Monday, June 13, 2011

The Polo Barong

In honor of Philippine Independence Day yesterday, June 12th, I'm wearing this polo barong I had tailored for me in Manila. What, you might ask, is a polo barong? It is a riff on the traditional Filipino formal tunic-shirt called the barong tagalog, long-sleeved and made of ivory-colored semi-stiff sheer pineapple fiber. The polo barong is more suited for everyday, typically short-sleeved and breezier, and is the shirt of choice for Filipino men in a stunning variety of occupations: chauffeurs, court justices, janitors, salesmen, students, security guards.

embroidered white linen polo barong by Bergamo

The polo barong, stiff and wrinkly, is usually worn a size or three unflatteringly too big, untucked over a white undershirt and with dress pants and shoes. I recall many a high school day spent in my near-flammable 100% polyester school-issue polo barong, worn with sateen-shiny black trousers and chunky, angular, multi-strap raver shoes---my then-dandyisms---not the most graceful of days!

Illesteva sunglasses, Bergamo polo barong, J.Crew belt, H&M jeans, Number (N)ine flat creepers

worn with Comme des Garcons jacket, somewhat inspired by this photograph on The Sartorialist

details: watch-skeleton ring by Once Lost

Wearing the polo barong with sleeves rolled, tucked into white denim, and under a blazer, I may have well committed a travesty in the eyes of some. But my dear countrymen, amnesty for keeping my hair properly pomaded a la Philippine national hero Jose Rizal?

special thanks to George for sparking the idea of wearing a polo barong in New York


Jess Conatser said...

You look amazing. I especially love the sunnies and your ring. Very cool. xx

GS said...

Thanks for the introduction to the shirt! The ring's very swish also!

Merryl said...

I almost just asked you about that odd Sartorialist photo. Was that a barong?? I must say I like your version better!

Brandon said...

Pineapple! what does that feel like? I do love the simplicity of this outfit, add a hat and you'll be off to the horse races!

Mia B. said...

I will steal that ring from you when I visit New York.

lei ann said...

my husband LOOOVES this style of more "casual" barong & gets more made every time we go to manila :) i love your take on using traditional filipino wear more contemporarily & i'm trying to do that as well with some of my embroidered female barong pieces. thanks for the inspiration!

Sunglasses UK said...

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