Linen - A story to be known Linen - A story to be known – RESHA

Linen - A story to be known

Author - Divyashree Thacker

two linen fabric with floral print

There are certain things that we all grow up with. They're always around, so usually we don't tend to think about them much. We see them day in and day out, often they impact our lives in a dozen different ways, but we never notice them because they're so reliable that their very constancy gives us no reasons to. Given all of that, it's not hard to imagine why most of us don't know much about linen fabric. In fact, many of us likely don't even know what it is. It was once so popular of a fabric that even now, well past the age of cotton and well into the era of artificial materials, all laundry is often referred to as linens. And it was once so precious that it was the only material of choice for wrapping the bodies of mummies in Egypt - a fact which has contributed greatly to the preservation of these ancient treasures.

In the second part of the 19th century, modern suits, which were quite a new thing, were made from fabrics such as tweed, worsteds and flannel, and given that back then materials were heavier as compared to what we wear today, these materials became just too warm to be worn during the summer. This is when linen shirts for men stole the spotlight.

Linen fabric is made from flax fibres. The flax plant has been cultivated in just about every country in the world and has been used to make fibre for over six thousand years.

To extract the fibres, the plants are either cut or pulled by hand from the ground - it’s said that pulling creates finer linen. The seeds are then removed through a process called winnowing or ripping, followed by retting which removes the plant stock from the fibres. Once the fibres are separated to collect the longest, which can be up to 20 cm long, they are spun into yarn and then woven into fabric. The resulting linen fabric is two to three times stronger than cotton. Because of its absorbent nature, linen has natural heat and moisture wicking properties that make it a good conductor of heat and a popular fabric to use for clothing or bedding in the summer.

It also makes it possible for linen fabrics and accessories to hold dye colours better than some other fabrics.


Linen is also naturally anti-bacterial, which had made it a popular choice for bandages for centuries and a favourite for window treatments and accessories such as accent pillows.

Linen does have a few downsides as well. As a fabric, it has little elasticity so it can wrinkle quite a bit. But despite this one drawback, linen remains every bit as popular and smart a choice for home decorating accessories as it was when it was first discovered all those centuries ago.

Linen is a wonderful canvas fabric and an excellent sartorial choice for the extremely warm season. It can be worn in a very wide variety of shapes: from pants and jackets to shirts and even shoes! Linen canvas fabric is, quite possibly, the quintessential warm-weather cloth. In fact back in the day, it was so popular of a fabric that even now, well past the age of cotton and well into the era of artificial materials, all laundry is often referred to as linens.

Styling Tips

To wear linen confidently is to embrace the materials relaxed crumpledness, and the easiest way to do this is with a linen suit.

Ideal for a relaxed summer wedding, particularly in a shade of tan, a simple two-piece allows you to beat the heat and still look smart.Finish with a checked shirt in crisp cotton to add in both contrasting textures and patterns. If you are wearing a linen suit, you should know that a white linen suit will have a more vintage vibe than a navy or brown suit, which feature a more modern feel.


From an aesthetic point of view, you will not have best results if you are wearing linen from head to toe: break it down with some cotton! To stay breezy but still business-appropriate, go halves on your suit with a neatly cut linen blazer. Trousers are more prone to creasing from sitting down, so keep them freshly pressed in a dark cotton or cotton blend and opt for a lighter jacket up top.

A white linen shirt is an excellent all-rounder when it comes to summer dressing. Owing to its laid-back appeal, a well-cut version can slide under a suit to tone down a more formal look, or sit over a T-shirt and shorts to take a casual combination up a notch. You can experiment with the colours as well—one could go for a sky blue version or try light pink.

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