Mid-summer is almost upon us. And honestly, who wants to roast away like a jacket potato in the family’s oven on Christmas day? The sun is relentless and looks to be ferociously hot again this season, so the summer wardrobe must be ready for the extreme heat. Linen ready, that is. But what is the deal with linen clothes for men?
Linen fabric is made from the fibers of the flax plant. After threshing and draining all the moisture from the stalks, the plant is then dry enough to be woven into cloth. Linen’s coolness in hot weather makes it superior to synthetic fabrics, like polyester, when it comes to breathability. Linen is durable and very strong, as well as super comfortable and light to wear. Added bonus? It is also environmentally friendly.
If flannel is the fabric of the winter months, linen belongs to the summer. In fact, effortlessness is the best thing about the thin, breezy material: Linen just is.
How to Wear It?
Linen shirts have long been a summer staple, but they’re particularly relevant in a menswear moment that’s all about being rugged and prepared. Wearing a linen shirt, in a light pastel or even a pleasantly colorful madras, communicates that you don’t need anything but what’s on you, and even that much is negotiable.
Linen plays off the same impulses—sure, we all want to be comfortable—but it avoids the utter moral abandonment required to wear your gym clothes outside all day. After all, linen was made to be flexible, breathable, and suitable for many weather conditions. Pair a shirt with some board shorts or light chinos rolled up before the point at which they become flood pants and you’re ready to go drinking, surfing, or both at once.
Linen shirts can be slim-fit or worn loose; it all depends on the mood. A linen button up is traditionally loosely fit for hot nights out on the deck. Wear it unbuttoned at the neck for the extra chill. Just don’t go too far undone with the buttons and avoid any hairy chest and gold chain action. The versatility of linen means shirts can be worn more formalized as a slim-fit, tucked into chinos or pants, framed by a leather belt and leather shoes in toe.
Style Tips: An all-linen outfit is fine but can lack imagination and textural contrast. By mixing up the fabrics – say, with a pair of cotton chinos, silk button shirt, and linen jacket – there is a renewed depth and movement that plays out over the entire ensemble.
A pastel or neutral-tone linen-blend blazer is one of the most effortlessly refined summer pieces available to men and lends itself well to any occasion. A linen shirt, when worn with tailored shorts or a pair of slim chinos, is another key piece that proffers a supremely confident continental look. Aim high on the quality stakes and your wardrobe will thank you for it. A suit, blazer, trouser or shirt – linen adds coolness to your summer look but won’t leave you out in the cold when it comes to style.