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Linen - The Perfect Fabric

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Is it okay to wear wrinkly linen?

Throughout history, linen has been at the core of our use of textiles. Why? Linen is an extremely durable fabric. It is strong, absorbent, dries faster than cotton, is cool to the touch and gets softer the more it is washed. Just like a fine wine, linen gets better with age.

Linen has been around for over 30,000 years and is the preferred fabric especially in warmer climates. Its natural characteristics make it the coolest most breathable fabric that exists on the planet.

But in the past 100 or so years, some cultures have tried to say that linen looks disheveled, because it wrinkles. This has spawned the question, ‘is it ok to wear wrinkly linen?’ The answer is simple. YES. Linen wrinkles, period. The fact is, all natural fibers wrinkle, cotton, hemp etc.

Let’s look at the extent some have gone to try and eliminate the wrinkle, not only in linen but in all plant-based textiles. Wrinkle-resistant chemical treatments have been used since the late 1920s when fabrics were treated with a solution of urea and formaldehyde. The chemical treatment stiffened the fabric, making it wrinkle-resistant. Though newer chemical methods have been developed over the last century, there still is quite a chemical application to make these products ‘wrinkle-free’.

So, what causes wrinkles? Without getting too deep into the chemistry of the wrinkle, here is a high-level explanation. Heat and water cause clothes to wrinkle. Heat breaks the bonds holding polymers in place within the fibers of a fabric. When the bonds are broken, the fibers are less rigid with respect to each other, so they can shift into new positions. Thus, this completely natural process results in a wrinkle, no matter what the fabric.  

With ecology becoming one of the hottest topics globally, getting back to a cleaner, ecologically sound environment is now a high priority. This is one reason linen is looked upon so favorably in the fashion world. Linen’s wrinkles are now not seen as ‘character flaw’, rather, its natural characteristics are desired more than ever.

Nowadays linen has been described as ‘gorgeous and sophisticated’. In fact, one recommended way to wear a linen shirt is with a pair of ‘crisp’ khakis. Or wear pair linen pants with a pressed shirt. Think of it like, sweet and sour, or shorts with a sweater. In short, the best way to wear your linen is to proudly display it, with all its unique qualities.

Remove some wrinkles without the iron

Just in case you want to remove a few wrinkles but do not like to iron, here are a few tips to reduce or remove a few wrinkles quickly.

  • Set a hairdryer on high and hit the desired area with a swirling motion
  • If you have a few minutes, throw the article of clothing in the dryer on low with an ice cube for about 10 minutes
  • Use a wrinkle reducing spray, like Downy.

So put away the iron and rock your linens with pride. No matter your style, celebrate your relaxed vibe in linen apparel. Look and keep yourself cool and comfortable no matter the heat or the humidity. You will be glad you did.


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