Someone came upon my webpages while looking for ways to wear a malong,
one of the traditional Filipino costumes. It’s really simple – just a
tube of cloth – but incredibly versatile. Although a number of
creative ways to use a malong are featured in a traditional dance
called (unsurprisingly) the malong-malong, I haven’t been able to find
a good Web reference that gives step-by-step instructions on how to
wear a malong. I may just build a malong site this summer, after
sewing that pretty blue/green batik cloth into a spring/summer malong.
Here are a number of ways to wear a malong as a full-length skirt. The
easiest way to wear a malong around your waist would be to flatten the
tube and wrap it around your waist, tucking it in at the end. My
malong is ankle-length when worn like that, which probably goes to
show that I’m exactly the typical Filipino’s height.
Alternatively, you can step into the tube and fold the malong inwards
until it’s the height you want. Then:
- draw it to one side and wrap that one around tightly, tucking in
the other end with or without pleating. To pleat, you wrap part of
it tightly and then fold the excess back and forth with a little
bit of overlap (like making a paper fan, except with less
overlap), then tucking this bulky part into the tight inner part.
- stand in the middle and use your elbows to keep the front side of the malong
close to your waist while you tie the excess ends into a knot (or a
double knot), or
- draw it forward and backward, then use your elbows to keep the
inside part of the malong close to your body as you fold the excess
ends to one side and tie a knot
Or you can make something up. =)
I tend to like pleating over a tight wrap because pleating gives you
some freedom of movement. If I knot the malong, I prefer to knot it at
the side so that it has more of a shape, although middle-knotted
malongs go nicely with certain tops.
I should post pictures sometime – maybe three weeks from now, when things quiet down a bit (end of term cramming)…
I’ve also figured out how to wear it as a dress that reminds people of
India or togas. It’s interestingly cultural and gets a lot of comments
(although I’m not sure how many of those are being politically
sensitive) although it’s probably not kosher (safety pins?!). For that
one, you step into the tube and pin it under one arm, then take the
excess and drape it over the opposite shoulder, pinning it to the
front side and adding a large brooch.
I also experimented with using garters to hold up a tube dress (wrap
the tube around you, fold it in front, fold a little bit back, tuck
the excess under that fold, fold the top part in a bit to secure, then
clip on the garters like dress straps). White garters with metal
fasteners looked incongruous. Black or beaded garters with black
fasteners might do the trick.
And yes, I know, I should just post pictures so that you know what I’m
talking about, but I’m technically not supposed to be up this late
documenting part of my cultural heritage… =)
Besides, isn’t it just _so_ cool that malongs are one of the
acceptable skirt-like garments that guys can wear? ;)
More malong tips would be very much appreciated. If my blue/green
malong goes well, I’ll probably shift more of my wardrobe to malongs.
(I can’t sew a balintawak or a Maria Clara!) People can chalk it up to
my being charmingly quirky/nationalistic/exotic/weird…