The barong is a very versatile and comfortable choice when it comes to formal and semi-formal wear; but we cannot expect it to fit well with every single event or occasion. Having a few pieces to choose from will give you both a variety in style and (more importantly) the right look to match your function. Some barongs work well for very formal functions, such as weddings, balls, and state dinners. Others are designed for looking dignified and respectable while still keeping a mildly casual look. In between are barongs that are great for work or dinner parties, etc. To help you make sense of it all, here is a quick and simple guide to the various types of barong and the functions that they serve.
Formal and Semi-Formal Barongs
Formal occasions include charity/award dinners, weddings, dances and balls, inaugurations, and others. Do not worry if you are unsure if the event is formal or not, a formal event will always send attendees a proper invite and the invitation itself will specify that guests should wear formal attire. For formal events, your best choice is the classic barong tagalog. The quintessential look of traditional formalwear is a distinct class in itself; be the guest, host, or even guest-of-honor, you cannot go wrong with the barong tagalog.
Identifying semi-formal events is a little challenging for the uninitiated. Depending on the event’s organizers, the information may or may not be given with the invitation. Most semi-formal events are dances and cotillions for teens or preteens, business functions (conventions, launches, press events, etc),
and other similar events. The best way to know is to ask the host or organizer directly, there is no harm in asking, and more often than not, they will appreciate that you did. In terms of choosing a barong however, the answer could not be any easier: any barong that is good for a formal event will also be good for a semi-formal event.
Perfect for Everything: the Classic White Barong Tagalog
Nothing is as traditional to Filipino formal wear as the pure white barong tagalog. Pair it with black dress pants (or slacks) and wear shoes to match; the contrast of white on black is one of the signature features of this style, giving the wearer a distinguished look and feel. This one works for almost all formal occasions.
Go Old School with Off-White: the Barong Tagalog Coat
The off-white barong tagalog is a great alternative to the classic white variant. It gives the same level of class, but has subtle earthliness in its tone. This makes the look a little less stately and a little more friendly. This look is perfect for when you want to heavily engage in socializing in a more comfortable way during cocktails. This one goes with any event that works with the classic white (unless it is a wedding and you are the groom, then it may be better to go with white).
Go for Depth with Black: Black Organza Barongs
There’s no mistaking the value of a great black formal coat, and our choice pick for black barongs is one made of organza. It keeps the same level of cool comfort that jusilyn provides, but organza works better in achieving the richness and tone of black pigments (jusilyn, on the other hand, works great with gradients and other colors).
For Those Who Serve: Black Organza with Emblazoned Shoulders
This black organza variant has an embroidery that takes the traditional barong front design, then adds a spin by having the embroidery go all the way up to the yoke. This barong is perfect for when you want something a little less formal than epaulettes, but would still like to keep a visual hint of it.
For Themed Formal Events or A Pure Semi-Casual Look: Colored Jusilyn Barongs
One great thing about the barong’s slightly translucent make is that it can make color gradients pop, and there will be times when you will want to have something more than just white, off-white, or black. When it comes to looking like you want to celebrate, or if the invite requires guests to wear a specific theme color, go for jusilyn colored barongs. Jusilyn is made of silk and synthetic material with a similar look to the more traditional jusi. But what makes jusilyn special is that it has a slightly higher opacity than other barong fabrics making the colors look brighter and more vibrant.
Casual and Officewear Barongs
Any barong will always make you look classy and respectable, but the right kind can keep you from feeling overdressed (though in times of doubt, it is always better to be overdressed for an occasion instead of being underdressed). Thanks to the light and comfortable feel of barongs, they also work well in many not-so-formal occasions.
Behind the Desk or In the Field: Short Sleeves
Short sleeved barongs are perfect for when you want to have that daily officewear look. Aside from being cool and cozy, it offers splendid maneuverability. Just be sure to remember to remember that when you need to do presentations to major business partners, it may be a good idea to switch to a long-sleeved variant. Aside from being a great fit in the office, the short sleeved barong also looks great on the field.
Sleek and Modern: the Black Short Sleeve Barong
There is no mistake that when it comes to the short sleeves, nothing is as versatile and as useful as the black short sleeved barong. It goes well for casual get-togethers and office parties while still being official looking enough to wear inside an office or during a meeting with suppliers or business associates. This piece takes the barong into the modern age with its unassuming style. On a closer look, the black embroidery adds a sophisticated and cultured appeal.
A Barong Style All-Year Round
Always remember that you can find barongs that will be great for any occasion and at all times of the year. During summer and events in warm locations, the traditional combination of barong with camisa de chino (a lightweight traditional undershirt in neutral colors) will keep you feeling cool and cozy. During colder seasons, you can swap out the camisa for thermal undershirts of the same color. The basic rule of thumb for camisa and undershirts is that white and black barongs go with white, while off-white and colored barongs can go with white or off-white camisa/undershirts. Be sure to check out Barongs R Us’ lineup of camisa to find undershirts to go with your barong.