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How linen became the must-have fabric of the summer

Linen is simple and elegant, at work and at play. But more importantly, it's mercifully lightweight in the summer heat

Sarah Young
Thursday 26 July 2018 16:08 BST
Knots Linen Shirt, £25.99, Mango
Knots Linen Shirt, £25.99, Mango

Dressing during a heatwave has always been a challenge, but as soaring temperatures blast throughout the summer, it’s time for our clothes to adjust accordingly.

Enter: linen. Made from fibres of the flax plant, this lightweight fabric dates back to Mesopotamian times and, while none of this sounds remotely appealing, it has since been reworked to make a comeback with a slick, contemporary edge.

That’s right. What was once the mainstay of hippies has finally become cool again thanks to a flood of celebrity fans and designers bequeathing it with fashion kudos.

From the likes of Sienna Miller at Wimbledon to linen waterfall-hemmed skirts at Loewe and earthy mini-dresses at Jacquemus, the fabric is no longer relegated to art teacher-esque tunics.

These days, the crumpled fabric tends to come in a cotton mix, meaning that it creases far less easily, but just enough to achieve that natural, nonchalant look.

A style that lends itself perfectly to both weekend and workwear, linen looks just as good on floaty skirts and baggy city shorts as it does more form-fitting pieces.

Double Breasted Linen Blazer, £85, Belted Linen Blend Shorts, £59, & Other Stories

If you’re concerned that the material is too off-the-cuff for the office, the key here is to show it in a different light with tailoring and more structured iterations like soft power suits, pencil skirts and wide leg trousers – all ideally worn with a block heeled shoe or sandal for a more polished look.

When it comes to investing in linen garb, it’s important to remember that the way you care for it is just as important as how you wear it.

Linen Culottes, £39, Warehouse

When washing from home, make sure to check the care instructions carefully before cleaning by hand or machine and, because linen is highly absorbent, always remember to separate your darks from your lights.

Similarly, it’s important to reshape your linen as soon as possible post-wash to avoid surplus creasing. If you do feel that your pieces are too wrinkly, lightly iron or steam while they’re still a little damp as this will prevent the fabric from burning.

Knotted Dress, £29.99, Zara
White Stripe Linen Blend Wrap Mini Skirt, £22.99, New Look
Linen-Blend Striped Jumpsuit, £49.99, Mango

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