Men's linen shirts often get a bad rap, and for good reason. They can be ill-fitting, billowing garments that are far from flattering. The linen shirt is often an afterthought, the default ‘summer’ shirt that’s worn simply because of the lightweight, breathable fabric it’s made from.
But the linen shirt deserves so much more than this, and thankfully, a handful of brands are giving it the attention it deserves. Linen shirts are being produced in all manner of interesting cuts and shapes, and, as ever, they remain a great option as the weather heats up.
Made from the fibres of the flax plant, linen has always been popular because of its natural breathable and moisture-wicking properties. It’s an ideal fabric for wearing in spring and summer as it won’t weigh you down and will keep you from overheating, unlike more traditional shirting fabrics such as poplin or Oxford cloth.
Linen also happens to be a planet-friendly alternative to cotton, as it requires a whole lot less water to produce and its durability means it will stand the test of time. Well cared for, linen should last you a lifetime. And it will only get better with age.
Shake off connotations of baggy-shirted holidaymakers and look out for linen shirts with slimmer, more tailored fits, which will allow for the natural stretch of the fabric while flattering the wearer. The beauty of the linen shirt is its inherent versatility: it will serve you just as well on a sun-drenched holiday – teamed with swim shorts and espadrilles – as it will in the office, as part of a more polished look with tailored trousers and loafers. If you're going down the casual route, embrace linen's natural creases in all their glory – they'll enhance the laid-back aesthetic you're after. For those more formal occasions, you might want to consider a cotton or Tencel blend, which will be less prone to creasing.
For a twist on the classic linen shirt, keep an eye out for retro-style Cuban collars, linen overshirts and functional pocket detailing that will inject your outfit with a workwear-style edge.
There's a lot to love about linen shirts. Scroll on to discover the styles we're coveting this season from some of our favourite menswear brands.
ASKET prides itself on producing a capsule wardrobe of garments that are both easy to wear and made to last. Its linen shirt ticks both those boxes. Cut with a tailored fit and boasting a button-down collar and rear box pleat, it features a relatively short hem, which allows it to be worn untucked – the ideal way to wear a linen shirt.
SIRPLUS' classic grandad shirts and collared shirts are sustainably made in Portugal from a blend of organic cotton, recycled cotton and linen, which will beautifully soften with wear. Both styles boast a flattering fit with a subtly curved hem. Wear yours unbuttoned on top of a plain white tee for an effortless laidback look.
As its name suggests, Flax London specialises in producing clothes made from linen. From grandad collar shirts to overshirts, its linen range is among the best we’ve come across. Its signature midweight shirt gets our vote of the season though. Sewn in London from Belgian linen, it boasts a straight fit and double button cuffs, for a classic style that will stand the test of time. Wear it with navy chinos and leather trainers for a fail-safe smart-casual look.
When it comes to beautifully made menswear staples, Luca Faloni is a no-brainer. The 'Made in Italy' label has mastered classic garments like the linen shirt. Its version is made in Northern Italy from the finest Italian linen and features a casual band polo collar and a relaxed fit. Choose from a range of subtle colours and pair with shorts and espadrilles or throw on a linen blazer for more formal occasions.
Ripa Ripa has mastered the art of laidback holiday style, with its Italian riviera-inspired collection of shirts and swim shorts. This casual yet elegant linen shirt is handmade in Napoli from a premium Italian linen that's designed to soften with wear. Wear it with espadrilles and linen trousers for effortless poolside appeal.
Handcrafted in Somerset from a sturdy yet soft Japanese fabric, this linen shirt from esteemed menswear label Drake's epitomises the brand's signature casual elegance. This is a staple that will come to form an integral part of your wardrobe. Dress it up with a suit for smart summer events like weddings.
Portuguese label ISTO. specialises in relaxed cuts and the use of premium materials, both of which are showcased by its beautiful men's linen shirts. We love the fact that ISTO. is transparent about all of its costs, so you know just what sort of quality you're getting.
Occupying the space between a shirt and a cardigan, this lightweight knit from Artknit Studios is made from a blend of linen and organic cotton, which gives it an unparalleled softness. In typical Artknit fashion, it's sustainably made and fully traceable, so you can feel good about your purchase.
About Companions is built on true transparency, so you can rest assured its men's linen shirts are made fairly and ethically, using sustainably sourced linen from France. The classic button down style and subtle stripes of this style makes it a sure-fire staple for work and play. Team it with jeans and a blazer for the perfect smart-casual look.
This short-sleeved linen shirt from Wax London is the perfect companion for long, sun-soaked afternoons surrounded by friends and food. We love the slightly oversized fit and boxy cut that enhance its relaxed appeal. Team it with Wax London's linen Brick trousers for a casual utilitarian-inspired style.
Made from a blend of silk-like Tencel and hardy linen, this long-sleeved shirt from Native North is a luxurious warm weather addition that you won't be able to get enough of. With a button-down collar and pearl buttons, it makes for a sophisticated option that will look great with tailored trousers and dress shoes.
For more shirting styles, read our ultimate guide to men's shirts.
For the ideal footwear to pair with linen shirts, check out our guide to minimalist sneakers.
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