If linen conjures images of destination weddings or the boxy suits Crockett wore on Miami Vice, it's definitely time to take a second look at the classic summer style. "Cooling, wicking, and forgiving" is how Dwight Fenton, chief creative officer at Bonobos, describes linen. "It's kind of magic." These days designers are using it to fashion hoodies, pants, polos, and suits in tailored fits. "The linen your parrothead dad is wearing is most likely a one-man tent," says Fenton. "Today's cuts are slim and modern. Plus, linen has a natural give that flexes without stretching." Here are some ways linen can keep you cool and comfortable this summer, along with a little wisdom on keeping it looking good.
The Case for Linen
Woven from flax fibers, linen has a breezy, relaxed feel ideally suited to warm weather and casual settings. Linen blends benefit from their inherent cooling properties, alongside the characteristics of the blended fabric — such as the durability of cotton.
Keep It Looking Fresh
To prevent linen from getting starched and stuffy, laundering generally involves the gentle cycle, cold or warm water, and a very mild detergent. As for drying, ditch the machine completely and lay clothing flat. "That means no hangers, clothespins, or wringing," says Dwight Fenton of Bonobos, "which will weigh the linen down and cause it to become stretched and misshapen."