Classic. Elegant. Beautiful.
Characterized by pressed butterfly sleeves that point upward, the terno is a narrow, one-piece long dress that is unique only to the Philippines.
It evolved from the traje de mestiza dress, which was inspired by the Maria Clara dress.
The Maria Clara originated from the baro’t saya, which includes a sarong that is common among Southeast Asian countries like Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
According to Mark Lewis Higgins, co-author of “Fashionable Filipinas: An Evolution of the Philippine National Dress in Photographs 1860-1960”, the terno is distinct to us because it is a unique hybrid of both Eastern and Western cultures.
Traditionally, the dress should be worn in a “dignified” manner, which is why its silhouette should not look slouchy nor sexy. The length of the dress much reach the floor, and ideally, the neckline must not show cleavage. Over the years, however, designers have added their own modern interpretations to this uniquely Filipino dress.
The terno is sophisticated, and is rich in Philippine history. True enough, it’s like no other dress in the world!