Thursday, March 26, 2009

For casual yet dressy occasions, there is nothing quite like a LINEN SUIT for cool, comfort, style and grace...

Neither is there a fabric that wrinkles so prolifically. Yet for those who understand and appreciate the virtues of this unique fiber, which dates back to prehistoric times (fragments of linen cloth have been found in remains of Stone Age villages in Switzerland), linen stands apart as one of the most comfortable, elegant fabrics ever put to needle and thread. Wrinkles be damned, who could forget Sydney Greenstreet in his white linen vested suits or Burl Ives prowling around in his ivory linen suit as Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

Perhaps the oldest fabric known to man, linen is a natural fabric made from the fiber surrounding the woody core of the flax plant known as Linum usitatissimum. Ranging in color from creamy white to natural tan, the tubular flax fiber, surprisingly enough, is actually stronger and more absorbent than cotton. Certainly this elegant fabric has been put to the test over the years, dubious endeavors that include impregnating it with a resin solution to cure the cloth of its propensity toward wrinkling, and another whereby the finished fabric is pounded with wooden blocks to impart a permanent luster.

But anyone with a sense of style knows that cool, comfortable linen, in neutral shades of cream, ivory, beige, flax or wheat, is best worn with nary a care about crinkling or a second thought about wrinkles.

Nothing beats a cool white or ivory linen suit in summer, wrinkles be damned.

For the majority of better men’s clothiers, linen has always been an important fabric in warm weather collections for spring/summer, and always will. To be sure, a certain amount of educating the consumer is always needed to a degree because the qualities of pure linen, not unlike Dupioni silk, are often misunderstood. In the same way some men fail to understand how silk can be as cool as cotton in the summer, they similarly don't realize how cool and comfortable linen can be.

From a purely romantic standpoint, a pure linen suit certainly allows for a truly timeless look, one that conjures images of Havana and cigars, white bucks and boutonnieres. As with no other fabric, it exudes an old world sense of style. And never dispel a dapper straw hat as a finishing touch to any linen outfit. It's only natural. Sydney and Burl would be proud.


  1. Ralph, your blog is fabulous! I just emailed your link to my husband & all of the other stylish men in my life. How refreshing to see a fashion expert like yourself devoted to men with style.

  2. I blush. My sincere thanks for your kind words. Much more to come, so stay tuned.

  3. An impressive post, I just gave this to a colleague who is doing a little analysis On Mens Linen Suits. And he is very happy and thanking me for finding it. But all thanks to you for writing in such simple words. Big thumb up for this blog post!