The Most Stylish Linen Shirts Brands For Summer 2022
Designers and luxury brands have reinvented the linen shirt, bringing up to date via new shapes and making it an enticing proposition for year-round wear.
Linen, and specifically linen shirts, have developed somewhat of a bad reputation over the years – its wrinkled nature and association with dad style only serving to embolden its haters.
However, today, if you pass on the linen shirt then you’re missing out on one of fashion’s most versatile pieces. High-end designers and luxury brands have reinvented this humble summer garment, bringing it up to date via new shapes and even offering thicker versions which make it an enticing proposition for year-round wear.
But what exactly is linen, how should you be wearing it in 2022, and who do we consider to be making the most stylish linen shirts? Here’s the lowdown.
What is linen?
Linen is distinctive in its look and texture. It’s derived from the flax plant and woven into a strong, durable and quick-drying material that starts life crunchy before softening over time through multiple wash cycles. Because it’s quick drying, it’s perfect for wearing in warm weather (and for those that sweat a lot) while its inherent softness ensures it’s comfortable to wear against the skin, making it an excellent option for shirting.
Linen is often technically heavier than cotton, and its fibres are thicker, so a lower thread count is needed to match the quality of cotton. However, this also means it wrinkles easily, so if you’re somebody that likes to appear pristine at all times, you might want to give linen a wide berth, or at least consider a cotton-linen blend.
Why you need a linen shirt
If you’re looking for a lightweight, breathable shirt you can wear all summer long, a linen design is arguably the pinnacle. Sure, cotton works well and can be just as breathable, but linen’s distinct texture sets it apart. Its loose weave is visible to the eye, whereas cotton often appears ‘flat’ and overly smooth.
This is why cotton works so well for formal shirts: because it’s unobtrusive and fades into the background, allowing the suit to take centre stage. Linen on the other hand lets its presence be known, adding plenty of visual interest to summer outfits in a way that cotton can’t.
Unlike the linen shirts of yesteryear, in 2022 you’ll find them in a range of styles and fits, from slim and muted to boxy, Hawaiian-esque takes. So regardless of how you intend to wear it, you can be sure there’s a version for you.
Ultimately though, the linen shirt exists so that you can stay looking sharp and feeling cool in the hottest of weather. Let’s face it, you could just wear a T-shirt with those shorts, but a linen shirt elevates your look, introducing a sense of sophistication that would have otherwise been missing.
Linen shirt buying considerations
Linen shirt styles
Linen shirts come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s worth deciding exactly what you’re after before you invest. You could go for a classic point collar option, or a button-down version, both of which give off a preppy vibe. These are ideal for dressing up or down, and work equally well with tailored slacks or when worn open over swimming shorts by the pool.
Alternatively, you could opt for something that’s moved the game on slightly in the form of a Cuban collar shirt, which looks slightly more contemporary than its buttoned-to-the-top cousins.
Heavyweight linen has also become a popular choice for overshirt jackets, which often feature patch pockets and come in a boxier cut, similar to a chore coat. These are ideal for layering on a summer’s evening, combining excellently with drawstring shorts or chinos as well as retro running shoes.
How a linen shirt should fit
As is usually the case with shirting, the slimmer the cut the smarter it looks. That said, you don’t want to go too slim to the point where it’s unflattering. For an easy-to-wear, smart casual linen shirt, you want a cut that flatters your top half, helping to shape it rather than cling to it. There should be a bit of room in the chest and shoulders, and ensure the arms are slim while the waist tapers down towards your hips, making it easier to tuck in.
For a more relaxed shirt that you intend to wear untucked, aim for a boxier shape. Again, you don’t want to go too far here and buy something that more closely resembles curtains than a long sleeve shirt. Instead, look for a style with slightly dropped shoulders and a waist that’s cut straight with no tapering. It should hang off your body in clean, straight lines, without any pulling across the chest or upper back.
This makes for a shirt that’s more laid back and better complements casual, weekend clothing. It will also work better as part of a layered look, underneath heavier outerwear.
Linen shirt colours
Linen takes colour incredibly well. The fibre’s texture practically demands it. Pick up a linen shirt and you’ll notice the fabric somehow mutes even the brightest of hues, perhaps due to its somewhat dull, matte finish.
That means you can get away with wearing more vibrant tones than you would with a regular cotton or Oxford shirt. Furthermore, due to its reputation as a summer fabric, linen offers the chance to experiment with colour, given that brighter shades always feel more appropriate in the sun.
For something bold, try opting for salmon pink or lobster red, which work especially well with navy chinos. Alternatively, try pastel green or lilac, which will infuse your look with a bit of 80s Miami Vice style.
The most stylish linen shirt brands in 2022
While perhaps more widely known for its sumptuous cashmere pieces, Luca Faloni also does an impressive line of linen shirts.
The Italian brand places great emphasis on fabric and fit, sourcing the finest linen from its homeland and cutting its shirts in a flattering slim fit that’s easy to dress up or down.
Percival is widely praised for its knitted shirts, which have become somewhat of a cult item among men’s fashion insiders. But its linen offering is equally impressive.
Expect a range of Cuban collar and embroidered designs, which are ideal for jazzing up your casual summer wardrobe.
For exceptionally made wardrobe staples, Asket should be your go-to. Expect carefully sourced fabrics and flattering fits that are both versatile and easy to wear.
Its linen shirts are exceptional. Coming in classic button-down form, they are offered in an array of colours that will suit all manner of body styles and skin tones.
Uniqlo has long produced some of the best linen shirts around, regardless of price point. The Japanese brand is known for offering superb value for money, so you’re guaranteed quality, and its range of linen shirts comes in virtually every colour imaginable.
Like with most of its product categories, Uniqlo offers both smarter or more casual takes – try one of its slim-fit designs under a blazer for the office, while its Cuban collar options are ideal for vacations.
ISTO isn’t shy when it comes to transparency, detailing the cost of production for everything it makes.
For those wanting a sustainable linen shirt it’s a no-brainer, then, but regardless of your carbon footprint the Portuguese brand’s sleek design signature makes its linen shirts some of the most stylish on this list.
Arket’s collection of regularly rotating garments blends classic with contemporary. Its linen shirts are the epitome of this juxtaposition: crafted from the age-old fabric but cut in new, oversized silhouettes that will slot straight into your casual weekend wardrobe.
Given that the company is named after the plant linen comes from, you’d expect Flax London to know its way around a linen shirt. And you’d be right.
Expect well-made, perfectly fitting designs that are as at home teamed with tailored trousers in the office as they are a pair of swim shorts by the pool. We’re big fans of its heavyweight linen overshirts, which turns a typically summer piece into something that can genuinely be worn year round.
With a focus on responsibly-sourced materials and classic cuts, Everlane is well placed to offer some of the finest linen shirts around. Look out for subtle updates on timeless designs including its soft-striped, short-sleeved, button-down versions.
Portuguese Flannel is a specialist shirtmaker, so you can be sure it offers every button-up you would ever need – from classic linen shirts through to contemporary takes on Cuban collars.
It’s linen collection comes in a wide range of colours and patterns, from brick orange to mustard yellow and even dip-dye, so if you want to make a statement, look no further.
British brand Reiss is perhaps best known for its casual tailoring, spanning expertly-cut blazers and flatteringly slim trousers. Its shirts are also top notch though, and for summer it always offers a hefty does of linen.
The highlight of this season’s range are its open collar shirts, a design Reiss has well and truly perfected over the years.