Menswear | Shirts

Mens Linen Shirts — The Perfect Summer Wardrobe Piece

Jean-Baptiste

Mens linen shirts rep­re­sent our favorite sea­son­al, warm weath­er mate­r­i­al.  Linen is a soft, breath­able fab­ric that is per­fect for the sum­mer and warmer / humid cli­mates.  Unlike cot­ton it feels more crisp ini­tial­ly, though over time and wear it becomes soft­er and more mal­leable.  Linen boasts strength (longevi­ty) and weight which gives it a beau­ti­ful dress shirt drape. Are there neg­a­tives to linen?  Of course.  Linen shirts wrin­kle almost instant­ly and do not hold their shape well.   Like den­im, linen is some­what course and does need sev­er­al wears / wash­es to “break in”.  Those neg­a­tives how­ev­er are what endear peo­ple to linen.

mens linen shirts white

The per­fect sum­mer dress shirt

Linen also has the rep­u­ta­tion as being the world’s strongest nat­ur­al fiber (20x stronger than cot­ton). It’s actu­al­ly used in paper mon­ey notes through­out the world to increase strength.  As a result, linen and linen shirts can last for a a very long time.  One incred­i­ble exam­ple — when the tomb of the Pharaoh Ram­ses II (died in 1213 BC) was found in 1881, the linen wrap­pings were per­fect­ly pre­served and in an almost orig­i­nal state — after over 3000 years!

mens linen shirts from Egypt

A pre­served Egypt­ian linen tunic (shirt) that is over 2000 years old!

Linen is also known as the orig­i­nal per­for­mance fab­ric and is referred to by many as nature’s nat­ur­al wick­ing fiber. It can absorb an aston­ish­ing 20% mois­ture before it begins to feel heavy and damp.  It will also gain strength as it absorbs water / mois­ture.

Both linen and cot­ton do wrin­kle.  Unlike cot­ton, linen fibers have a nat­ur­al resin with­in them known as lig­nan. Ini­tial­ly, these fibers are stiff and wrin­kle eas­i­ly.   Like den­im, over time (mul­ti­ple wash­es and wears), these creased wrin­kles become smoother and eas­i­er to tame.

mens linen shirts soft collar

After a few wears, a linen shirt col­lar will soft­en and show­case a beau­ti­ful “roll”


How and Where is Linen Made?

In terms of mate­r­i­al prop­er­ties, linen is sig­nif­i­cant­ly dif­fer­ent than cot­ton.  Linen fab­ric is derived from the cel­lu­lose, straw-like fibers that grow with­in the stalks of the flax plant, or Linum usi­tatis­si­mum — which is actu­al­ly a veg­etable!  It is known as one of the old­est cul­ti­vat­ed plants in human his­to­ry.  As we showed above, linen can trace its his­to­ry to the age of the Egypt­ian pharaohs (>4000 years).

In con­trast to cot­ton, linen is made by ini­tial­ly allow­ing the stem of the flax plant to rot in slow-mov­ing water.  This process is known in the indus­try as “ret­ting”.   There­after, it’s beat­en and spun into yarn, woven into cloth, and boiled in fer­ment­ed solu­tion of bran.  It’s fin­ished by a rinse in fresh but­ter­milk.  The process itself may not be glam­orous but the end prod­uct has a “silk­ish” tex­ture that is as old as human­i­ty itself.

Mens Linen Shirts - How Linen is Made

From Flax Seed to Woven Fab­ric — How Linen is Made

Sim­i­lar to cot­ton, all linen is not the same.  The plant from which it’s derived (flax) is grown prac­ti­cal­ly every­where in the world.  How­ev­er (like cot­ton), cer­tain geo­graph­ic regions pro­duce high­er qual­i­ty linen from flax than oth­ers.  West­ern Europe is wide­ly known as the best loca­tion for grow­ing flax due large­ly to the cli­mate and the geo-spe­cif­ic bac­te­ria with­in that region.  Of these coun­tries, Ire­land car­ries the man­tle as the coun­try known to pro­duce the high­est qual­i­ty / pre­mi­um linen thread.  Rus­sia and Chi­na are the largest pro­duc­ers of linen but their fibers tend to have the poor­est qual­i­ty.  The Unit­ed States is a heavy pro­duc­er but it’s end prod­uct is a cours­er grade and used pri­mar­i­ly for uphol­stery.

 


Mens Linen Shirts are Perfect for Summer

The end use of linen has changed sig­nif­i­cant­ly in the last 30 years.  In the 70s / 80s, only about ~5% of linen was used for fab­ric that was to be worn.  Since the 90s, that num­ber has jumped to ~70% — and for good rea­son.  What hap­pened?  Fash­ion design­ers dis­cov­ered the ben­e­fits and began mar­ket­ing it as a sea­son­al, casu­al wear fab­ric.  From an appear­ance stand­point,  they were drawn to the look of the weave which has a unique warp / weft giv­ing it a tex­tured, heathered appear­ance.

Most impor­tant­ly, linen is a soft, breath­able fab­ric that’s per­fect for warmer cli­mates.  Linen’s com­po­si­tion keep it away from your skin allow­ing bet­ter air­flow over your body. Linen is also a rigid fab­ric and is less like­ly to stick to the skin.  Linen pos­sess high air per­me­abil­i­ty, which allows air to flow through it eas­i­ly which allows the body to breathe.

In terms of casu­al shirts, linen is one of our favorites.  More so than any oth­er fab­ric,  it’s per­fect when worn with short sleeves vs. long sleeves.  It’s also the goto attire for a beach wed­ding which is almost always planned as a more casu­al / less for­mal event.

mens linen shirts tropical climate

Linen shirts are per­fect in warmer / trop­i­cal cli­mates

 


Linen / Cotton — A Perfect Fabric Marriage

The pros of linen are well known and ascribed above.  The neg­a­tives (pri­mar­i­ly the wrin­kling) can give linen a slight­ly disheveled look that may not appeal to every­one.  The fusion of cot­ton (56% linen / 44% cot­ton) gives the fab­ric the same ben­e­fits of tra­di­tion­al linen with a sig­nif­i­cant­ly less wrin­kle prone sur­face.  This mate­r­i­al mix­ture gives the shirt an absolute­ly flaw­less fin­ish.  All of Deo Ver­i­tas’ linen shirt­ing fab­rics are in fact a linen / cot­ton mix.

mens linen shirts - cotton blend

An exam­ple of a linen / cot­ton blend

 


Our Mens Linen Shirts Buying Guide

As a cus­tom dress shirt mak­er, we’ve round­ed up our favorite, soft­est, most lux­u­ri­ous mens linens shirts that are per­fect for any occa­sion dur­ing the sum­mer swel­ter.  All of the shirts / fab­rics shown below are made from a linen / cot­ton blend — which we believe is the per­fect linen mate­r­i­al com­bi­na­tion.

 


Light Blue Linen / Cotton Blend

light blue mens linen shirt

Fabric / Attributes:

A light blue hue is the per­fect mens linen shirt col­or-way.  As such, this tra­di­tion­al hue is com­pli­men­ta­ry to almost any ensem­ble.  The ele­gant Ital­ian Spread col­lar pairs per­fect­ly with this shirt and looks incred­i­bly dap­per under a blaz­er for a great sum­mer, semi-for­mal look.

light blue mens linen shirt with blazer

Where to Buy It:


Solid White Linen / Cotton Blend

white mens linen shirts

Fabric / Attributes:

The most pop­u­lar mens linen shirt we offer and the shirt you’re most like­ly to see at a beach wed­ding.  A sol­id white linen shirt is a goto for any occa­sion.   It can be worn either casu­al­ly on the beach with a pair of car­go shorts / san­dals or a bit more for­mal­ly — per the blaz­er / shirt pho­to shown below.  Our One Piece col­lar is our most unique col­lar (dis­tin­guished by it’s one piece con­struc­tion) that was made for linen and looks clean and effort­less under a blaz­er.  Addi­tion­al­ly, we paired this shirt with spe­cial­ty cock­tail cuffs that give the shirt a much more unique, con­tem­po­rary appear­ance.

white mens linen shirt with blazer

Where to Buy It:

 


Dark Blue Linen / Cotton Print Blend

dark blue mens linen shirt with polka dots

Fabric / Attributes:

Our favorite mens linen shirt fab­ric.  We love the con­trast­ing navy dia­mond pol­ka dots print against the dark blue sur­face.  This ele­gant pat­tern is just bold enough to be a con­tem­po­rary clas­sic.  The col­lar is one of new­er favorites — the Ital­ian Full Cut­away, which has longer col­lar points which tuck per­fect­ly under­neath the blazer’s lapels.  To com­plete the more con­tem­po­rary look, we paired this shirt with our James Bond inspired cock­tail cuffs.

dark blue mens linen shirt with polka dots and blazer

Where to Buy It:

 


Conclusions

Inter­est­ed in learn­ing more?  Check out Deo Ver­i­tas’ full col­lec­tion of linen shirt­ing fab­rics.

 


Check out some of our other Popular Guides…

The Men’s White Dress Shirt — A Defin­i­tive Buy­ing Guide on our Favorites

The One Piece Col­lar — The Great­est Col­lar You’ve Nev­er Heard of

Untucked vs. Tucked In — A Guide to Dress Shirt Length

Mens Short Sleeve Dress Shirts: A Sum­mer Fash­ion Guide

 

Custom Dress Shirts

 

 

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