Mention linen and most of us envisage creasing and that tendency to go limp and baggy in all the wrong places.
And oh dear God, the ironing! But I promise you, linen has changed. Thanks to a huge selection of clever linen blends on the High Street, you can still have all the things you love about this timeless summer fabric, and none of the stuff we hate.
Jacket, £185, and trousers, £99, jigsawonline.com; shoes, £29.99, reserved.com; bag, £295, russelland bromley.co.uk
Get the fabric weight and fit right and you’ve got an elegant friend for life — it’s more sustainable and hard-wearing than cotton and machine-was beautifully. It’s so deliciously lightweight and comfortable yet also elegant and cool. And when I say cool, I mean figuratively and literally — linen’s temperature-regulating properties make it a godsend for those heatwave days where your ‘glow’ is edging more towards downright sweaty.
Jacket, £79.99, and trousers, £49.99, zara.com; shoes, £295, russellandbromley. co.uk; earrings, £130, carousel-jewels.com
Jacket, £59, and trousers, £39.50, marksandspencer. com; shoes, £39.99, reserved. com; bag, £275, russelland bromley.co.uk; necklace, £75, karenmillen.com
Sometimes I think it’s precisely because linen is so comfortable that it’s suffered a bad rap. It can be a fine line between ‘comfortable’ and ‘slovenly’, but the linens of 2022 are firmly easy as well as chic. Case in point is this gorgeous line-up of tailored linen suits. And it won’t have escaped your attention that the most current way to wear your linens is in a bold splash of vibrant colour: inspired by the catwalk shows of Valentino and Bottega Veneta, it’s a more modern way to wear the fabric than in its familiar raw/neutral tones. Embrace it, I say.
Left: Jacket, £45.99, and trousers, £25.99, reserved.com; shoes, £229, lkbennett.com; bag, £58, anthropologie.com. Right: Jacket, £39.99, trousers, £17.99, hm.com; shoes, £45.99, reserved.com; bag, £30, accessorize. com; earrings, £130, carouseljewels.com
The slightly over-sized jacket and wideleg look of these suits makes them a flattering option for all ages and sizes, not to mention all occasions. A simple white T-shirt and a strappy sandal is all you need for show-stopping summer elegance.
Jacket and trousers, both £79.99, benetton.com; shoes, £295, russellandbromley. co.uk; earrings, £130, carouseljewels.com
If you’re still worried about creasing, remember: iron it when it’s almost, not bone, dry. Another great tip is to spritz dry linen with lukewarm water, to smooth creases. But do bear in mind its organic, relaxed look is the whole point of linen.
Jacket, £139, and trousers, £89, mintvelvet.co.uk; shoes, £59.99, zara.com; earrings, £130, carousel jewels.com; bracelet, £60, jigsaw-online.com