Let’s talk about one of my favourite fabrics in the world, linen. Last spring, I got into experimenting with linen pieces. It all started with a classic crisp white shirt and soon after, my obsession grew to everything from linen t-shirts to linen shorts and pants.
I live in linen and have such a love affair with this beautiful, natural fabric that I wanted to chat about what makes linen so special. We’ll talk about everything, including creases and care, why the price tag, and I’ll also share some of my favourite linen pieces to have and to own.
Linen is one of those fabrics that screams luxury style, while still being effortless and looking oh-so-chic. Now, first things first, linen is a natural fabric, and thus, has a tendency to crease, no matter what.
But, I actually think the creases only add to the appeal. IMO, your clothes should not look like they came straight off the shop hanger. They should look a little lived in, and linen is the one fabric where creases actually make it even more appealing.
You also get stonewashed linen, which it has been pre-treated so that it creases less. Natural, untreated linen is a fairly stiff fabric that softens as the fibres move and stretch with your body. So while it does crease, the creases aren’t weird, and I quite like them.
A lot of people I know disregard linen because they say it’s a mission to wash, a mission to dry, a mission to “look after”. To be honest, I don’t know what they are talking about!
I wash all my linen pieces on a cold, delicate cycle (as I do with most of my clothes), but here’s the trick. Don’t tumble dry linen.
After I’ve washed my linen items, I shape them (either on a flat surface or directly on their hanger) and let them dry naturally. When they are about 50% dry (and this is a good one if you are OTT about creases) you can steam them while they are still a bit damp. The beauty of this trick is that the steam actually finishes drying them off too.
If you’ve shopped for linen before (and I’m not talking bed linen here because gawd knows that’s hella expensive too), you’ll know that linen clothing doesn’t come cheap. But, having said that, owning linen pieces is well worth spending the extra Rands.
Bottom line, quality costs money. In the case of linen a lot of the extra cost is because of the quality of the fabric.
It’s a fabric that is more difficult to weave and source and overall production for linen is on the higher end, but you get what you pay for and with linen, you get a lot. Linen items tend to get better with age, meaning you get more wear and longevity from them, so if you work out your cost per wear, it’s actually NOT that expensive.
I add to my linen collection with basics from stores like H&M (who have an amazing and affordable linen collection), but also look out for great pieces by local designers.
For crisp linen shirts which I think are absolute closet staples, I love Country Road and Zara does some amazing ones too which have a bit of an edge, like a button cuffed sleeve or a nautical stripe.
For linen t-shirts and joggers, H&M is my go-to. I’ve purchased pretty much every colour of linen t-shirt they’ve come out with and I wear these on repeat. This year, I got a pair of linen joggers in white and a pair in black which have also been such winners this season. Plus, I can pair them with boots for Autumn so they are not strictly for summer.
For more unique pieces that are not mainstream, one of my favourite local loves for linen is Hannah Laverly. I had my eye on her Linen Overalls (I know what you’re thinking – and well come back to that later) for ages and decided to just do it after trying them on and falling in love at Kamers last year.
I am happy to say that while on the fence about linen overalls, I’m overall obsessed! The garment is expensive, in the R2k mark, but I’ll tell you why it’s worth every penny.
First up it’s so incredibly comfortable that I could live in it. I like that it can be one of those throw on and look cool with converse or slides kinda looks, or dressed up with a belt and heels or booties. But wait there’s more! You can also roll the top down and transform it into pants. Yes pants! The top basically functions as a paper bag style band and the arms become your belt. It’s pretty genius! Every time I wear it like this, everyone wants to know where I got my pants from.
I got mine in the black, which was a good move for versatility but the newer colour “Terracotta” as featured in my pic above is next on my list. When you consider the versatility of this item, and the fact that it can be worn in different ways, I say it’s a winner!
Another local love for beautiful linen wear that’s local and lovely is Sweetpeas Handmade. You’ve probably heard about their gorgeous leather shoes, but their linen collection is gorgeous and so breezy and beautiful. Their Sassy shorts were one of my first linen purchases and I love them!
Do you love linen?