How to Wear Linen Without Wrinkling

How to wear linen without wrinkling

When I visited Scandinavia last summer, one thing grabbed my attention immediately. Linen – It was everywhere. Linen pants, linen dresses, linen shirts… Everywhere I turned, I spotted another impeccably chic Swede rocking linen like an off-duty supermodel. Meanwhile, every time I’ve tried linen, I felt like a rumpled mess. What did they know, that I didn’t!? Since the country is known for its clean design and minimalist fashion (this article explains), I explored Swedish linen styling strategies and quickly fell in love with the fabric.  Wondering how to wear linen without wrinkling? Let’s dive in!

First, remember wrinkle-free linen basically doesn’t exist. And that’s okay!

Due to the nature of the fabric, you do have to embrace some wrinkling. The very qualities that make us love linen (the stiffness that allows easy ventilation on hot summer days) are also the reasons it tends to crease. Think about fine cotton and silk… They bounce back when creased, but get a little sticky in heat and humidity, clinging uncomfortably to your body.

Linen does the opposite, retaining that breezy and free feeling we’re looking for.

There’s a reason our visions of linen often pair with luxury travel destinations like Italy’s Amalfi Coast or the south of France! Linen is made from the flax plant, which has stiff cellulose fibers. Those fibers don’t have as much elasticity as other fabrics, but half the beauty of linen is its “not trying too hard” charm.

Linen outfit ideasDress | Wedges

Benefits of Wearing Linen Clothing

But let’s go deeper… If you’re wondering how to wear linen, you probably want to know why you should in the first place! There are many benefits of wearing linen. Here are a few to consider:

DurabilityLinen is a natural fabric and stronger than cotton. Translation? This is garment you could pass on to your kids (with proper care of course)

Environmentally friendly – Linen is one of the most sustainable fabrics you can wear. It’s recyclable, biodegradable, and extracted from the flax plant.

Temperature regulation – On cold days it insulates on hot ones it ventilates. The hollow fibers of linen allow air to pass through easily.

Static-fighting – Since we can’t all walk around with a dryer sheet in our pocket, linen prevents those awkward “stick to your body” moments

Hypoallergenic – If you have sensitive skin, linen is one of the best choices since it release moisture quickly. Many with allergies turn to it!

How to wear linen without looking wrinkled

Now, back to the wrinkling issue…

Does this sound familiar? You leave home feeling crisp and elegant in your linen, only to arrive at your destination looking like you slept in your clothes. I’ve certainly been there!

Thankfully, there are plenty of strategies to help. For instance, by choosing a dress with detailing (like this one I’m wearing in the photo above from Chicwish), you’re giving wrinkles fewer places to find a home. The pintuck and cutwork give this linen blend dress extra structure, as does the drawstring waist and button detail. If any wrinkles do appear, the garment details draw your eye elsewhere.

Do linen blends wrinkle less than 100% linen?

Yes! Generally, when linen is mixed with other designer-favored fabrics like cotton, viscose, silk, or elastane, it wrinkles significantly less. That’s why I tend to choose linen blends for travel.

However, as we discussed above, there a many reasons to go “all in” on linen. My current favorite place to shop for 100% linen is Quince. It offers a wide selection of linen in classic hues and at competitive price points. The quality is also spot on. If you’re curious, you can read more about the viral band in my full review. Click here to browse the brand’s linen collection.

How to wear Linen without creasesDress | Shoes (near match for mine) | Earrings

Styling Tips: How to Wear Linen 101

1 – Be selective in the pieces you choose

The trick to nailing that “effortless” linen look, is to be particular with pieces you choose (and what you pair them with). For instance, linen pants are much more challenging to wear than a linen dress or linen shirt. Sit down for a minute, and they’ll create a spider-web of wrinkles across our thighs (I do love this under $40 pair though).

In contrast, a linen dress—like this number I’m wearing above—won’t crease in awkward places. Additionally, subtle details like a tiered skirt distract the eye from any wrinkling that might occur. Same goes for a linen shirt, which you can wear open or knot casually to add shape around your waist. If wrinkling happens, it won’t be in an awkward place like your thighs, crotch, or bum.

2 – Rock one linen piece at a time

As cute as an all-linen look may be, it is definitely higher maintenance on the wrinkle front. Instead, offset the relaxed vibe of a linen shirt (like this one) with a more structured short or trouser in a different, sleeker fabric. This creates a sense of balance. Also, the textural differences between the fabrics add a lot of interest. If you opt for a linen blazer, wear it unbuttoned to avoid any awkward creasing around your waistline as you sit down.

3 – Take them out of the washing machine ASAP

This sounds like a minor detail, but linen creases much faster than other fabrics. As soon as you hear the buzzer sound on your dryer, pull out your load and hang your linen in the closet. Alternatively, you can dry flat or hang dry. Make sure to shake your linen pieces well before doing either. This will begin to get rid of those pesky wrinkles

4 – Play the illusion game

Visual trickery can make a world of difference for those wondering how to wear linen without wrinkling. I tend to utilize big, bold buttons in a contrasting color to draw the eye away from any creasing. This dress (one of my favs for hot work days) is a good example of that. Likewise, striped fabrics can pull attention away from any wrinkles, while darker colors simply cover them up. Consequently, while I adore cream, navy and black are my go-to colors for linen.

5 – Invest in a quality handheld steamer

This device has been a game changer for the way I style linen outfits (and all my clothing). It’s perfect for touching up those little creases that might bug you before leaving the house. Best of all, it’s not expensive (currently under $50) and heats up fast.

When you consider how much this one simple tool can elevate your look, it’s a must-have. There’s a reason fashion designers and boutiques can’t live without them! If you don’t have a steamer, try ironing your linens while they’re still damp. If they’re already dry, just use a spray bottle and give the garment a good spritz.

linen outfit ideas for summer

Linen to Love

How to Wear Linen – What to Pair it With

What colors should I pair with linen?

Now that we’ve covered how to get rid of those wrinkles, let’s talk about how to style linen. This fabric can definitely stand on its own, which is why I tend to embrace “one and done” pieces, like dresses. However, if you’re constructing a layered linen look, you want to take a minimalistic approach.

Monochromatic looks and tonal dressing are the secret to looking chic. Think whites and creams, or varying shades of tans and taupe. You can also balance the look with high contrast. For instance, you could pair white linen pants or a skirt with a sleek black tank, finishing the look with caramel-hued leather accessories.

Consider proportion

Since linen is a breezy, relaxed fabric, you want your other pieces to have some structure. A sleek bodysuit (I highly recommend this one) tucked under a linen blazer always looks great, as does a fitted top paired with a flowy linen bottom.

Types of shoes to wear with linen

Lean hard into summer styling when it comes to your shoes! Heeled sandals, espadrilles, or strappy flats in leather are a great choice, as are quintessentially “summer” fabrics like canvas, linen, and other woven materials. A traditional leather pump can feel a bit jarring when paired with linen.

How to accessorize linen 

Gold earrings, bracelets and necklaces add a hint of luxury to your linen look. The key is to keep things relatively simple. A denim jacket always look great over a linen dress or a cotton blazer over a linen shirt. For bags, I love classic leather (warm tones) or anything woven. The leather provides a nice contrast to the linen, while a woven bag leans further into that summer vibe.

navy linen dress

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *