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Exploring the Evolution of the Filipiniana Dress: A Journey Through Time

Updated: May 5

The Filipiniana, recognized as one of the Philippines' traditional national dresses, is frequently chosen by everyone for formal and special events. An iconic feature of the Filipiniana is its "terno sleeves", which are often adorned with decorations such as beads, embroidery, or lace. The materials used for crafting a Filipiniana often include luxurious fabrics like silk (jusi), chiffon, or Pina (a distinct fabric derived from pineapple fibers, as shown here, Filipiniana Maria Clara garment worn by Georgia's Grandmother during the 1930s!

According to Jove Mayo from Tatler, "The Filipino's fascination with terno stemmed from the influence of the Spanish colonial period; an era that highlighted Christian ethics which demanded women be modest at all times. The baro, for example, is a design that was heavily inspired by the costume of the Blessed Virgin's statues.

Since the baro was made of fine materials, women were also subjected to wear the pañuelo to serve as a veil or cover their breasts. When the Spaniards took rule of the country, their mission was to spread Christianity; hence transforming women's clothing into something more conservative. Back then, showing certain parts of the body like one's ankle, foot, back, or leg was a great taboo.

The Filipiniana costume gradually spread across the Philippines before the end of the 17th century. The clothing restrictions imposed by the Spaniards brought about the use of starched pina and finer forms of sinamay and jusi (silk)."

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