Objects That Matter: Terno

by Camay Abraham


The terno is the national dress of the Philippines. It evolved from the Maria Clara or Traje de Mestiza dress, which originated from the Baro’t Saya. The terno is identified by its butterfly sleeves— flat, oversized high-peaked sleeves that are rounded at the shoulders by pleats using stiff cotton, piña (pineapple fabric) or synthetic fabrics. The terno combines western influences with indigenous design and is considered a status symbol of wealth, social class, education, and Filipino femininity.

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