Reviewed & fact checked: October 19, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Let’s be honest, linen suits are known to get some flack. Don’t let the archetypal image of a leathery old man in a billowy white linen suit put you off, these garments are far more wearable than you think. Read on for a complete guide on how to wear men’s linen suits.
The Linen Suit
You may be wondering, what is linen? And what sets it apart from other fabrics? Linen is spun from fibres from flax plants – the name actually derives from the Latin name for the plant, ‘Linum’. Hand-harvested flax stalks go through several stages on their way to becoming the finished linen product, which means it can run a bit higher in price.
The price is worth it, however. A men’s white linen suit is a classic piece and a wardrobe staple. Once you nail down what to wear with a white linen suit, the options for white linen outfits for men grow exponentially.
Wearing linen can exude a sense of casual confidence and a cool, relaxed attitude. Also, linen suit styles are more versatile than you think – they can give off entirely different vibes depending on what they’re paired with. Casual linen suits offer endless styling possibilities. Experimenting with different shirts and ties, or even skipping a tie altogether, can take your look from casual to smart in moments.
When to Wear a Linen Suit
While linen clothing is crisp and smart-looking, it’s probably best to steer clear of the office. Linen’s low thread count makes it a very breathable fabric – making it perfect for outdoor functions during the summer months like weddings and parties. Linen suit fashion is best suited to summer occasions such as weddings and other social gatherings. An Italian linen suit, for example, would be perfect for a more formal summer occasion like a wedding.
Linen has a considerably lower thread count than other fabrics such as cotton, and so is therefore extremely breathable. The nature of the material means that it is light, comfortable and has a high moisture absorbency, so it’s perfect for any activity indoors or out during the warmer weather months of the year.
Unlike all those who show up in shorts, showing off their sun sheltered, pasty white legs, or baking in jeans, you’ll be able to maintain a modicum of style and comfort in linen. Simply pair the suit with a short sleeved shirt or t-shirt to emphasise the casual nature of the outfit.
It’s clear that linen suits are perfect for summer, but can you wear linen in the fall? Given the versatility of the fabric, you certainly can. Also, they make linen suits blended with wool, so they will be plenty warm as summer turns to fall.
The archetype of the linen suit for men is the billowing white suit, often seen on middle-aged men on holiday. Opt for a fitted style for a more modern, on-trend look. Unlike more formal suits for office wear and very formal occasions, the best linen suits can be a little more playful and creative in terms of colour. If you’re curious what shirt to wear with a linen suit, the truth is that the options are almost endless.
Also, don’t be afraid to experiment with colours other than white. There’s a whole world of colours and styles out there that can produce a wide range of great looks and styles.
Black, blue and grey suits in other materials provide a more formal look, but switching to linen can turn your look instantly more fun and casual. For example, a navy linen suit paired with a white shirt and grey tie comes off as smart and put together without being too stuffy. A grey linen suit or black linen suit still looks classy, but linen’s breathable weave will make it more comfortable.
A tan linen suit, sand linen suit, and even a light pink or blue linen suit are good options for a relaxed summer occasion. The mix of a light colour with the similarly light texture of linen lends itself well to outdoor social functions. Pair your linen suit with a shirt and tie in similar light shades to complete the look.
Mix and Match
Another option is to mix up your linen suit jacket and trouser combination, say pairing a darker jacket and lighter trouser. If you don’t fancy going full linen suit, simply swap the trousers for a more casual pair – don’t be afraid to mix and match.
A good option for something to wear with a linen jacket is a pair of smart denim jeans. A white linen jacket with dark jeans is an ideal look for a more relaxed occasion and strikes a balance between smart and casual.
Another choice is a chino, which maintains the smartness of the jacket, but adds interest to your ensemble. A grey linen jacket with a neutral coloured chino
A lightweight woollen trouser is another great option if you want to switch it up, yet retain the air of formality the full suit gives off.
If you’re looking how to wear linen trousers and ditch the jacket, then the possibilities are endless for styling outfits. Stick to a neutral shade and dress it down with a tee, or up with men’s white linen pants and shirt. You could even throw on a blazer to up the smart casual vibes.
Shoes to Wear with a Linen Suit
You may be wondering what shoes to wear with a linen suit, but their versatility makes this an easy choice. Loafers are good to pair with a linen suit in the summer months for more formal occasions – they are lightweight and can be worn without socks. If you’re looking to pair with a less formal suit, then a pair of block colour trainers can work well. For another casual occasion, consider pairing them with boat shoes. With shoes its usually best to stick with more neutral colours, and this also allows you to match them with numerous outfits too.
A Quick Care Guide for Linen Suits
Maintaining a linen suit is easier than you may have though. Even though linen is a rather fine and soft fabric, it’s also very robust so it can be quite durable. You should wash linen either by hand or wash in the washing machine at a low temperature. There’s no need to fuss with dry cleaning, as the chemicals they use are harsh and can damage the fabric over time. If your suit needs ironing, its a good idea to do it while it is damp to protect the fabric. Alternatively, you can simply hang it up to dry and the wrinkles will naturally disperse for the most part.
How to Wear A Linen Suit
- Linen suits can be appropriate for many diverse occasions, and the lightweight and breathable nature of the fabric lends itself well to functions in the summer.
- Don’t be afraid to play with colour – different colours and combinations give off different vibes.
- If you’re not keen on wearing a full suit, swap out the jacket and trousers accordingly.
- Shoes from trainers to loafers can all go with linen suits depending on the formality of the occasion.
- Caring for linen suits is a breeze, just wash it by hand in the washing machine at a low temperature and hang it up to dry.
On That Note
Linen suits have the potential to be a go-to piece in your wardrobe. Their air of casualness and linen’s breathable weave make it ideal for summer, but can also make the transition into cooler weather. Don’t be afraid to mix and match within different colour palettes and even swap out pieces to achieve different looks.