Linen shirts often get a bad rap, and for good reason. They’re too often ill-fitting, billowing garments that are far from flattering. The linen shirt is often an afterthought, the default ‘summer’ shirt that’s worn because of the lightweight, breathable fabric it’s made from.
But it deserves so 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.
Why you need a linen shirt
Linen has always been popular because of its natural, breathable 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 like denser, thicker wool and cotton would.
The trouble with linen shirts though is so often the fit, which tends to be on the larger side. Then there’s also the reputation of linen shirts being worn by sun-seeking holidaymakers abroad - think baggy pale pink shirts to match their skin. We aren’t suggesting you go this route, but instead follow the path laid out by some of the brands of the moment, who have reinvented the linen shirt in a range of inventive styles and fits.
Look out for linen shirts with slimmer, more tailored fits, which will allow for the natural stretch of linen while flattering the wearer. Alternatively, linen overshirts are hot property come summertime - keep an eye on Cuban collars, and functional pocket detailing which injects the linen shirt with a playful, workwear edge.
Best linen shirt brands
Asket prides itself on producing a capsule wardrobe of garments which are both easy to wear and complement each other. Its linen shirt is no different. 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 only way a linen shirt should be worn.
Flax London specialises in producing clothes made from linen. From grandad collar shirts to smocks and short sleeve pullovers, its linen shirts are among the best we’ve come across. It’s new summer railway jacket gets our vote of the season though. Although technically more of a chore jacket than a shirt, it is lightweight and versatile enough to be worn like a shirt - simply throw it on over chinos and make use of its three external patch pockets.
Private White V.C.
With its own factory in Manchester, UK, Private White V.C. is pretty much unrivalled when it comes to the construction and quality of its entire clothing range. The brand makes use of the finest fabrics available, and its linen shirts are no exception, crafted from 100% Italian linen. The Ripley model is the ideal vacation shirt with its Cuban collar, short sleeve, tailored fit and single chest pocket - perfect for storing those retro sunglasses.
For the ideal footwear to pair with linen shirts, check out our guide to minimal sneakers.