Why You Should Add Linen To Your Wardrobe

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The Scottish Summer is well and truly set in motion, and as the weather warms up, synthetic fibres are just a no-go for me. Unlike polyester which clings to the skin, breathable organic natural fibres are perfect alternatives, and they are more eco-friendly too! Today I'm making the case for adding more linen into your summer wardrobe, with a little help from this classic shirt dress by Scottish fashion designer Elizabeth Martin, made from 100% natural Irish linen.

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What is linen?

Linen is the oldest textile known to man; a bast fibre from the flax plant, woven into a luxurious textile that's been popular since the Ancient Egyptian times.

Is linen sustainable?

Because it is a natural fibre, linen is bio-degradable over time, unlike its man-made counterparts which are doomed for landfill. What's more, every part of the flax plant, from seed to stalk, is completely usable and reusable, including the finished cloth, so there is very little waste involved in the process. it is also strong and long lasting, and looks great when left completely natural and undyed/untreated, so its perfect for a slow fashion approach.

However, as with all fashion and textiles products, the ethics and sustainability can vary wildly depending on the supplier, manufacturer, designer or retailer, so it's important to not take any fabric qualities at face value, and do your research first, always! Look out for the Masters of Linen certification which ensures the quality and integrity of the fabric.

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Is linen wearable?

The main benefit of wearing linen clothing is that it keeps you cool. It is a light and breathable fabric because of its highly absorbent fibre and loose weave structure that allows easy airflow around the skin, making it perfect for summer shirts, trousers, and suits so you can look smart without the sweat.

As you probably already know- or can see from these photographs- the main downside of linen is that it creases and wrinkles really easily. Because it's so lightweight, there is no natural gravity weighing down the hem of a garment, so it requires regular ironing or steaming. However, I think this is part of the charm of the fabric, and I honestly don't mind the slightly worn, textured look in this outfit. 

Where to buy linen clothing

Elizabeth Martin | Elizabeth's range of tops and blouses made from crisp white linen by UK manufacturer John England are totally flattering and wearable. The best part? This 'Katie' shirt dress with the cute bow and pearl button detailing has pockets. That's right ladies, a shirt with pockets. What more could you want? A Woodland Gathering | Another Scottish fashion brand, A Woodland Gathering, creates seasonless styles in womenswear and childrenswear, crafted mindfully and consciously using fabric sourced from a small linen mill, all made in Scotland. Rachel Craven | Rachel Craven is a made in LA fashion brand which uses deadstock (leftover/waste) Italian linens to create stunning luxury womenswear. Blluemade | Blluemade is an NYC based label by husband and wife team Alex Robins and Lilly Lampe, which uses premium quality, eco-friendly Belgian linen to create classic men's and women's clothing,

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Outfit details

Shirt dress: Elizabeth Martin Raincoat: Elizabeth Martin Sunglasses: IOLLA Trainers: Po-Zu

(all gifted)

Want to find out more about ethical and sustainable fabrics like linen? Watch my video on the top 10 eco-friendly textiles here!