Saturday, January 9, 2010

Terno Filipina

For the Filipina, the terno is the formal gown to wear during social events and cultural events. The terno evolved from the baro/camisa (blouse) at saya (long skirt) and usually worn with a tapis (sarong tied to the waist) and the panuelo worn over the shoulders. Today the terno is worn as one piece of clothing. This clothing is very feminine, it shows and flaunts a woman's silhouette very well (especially if she has a great figure).

The prominent part of the terno is its butterfly sleeves. The gown can be designed in many, many ways but the butterfly sleeves should always remain. The basic style of this clothing is of Filipino and Spanish origin. Today, there is a lot of freedom on how a designer can execute the cut and the draping of the fabric. The terno can be simple or can be intricate with lots of embroidery, handpainting on the fabric, styling the hem in different ways: shirring, layering, folding, pleating, etc., etc.

Like the men's Barong Tagalog, the terno achieved international recognition. Even if Karl Lagerfeld denies it or not, a terno inspired dress was seen in his recent collection for Chanel, so did Cher wore one when American designer Bob Mackie... I believed designed a terno styled glam costume with exaggerated butterfly sleeves in one of her Las Vegas concerts way back in the early 80's prompting her to tell the audience that "I feel like Miss Philippines with these sleeves." Indeed the terno had come a long, long way and its beauty and elegance will continue to inspire designers and lovers of fashion forever.

Photo Credit: Handpainted and Beaded Terno by Designer Jose Moreno
Photographer: Dionie Olo
Photo Link:

Photo Credit: Filipina Terno
Photographer: Marvin Martinez
Photo Link:


  1. This what makes a Filipina a true and outright FILIPINA. The beauty and elegance of a Terno is utterly fascinating. Thank you, Jose "Pitoy" Moreno, for your continued work in designing ternos over these years. Long live the terno!

  2. I agree with Arcel. What a nice concise description. And beautiful pics. I hope you don't mind, but I put a link to your site while referencing the terno on my blog. Have a great day!


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