I love linen! New styles for warmer days ahead…

Susan B. wears three outfits featuring linen pieces. More linen clothing for women at une femme d'un certain age.

Regular readers may recall that I’m a huge fan of linen. It’s a durable, breathable fabric that’s comfortable in a range of temperatures and is often travel-friendly. (It’s lighter and dries more quickly than cotton.) Linen is also a less resource-intensive crop than cotton, requiring less water and fewer pesticides.

During our visit to Paris in 2019, we had our first experience with a canicule (extreme heat wave). I’d packed an Eileen Fisher linen tunic shirt (similar), and was able to find a pair of navy linen trousers (middle image above) as well as a couple of linen tees in Paris. They were the only clothes that were comfortable enough for venturing out in temperatures that ranged in the mid-90’s F. (Yes, there were some creases by the end of the day, but it was a small price to pay.)

I’m finding a nice selection of women’s linen clothing this season. Good linen styles do tend to sell out as the weather warms up, so I pounce when I see something I like.

Linen tops

Eileen Fisher organic linen white shirt.

I call this the “Easy White Shirt,” and it’s been one of my wardrobe staples for years. (Plus). I’ve worn mine as above, and open as a lightweight topper over a tank top. I’m not bothered by the (inevitable) creasing as it’s the nature of linen. But you can also try “broomsticking” to make any creasing look more intentional.

Rails linen shirt with gold cheetah print.

I really like the subtle-but-fun gold cheetah print on this lightweight shirt. Sizes XX-Small to XX-Large.

Boden striped linen popover top.

This easy popover is available in a few colors, but I like the stripes the best…

J.Crew linen shirt blue and white stripe.

and a blue-and-white stripe is always classic. Sizes 00-24.

Here’s a no-iron linen shirt in chambray, with a stripe detail on the placket and collar. Sizes 0-22.

Eileen Fisher organic linen short-sleeve shirt.

This aqua blue is just so gorgeous…sizes XXS-3X.

If creases are a dealbreaker, you might find linen knits a more workable option. All of the breathability of linen, less wrinkling…

FRAME easy scoop neck linen tee in black/white stripes.

Casual cool in black and white stripes

Chico's relaxed linen navy tee.

I just received this linen tee in Navy (as part of my ongoing Instagram collaboration with Chico’s) and really like it! Enough so that I’m going to order it in more colors. It’s opaque and relaxed but not oversized. Sizes 00/(0-2) to 4/(20-22). I sized down to the 00 and am happy with the fit. There’s also a navy striped version.

Eileen Fisher linen jersey tank white

I’ve hung onto a couple of these linen jersey tanks because they’re such great layering pieces underneath a lightweight jacket or cardigan. Other colors too, sizes XXS-3X.

Chico's linen long sleeve stripe tee.

Looking for something with long sleeves? This striped linen tee also has a nice shoulder button detail.

Linen dresses

J.Jill linen shirtdress with pockets.

As I mentioned in my weekly newsletter, a shirtdress is such an easy and versatile style. You could also wear this one open as a lightweight duster. Misses, Petite, Plus, and Tall sizes available.

Ralph Lauren plaid linen shirtdress.

Leave it to Ralph Lauren to come up with a plaid this gorgeous

Chico's linen blend sheath dress with cutout sleeve details.

I’ve been getting a few requests for dresses to wear for special occasions. Here’s a simple linen-blend dress that could go from day to evening. The cutout detail on the sleeves makes it feel more special. Sizes 000-4 / (0-22)

Karen Kane tie dye linen shirtdress blue.

I’m usually not the world’s biggest fan of tie-dye, but this one is pretty.

Linen pants

Eileen Fisher linen lantern pants in Terra Cotta.

I bought a similar pair of these linen lantern pants last year, and found I wore them quite often during the warmer months. I love the shape, and they’re just so darn comfortable in the heat! In Misses/Plus and Petite sizes, also in Coriander (green). Beige here. If the lantern shape doesn’t appeal to you, there’s also a straight leg style.

J.Crew linen tie waist pants olive

These relaxed tie-waist pants are available in several colors, sizes XX-Small to 3X.

J.Crew Hayden stretch linen trousers navy.

If you prefer a more structured, tailored look, these stretch linen trousers are available in several colors, Regular sizes 00-24, also Petite and Tall.

Madewell pleated linen trousers windowpane.

And these in windowpane hit that sweet spot between tailored and slouchy cool. Sizes 00-16

Are you a fan of linen? What styles do you wear most often?

Stay in touch.

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19 Comments

  1. Robyn
    March 31, 2021 / 2:51 am

    Thank you for the perfect linen suggestions. Some items are in my cart. I live in Virginia and our summers are hot, humid and mosquito filled. As I am outside with our dogs and doing yard upkeep much of the summer linen pants helps me stay cool while keeping my legs from becoming a mosquito buffet.

  2. March 31, 2021 / 4:44 am

    Yes I also love the fabric . I’ve been buying it since it re-entered fashion some years ago . It does wear well and take colours well . Only the tee-shirt fell apart after 2 summers . Even in the UK we can get summer days so hot that only linen will do !

  3. Kathie
    March 31, 2021 / 5:02 am

    I love linen shirts in the summer. When I purged my closet I hung onto them even though they are all wrong colors for me. I plan to dye them. They may shrink a bit but as they are all oversized it shouldn’t matter. I tried on a pair of linen crops last week but they looked and felt like pajamas on me. Love the look on others, especially on taller women. I will stick to cotton crops and shorts.

  4. McKlem
    March 31, 2021 / 5:28 am

    I had my summer of linen decades ago and vowed never again. Too much ironing and spray starch. But I’ve never heard of linen jersey before and will check that out.

  5. April
    March 31, 2021 / 5:45 am

    Has anyone tried the wrinkle-free linen from Chico’s? I’m wrinkle-adverse, so the idea is very intriguing to me.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      March 31, 2021 / 5:48 am

      I have, and think it’s quite good.

      • April
        March 31, 2021 / 11:26 am

        Thank you!

  6. Rita Prangle
    March 31, 2021 / 7:10 am

    I have a collection of linen shirts that I’ve found in thrift shops. I suspect people must buy linen garments because they’re so nice, but then they can’t deal with the wrinkles, so donate them fairly quickly. Same with linen pants. Flax Designs always has has great choices on offer. I was happy to see their annual Barn Sale was held online last year, I hope that continues forever! I’ve also sewn up a few pairs of linens pants, and have a pullover top cut out and waiting for me to sew up. And, I have a large collection of linen fabrics that have been lying in wait for a long time.

    • MaryInMaryland
      April 1, 2021 / 4:57 am

      Yes to Flax for an unparalleled linen selection and the online barn sales this year! I have purchased great pieces in beautiful colors. The only issue is that my 20-something daughter has discovered them, too, and “borrowed” quite a few pieces.

  7. Linda M
    March 31, 2021 / 7:26 am

    I have some linen toppers/shirts, but my sweet spot is the linen knits. I have tees and very light sweaters that I love and wear even into the fall, as I find many homes and shopping centers are overheated during that time of fluctuating temperatures. Talbots and JJill always have good knit ones, but you are right, they sell out quickly. They don’t wrinkle at all. Chico’s no wrinkle linen is really nice, I think.

    • Judy B
      March 31, 2021 / 1:37 pm

      I like the linen knits best, too. I have several linen tees in a variety of sleeve lengths, stripes, and neutral colors—some shimmery ones too. Also a linen bend cardigan. Like you, I can also wear them into early fall, as it stays fairly warm. I like them especially for the easy fit, light weight, and the drape. Thanks to Susan for all the great selections here. I may have to purchase that cheetah print linen shirt!

  8. Linda
    March 31, 2021 / 8:14 am

    I just bought some beautiful crinkle linen trousers from Poetry. They have a large selection of linen, I also got a beautiful blouse. They ship from London via FedEx and it comes within a week. Most items also come in a variety of colors. It’s my new go to store.

    • March 31, 2021 / 12:04 pm

      I’ve been getting their catalogs and have been very tempted – good to know you’re happy with their clothes! I might just take the plunge!!

  9. Chris Olson
    March 31, 2021 / 9:37 am

    I agree!! Linen is my favorite hot weather fabric. I love the fact it doesn’t cling to my body like cotton can. Wrinkles are the beauty of linen….

  10. Wren Mead
    March 31, 2021 / 11:22 am

    I love linen, it’s weight and breathability. People complain that it wrinkles but that’s it’s nature. I like how it starts out crisp but there’s no preventing it softening and wrinkling.
    For about the last 3 summers, I have been looking for the perfect slim black pants in linen to replace some that I loved so much I loved them shiny. Still no luck. I did just buy some white wide leg from BR that are a linen blend. They will work but not really what I was looking for in white and not as light weight as 100% linen.
    Awhile ago I had asked you if you could round up some longer-length shorts. I ordered some yesterday from NYDJs that are 13″ but am not sure how they will fit since I ordered a size that would seem like it would be too small (but not by their chart). Fingers crossed!
    Thanks for featuring lovely light linen~

  11. Lee Rosenthall
    March 31, 2021 / 11:22 am

    I think it was here several years ago that someone suggested FLAX brand linen items when I was bemoaning the decline in quality of J. Jill linen clothing, which were my summer “uniform” for decades, following a decade wearing (and dry cleaning and IRONING) Finity linen garments. I LOVE FLAX. They have a couple of Barn Sales every year in Upstate New York (this year they were virtual, which was FABULOUS!), and I’ve managed to acquire several outfits over the past couple of years. They carry an “Urban” line, where wrinkles are a feature not a bug. (Not that I care one way or the other.) Check ’em out sometime. And I’ve gotten some good buys on linen items at Chico’s too. Not the same quality as FLAX, but much less expensive if you can get them during a sale. I haven’t tried the no-iron styles yet, but everything I’ve purchased is quite comfortable and they look pretty good too.

  12. Kay
    March 31, 2021 / 1:19 pm

    You take the words right out of my mouth. I live nearer Palm Springs than the ocean, so cooling summer breezes are fewer. Linen is perfect for me. Not to be indelicate, but a lot of sweating happens! Those wrinkles will relax when the damp fabric moves into the hot air, sort of like a spin though the dryer. I find that stripes or prints show the wrinkling much less. (That picture of you in Paris makes me long for the day I can return to France. I have a new baby niece there I haven’t yet been able to meet.)

  13. April 1, 2021 / 12:43 pm

    The “problem” with most linen you can buy nowadays is that it is a relatively “thick” weave, hence the wrinkles. Now, this type of linen has been available for a very long time, so it’s not like we’re dealing with something new. Most linen has always been wrinkly and expecting it to be anything other than wrinkly is misguided. However, there is also ’tissue’ or handkerchief linen, and the world used to rely on that weight for blouses (not so much for skirts because it is so delicate). But it is a glorious weight of linen, non-wrinkly, extremely cool and light. In the haste to make fast clothes, I suspect most manufacturers won’t take the time tissue linen requires to sew pieces together with care. You almost have to construct those pieces by hand, they require such delicate stitches. There was a time when you could find tissue-weight linen, but I don’t know if anyone is bothering to make it now. Ideal in the tropics, that’s for sure.

  14. Jill
    April 2, 2021 / 8:32 am

    Alison….that is so interesting about the tissue linen, thank you! In humid Tennessee, my mother wore linen all summer. She always pressed it beautifully and as the day wore on the wrinkles appeared, yet it still seemed polished. Also, Dame Judi Dench looks lovely in linen. Thank you for the great options Susan!

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