Elegance to the highest level… stately grace at its utmost… the Haute Couture of national dresses!
The Terno is absolutely one of the world’s most distinct and recognizable traditional dresses identified ONLY to the Philippines…*Northern Mariana, did you hear that? Ha!*
A Terno is a seamless, long, elegant dress with a signature “butterfly” sleeves. The “butterflies” frame the woman’s smooth shoulders, collar lines, neck and of course, the face. It is made with fabrics expensive enough to scandalize the World Bank. LOL!
Seriously…I’m sure you guys have seen beautiful women from the Philippines wore a “terno”, at least one time in your life. Imelda Marcos showed the world how to wear it while she strut her stuff in the 70’s and 80’s around the globe. Oh did she make a Filipino fashion statement or what? So imeldific! *some dictionary lists “imeldific”, mind you*
Isabel Preysler never leave her “palace” without proudly wearing one! Mrs. Preysler (for those who don’t know) is an ultra-famous Madrid socialite of Filipino origin. And she happens to be Julio Iglesias’ ex-wife (ask your grandparents who he is or click here). And yeah, yeah, yeah…I’m sure my Filipino readers want me “highlight” this… Isabel is Enrique’s mom. Ok? Ok. Now, get off me.
Anyways, back to the topic…”Terno” is a coined term for the Spanish word “to match” or “matching” AND it didn’t start the way it looks today…
The evolution started in the Spanish era when Tagalog women (of Luzon Island) modified their traditional dress (Baro’t Saya) and made it more conservative. They made it longer at floor-length so not to scandalize the foreign priests.
Historians also noted that it has also been influenced by Hindus and Chinese traders in those times. In the turn of the century (1900s) it came to a point when the Terno is made with 7 layers to create the skirt! *Whoa!* I guess they haven’t realized that the Philippines is a tropical country in those days, did they? Interesting.
I am aware that Filipinos nowadays identify the Terno with Imelda Marcos. And I hope they get over it soon. Although she's the one who popularized it, the Terno is still a Filipino national identity worthy to be worn by any woman who is proud of her heritage.