat absorption, you can also wear a 100% cotton shirt as a third layer next to your skin. If you're having a third layer, make sure the color tone isn't far from the color tone of the camisa de chino and your skin to make the layering look seamless from the outside. In line with this, we can say that gray is a better option than white because it's less visible underneath the camisa de chino and the barong. 

We strongly advise against lining classic barongs with thicker fabrics, as this practice disrupts the delicate balance of drape and flow that's essential to the garment's distinctive character.

If you prefer to wear the more formal coat barong, which is a garment made of thick interlining materials, then an off-the-rack long or short sleeve cotton shirt to be tucked in your pants is recommended for better comfort.

Camisa de Chino
Barong without Camisa de Chino
Barong with Camisa de Chino