How To Wear Linen: The Best Summer Cloth

Monday, 22 January 2018
How To Wear Linen: The Best Summer Cloth

Linen is one of the first fibres that people made into string and cloth. It is derived from the flax plant, which has naturally long fibres that can be separated and spun together to create yarn. Linen cloth has been found in archaeological sites proving it was woven by humans as early as thirty-six thousand BC and is still prized today for its unique properties.

highland purple flowers blowing in a coastal wind
Flowering flax, one of the earliest plants woven into cloth
long blades of harvested flax bound together in a field before being processed into linen
Harvested flax – ready to be processed into linen
up close picture of Cordings cream linen
The finished article – Cordings’ pure linen, used in our summer suiting

Linen: The Best Summer Cloth

Linen fabric feels cool to touch; it transfers heat, rather than absorbing it like wool, making it perfect in warmer weather. This ability helps the wearer stay cooler as their body heat is easily conducted through the linen. Unlike cotton, it can hold quite a lot of moisture without feeling damp, again a useful trait in warm climates, make in the best summer cloth for comfort.

The fibres are naturally strong, smooth and lustrous, and the resultant cloth has a unique crispness. Due to its poor elasticity, linen cloth naturally creases easily and, although laundering will make it softer and more pliable, it is this characteristic that gives it its distinct look and feel.

Although used in knitwear, it is in the woven cloth that linen really shines. Pure linen cloth is perfect for tailored garments and shirting, our linen used in our tailoring is ‘piece dyed’ ensuring it retains a solid colour and smart consistency. In our shirts we offer a ‘piece dyed’ classic linen shirt and a gently washed looking ‘garment dyed’ version.

an up close picture of a Cordings white linen shirt
our piece dyed classic linen shirt
an up close picture of a light blue Cordings linen shirt
our garment dyed vintage linen shirt

Cordings work with British and European mills each season to create a range of linen cloths. We blend linen with cotton, silk and even wool, to create summer weight jackets, and our classic pure linen tailored jacket, waistcoat and trousers are perennial favourites.

Perfect for summer weddings in Britain, and worn as a smart alternative to a wool suit in warmer climates, our linen suits have been a cornerstone of our spring summer collection for decades.

How to Wear Linen

Whether you’re looking for ideas on how to wear a linen shirt, trouser or suit, Cordings has the perfect summer outfit for you. Effortlessly team our linen suits with our panama hat and linen shirts for the quintessential British summer suit. A single breasted linen blazer can express a more relaxed summer look, whereas a double breasted blazer gives a much more formal wedding look.  Wearing a pattern with linen to offset the natural texture can add a high end finish.

a mannequin dressed in a pale patterned line shirt, navy and red tie and a cream linen waistcoat, positioned next to another mannequin dressed in a three piece pale linen suit, positioned next to a pair of linen trousers of the same colour.
The Cordings Linen suit, quintessential British summer kit.

How to Care for Linen

Linen is a robust fabric, and can generally be easily laundered, however, tailored garments should not go through washing machines, meaning that all Cording’s linen jackets have to be dry cleaned. Our linen shirts can, however, be laundered.

Where possible hang your linen clothes – if they are stored for long periods folded, the fibres can break causing damage to the cloth. Avoid storing them direct sunlight, as this will cause fading. The material is resistant to moths and beetles, but it is easily damaged by bleach and, if stored damp, will mildew.

The Cordings clothing made for Henry Morton Stanley when he went on his expedition to find Dr Livingstone in 1871 included linen safari jackets and shirts.

Henry Morton Stanley wearing a explorer hat and a Cordings linen shirt in a warm country
Henry Morton Stanley in Cordings linen