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Linen shirts: The ultimate guide

How to wear a suit in summer

When it comes to staying cool in hot weather, linen is the best choice. Linen shirts work well for many occasions at any time of the day, they make a more relaxed yet sophisticated look. A linen shirt is one of my favourite summer garments. It is quite versatile, you can dress it up and down very easily. In this article, I want to give you some recommendations on how to wear a linen shirt.

The history of linen

Linen is a natural fabric made from the stalks of the flax plant. Throughout history, it was a symbol of style and wealth. In certain cases, people even used it as a form of currency. Egyptians started production of linen over 4000 years ago and then, knowledge of the technology was eventually carried into Southern Europe. Later, Belfast in Northern Ireland became the world’s linen hub, where almost all the material was produced during the Victorian era. Nowadays, linen is famous all over the world for its lightweight and breathable structure.   

Linen shirts

The qualities of linen shirts

Linen shirts are incredibly soft, lightweight and very effective at absorbing perspiration. These qualities make them perfect for warmer seasons. In spite of its lightness and softness, linen is a very strong and durable material. The natural wrinkling of linen will make your look more casual and relaxed.

How to take care of linen shirts?

Heavy machine washing can damage a linen shirt over time. If hand wash is not possible, limit washing to gentle cycles and try to avoid dry cleaning. Too much folding and ironing can break the material as it is not elastic. You should hang the shirt right after it is been cleaned. This way, you can prevent wrinkling and limit ironing. If you need to iron a linen shirt, use only low heat. However, some creasing is a part of the charm of linen. Do not expect a linen shirt to be crispy and keep its shape the same way a cotton shirt does.

Linen shirts

How to wear a linen shirt?

You should get a shirt in a looser fit to make the air circulate. It is absolutely fine to wear a linen shirt untucked over chinos, jeans or shorts. However, you should make sure your shirt is a little shorter than an ordinary business shirt. When it comes to colours, the most common and my favourite are white and light blue. At the same time, many people prefer bright and bold colours, which can add some vibrancy to the look.

With trousers

A linen shirt looks particularly great with tailored trousers. Generally, you should keep the sleeves down, but if it is some casual event or the weather heats up, there is nothing wrong if you roll them up. However, a shirt should always be tucked. Wear shoes or loafers without socks and remember about the colour contrast between trousers and a shirt.

Linen shirts

With chinos

It is very simple to combine a linen shirt with chinos. Light coloured chinos work best with shirts in khaki, sand, cream and pastel hues.  Keep the sleeves down or roll them up. Don’t worry if some wrinkles appear – it is a part of the charm. You can add some layers to be ready for cooler summer nights.

With jeans

Jeans go well with anything and a linen shirt is no exception. Pair slim fit jeans with a long sleeve linen button-up and you are ready for the weekend. As long as there is contrast between two pieces, any jeans can work. Roll up your sleeves below the elbow and put on some casual shoes to add an extra touch of style. You can get a slim fit shirt or a little looser one, but never baggy.

With shorts

It is a classic combination. Shorts need to be nicely fitted and cut just above the knee for a sharper look. As regards the linen shirt, here you have an unlimited choice of colours, collar styles and patterns. Again, the fit is extremely important – can be breezy but never baggy. Cuffs should not extend past your wrists. Try some cool colour combinations like pastel shorts with a white shirt or navy shorts with a blue shirt.

Linen shirts

With a jacket

Linen shirts work well with almost any type of jacket (not a tuxedo, of course). They look good with bomber jackets, cardigans and many other forms of jackets including blazers. If you want to wear a shirt untucked with a jacket, your shirt shouldn’t be too long.

With a suit

A linen shirt can provide a great contrasting texture even if it is the same colour as the trousers. It can be more difficult to combine a linen shirt with a suit, but still possible. Always remember to tuck your nicely fitted shirt in. Keep only one piece muted – either the suit or the shirt. For example, combine a grey suit with a navy shirt or a navy suit with a white shirt.

Alessandro Rocco Pietrocola is an entrepreneur, fintecher, investor, blogger and author based in London and operating mainly in Europe, Asia and Oceania with main focus on UK, Baltic Countries, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, UAE, Middle East and New Zealand as area of interest! At the moment is the CEO of Astorts Group. He is an UK FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and NZ FSPR (Financial Service Provider Register) Approved Person and has great experience as director of regulated companies.
He uses to dedicate part of his life to inspire others and help them achieve the most out of their lives. Since he was 20, he had successfully founded and managed several companies operating in the field of management consulting, wealth management and fintech. He is Member of Institute of Directors in London, Member of Changer Club in Riga, Member of Fintech Association of Hong Kong, Member of Singapore Fintech Association, Member of Non Executive Director Association in London and Member of Alumni Network of Draper University in San Francisco. He loves travelling, he is a cigars lover, an amateur golfer and a dapper man.
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