A l e x a n d r a A z a r o v a
As the long awaited summer is proudly in full swing, let’s talk about the fabrics which associate most with this fabulous season of hot days, cool nights and crazy parties. Ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome linen – a wonder fiber that gives us some of the coolest, most comfortable clothing a person can wear!
Not a tear in sight
One of the most coveted properties of linen garments is their incredible strength and resiliency. Flax fibers are up to three times stronger than cotton and have the rare distinction of being stronger wet than when dry. What this amounts to is a garment that won’t stretch and will last for years. Quality linen bed sheets and table clothes are often passed down through generations, because linen shows little wear, other than a smoothing over time. Therefore, we can wear our linen without fear of damaging the cloth while being as active as we like.
Cool like a summer breeze
As a summer garment, a linen shirt cannot be beat, largely due to the wonderful cooling properties of the fiber. Linen is both quick to absorb moisture and to expel it. Therefore, as you wear it, it will actually wick sweat from your skin, keeping you feeling dry and cool. It is also a very light fabric, which won’t bog you down on hot, muggy days. However, sweat can damage the fibers over time, so don’t wear your linen during a fitness workout!
Another glorious aspect of linen is its ability to repel dirt. For anyone who likes to get outside in summer, a self-cleaning shirt (in essence) is a godsend. Linen can also be dry cleaned or machine washed. It will not create lint and it is also resistant to moths. If you’re looking for a very low maintenance outfit, flax slacks and shirts are just perfect.
What about the wrinkles?
Now, before you start proclaiming linen as an infallible fiber, it should be noted that linen clothing has the tendency to wrinkle… a lot. To make matters worse, ironing it can be difficult because it requires a very high heat and water to create steam.
Still, a few wrinkles aren’t the end of the world. It merely means you shouldn’t overwear your linen pants and make sure to hang your shirts instead of folding them (which will actually break down the fabric). Wearing linen can make a person look very crisp and clean, but if your pants or shirt have more lines than a road map, you’ll just look lazy and unkempt.
Linen clothing is available in any color, as the fabric takes well to dyes, but it traditionally comes in brighter, light colors. White, beige, tan and grey linen are most common and make for perfect summer wear.
Though you may be tempted to wear a full linen body suit, it is best to ration out your use of the fibre. A linen top with shorts or jeans is very smooth and if you’re lounging on a dock at the cottage, a loose pair of white linen pants can make for a decent look. The main goal when wearing linen is to look relaxed and comfortable, as if you’ve just walked off your yacht and have the entire day stretched out in front of you.