It's a well-known fact that every country has a unique attire that differentiates it from the rest of the world. This is because each country has its own culture, reflected in how its people dress. No exception to this is the Philippines, which is notable for its diversity since the country is home to over 100 ethnic groups. A perfect example of Filipino attire is the Filipiniana dress.

The Filipiniana dress is the Filipino national dress. The dress is characterised by its long, flowing skirt (known as the saya) and blouse (known as the camisa). The skirt is often made of piña (pineapple) fibre, while the blouse is usually silk or cotton. The dress is often decorated with intricate embroidery, lace, and beadwork. While it's traditionally worn during formal occasions, different variants, such as the Mestiza Bolero, have emerged over the years and found their way into today's styles, such as wedding dresses. However, achieving this is never easy, so we'll discuss the details in this article.

More about the Filipiniana

The Filipiniana dress reflects the Philippines' colonial history and gets its influences from Spain and China. The dress is also known as the traje de mestiza and is considered one of the fundamental Filipino cultural symbols. The dress was popularised during the 19th century and was often worn by upper-class Filipinas on special occasions.

The Filipiniana dress has undergone several changes over the years. In the early 20th century, the skirt was shortened to knee-length, and the blouse became more fitted. This was also known as the Maria Clara dress, named after a character in the novel Noli Me Tangere by Filipino writer and national hero Jose Rizal. Modern Filipiniana dresses often feature a sleeveless blouse and a floor-length skirt. The dress is usually made of lighter fabric, such as silk, to make it more comfortable to wear in the country's tropical climate. 

The Pineapple Fabric

The pineapple fabric is considered the epitome of Filipino fabrics because it's made from Pineapple leaf fibre, also known as "abaca" or "Manila hemp". The fabric is strong and durable, making it ideal for clothing to be worn often. The fabric is also very absorbent, making it suitable for summer clothing.

Pineapple fabric is also used in creating the Barong Tagalog, not just the Filipiniana dress. The Barong Tagalog is the male counterpart of Filipiniana and is a formal shirt worn in the Philippines. It is made of sheer, thin fabric and is worn untucked. The shirt is patterned with intricate designs that are either embroidered or woven into the fabric. The shirt is usually white, although it can also be found in other colours.

How to Style a Filipiniana Dress for a Wedding

If you're looking to style a Filipiniana dress for a wedding, you should keep a few things in mind. For one, the dress should be lightweight fabric so that it won't be too hot to wear, especially during the summer. The dress should be neutral, so it doesn't clash with other colours.

Beyond that, here are other tips for styling a Fiipiniana dress for a wedding:

Wear a Filipiniana with Minimal Embellishments

If you want your dress to stand out, go for a Filipiniana with minimal embellishments. Choose a dress with a simple silhouette and clean lines. For example, a sleeveless dress with a high neckline would be a good choice. You can also opt for a dress with intricate beadwork or embroidery.

Accessorise Your Dress

You can accessorise your Filipiniana dress with a variety of accessories. A beaded clutch or a statement necklace would be a good choice. You can also wear a pair of statement earrings or a bracelet.

Keep It Simple

Above all else, you must keep your Filipiniana dress simple. If you want to avoid over-accessorizing or wearing too many colours, stick to a few simple accessories that complement your dress. 


The Filipiniana dress is a Philippine national symbol that continues to be worn in many different ways. Whether you wear a simple terno or an opulent baro't saya, remember to keep it simple and elegant. All that matters is wearing a Filipiniana dress that says something about who you are as a Filipino.

If you’re looking for Filipiniana dresses, Mestiza Filipina has what you need! We offer various selections made with high-quality materials, all for affordable prices. Simply go to our website and take your pick!

Written by Louisa Parkinson

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