June 13, 2011
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
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?
photos by Pop, Bop and Snap
special thanks to George for sparking the idea of wearing a polo barong in New York