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Welcome to Everyday Refinement. Here I write about dressing well, but sensibly. Where beauty and utility inspire authentic style and a better wardrobe.

Give Me Linen

Give Me Linen

If summer fashion has a standout textile, then it’s gotta be linen!


Linen is summer’s hardest working and most remarkable fabric.  This exceptional fabric is one of the world’s oldest textiles and has been the inspiration for sartorial adaptations throughout the chapters of fashion.  The latest rendition of this hard-working textile slides into the warm-weather wardrobe rotation by the way of pieces for summer recreation and travel.

If I had to describe my esteem for linen garments, I would sum it up in two words — comfortably cool!  Hot summer days call for dressing in garments with breathability, simplicity, and comfort.  No other fabric delivers those climatic elements as does linen.  It has an almost weightless tactile and textural character that is fashioned for summer’s leisurely attitude of fun in the sun.  It is soft, forgiving, and comfortably cool.  Linen is easy to wear for everyday summer divertissements and even easier to pack for summer travels and escapes.  

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Start with a trouser

the ultimate travel garment

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Life is simple

in a tee, shorts, & sneakers

linen tee—J.Crew, bermuda shorts—J.Crew, backpack—Cuyana, Panama hat—Cuyana, sneakers—J.Crew

The word linen is a derivative from Latin for the flax plant.  Botanist acknowledged the remarkableness of linen by naming the flax plant “Linum Usitatissimum” which literally translates to “most useful linen.” An interesting fact, the textile industry commonly refers to linen using the German term “Edelknitter” or noble wrinkle. The description befittingly illustrates the intrinsic nature of linen.  The charm of linen is that the wearer recognizes that linen is “guaranteed to wrinkle” and enthusiastically accepts the textile for its luster, durability, unequaled breathability, and comfort in extremely warm conditions, despite its nature to rumple or wrinkle.

History of Linen:

Linen textiles are some of the oldest in the world.  The history of linen production goes back many thousand of years.  The earliest recordings of an established linen industry originate out of Egypt.  But it is not until the twelfth century, that a robust systematization of flax production commences.  Today flax is cultivated in many places around the globe, but the best quality of flax is grown in Western European countries and Ukraine. The finest quality of fabric is sourced from countries renown for their exquisite offering of linen cloth — Ireland, Belgium, and Italy.

linen fields in bloom

linen fields in bloom

Eco-Friendly Textile:

One of the most minimally processed textiles, linen is naturally ecological and environmentally friendly.  The flax plant requires little to no irrigation or pesticidal treatment during growth.  The environmental impact of spinning and weaving flax into linen fabric is virtually zero. All parts of the flax plant are used, as well as, 100% of the byproducts are biodegradable.

Nature has gifted linen with extraordinary properties: Linen is extremely durable which allows the fabric to endure many years of daily wear. The more it is worn the softer and stronger it becomes.  Because, linen has the capacity to absorb up to 20% of its weight in moisture before it feels damp, it is one of the best natural fabrics for wicking moisture away from the body.  As it releases moisture into the air, linen will remain cool and dry to the touch.  Linen is truly healthy as it is non-allergenic, odor resistant and lint free. It does not irritate the skin because of  anti-static properties that soften and maintain the skin’s natural pH balance.  The non-allergic, antibacterial, and antimycotic properties of linen are gaining recognition. This is one of the reasons linen bedding and towels are highly prized for luxury and refinement.  Linen also has inherent UV protection properties.

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A dress for sunshine-ready

whether strolling or shopping, get-away or staycation

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Jump into summer

your one-piece style-maker

jumpsuit—J.Crew, ankle-strap sandals—J.Crew, raffia tote—Cuyana, hat—Cuyana

Care Instructions:

Most linen garments require no special treatment when laundering.  Machine or hand wash on a gentle cycle in cool to lukewarm water. Tumble dry on a low heat setting or hang to air dry.  Linen is also colorfast. Although, repeated washing and wearing can cause subtle fading and softening over time. The rumpling and wrinkling of linen during the laundering process can make garments seem as if these have shrunk. Try pressing or steaming the garment while it is damp to return back its original shape and fit.  Over pressing folds or creases can breakdown linen fibers, so iron on a medium setting.  Or leave unpressed for a beautiful rumpled look.  In my humble opinion it only makes linen garments more appealing.

How I wear:

I like to select linen separates for the summer wardrobe in soft, architectural or slightly sculpted silhouettes. I look for garments that skim the body loosely but still have shape and structure.  Choosing semi-fitted to loose cuts allow for pieces that embody ease of movement and breeze.  On a languorous summer day I like nothing better to wear than a wide-leg linen trouser (that represents breeze and movement) combined with a classic linen button-down or an easy-fit silk camisole for comfort and beauty.  In fact, a lightweight linen drawstring trouser is my favorite en route garment for summer travels. These deliver the ease of movement and comfort of a sweat-pant, but look much more refined and elegant. For more ways to wear linen garments throughout the summer, please see the images that supplement this post for inspiration.

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The shirt to live in

a linen essential for buttoned, unbuttoned or any day

striped linen shirt—LLBean, slim tee—Cuyana, white denim jean—J.Crew, navy tote—Cuyana, sandals—Amanu

It is no coincidence that the world’s oldest fabric is still highly treasured. Linen offers fashion designers abundant creative inspiration and wearers nothing other than pure enjoyment.  Linen garments are the fabric of summer.  Garments designed for everyday wearing and offering an invitation to slow down and enjoy life.

Linen — extraordinarily comfortable and stylishly beautiful.

Please note: I do not receive any form of compensation from the brands mentioned and represented in this article.

Header Photo by Anita Austvika on Unsplash
Linen Field Image by xuechao zhu from Pixabay 

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