Help me understand and buy the right linen clothing....
February 18, 2022 8:32 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to have a bit of a pulled together "capsule wardobe" for summer and I'm trying to get more natural fibers in the mix. I've been looking on etsy for linen pants and tops and I'm looking for your favorite linen clothing companies but I also have questions about linen!

I have two pairs of linen, wide-leg pants. I like them pretty well but neither one strikes me as that "cool and breezy" which is the kind that I want. Is it a particular weight or weave that I'm looking for? The first pair came from Anne Taylor or something similar. They are dark navy and fairly heavy. I don't think of them as particularly cool or breezy but they are dressy. The second are biscuit/off-white and more breezy but are inexpensive ones from Old Navy. People seem to like them but, like all fast fashion these days, they are a tiny bit wonky in cut. How to I find online the likeliest best bet for "cool and breezy" but looking fairly pulled together. And if linen isn't the only thing I should be looking at to fulfill this, please share what you know about other options/ideas/fabrics/retailers or etsy sellers!
posted by amanda to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Rayon aka viscose isn't strictly a natural fibre in that it's a product of industrial chemistry, but the feedstock is plant material rather than fossil carbon, and the fibres are made of cellulose which is the same naturally occurring polymer as cotton, so it doesn't endlessly shed indestructible plastic nanofibres the way e.g. polyester does and it also doesn't reek when it gets a bit of sweat on it.

It's also most often made into quite fine and lightweight fabrics that are very, very comfortable to wear.
posted by flabdablet at 9:00 AM on February 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

I've been looking for something similar, and I'm sorry that I can't speak to the quality of these because I haven't bought a pair, but the Athleta Cabo Linen Wide Leg Pant looks pretty interesting. They look a bit more "sporty" than "dressy" to me because of the zippered pockets and the drawcord, but that might not be an issue if you don't tuck in your top.
posted by neushoorn at 9:37 AM on February 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

I personally lack the patience for linen but Eileen Fisher always seems to have some options.
posted by praemunire at 9:50 AM on February 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

Eileen Fisher's linen pieces are nice (of course). Less well known I think is Vivid Linen; I have just a few pieces, but they are my linen dream.

Similar to rayon is lyocell/tencel. It has many of the same properties as silk and is breathable and wonderfully drapey.
posted by vers at 9:53 AM on February 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

LinenFox on Etsy is highly regarded.

I have these pants and love them (get a lot of compliments when I wear them), they also have them it seems without the drawstring.

They have a ton of other styles. With your first order they will send you all their linen swatches so you can see the colours. It would also be really easy then to create top/pant sets out of the same fabric. They also will customize the length of pants for free.

They are located in Lithuania, so shipping can be really slow, and if you needed to return it would be a hassle. But the quality is really good.

So I think linen is a fabric preference, I wear a lot of linen because I like the crisp, yet rumpled look of it, and the strong texture, it is very breathable, but I don't know if I would call it exactly breezy, as it tends to have a heavier feel to it.
posted by nanook at 10:11 AM on February 18, 2022 [4 favorites]

I've appreciated the quality and cuts of linen clothing from Flax. Loose styles are breezier, especially 3/4 length instead of full length pants.
posted by Last_wave_by at 10:50 AM on February 18, 2022 [3 favorites]

You might like In Bed's linen wear. I only know their men's stuff but it's good quality.

If you've never tried Merino wool, I would recommend you check it out. Can be very breezy but also adapts to the termperature. Icebreaker makes some women's Cool-Lite stuff like this dress and these pants. I haven't worn them but have over 20 of their men's shirts and they are fantastic in all weather. Have worn them from -20 to 42 degrees.

If you're not against fast fashion, check out Muji. Again, I can only speak for their mens' stuff but can say they're durable linen clothes compared to other fast fashion. Their linen stuff starts appearing in April, I believe.

And I haven't worn them yet, but will be checking out Nomen Nescio when they launch their Spring / Summer stuff.

Outlier doesn't have any women's wear at the moment but they do do things on occasion. You should join their mailing list to hear about them. They do linen stuff and other light fabrics like Ramie, and Merino. I absolutely love their linen towels.
posted by dobbs at 11:42 AM on February 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

I've also heard good things about F-abric but haven't used it. Outlier sometimes uses it and Freitag makes their own stuff.
posted by dobbs at 11:54 AM on February 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

These, from Boden. I have linen pants from Jjill, not a current version, but my clothes from them are always really nicely cut.
posted by theora55 at 2:05 PM on February 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

NotPerfectLinen is very well regarded and I've ordered dresses from them before.

I am also a big fan of Linenbeeshop and Linenbees, and have ordered several custom dresses from them.

Shipping tends to take a while, but Linenbeeshop/Linenbees is currently offering FedEx shipping upgrade for under $10.

I've gotten items in two weights of linen--a midweight linen, and a much lighter weight one. Both shops label which colors are which weights. There are many more colors in the midweight section.

Regardless, I find the be appropriately breey, but the lightweight linen dresses are truly ethereal. I would not want pants in the lightweight as I don't know that the fabric would hold up to significant wear.

I've been slowly buying items from the shops over the last few years and I machine wash and often machine dry all of my items. I love love love these pieces--pockets in ALL the things!--and they've worn beautifully. I wear the heavier pieces year round with handknit sweaters and leggings in cold weather.
posted by kumquatmay at 4:36 PM on February 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

J. Jill and Chicos have very nice linen. I live in my J. Jill linen pants between June and September.
posted by jgirl at 5:19 PM on February 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

Talbots has good linen options in spring/summer.
posted by Miko at 9:10 AM on February 20, 2022 [2 favorites]

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