How to Wear and Care for Linen

Mary Alice Duff

Posted on July 09 2021

At Alice Alexander we’ve been producing a linen collection for four years running. Why do we keep coming back to this incredible fiber? Because frankly, linen rocks--and there aren’t nearly enough plus size linen options out there. Our Summer 2021 collection contains 18 100% linen pieces, all responsibly made here in the United States.  

We get a lot of questions about linen from linen newbies, so we’re spilling what we know. Read on to learn everything you need to know about linen (and why we love it!), 


What is so great about linen?


Linen is a natural fiber that’s strong, durable and elegant (why do you think couture mens suits are made out of the same fabric?). Linen keeps you comfortable as it's a highly breathable fabric, so it wont trap sweat and moisture which allows you to stay cool in the heat. Linen also works well in cooler months, helping you stay warm. It’s antimicrobial so it won’t stink and washes easily. Linen production is hands on and can be expensive to produce which is why it's often considered a “luxury” fabric. 

From a sustainability standpoint, linen requires less water than cotton, produces little waste, requires fewer pesticides and is far more durable than other fibers, resulting in a longer garment lifespan. All sustainability wins! 

Linen fabric comes in many different weights from a sheer tissue weight, all the way up to a heavy canvas/ upholstery weight and has countless applications. At Alice Alexander we use two different types, a light blouse weight for our tops, and a sturdy midweight for our bottoms. Both types are breathable yet durable, perfect for multi-season wear! 


Can I only wear linen in summer?

Absolutely not! You can wear linen all year round with confidence (and totally should, it's one of the best fabrics out there) and here’s how. For year round linen wear opt for colors, cuts and fabric weights that will transition well from season to season. A midweight linen in a versatile style is a good choice. Our Tracee pant and Lucille skirt are great examples of a linen style that can be worn well into Fall. In more neutral tones and in a proper mid-weight, these items transcend “summer linen” pieces. 


How do I care for linen?

Linen has a bad wrap for being high maintenance, but it really couldn't be further from the truth. To keep your linen fibers strong we recommend washing on cold and hanging to dry. When air-dryed linen can feel pretty stiff, but a quick tumble in the dryer will soften it right up. Most linen can be tumble dried too, but may shrink so if you have a linen piece that fits really well, I wouldn't risk a trip in the dryer. 

To remove wrinkles pass over with a hot iron and use the steam feature. Wait until the linen is cool before putting on so that the press sets. 

 

But what about the wrinkles?!

Yes, linen wrinkles. In fact, all natural fibers wrinkles: cotton, silk, cupro, wool. It all wrinkles. We’re so used to wearing synthetics that we’ve been taught wrinkles are bad and unsightly, when in fact, wrinkles are just a part of life. 

To keep your garments looking fresh, I recommend pressing important areas, such as collars, cuffs, hems, plackets--this will keep you looking crisp. You can quickly pass an iron over the body of the garment, but don’t be too precious about it, the body is just going to wrinkle anyways after sitting. Over time, linen will wrinkle less and less as the fabric softens. For now, just embrace it! Wrinkles in your clothes tell me you’re wearing the real thing. 


We hope this information takes some of the fear out of owning and wearing linen pieces. You deserve to not only look good but feel good in your clothes, so bring a bit of this "luxury" fabric into your life. 

Shop our 2021 Linen Collection here. 



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