Everyone’s best friend during the summer, linen is a superhero in the form of fabric. Breathable, lightweight, and easily cared for, it should be your first call to beat the heat. After all, it’s been used for this purpose since ancient times. As Herodotus wrote, “the Egyptians wear linen clothes, always freshly washed”.
Having said that, linen has been so associated with the old-fashioned (Egyptians, dads on holiday, grandma’s entire wardrobe) that even though it feels cool, it doesn’t exactly have the coolest reputation. Frumpy, shabby, unsexy – linen has long had a bit of an image problem. But not anymore.
Like cheese or George Clooney, linen is one of those wonderful things that get even better with age. It becomes softer the more you wear and wash it, also looking and feeling cooler too. Being highly absorbing, linen wicks away moisture to keep you feeling fresh and sweat-free. What’s more, the fabric is friendly to the environment too. Linen comes from the flax plant, which needs little energy and water to grow. The fabric is also naturally biodegradable and recyclable.
But now, there’s even more reason to add linen to our wardrobes. Big designers are picking up on the amazing functions and durability of linen and turning it into some of summer’s most chic looks. Chic linen dresses, dapper linen shirts, and elegant linen trousers are all gracing the current summer fashion scene. Ranging from simple whites to bold and brights, from classic shirts to edgy hoodies, there’s a way for everyone to get in between the linens. Take a look at our lineup of the best linen looks this season.
[Hero image: Weekend Maxmara. Feature image: Eileen Fisher.]
All about using environmentally friendly fabrics, Stella McCartney is an obvious go-to for stylish linen. These Ewa Trousers takes the rustic fabric and transforms it into an elegant utility piece with a high waist and leg zips.
Stella McCartney. Available at Emquartier, M Floor, 639 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110 (10am-10pm), Erawan, 1 Floor, Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330 (10am-9pm). THB 49,000.
Summers can be cosy too with this fringed top, woven with linen cordonnet yarn.
Weekend Maxmara. Available 1/F Central World, Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330 (10am-10pm). 1/F The Emporium, 622 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110 (10am-8pm). Top and trousers each THB 6,480.
We don’t know if chino shorts will ever go out of fashion, but we really hope they don’t. Especially when in a soft white linen, they make any guy look sharp and effortlessly cool.
Rag & Bone. Available at G/F Siam Discovery, Rama I Road, Bangkok, 10330 (10am-10pm). M/F, The Glass Quartier Emquartier, Sukhumvit Rd., Bangkok, 10110 (10am-10pm). THB 7,500.
An asymmetric take on the classic midi-length white linen dress gives a more modern street appeal, especially when cinched with a black leather belt.
Massimo Dutti. Available at 2/F Central World, Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330 (10am-10pm). 1/F Siam Paragon, Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330 (10am-10pm). 2/F Central Embassy, Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330 (10am-9pm). Dress: THB 5,950. Shirt: THB 2,550.
Go bold and bright this summer with this draw-string hooded linen dress. Distracted by its futuristic urban vibe and daring orange, we might forget the fact that this is also an extremely comfy and breezy piece to wear.
Linen doesn’t have to mean muted colours. And patchwork doesn’t have to mean scruffy. This matching short and shirt set from Loewe is perfect proof.
For the guys wanting to explore beyond the white linen shirt, try this dapper blue one with artsy embroidery and logo details. Wear it as a lighter and cooler alternative to denim.
Loewe. Available at M/F Siam Paragon, Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330 (10am-10pm). G/F The Emporium, 622 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110 (10am-8pm). Dress: THB 60,100. Shirt and shorts: THB 75,000 / THB 49,600. Shirt: 65,100.
High-waisted with lace up eyelet detail, these white wide-leg shorts will make you feel like strolling on the French Riviera – while staying cool in the light linen fabric, of course.
Zimmerman. Available at Club 21, Thailand: M/F Emquartier, 639 Sukhumvit Road, Bangkok 10110 (10am-10pm). 1/F Erawan, Rama I Road, Bangkok 10330 (10am-9pm). THB 26,400.