How to wear the terno, according to 'Doyenne of PH fashion'


Posted at May 22 2018 05:43 AM

How to wear the terno, according to 'Doyenne of PH fashion' 1
Patis Tesoro. Handout

MANILA – Ladies and designers, take note.

Patis Tesoro, known as the “Doyenne of Philippine fashion,” has had enough of people wearing the terno – the country’s traditional dress – the wrong way.

While she understands how some people want to add twists to the terno, there are certain elements that should be left untouched, such as the size of the sleeves.

“The terno sleeve should not be higher than the jaw,” Tesoro said as she tilted her head to her shoulder, noting how some terno sleeves end up touching the cheeks in an attempt to pull off an avant-garde look.

The same goes for the bottom part of the butterfly sleeves. “It should not be longer than above the elbow. That is elegance,” she said.

She continued: “If you want to make it (sleeve) small or make it look like a little platito, that is making fun [of the terno]. I don’t understand it, I really think it is so ugly. It’s not even proportional to the person.”

“Who are you trying to impress, yourself? You want to say you are a creator? No, you’re not. You’re just making fun [of the terno].”

Tesoro went on to note how the terno, if properly worn, makes a lady “really sexy.”

“Why? It’s because you’re evoking emotions that have gone back. He (Filipino) remembers his mother, his sisters, his lola. He remembers family, he remembers tradition,” she explained. 

“Everybody wants cheap, cheap, cheap. Why not dream and say [I want something much better]?”

Tesoro currently has an exhibit on the history of Philippine clothing and textiles at the Destileria Limtuaco Museum in Intramuros, Manila. Curated by Sonny Tinio, it will run until May 23, 6 p.m.

The exhibit is made possible through the Balik Saya project of the Department of Tourism and the Intramuros Administration, and Manila’s fifth district representative Cristal Bagatsing. 

How to wear the terno, according to 'Doyenne of PH fashion' 2
This baro’t saya made entirely of sinamay or fine abaca is among the items featured in Tesoro’s exhibit. The terno is considered an evolved version of this Filipino dress. Handout

Meanwhile, Tesoro also shared that there is also a proper way to wear the panuelo – a piece of cloth traditionally used as a ruffle or collar – which she learned from the late owner of the iconic Josephine’s restaurant in Tagaytay. 

“I asked her when she was about 80 plus [years old], around 30 years ago. ‘Lola Josephine, how do you make tupi a panuelo?’ She said, ‘Patis, it’s all about the height and the width of the person,’” she said.

“So the panuelo is usually [folded] into four. But if the person is tall, you have to make your panuelo wider,” she added.