Looking good in linen: The Reliked guide to wearing linen

Becca Donaldson ·
Samira Mighty Linen


As temperatures rise, it’s time to invest in some breathable linen clothing that makes you look great and feel confident – without worrying about feeling hot and bothered. Linen is a versatile and cool fabric, perfect for summer looks from smart wedding wear to casual beach vibes.

Whether you’re looking for crisp white linen trousers, a stylish linen blazer or simply need some help deciding what to wear with a linen suit – you’ve come to the right place.

Stay cool in the summer heat with our Reliked guide to wearing linen:

Where does linen come from?

Linen is made from the fibres from the stem of the flax plant and has been used to create clothes for at least 10,000 years. Flax plants are commonly grown in Eastern Europe and China, but also increasingly in Western Europe and India. As such, linen is a natural fibre that can – with some careful sourcing – be sustainable and less harmful to the planet than many synthetic fibres.

The best quality linen uses the longest fibres, which have been harvested by hand before being turned into linen clothes, curtains, and upholstery. It’s possible to tell the quality of linen simply by looking at and feeling the fabric.

How to wear linen trousers

With a little know-how, it’s easy to rock the linen look. If you’ve never worn linen before, start with a simple, classic pair of navy linen trousers and keep things casual with a plain tee. Linen trousers also look great when teamed with a cropped top to show off a slice of tanned tummy.

Alternatively, opt for drawstring paperbag linen trousers with a cami and a cardigan for cool evenings, as rocked by our VIB and fashion influencer Ingrid Wilkinson.

Want to know what to wear with white linen trousers? Take a leaf out of actress Katie Holmes’s style book and pair them with a crochet vest top, fedora and flip-flops for a cool summer vibe. Just think carefully about where to wear them as white trousers can be a little tricky. An Indian summer BBQs where you’ll be perched on a friend’s worn picnic bench probably isn’t the best occasion!

The shoes you chose to accompany your linen trousers can make or break your outfit – but you can never go wrong with a lightweight pair of espadrilles or some simple slip-on ballet pumps. Want a dressier look? Team cigar-cut linen trousers with some chunky block heels for summer style and chic comfort. All in all, we find adding some height with linen trousers tends to complete the look.

Linen trousers do require you to make friends with your iron. But don’t worry, the slightly crumpled look works with linen in a way it doesn’t with most other fabrics, by adding a slight Boho chic feel!

Can you wear linen in the evening?

Linen isn’t just for wearing during the day – although it is definitely a favourite for warm daytime events. There are plenty of linen dresses designed for glamorous evenings and hot summer nights. Brands such as Karen Millen, Matthew Williamson, Zara and Allsaints all have a range of affordable linen evening wear just waiting to be dressed up with oversized accessories and a chic clutch. 

 

 

Check out our favourite preloved linen dresses and get ready to party in comfort and style. Pick these dresses when you won’t be crammed into a taxi so that you can arrive looking gorgeous.

Does linen shrink?

Linen can shrink between 2%– 7% upon its first wash, and the last thing you want to do is ruin your lovely linen clothing after just one wear, so keep this in mind.

Pre-washing linen garments in cold water can help to reduce shrinkage and using low temperatures of under 40 degrees Celsius, or a cool handwash cycle can also maintain the shape and fit of your linen.

Of course, when you buy preloved items from Reliked, one of the benefits is that any shrinkage has already happened and the clothes won’t be shrinking on your watch!

Does linen crease?

Linen is comfortable, cool, and chic, but it does have one drawback – it creases easily. But it really isn’t too much of an issue if you know a few tricks about how to keep linen wrinkle-free.

  • When washing linen clothing, don’t overload the washing machine as too many clothes in the drum is a recipe for crinkled clothes.
  • Once the washing cycle is finished, remove linen clothes, shake out the creases and hang them immediately to dry.
  • Iron linen clothing while it is still slightly damp to steam out any wrinkles. If you need to reinvigorate a linen item, spritz it with water and re-iron.

 

 

If you are still worried about looking ‘crumpled’ choose a structured linen blazer which will keep its shape much better than soft shirts or trousers. But honestly, we love the crumpled linen look too.

Can you wear linen in the winter?

We’ve been raving about what great material linen is for summer clothes, but equally, you should never relegate your favourite linens to the back of your wardrobe once the temperatures drop.

Linen also helps to keep you warm in colder weather as it’s a temperature-regulating fabric that keeps you cool in summer, yet warm in winter. We suggest layering up a linen dress with thick tights or adding a long-sleeved top under a linen blazer to maximise the wear you get from your linen clothing – come rain, hail or shine.

Preloved linen from our Reliked VIBs

There really are no rules about wearing linen, and if you feel comfortable and confident you’ll look red hot in linen while keeping your cool in the heatwave, or be the most glamorous person in the depths of winter.

From earthy, neutral tones for a Boho vibe to bright, bold linen dresses for a summer party, check out the latest preloved linen looks from our influencers, bloggers and VIBs. 

We recommend stealing the linen look of fashion illustrator Tuula Rose, or TOWIE star Ferne McCann who are sharing their love of linen in their Reliked shops.

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