All Linen Everything
June 10th, 2013
It’s starting to feel like summer in NYC, which means it’s time to break out one of my favorite fabrics: linen.
Some people say you shouldn’t wear linen on linen. I think those people are missing out.
There’s nothing cooler.
1. Tropical Business Casual
This has been one of my hot weather go-tos for years: 100% linen short-sleeve shirt + 100% linen trousers. It doesn’t get much breezier than that. There’s a new addition to my look this season though: the wide-brimmed panama style fedora.
I usually wear sunglasses just about every time I step outside (to the point where I squint aggressively without them). Lately, however, I’ve been leaving the shades behind and grabbing a straw hat to keep the sun out of my eyes (I rarely wear both, since they serve the same purpose).
A fedora is one of those high-risk/high-reward moves. Most of them will look silly or try-hard, but when you find that one with the right crown shape, brim proportion, fabric, (etc.) it can be a transformative accessory. The key is trying-on plenty of hat styles before settling on one…then, of course, wearing it with confidence.
I should also mention, a hat is better suited for days spent outdoors (since you should always take it off inside, which leaves you with a squashed hairstyle, and nowhere to store your hat).
Fit is absolutely what makes-or-breaks the short-sleeve shirt. The body should be trim, the shoulders should fit properly, and most importanly, the sleeves should be narrow and hit around mid-bicep (mine tend to “crinkle up” and land a little north of mid-bicep).
Keep in mind a linen shirt can sometimes feel (and look) looser than a traditional cotton shirt because of it’s dry and stiff texture. It’s part of the reason linen is so cooling: the natural “creasing effect” physically keeps the shirt away from the body.
I know some guys who tailor their linen shirts extra-slim to compensate for this. Personally, I think a linen shirt looks natural with a little more air flow.
Some of the linen trousers that I wear on a regular basis are actually part of a suit. Storing them separate from their jackets in the closet will remind you of their versatility.
As we recently touched on, kiltie loafers are making a comeback!
2. Summer Suited
If you have to (or want to) look all-business on a hot summer day, going all-linen makes a world of difference.
A linen suit is going to wrinkle. Absolutely no doubt about it. Don’t let it shake you. Press it in the morning, then embrace the wrinkles throughout the day – they make the suit, and you, look cool.
Another great property of linen is it’s visual texture and the way it takes color. The organic roughness of the cloth looks masculine and rugged, even in a aqua/teal color.
The tie and pocket square are linen as well – why not?
So with a brown suit, tan shoes make perfect sense.
3. BeachTown Getaway
Linen isn’t only for tailoredwear. It can also be knit into a “summer sweater”.
It’s hard to explain how lightweight this hoody is. The wind literally passes directly through it.
A linen knit is a great pop-over for a day at the beach. It stays cool and dry, you can always shake the sand off of it, and your skin can even get a little sun through it. It’s also the perfect piece for a summer night out.
With white linen pants (like these from my white linen suit) keep in mind your undergarments might show through. So keep your tightie whities, well, white.
On a separate note, the leather gladiator sandal is a summer getaway essential.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Yours in style,
Articles of Style
Photography by Alex Crawford.