Linen is one of those go-to fabrics that most of us reach for when the weather starts getting a little warmer. It is a natural fabric made from flax which is breathable. This means for any of us who are blessed with a body that starts to ‘glow’ in an Irish Summer (anything above 14 degrees!) this fabric is going to keep the air flowing and skin cool. Apart from this, linen looks effortlessly chic and you can be guaranteed it will make an appearance Summer after Summer.
It is a cooler fabric to wear than cotton due to its thread count. It is also more durable meaning that it will keep in good condition for many years to come if it is taken care of.
2019 is no different and linen shorts, shirts and blazers are in every shop. However if you’re thinking of stocking up on a few key, linen pieces to pack into your suitcase you might want to consider a few things.
Embrace The Creases
You may be like me in that I have a love/hate relationship with linen. I love it for all the afforementioned attributes however I can’t stand that it creases as soon as you look at it! This is one of the ‘side-effects’ of choosing this natural fabric and if you can see past the lines that form around the elbows and knees then you are on to a winner.
It is unusual to come across pure linen item these days. It is far more likely that you will see it mixed with cotton, silk or rayon. This means the fabric may crease less but you are compromising on the quality of the linen. You can avoid this creasing to a certain extent if you are willing to choose a mixed blend of fabrics. You might be glad of this when you arrive at your holiday destination and unpack and your clothes are ready to wear straight out of the suitcase. After all, who wants to waste time on holidays doing the ironing?? Especially if the item is going to crease as soon as you sit down anyway!
Tips for Creased Linen
A couple of tricks to handle the creases is to roll sleeves up to the elbow. This is where you will see the most obvious creases so a simple fold will camouflage these. It also adds a a relaxed yet stylish vibe to your look. You might also consider buying your linen piece with a pattern in it. This will hide the creases to a certain extent. My last piece of advice is to simply embrace the creases! If you think they will bother you that much and your beautiful linen piece will be left hanging in the wardrobe then leave it in the shop. It’s not worth the hassle.
If you are concerned about what impact it has on the environment you’ll be glad to know that linen requires less water in its production than cotton. This coupled with its natural fibres and longevity can put your mind at ease when purchasing your new linen garment.
Caring For Linen
If you are going to invest in a linen piece then maximising its lifespan is probably something that is of interest to you. You should always follow the care instructions on the label but here are some guidelines if these are not available to you. Linen should be treated as a delicate item and washed on a low heat with a mild detergent. You will find that the fabric becomes softer the more it’s washed which will give a more appealing appearance as it will drape over the body better. Linen should be air dried on a hanger when possible and avoid tumble drying as this shrinks the fibres. In terms of ironing, linen items are best ironed while still damp and with plenty of steam. In fact, investing in a steamer for these kind of items is highly recommended. They are relatively inexpensive and can be quicker too!
After all is said and done and I stand firmly in favour of linen for it's timeless and effortless look and longevity.