An Early Spring Lesson in Linen

Linen Blazer Chambray Shirt

Happy first day of spring, gentlemen.

The warmer weather has a way of making me daydream about drinking on patios, walking along the waterfront and breaking out one of my favourite spring and summer pieces — the linen blazer.

I like linen like I like my non-winter months: casual, unstructured, but far from lazy. Despite the wardrobe staple’s laidback demeanor, however, there’s a right way and a wrong way to wear it. Here are some of my rules of thumb when wearing a linen jacket.

Embrace the wrinkles

A wise man once told me that if you don’t love your linen wrinkled, you don’t love linen at all. The fabric’s open weave creases and folds extremely easily, so forget trying to iron the kinks out. In fact, roll it up and stuff it into your bag when you’re not wearing it. It’s like that.

What to look for

I tend to look for a snugly tailored fit when purchasing one, because I find the fabric loosens over time.  That said, look for a jacket with soft shoulders — that is, little to no shoulder padding — which lends it a more casual look. An unlined blazer will keep you cool, but comes with a higher price tag due to the finishing necessary on the designer’s end.

Light layers

Stacking several linen garments can create a wrinkle overload. Instead, throw some chambray, cotton and linen-cotton blends into the mix. They hold their shape better, complement the jacket’s texture and keep you just as cool. I reach for a super light denim button-up.

Keep things light

Linen blazers are available in myriad colours, but I tend to avoid black and dark navy. Stick to light-hued tones such as khaki, white and grey. Treat them like the neutral shades they are and wear your jacket with everything.

Now, can it be summer already?

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