The classic Filipiniana and Barong Tagalog are Filipino favourites when it comes to formal events. The long history of these outfits has subjected them to changes and differences over time.

Today, the modern Filipiniana is characterised by its large butterfly sleeves and fitted long dress or blouse and skirt. At the same time, the Barong Tagalog is a formal, long-sleeved top, usually ornate with intricate patterns.

While wearing these clothes as they are will already give you an elegant look, you can still level up the look. In this article, we will give you the best styling tips for the modern Filipiniana and Barong Tagalog to wear to formal events.

Contrasting the Traditional

The modern Filipiniana is known for its floral and elegant patterns. While most people would play up to this look and wear accessories, shoes, and even a look to match, contrasting it would deliver just as good results.

Jazz up the traditional look with something more modern and stylish. You can wear glam and modern earrings and do heavy makeup. Some would even pair the blouse of the modern Filipiniana with pants instead of the traditional skirt.

For the Barong Tagalog, one of the best ways to style it is to find ones made in different colours. Traditional Barong Tagalogs are usually cream or ivory, but you can get them in various colours, such as black, blue, or even translucent!

Wear in Pieces

The Maria Clara gown is only one of the many ways the Filipiniana was stylised. While the more popular image of the Filipiniana is the one with butterfly sleeves, the Maria Clara, which comes with the famous alampay shawl, is also a version of the Filipiniana.

One of the best things about the Maria Clara gown is that it comes in separate pieces instead of just one piece you must wear entirely. With this, you can pay homage to your roots without wearing the entire piece. You can wear the alampay shawl on top of your other outfits.

Mix and Match

Like how we encourage you to wear the alampay shawl over other outfits, you should mix and match other pieces. For gentlemen, when you wear the Barong Tagalog, you don’t have to wear it with formal slacks or black shoes.

Some people would wear their Barong Tagalog with jeans or sneakers for a more casual look. Others may even take the inner shirt of the Barong Tagalog and pair it with a modern polo and wear it as an everyday look.

When going to formal events, the Filipiniana doesn’t have to be the entire gown. You can crop the blouse and even the skirt to make a shorter dress. This makes it better for those worried about losing their shape because Filipinianas are often made to fit one specific type of shape on a body.

Try experimenting with different pairings for your outfit and seeing what works well. You can bring in different generational pieces to dress up in your Filipiniana and Barong.


The Modern Filipiniana and Barong Tagalog can be dressed up in many more ways than one may think. Don’t be afraid to experiment while also giving a nod to tradition. Soon, you’ll have a wonderful outfit that you will love.

If you are interested in a Filipiniana or Barong Tagalog in Australia, you can get them from Mestiza Filipina. We carry high-quality products that will help you go back to your roots, even with a modern twist. Shop us at Mestiza Filipina and enjoy our products!

Written by Louisa Parkinson

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