Everything You Ever Need To Know About Linen


Dear Summer,

 

Please take it easy on us Australian folk who literally die and evaporate in the humid air. Kind of like the outdoor tap that leaks outside in our backyards. 

Especially ‘cause it becomes like a sauna when we commute back and forth around the city in our charcoal and navy suits.

 

Sincerely,

 

Corporate Australia

 

The sun is rising and falling earlier than we expected. Autumn and Winter have passed in a blink of an eye. We're now currently in Spring, and Summer is just around the corner. We've already had a number of heated days where the sweat patches have built up on our backs and armpits. But that won't stop us from wearing suits. 

If only there were a means to look professional and corporate in the Summer without taking off our jacket in front of the office and looking like we've taken a dive in a pool.

I'm here to tell you that your prayers have been answered. 

THERE IS!

There is a solution to looking corporate during the Summer.

It's a little known secret that's overlooked due to it's irritable inability to un-crease. 

Ever heard of LINEN?

Linen Suit GQ

Of course you have. But for years you've overlooked it because your Mrs. hates ironing it, or you can visibly see your nipples straight through the shirts. But when it's going to be as hot as it is this coming Summer, you're going to want some linen before you melt to death. Those visible nipples won't compare to the upcoming sweat patches. 

Because as the saying goes:

Cotton is cool but linen is cooler.

Wool suit wearers this summer are likely high-schoolers.  

At He.Stays we call it, business breezy

 

History & Why it's Luxurious

Linen has actually been a fabric that only the wealthy could afford. Back in the mid to late 19th century. Besides clothing it's been a favoured fabric for bed sheeting due to it's fineness and high thread count making it very breathable.

Linen fabric

Tracking it way back into the Egyptian mummy days, it was used for mummification and was also considered a luxury garment. At some points it was even considered a currency for the Egyptian people.

The reason why it was and still is  so luxury was because of it's breathability, the tedious cultivation process of the flax plant and it's high thread count while still being a fine fabric. 

 

Linen Vs. Cotton Vs. Wool

Let's size up the comparison between the three most common clothing fabrics. 

Fabric Warmth Elasticity Absorbency Durability Maintenance Moisture Wicking?
Linen  2 1 8 9 3 3
Cotton 6.5 6 7 7 6 6
Wool 9 8 5 5 8 7

 

Although these numbers aren't scientifically backed, it's a close estimate when comparing the fabrics between each other.

Linen Properties In Summary

Due to the fine properties of the linen fabric, it's warmth is far less than that of cotton and wool. This enables air to move more freely throughout the body to cool the wearer down during the warmer days. 

Additionally, the high fineness causes the elasticity to be much lower. This is the reason why there's usually visible wrinkles. To test the elasticity, grab a handful of the fabric and scrunch up into your hand. Then let go and see if the fabric will morph back into it's original shape. If it morphs back into it's shape then it's likely to be a wool or cotton fabric which means it's warmer to wear. 

Absorbency of linen is significantly higher however the lower thread count and ability for air to breeze through makes the sweat and moisture to evaporate into the air. Absolutely perfect for sweat armpits. 

Besides it's natural wrinkle-ability and need for steaming/ironing, linen is quite easy to care for. Throw it into the wash and hang it to dry. It dries in what seems like seconds. Moths find the taste of linen to be bitter in comparison to it's tasty counterpart, wool. It's also lint proof, so no need for any lint rollers. 

How To Wear Linen 

how to wear linen. Linen jacket

Suits - suit and sports coats made from linen are usually a blend because men still prefer to have structure in the shoulders and the chest. And I vouch for cotton linen blends. You actually get the best of both worlds. Their natural colour when first harvested is white, but when dyed to be manufactured into clothing are usually, cream, light brown and blue. Keeping to the Summer tone, linen comes in lighter shades.

He Spoke Style Linen Sports Coat 

    Sports coats - not blazers because blazers are known to have a lot of structure when worn. Linen doesn't provide much structure.

      White and navy linen shirt  

      Shirts - They’re great for when going out to the beach and even to the office. Just be sure to keep them as wrinkle free as possible and to keep the collars sharp. 

      Tip - Linen shirts can come fitted close to the body and also loosely. For the extra warm days, opt for the looser fitted shirt for the air to breathe and your sweat to wick away. 

      Linen trousers

      Trousers - trousers are a little bit harder. If you tend to sit down a lot, due to the low elasticity of linen, hello crease city. Try to opt for dark and deep colour linens to mitigate the visibility of the creases. In fact, try to keep it dark and deep as it could render your banana boxer briefs visible. 

      Shirts and sports coats that are completely 100% linen are a lot more casual due to their lack of structure. If you’re attending something business related, you’re better off grabbing a cotton/linen blend. 

      TIP - If you’re feeling really snazzy, you can mix and match cotton and linens together. Say you don a 100% linen shirt and pair it with a pair of cotton navy chinos. 

       

      Linen/Cotton Blends

      cotton/linen blend sports coat tommy hilfiger

      If you're still one to worry over the wrinkles, don't fret. Linen/cotton blends are basically for you and I'm personally a huge fan them. It incorporates the best of both worlds of the cooling properties of linen and the elasticity and slight rigidity that linen needs to keep it's structure. Especially, when looking at the finer details such as the shoulder structure of the jacket. 

      Ted Baker Cotton/Linen blend shirt

      I also LOVE linen/cotton blended shirts that have collar pockets. It's extremely hard to find shirts which are 100% linen that have collar pockets installed. Being such a thin fabric deters manufacturers or tailors to include collar pockets because they lack rigidity to carry the collar stays. Especially steel collar stays like He.Stays

       

      Final Note

      Linen will be your go-to when heading to the races this Spring and this upcoming Summer. Good luck surviving the races in a dark navy wool suit with a noose around your neck (a necktie). 

      Don't be discouraged by the scratchiness of the linen. After multiple wears, the fabric will soften up and will feel more comfortable around your body. Even more comfortable than cotton. Out of all the fabrics that claim to keep you cool, linen is the most organic and thus the most healthiest to keep close to your skin. 

      And for the wrinkle-phobiacs, here's one from the guys over at Grana.

      "Linen wrinkles. It’s what the fabric is supposed to do. Asking linen not to wrinkle would be like asking silk not to be so damn good looking, or asking denim to quit looking so cool. See? Kind of impossible."

      So when it comes it to the hotter days, you need to rock those wrinkles!

      Raising the collar standard,

      Norvin

       

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