7 Filipino Style Brands That Will Help You Pull Off The Formal Dress Code

IMAGE INSTAGRAM/ @masanting.sastreria @makinawatches

The black-tie dress code has its roots in Western culture. By definition, it refers to the tuxedo, a sleek, tail-less dinner jacket, usually in black, with a shawl collar or a peak lapel in silk, with matching trousers and the quintessential bow tie.

In the Philippines where we have our own standards of formal dress, how do we reconcile this level of formality and sartorial quality while keeping our local identity? For one, Filipinos don’t seem to be as finicky about the nuances between a tux and other kinds of suits. And then, of course, there’s the barong, a proudly Philippine garment that deserves its place alongside Western dress codes.

In the context of the formal dress code in the Philippines, how must a gentleman fit in?

Fortunately, you can turn local style outfits that are dedicated to craftsmanship and quality but still keep their identity truly Filipino. Give these fine tailors, cobblers, and accessory makers a call for your next formal event.


1| Masanting Sastreria


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At Masanting Sastreria, a team of dedicated haberdashery specialists and curators personally attend and assist your fittings. This devotion to detail and perfection results in a suit that exhibits the Filipino trait of malasakit. Masanting has also developed a House Cut, which is designed with the Filipino wearer, the Philippine weather, and comfort and mobility in mind.


2| Sapatero Manila


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The Marikina shoe industry is enjoying a revival thanks to several new-generation cobblers and retail brands, including Sapatero Manila, which has been leading the movement since 2013. With leather shoes characterized by quality, taste, and fine materials (its leathers come from France, Italy, and England), it is one of the best Filipino shoemakers around.




3| Galán


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If you’ve been keeping tabs on the local menswear scene, then you’ve heard of bespoke aficionado Kevin Yapjoco. After heading the premier menswear boutique Signet as its manager for five years, Yapjoco brings his eye for detail to the barongs and guayaberas of Galán. He describes its Ballroom Barong as the “finest expression of our formality,” a garment that carries its own against Western formalwear. It’s made with a piña-silk blend from Aklan, handwoven in Lumban, Laguna, and finished with mother of pearl buttons. It also comes with a rayon camisa de chino specifically tailored to your build, as well as a pair of black wool trousers.


4| Tiño Suits

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If you want a truly bespoke experience, head over to Tiño. The shop offers perhaps the finest Filipino-made suits, and that’s thanks to its master tailor, Napoleon Arienza. The veteran tailor, who trained under an Italian artisan in Penne, Italy, has dressed up statesmen and celebrities, including James Bond himself, Pierce Brosnan. His suits are constructed to address the unique physical qualities of each wearer and are made with horsehair canvas lining to ensure they will last a lifetime. 


5| Makina Watches

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Makina Watches has earned a cult following with its elegant timepieces. The local watch company, which is run by a team of independent creatives, breaks the rules by producing modern dress watches and dressier chronographs, all of which can flip-flop between business casual and formal. 



6| Ibarra Watches


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MARIANO AUTOMATIC 5ATM | High-Domed Glass | Automatic www.ibarrawatches.com

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Ibarra Watches continues to make dress watches and contemporary timepieces with an old-world look. Aside from new collections like the Mariano Automatic, it has also released a special piece that was inspired by Jose Rizal’s wristwatch: the Sucesos Mechanical Hand. The watch is part of its Heritage line, Ibarra’s first foray into the global luxury market.

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7| Kathy and Kathy Bespoke Men


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Known for creating heritage jewelry and statement pieces that evoke a sense of nostalgia, Kathy and Kathy Bespoke has expanded its range to include a men’s collection of bespoke cufflinks. Its heritage-inspired pieces such as the palaysalakot, and bahay kubo cufflinks have become a hit among the well-dressed set. Personalized cufflinks are also available here.


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