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Why Linen Is a Man’s Summer Wardrobe Essential

Feature: Long Read
Words by ABIGAIL GURNEY-READ

Summer signals many things: an influx of occasions, from weddings to Wimbledon; good weather and the garden parties it prompts; and holidays, holidays, holidays. For a man’s wardrobe, such variety can be a real balancing act – but, through it all, one thing remains a constant. Linen.

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Zegna shirt, Erdem trousers, Prada shoes

It’s a rare material that can segue between smart tailoring and loosey-goosey beachwear. The fact that linen achieves the impossible (and then some) is surely why you’ll see it peppering the collections of classic and contemporary brands alike. Zegna’s is tonal in palette and undeniably refined. At Commas it’s bohemian, and dandified at Erdem. You can wear it head to foot if you so choose – just as easily as you can pair it with denim for smart-casual dress codes.

SUMMER ESSENTIAL

Natural, functional and breathable thanks to its relatively low thread count – good news if you’re prone to sweating – linen’s many virtues are too numerous to count. So far, so cool…

Beige top, blue trousers

It’s a rare material that can segue between smart tailoring and loosey-goosey beachwear. The fact that linen achieves the impossible (and then some) is surely why you’ll see it peppering the collections of classic and contemporary brands alike. Zegna’s is tonal in palette and undeniably refined. At Commas it’s bohemian, and dandified at Erdem. You can wear it head to foot if you so choose – just as easily as you can pair it with denim for smart-casual dress codes.

  • Man in burnt orange linen jacket blazer jacket

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Linen’s sophisticated pedigree is up there with the best. Maybe you are of an age to recall George Lazenby’s cream suit in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Or the breezy, billowing shirts of Jude Law’s Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley. All linen.

Part of a growing demand for quiet, considered classics, linen’s soft smartness is nattily in step with the ‘stealth wealth’ headline that is dominating this year’s menswear conversation. Elevated yet inconspicuous. We’ve got HBO’s Succession to thank for that. Linen is a regular fixture of the Waystar Royco apparel. It’s sky-blue Brunello Cucinelli for Roman Roy. For Tom Wambsgans, it’s a Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit.

But among its many sartorial plus points, linen boasts pure and simple practicality. “Linen is thermo-regulatory, capable of absorbing humidity, and allows for natural comfort,” explains Sease founder Franco Loro Piana. “It’s also hypoallergenic, making it particularly soft and gentle on the skin.”

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Man by the sea
LOVE BRAND & Co. Long-Sleeved Abaco Shirt primary image

LOVE BRAND & Co.

Long-Sleeved Abaco Shirt

$163

Linen is not without its faults. Its Achilles heel is that it’s prone to creasing, which means it’s not an option if your goal is absolute polish. In many ways though, that’s its appeal. Linen infers a certain kind of lifestyle – one of after-dark alfresco dinners or lakeside strolls that turn into dips. In other words, a life of leisure. Linen isn’t the material of deadlines or business, unless yours is the business of pleasure.

Further plus-points include its sustainable credentials. Derived from flax, linen grows naturally with rainwater without the need for irrigation and requires far less water to cultivate than cotton. It’s a major selling point, as Franco Loro Piana explains: “Being sustainable is more than a choice, it is a commitment for both brands and customers to make. I choose to promote and encourage the best practices, making environmentally conscious choices and taking a forward-thinking approach to sustainability overall.”

THE GOOD LIFE

Linen isn’t the material of deadlines or business, unless yours is the business of pleasure.

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peach matching set

Love Brand & Co. shirt and shorts, Loewe bag

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  • Shot on location atPassalacqua Hotel in partnership with Abercrombie & Kent
Care Guide
CLOTHES CARE
How to Care for Linen

 

Though relatively low maintenance in its care, linen still requires attention to keep it at its best. Diligence goes a long way, say the Frescobol Carioca and Clothes Doctor experts.

 

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