What is Linen?
Dating back over 4,000 years ago, the Egyptians were the first to discover the look, feel, and character of linen, a natural fiber made from the stalks of the flax plant. During the Victorian era, Belfast was the hub of the linen world and since then, the fabric has had a major presence in summer wardrobes throughout Europe and North America.
The Benefits of Linen in Summer
Linen is breathable, much more so than cotton due to its lower thread counts. Linen bed sheets, for example, have just an 80 to 150 thread count, whereas fine Egyptian cotton starts at a 200 thread count.
Linen has a high moisture absorbency rate, making it the ideal fabric for the hot and humid days of summer. It’s also hypoallergenic so sweat is less likely to break down its fibers. Its ability to quickly absorb and wick away moisture from the body, combined with its lack of elasticity, accounts for the ease with which linen wrinkles.
Linen is 30% stronger than cotton, giving it its resilient quality. Though a crisp new cotton shirt might feel smoother and silkier to the touch at first, linen actually gets softer with time, giving it the longevity that makes it so attractive as a wardrobe staple.
Not only does linen become softer with every wash, it alo becomes shinier. Cotton, on the other hand, gets duller and less vibrant with repeated washing, which is why linen is considered to be a much more durable and timeless fabric. Because flax fibers don’t stretch a great deal and are highly resistant to damage caused by wear and tear, linen coordinates are the best investments one can make for a summer capsule wardrobe.
While other premium fabrics like cashmere have become mainstream, linen remains a more respected and revered material, despite the fabric being prone to creasing. Perceived by upper class fashion society through the years as a sign of value, like the lines on one’s face,, the wrinkles in linen have taken on a badge of honor, with a character all its own.
Today, many brands, though still cognizant of the “rich wrinkles'' stature of the fabric, the general aversion to creasing has brought linen blends to the forefront. By combining flax with quality cotton, silk, and other less creasable materials, the result is a perfect lightweight fabric with structure, breathability, and distinctly European opulence.
To wear linen confidently is to embrace the material's relaxed rumpledness, and the easiest way to do this is with a linen set. Ideal for a relaxed summer get together, a simple two-piece linen set allows you to beat the heat and still look sophisticated.
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Prints and Palettes
Pairing prints and palettes can either make or break an outfit. So, it’s only natural to feel a little uneasy when experimenting with new tones and patterns. But, that doesn’t mean everything has to be all black and white.
Summer is all about the shades in between and you can dance all around the color wheel with linen coords that can be worn as matching sets, with solid separates, or jazzed up with a completely different pattern or color. From flowers to printed prower, summer in the city sizzles with linen coordinates made to keep you looking hot while staying oh so cool.
Yes, linen does wrinkle, but devotees to the fabric will tell you it’s simply a part of its charm. All that crinkling and wrinkling gives linen an effortless vibe and an upscale casual elegance.
How to Make Linen Look Crisp
If you want your linen to have a crisp look, set your iron to high, place a wet cotton cloth (not terry) wrung out over your linen item, and iron over the top of the cloth with steam. This prevents scorching and helps smooth out linen. Remember, though, that linen will wrinkle no matter what, especially the more you move around and sweat.
What To Wear With Linen?
Linen looks fabulous with other natural fabrics such as cotton, denim, silk, and wool. Soft, natural leather, canvas, rope, and wood accessories complement linen. A slouchy leather bag or a wicker bag and rope espadrilles are in tune with laid-back flowy linen pieces. The more tailored the linen, the more structured you can go with the accessories. For example, you could add a nice quilted leather bag with a gold chain strap to a pair of white pleated linen pants and a light, pretty blouse for a dressier look.
Ready to embrace the rainbow?
Linen Looks You’ll Love
Make it Monochromatic
Add a Button-up
Linen pants are a classic piece, so it makes perfect sense to pair them with another classic wardrobe staple, the button-up shirt. Tie it at the waist for a more casual look or tuck it in for business casual style. Simply switch out the Birks for heels to take this look from pool party to profesh.
Linen is relaxed and casual, fabulous for summer weekends and vacations. Think white drawstring pants, relaxed pleated shorts, breezy lace-up tunics, and dresses. But slightly more structured pieces like cropped linen pants, shirts, vests, and blazers are perfect for everyday work wear or dress-down casual Fridays.
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A matching set is the easiest way to achieve an elevated yet effortless linen look and this matching linen shorts and button-up is the perfect duo. Trying layering over a bathing suit when it’s time to take a break from the sun or on its own for anything from running errands to a movie date with your kids.
Linen Pants and Graphic Tee
Pair comfy linen pants with your favorite graphic tee for a casual-cool outfit.
Add a pair of trainers, a classic tote, sunglasses, and baseball hat to stay safe from the bright summer sun. Add a crossbody bag to keep hands-free during a busy day of errands.
Clean Girl Aesthetic
We are totally here for this youthful summer look that will keep you cool even in the dog days of August. Go for light tones, swap it out for dark shades, or choose vibrant prints
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All in White
Nothing speaks summer style louder than a subdued all white linen look. Timeless, effortless, and sweat-proof, even in 2023’s scorching heat, pair a flowy linen top with white linen pants for trendy, youthful, classic summer vibes. And the airy look of this all white set pairs well with light neutral accessories for a breezy, ocean-inspired feel. Chunky rubber slides , a neutral faux leather or basket bag, and dainty gold jewelry elevate the whole look.
Pair with Denim
An oversized denim jacket adds a laid-back feel to any outfit, and pairing this piece with linen pants creates an on-trend and casual look perfect for shopping or running errands.
Last on the list of linen outfit ideas is the beach cover-up look we love!
Get beach body ready by layering airy linen trousers over your favorite bikini and adding a straw hat and basket tote.
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Packing Linen for Holiday
Pack a few pairs of solid and print linen bottoms, matching tees, and button downs in complementary shades for a playful and fashionable twist that travels well on summer holiday. Linen pants in solid black, white, or beige along with a few of your favorite colorful prints are easy to pair with other wardrobe staples. Here are some of the best pieces to wear with linen bottoms for a chic and timeless getaway look.
classic tee or tank
linen button-down shirt
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