Like everything when you start reading up about a topic there’s always so much more to it than you think. I’m going to explain the benefits of linen over other fabrics and why its such a great choice of fabric (especially in warm climates).
Linen has been around for a VERY long time. There is evidence to suggest that a linen manufacturing industry was in operation in Egypt over 4,000 years ago. Linen is a natural fibre made from the stalks of the flax plant Linum usitatissimum.
Bed Linen was coveted by the upper classes for its cool and soft feeling against the skin, becoming a mark of wealth and social standing. These days, textiles account for the majority of linen grown, with clothing forming only a very small percentage, making a well-sourced and cared for linen shirt an all the more valuable addition to your wardrobe.
Linen vs Cotton
Linen is highly breathable, much more so than cotton due to its lower thread counts. For example, a fine Egyptian cotton bed sheet will start at about 200 thread count, while a similar quality linen sheet will have a thread count of between 80 and 150, meaning fewer fibres and more breathability when the temp rises. Although Linen can feel rough at first, with time and washing it becomes incredibly soft, unlike cotton, which can get coarser over time. When cotton is new its incredibly soft to touch, linen really starts coming into its own after about 3 to 5 years of wear, accounting for its longevity too.
Because of Linens very high absorbency rate, it is the ideal summer fabric. Its also hypoallergenic, which means sweat is less likely to break down its fibres. Combined with its lack of elasticity, this ability to quickly absorb and wick away moisture from the body accounts for the ease with which linen can crease.
Whilst linen to most is thought of as a more informal fabric (probably due to it’s ability to crease so easily) I think that wearing a linen garment can enhance the quality of the outfit making it appear not as informal and rather classy. Perhaps more than any other fabric, you truly get what you pay for with linen and linen-blends. The best harvests and the most expert milling practices will be reflected in the price, so try not to skimp. I always advise my clients to invest in linen t-shirts over cotton. The longevity of the t-shirt will be quite remarkable especially if a more premium linen is bought. A T-shirt from even a mid priced brand such as J.Crew over a pinch priced T-shirt from H&M or Zara. Whilst buying linen from the high street wont be a complete waste, it wont last quite as long as it would from a better quality store.
Caring for Linen
A lukewarm hand or machine wash is best. Air dry and a quick iron when damp is a better option than waiting until the fabric is bone dry. Avoid over-ironing the crease of the collar as this can damage the fibres.
So that was the text book stuff for those out there that like the detail.
Having always been a big fan of linen (even though I have never owned heaps of it myself) other than t-shirts and the odd shirt or trousers which have been a linen blend, its always been a fabric that I love the ruffled look it gives and the way linen clothes hang. Woven Green are excited to be launching a range of Linen clothing in the next month. Here are a couple of pics and style tips on wearing linen.
We hope to see you over on WG soon for a sneak peak of what’s to come! To keep updated follow us on Instagram @woven_green