The first thing most people think of when they think of linen pants is easy, elastic waist pants that are fluid, and drapey. Well, first they probably think wrinkles. Linen is the perfect summer fabric due to the properties of the flax plant that make it naturally breathable and cool. Linen fabric allows airflow between the fibers. In addition, linen is moisture-wicking with the ability to absorb 1/5 of its weight before it feels damp or wet. Linen also quickly releases moisture back into the air. Another interesting fun fact, linen has an innate ability to conduct heat, which means that your own body heat can be conveyed to the fabric at a rate that is five times higher than wool and 18 times higher than silk. Lastly, not only does Linen conduct heat to keep you cool, it reflects it
The partnership of these qualities with drapey silhouettes can be the thing that helps us make it through the hottest of summer days, so much so that we’re fine overlooking how badly it wrinkles. Linen wrinkles because it has no elasticity. This means the fabric can’t bounce back when it’s pressed into a position. The best advice I can give about the wrinkling part is to not fight it. Linen will wrinkle, there is no avoiding it. This is not to suggest starting out the day as a wrinkled linen mess but to, instead, temper your expectations. Some feel that ironing linen makes wrinkles more pronounced when the fabric invariably starts to crease and choose a wrinkle-release spray on their dry clothes. Other tips for working with linen:
- Always take linen out of the machine immediately after washing. This is not a “get to the clothes in the washer at some point” fabric.
- If you are going to iron your linen, do it while it is still damp. You can also add a cotton tee or tea towel between your iron and the linen fabric. For darker fabrics, consider ironing linen from the inside out.
- Air and Hang dry your linen to allow the breeze and gravity to work out your wrinkles. If you can, hang your linen garments outdoors to get that good dewrinkling breeze.
- A quick tip for getting wrinkles out of linen, place your garment and an ice cube in the dryer and dry for 10 minutes on low.
- Hand-washing linen is gentler and will result in fewer creases.
- prints and stripes in linen will make the appearance of wrinkles less pronounced.
- Steam linen while it is still damp in a steamy bathroom or with a garment steamer.
- If you simply can’t stand wrinkled linen, look for linen blends. Silk, rayon, cotton, Tencel®, or viscose blended with linen makes it less wrinkly.
- Before you go out and purchase wrinkle-resistant linen (yes, this exists), manufacturers use a resin that can leak formaldehyde during manufacturing, wearing, and washing. The resin is used to keep the fabric’s fibers in place during washing for that crisp, ironed look. The downside is that these garments may be releasing unhealthy levels of formaldehyde that you can breathe or absorb through your skin. Read more about this here.
- Slightly dampen your linen and use a hair dryer in a circular motion to work out the wrinkles if you don’t own a portable steamer.
- Fold your linen inside out which cuts down on friction and creasing
- Try rolling linen tightly vs. folding it when putting it in the suitcase
- Place linen garments on top of lighter garments in your suitcase if packing a carry-on and in the middle of the suitcase if checking as checked bags get flipped around in transit.
Lastly, be sure to lower your expectations about linen. While these tips will help you not start out as a wrinkled mess, the linen you wear will wrinkle.
SUMMERY STRUCTURE: TAILORED LINEN PANTS FOR SUMMER
Last summer, I went deep with elastic pull-on pants because it seemed like the sensible choice. It was hot, I was miserable, and I didn’t want to be encumbered. However, it didn’t take long before I realized, I don’t like wearing really relaxed elastic waist pants all that much or, if I do, I still want my pants to look like pants, not lazy-looking joggers. I felt better when I reached for a pair of tailored chinos than I did pants that had a drawstring or were full-on elastic. It could have been my developed disdain for joggers post-pandemic but, what can I say? I like a more structured pair of pants.
I have chosen five more tailored linen pants styles that will give me and those of you who prefer a bit more structure some options to keep cool and feel chic this summer.
The pleats of these tailored pair of linen pants from Massimo Dutti are still easy yet have a tailored look that is more polished. I styled them for summer with an orange tank from J.Crew worn under a cotton relaxed oxford from Everlane. Tuck the shirt or tie it open over the tank and it’s a structured summery outfit. I finished the look with a pair of Palla Ace sneakers, a grey Tumi crossbody, and a gold-plated snake chain necklace.
These crisply tailored linen pants from Ralph Lauren are much more structured and workable for in-office. You can also use them to create an outfit for a summer event. I styled the pants with a short sleeve cotton sweater from Ted Baker, navy platform sandals from M.Gemi, an optic summer tote from Vivaia, and hoop earrings from Jenny Bird.
These wide-leg tailored linen pants from Farm Rio give you the structure of tailored pants and the ease that you normally find in drapier linen pants. I styled them chicly with a bateau neck silk top from Eileen Fisher, jeweled espadrilles from Boden, a chartreuse pebbled crossbody from Tory Burch, and a split cuff bangle from Karine Sultan.
With the collared shirt and tailored pants from Theory, this outfit comes across as more structured than it is. Theory’s Treeca pant comes in this pull-on style and even when untucked and relaxed, a collared shirt, like this one from Zara, can look more polished. In addition, the shirt has an open back which hits it with a bit of trend. I would wear an outfit like this and feel totally like myself despite the easiness of the pieces. I finished the outfit with a grey Longchamp backpack, blush Birkenstocks, and black orytex earrings from Swarovski.
The bright color of these tailored linen pants from Boden gives this outfit a summery boost. I styled them with a cotton ruffle tee from Elie Tahari and finished the look with a pair of Sarah Flint wedges, a coral bag from Cuyana, and a colorful jeweled necklace.
SHOP FOR TAILORED LINEN PANTS
Ready to add some air structure to your summer looks? Check out these additional styles.