Photo by Muffy Aldrich
The Modern Guide to The Thing Before Preppy

Monday, April 29, 2024

Linen Jackets, Shirts, Trousers?

 A reader question:

May I ask a question? As we move into spring and summer (hopefully!) my tweed jackets have been moved to the back of the closet and my summer weight jackets including those made of linen, have been moved to the fore. It seems to me that people either love or hate linen. Personally I'm a fan for jackets and shirts as I think they are very comfortable in warmer weather, but not so much trousers. What are the readers thoughts on linen?

41 comments:

  1. As a man, I personally dislike linen. While the feel of the fabric of a jacket or shirt is lovely, it wrinkles terribly and is ruthless and unforgiving if you're carrying too much extra weight. Unless of course you don't care about that, in which case you'll be the most comfortable man in any warm setting, at least temperature-wise.

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  2. I have one linen sport coat that I wear a few times a year--typically for outdoor events such as garden parties on very hot days. Darker colors can hide the wrinkles; but mine is a sort of straw color that shows everything. I just accept that it will rumple if I sit down and even if I don't! I do not wear linen pants because I don't like the inevitable wrinkles at the knees.

    Good men's stores have tropical weight, unlined wool jackets and trousers that are almost as cool as linen and much more functional in my view, e.g.,

    https://oconnellsclothing.com/oconnells-unconstructed-high-twist-wool-panama-weave-sport-coat-blue-34426-olc.html

    https://www.theandovershop.com/products/medium-grey-tropical-wool-plain-front-trousers

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  3. I like Irish linen but it often feels itchy on my skin. Italian wrinkles far too quickly. On very hot days, I generally wear Madras cotton shirts with lightweight poplin shorts. For social occasions, end-on-end poplin shirts and seersucker suits are cool and smart.

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  4. Flax is such a easy, wonderful wildflower for children to grow, with beautiful blueish flowers, attractive to birds and bees.

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  5. I like linen. It is good (as Hemingway would put it.)

    It’s all right to look a little rumpled in sweltering weather so I don’t mind the wrinkles. (I remember Ralph Lauren even putting a “Guaranteed to Wrinkle” label in his linen wear to thwart the complainers.)

    I currently have two pairs of Cordings Sky Blue Herringbone Linen Shorts, a Cordings Royal Blue Bambridge Linen Suit (only the trousers are available now), along with a Cordings White Vintage Linen Shirt to supplement my other summer wear. So now when nature turns up the heat, I’m ready.

    https://www.cordings.co.uk/us/sky-blue-linen-herringbone-shorts.html
    https://www.cordings.co.uk/us/royal-blue-bambridge-linen-trousers.html
    https://www.cordings.co.uk/us/white-vintage-linen-shirt.html

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    2. How is the fit of the Cordings pants? I prefer an American trad fit and I've often noticed that British tailors like a tighter (but not skinny) fit. I find it difficult to discern the Cordings fit from the pictures.

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    3. Yes, British trousers (including Cordings) have a slightly different fit than American trad. This applies especailly to the calves, ankles and cuffs which are narrower than Americans are used to. But this style is very easy to get used to, and actually gives the drape a more streamlined look. Hope this helps.

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    4. "especially"

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    5. I agree with Robert about the fit but unlike him, I've found it difficult to get used to. I rarely wear my Cordings trousers.

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  6. Linen is also a great travel fabric, especially shirts. It is durable and dries quickly. Exclusively I wear linen when I travel, usually in the autumn. We’re hotel people. So there’s always an iron handy to press shirts you wash in the bathroom sink. Try it. Carrying only three or four shirts lightens your load and will see you through at least several weeks of travel. White, of course, is most versatile.

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  7. It was 90 degrees today in DC and I moved all my winter and summer clothes around. Linen jackets, shirts, pants--wear it all. Wrinkled is par for the course.

    When we lived in New Orleans linen was a necessity. The humidity there of course helped relax the wrinkles.

    Comfort is key. As I often say, "I am wearing this for me, not for you." So wrinkles be damned.

    Prost!

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  8. I have one linen blazer in navy that I had made while on assignment in Islamabad when the heat got particularly intolerable. I have a smattering of linen shirts that I keep in my summer rotation or for while traveling to warmer climates - cool, comfortable and more elevated that a t-shirt. While not necessarily a heritage maker, I've found that Uniqlo's Premium Linen Shirts are perfectly serviceable and come in a nice range of colors.

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    1. Uniqlo shirts, absolutely. They also made beautiful linen t shirts this spring.

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  9. Ahem. What Muffmeister's readers take for 'linen' in 2023 is not 'linen' but instead is an intersection accident of silk, bamboo, some linen if you're lucky, cotton or wool. These articles of clothing are vulgarities. The only true linen attire for gentlemen was sold in the 1950s and 60s by such merchants as Langrock, Press and Chipp. If any of these jackets or trousers are left somewhere in a closet of a home in Town, or Kennebunk or similar localities, they may be dry-cleaned and worn again. Otherwise, please don't pollute these dear pages with paeans to modern-day 'linen'. Thank you.

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    1. For the sake of the readers of this blog, I'll note the errors above. All quality men's retailers today offer a range of garments and accessories in 100% linen. Just check the label if you are for some reason averse to other fibers.

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    2. 1. It's true that linen blends are readily available, either with wool, cotton, lyocell (rayon), or tencel (bamboo). 2. 100% linen clothing is still available in 2024 (2023 is so....last year) at O'Connell's, Nordstrom, and Saks, at a minimum. Proper Cloth has 100% linen made-to-measure shirts and suits, 100 percent linen fabric milled by Baird McNutt, County Antrim.

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    4. How tedious your comments are

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    5. Poor Ferd is either trolling or incredibly ignorant. He should also note that it's now 2024, not 2023.

      As loyal customer, I can assure Muffy's and her readers that Cordings (which sponsors this website) sells jackets, waistcoats, trousers, shirts and shorts that are made from PURE, i.e. 100%, Irish or Italian linen.

      The company also sells jackets are made of a linen and silk blend because the latter adds strength and reduces wrinkling. The addition of wool to the blend does not reduce quality but adds a bit of warmth in cooler weather.

      So Ferd, please do not "pollute these dear pages" with your idiotic nonsense.

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    7. Saks was a different business back in the day. They had a choral group that sang at employee gatherings. There was a real sense of belonging. One executive was unintimidated by a union leader whose body reputedly lies under Met Life Stadium. The Saks gent went to toe to toe with this fellow. Guess who came out ahead in that confrontation. “This is a family business. You’re not bringing your union in here.”

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    8. Of course pure, true 100% linen is offered these days. As regards dry cleaning it, what a zany idea! It is easy to wash and just gets better and better with age, much like Madras. It lasts longer than Madras. It also gets easier to iron. As regards Press and Langrock, I always thought of them as purveyors rather than makers. I never formed an opinion on that point with respect to Chipp, but they remain my favorite.

      Here in Austin, Texas, hot weather is a fact of life, and a loose fitting (baggy) linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up alternates with Madras, worn in like manner, as my summer uniform. Gingham follows.

      My wife wears a lot of linen as well. Dressing sensibly is for everyone!

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    9. Thank you all. However, unless 'Ken' and 'Tjmataa' ask me to return, I shall not. I am waiting.

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    10. A very enthusiastic vote for Ferd. Not even a contest!

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  10. The wrinkle, just sets it off!

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  11. Regarding itch, I find that it nearly disappears when I iron a linen shirt. I have no clue why but it always works. I assume the same is true for the washable pants.

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  12. Sid Mashburn also does suits and sport coats in high twist wool - light weight and breathable and they don't wrinkle.

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  13. As my late mother used to advise. Enjoy wearing your linen items in warm weather and don't worry about it. Any wrinkles will simply signal to those who know the difference that you are, in fact, wearing linen.

    Kind Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

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  14. Dear Muffatola, I see that your readership has changed somewhat. I am unable to entertain, it appears, and have been found tedious by your disciples. So, I'm gone for good, more's the pity.

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    1. I vote "Stay".

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    2. Differing points of view are essential to dialogue. If we only wanted agreement, we could all abandon the site and just buy bobble-heads.

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    3. I will not return until "Ken" and "Tjmataa" ask me to. They have hurt me a great deal. I am battered, shattered and only their invitation can heal me.

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    4. Ferd… a grudge is heavy to carry and difficult to drop. May your gracious self win the day and you return to SWE. Please. Thank you.

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  15. Please reconsider dear Ferd. Perhaps I speak for others who enjoy the zip you bring to the party. I certainly speak for myself. Don’t go away. Thank you.

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  16. Yes, please stay Ferd.

    A lot of people just don't understand the laws, culture and traditions of Ferdistan.

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  17. I have never opted to comment before, but I now have to ask Ferd to reconsider and please stay. Do it for us long time readers who will miss you. This spirited dialogue always lightens my day.

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  18. I love linen, but it's got to be 100% pure linen, no blends. I love the wrinkling, it lets everyone know that it is linen! Sadly, stupidly, I donated 2 great shirts to the local goodwill some years back; I think they made it into the pile by accident. I also have a Belgian linen tablecloth that my grandmother embroidered Scottish Thistle flowers all over. It is beautiful. --Holly

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