Linen Has Many Pros, But What Are The Cons?

There’s no doubt that linen is a great summer fabric.

It’s widely recommended for a reason, and has experienced quite a renaissance in menswear over the last couple of years.
The breathability is second to none, and that’s great here in Australia.
Textured appearance means it gives the eye something more to look at.
It pairs well with seersucker and other warm weather fabrics.
I could go on all day about the virtues and benefits.
And I will, in a separate post.

However, it isn’t necessarily for everyone.
95% of people, yes, but not everyone.

So, when wouldn’t you wear linen?
And, is linen the right fabric for you?

The first two reasons you might avoid linen are interlaced.
A requirement for formality, and a dislike of creasing.
If you’re in a big business meeting, chances are you won’t want to appear in a wrinkled suit, lest you appear somewhat unkempt.
Unless you’re the boss…

Likewise, if you’re a degree of obsessive about presenting a clean, trim appearance, the wrinkling properties of linen may bother you.
It does give off an inherently casual atmosphere, and it’s something that some people have to learn to live with.

The texture is another characteristic that can be a love or hate.
It’s a striking character, usually made in a plain weave.
However, if you again have the preference for smoother finishes, you may dislike the character.

If either of these reasons ring true for you, you may wish to consider smarter summer alternatives such as high twists (Minnis Fresco, Standeven Explorer, Fox Air etc.), open weave worsteds, gabardines and mohairs.

Something else to be wary of with linen is also a factor with cotton.
This is that the fabric’s colour dye fades over time.
If you experience shrinkage – which happens with both fabrics – and need to have sleeves or hems let out, you’ll experience a line of fade from where the fabric was let down.

What are the pros and cons of linen? Brooks Brothers Vintage Linen Sportcoat
An example of the let-down line, seen here on my coral Brooks Brothers sportcoat.

Depending on your character and preference, you may love the character of this or you may be so bothered by it that you never wear the garment again.

You may have noticed that this article has been rather short.
This is no coincidence.
I love linen, and I put much thought into finding reasons not to wear it.
As you can see, I didn’t come up with much!

Drakes Linen Overshirt and Aloha Fun Shirt Combo Outfit
My Drake’s linen overshirt, worn with a vintage bamboo shirt and the pants from my Beg Your Pardon suit.


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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

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