Linen apparel makes the most out of natural fibers to help you with your summer looks! If you’re wondering what exactly linen is, why designers choose it, how they work with it, and how you can work it into your wardrobe, read on…
What is linen?
Linen is a cloth woven from flax; it’s naturally extracted and then stored for long periods of time for maximum softness. While linen has a textured pattern and tendency to wrinkle, that can be part of a deliberate aesthetic – as this article will show, many fashion designers love linen since it can be seasonably appropriate and even elegant!
Why is linen a good fabric for the summer?
Linen is a good summer fabric because it’s breathable, quick to dry, and soft to the touch, yet strong. It’s also stylish and versatile when used by designers in thoughtful ways. No wonder its history dates back to ancient Egypt!
Kaitie Sjostedt, co-founder of The Shore Line, an independent women’s resort wear brand that aims to infuse its effortless looks “with a salty spirit of coastal living,” described linen as an ideal, breathable, and durable summer fabric in an interview with LittlePinkTop.com.
She explained, “Summer serves up some seriously hot summer months and linen is the perfect fabric to keep you cool and comfortable while you’re out and about. The last thing you want is your clothes contributing to the already annoying effects of heat; linen is the fabric of the summer, with its breathable, soft texture and moisture-wicking capabilities. It’s also a very durable and strong fiber which is great because articles made with linen will not lose their shape after washing.”
Kaitie noted that even though linen’s lightweight and airy feel will keep you cool when temperatures peak, “linen can easily transition into cooler months by adding a denim jacket or a blazer — a perfect choice for summer vacation, cocktails with friends, and back to work!”
Jerusha, an Australian fashion designer and blogger who regularly shares confident looks with her 333,000 Instagram followers, told LittlePinkTop.com that seasonal and regional factors can’t be ignored when it comes to fabrics. She said that in Australia especially, fabrication is one of the most important aspects of the job. There is a clear need “to recognize what season is more influential for what texture, weight, comfort and, of course, style,” along with other design considerations. The heat, humidity, and breezes of summer can pair perfectly with the lay and cut of linen, she explained.
How are fashion designers working with linen?
Fashion designers understand the importance of using linen in ways that enhance the wearer’s comfort levels and style goals. Increasingly, sustainability plays a role in behind-the-scenes decision-making and craftsmanship.
“When you are analyzing the categories of a weave absolutely nothing compares to the stunning appearance, resilience, and elegant fall of linen,” proclaimed Jerusha.
She explained, “I major in fabrications, coloring dye trends. I studied the way the body shape, temperature, and cut responds to the textile. It is not a simple process of just laying out the fabric and cutting from your patterns.”
For a textile such as linen, Jerusha says that designers should fully understand how the weave will respond to the design set for it. When used right, linen can be “the most exquisite choice” for a polished, elegant ensemble, she concluded.
Kaitie Sjostedt told LittlePinkTop.com that The Shore Line recently introduced a few of their popular collection offerings in linen for the first time this year. They enhanced some of their linen items with qualities such as a vibrant pink colorway to keep things cute (no objections from LittlePinkTop.com, of course) and elastic waistbands to further increase the comfort level.
She explained that the fashion industry in general likes to promote the light and airy qualities of linen: “You’ll see campaigns champion these inherent capabilities which are unlike any other fabric.”
Beyond the fashionista/consumer’s direct needs, linen might also speak to broader environmental concerns. Kaitie said, “The first and most important driver for brands today is, without a doubt, sustainability since this industry has not historically prioritized its environmental impact. Today, the industry is starting to shift towards ethical practices. Linen is made from flax, which is a regenerative crop that enriches the soil — making linen a biodegradable and renewable material.”
What are other summer-friendly, lightweight fabrics?
Maybe you’re still open to alternatives or looking for additional summer options. You are, of course, not limited to linen!
As Kaitie Sjostedt told LittlePinkTop.com: “Many of our designs are created in Rayon, a synthetic fiber made from wood pulp that mimics the drape and smoothness of a cotton or silk. It gives that aesthetic but the care for the fabric is much easier. The reason for this is because Rayon has very thin fibers, which makes the garments breathable and airy and gives it a lightness that prevents it from sticking to a body in hot weather.”
Importantly, this breathable, smooth feel doesn’t demand a monstrous dry cleaning bill. “You can machine wash,” Kaitie reassures. “Simply wash on cold and air dry, no need to dry clean! A consistent comment we get from customers is that they love the fabric because it is so soft and comfortable.”
Cotton, silk, chambray, jersey, and synthetic blends are also frequently mentioned as go-to summer fabrics. The dazzling orange bodycon dress selected for LittlePinkTop’s article recommending “What to Wear to a Garden Party” shows that some items can have a linen look even when they’re really made from polyester.
What are different ways to style linen?
So, as we’ve established, you’re not limited to linen, but linen is also not limiting. In fact, it enables a wide array of stylish looks!
A Linen Blazer Look
As LittlePinkTop showed you in the article “How to Style an Off-White Linen Blazer,” a white or off-white linen blazer can be especially cool in the summer, as it helps to deflect the sun. Furthermore, it can be paired with items such as a peasant-style top or brown leather bag.
Linen Trousers in Menswear
As LittlePinkTop recently demonstrated in the article “How To Dress in Vegas if You’re a Guy,” linen trousers could be a key wardrobe item in what we described as “a tan fabric, whiskey-sipping look” for an intriguing Vegas gentleman.
Linen with Creative Prints
Linen doesn’t need to be plain, as the white 100% linen shirt with botanical prints selected for LittlePinkTop’s first-week-of-an-office-job styling advice proves.
Also check out the light green shirtdress, again with a floral print, at the end of the article “3 Products That’ll Make You Feel Clean & Fresh This Summer!”
Linen + Preppy
The yellow Ralph Lauren shirt in the “How to Dress Like Joey King” article (currently out of stock) even shows that it’s possible to work linen into your preppy looks. Just remember that there’s a fine line between what’s preppy and preposterous!
So, from now on, when you think of summer, think of linen – and brainstorm the many wonderful fashion options available to you!