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Journey of the Barong Tagalog, Spanish Colonial Philippines Part 18: Pleated Barongs

As early as the 18th century and into the 19th and 20th centuries, the middle to upper classes of the Philippines found another way to make their Barong Tagalog even more fancy and to make their place in society more obvious and easy to distinguish. Likely inspired by European shirts, the well-to-do put pleats on their barongs. Pleats are said to have been in style until about 1930. Pleated barongs were revived at different points decades later in the 20th century.

Costumes des Habitans de Manille from 'Atlas du Voyage de la Perouse, no. 42' (1797) by Jean-Francois de Galaup & Comte de La Perouse. Drawing by JM Moreau; engraved by P Triere

Costumes des Habitans de Manille from 'Atlas du Voyage de la Perouse, no. 42' (1797) by Jean-Francois de Galaup & Comte de La Perouse. Drawing by JM Moreau; engraved by P Triere. The male in this picture, second from right, wears a pleated Barong Tagalog underneath his jacket. This man could be a mestizo or a Spaniard and a member of the ruling class.

Artist rendering of a middle class household in the Philippines likely circa 19th century. The violin player on the right wears a long pleated Barong Tagalog.

Artist rendering of a middle class household in the Philippines likely circa 19th century. The violin player on the right wears a long pleated Barong Tagalog.

 

A photo from the 1960s of some of the elite of the Philippines in Filipiñiana clothing. The men wear pleated barongs.
A photo from the 1960s of some of the elite of the Philippines in Filipiñiana clothing. The men wear pleated barongs.