Best women’s linen clothing 2020: Keep cool in these shirts, shorts and dresses

Linen is the fabric your wardrobe needs for summer.

While in the Nineties it became synonymous with your tired and drab holiday wardrobe, it has since seen a resurgence, hitting the runway and high streets in a big way.

During spring/summer 2018 shows, for example, the catwalks were littered with designers reimagining linen with fresh hues and shapes – from Loewe to Rejina Pyo.

Fast forward to 2020, and it remains a fabric many of us are drawn towards. With micro-trends including earthy tones, as well as the obvious neutrals, creams, and the occasional floral.

Its resurgance can also be acredited to the rise of the more eco-conscious consumer, as it’s kinder to the planet than other materials.

Derived from flax plants, linen is easy to grow and requires less water and energy compared to cotton. Once sourced, it is durable, resilient, and only gets better (not to mention softer) over time.

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As if its eco-credentials weren’t a good enough reason to buy linen clothing, it also has the benefit of being ultra-light and breathable too, making it the ideal fabric for hot a sunny day. Thanks to its high absorbency (it can absorb up to 20 per cent of its weight in moisture before it feels damp), it deals well with sweat and creates a happy ventilated zone between your body and clothing; meaning on a hot, sticky afternoon, you’ll be able to keep your cool.

Similarly, when it comes to travelling, it packs well, dries overnight and looks fresh even when it’s not been ironed.

Designers and high street brands alike are offering pieces that scream summer holidays yet could and should be worn every day – just turn to Arket, H&M or Sleeper.

When choosing your linen pieces, it’s worth remembering this is a minimalist trend. Opt for clean lines and neutral tones, and keep accessories to a minimum.

When testing we made sure the percentage of linen was above 50 per cent, while assessing the pieces on fit, and how easy they were to wear. We also kept in mind the price point, because good linen needn’t cost a fortune.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Zara mini dress with ruffles

We don’t think there’s a lot not to love about this mini dress – it even has pockets. Made from a blend of linen (53 per cent) and cotton, it’s soft to touch and is the perfect dress for a hot summer’s day. Adding to its credentials, lilac is big news this season, so there’s really no better way to tap into the trends than with this number. Owing to Zara’s slightly varied sizing, we’d suggest trying this in the size down.

Mango straight linen-blend trousers

Although many of us are tired of relying on loungewear after months stuck inside, we still want to be comfortable – especially during a sweaty day of working from home. Enter Mango’s linen-blend, elasticated waist trousers. This straight leg pair has the power to keep you cool, even in the height of a summer. And as they’re fully lined, you won’t have to worry about them being see-through either, a common problem with linen trousers.

Bondi Born utility sleeveless shift dress

Founded in Sydney in 2015, Bondi Born is a brand that is dedicated to celebrating the female form. Creating elegant, sophisticated resort wear, that can easily be elevated for the city, the brand uses only the finest quality fabrics. As the most expensive item within this round-up, we were expecting big things. And it didn’t disappoint. At 100 per cent linen, this fitted mini dress accentuated and flattered the silhouette. It felt sturdy, yet soft on the skin. Our 5ft 5in tester found it to be quite short in length, so for anyone taller, it might be best when worn over the matching linen trousers; a co-ord, after all, is totally chic.

H&M linen-blend shorts

On a hot summer’s day, these linen shorts will be the only thing you’ll want to be wearing. Trust us. Made from a blend of linen (55 per cent) and viscose, these are the perfect item for off-duty dressing. While these run true to size, we’d advise sizing up for less of a close fit, which will make them more comfortable in the heat. Wear with an oversized white T-shirt (Asos, £10) loosely tucked in and a pair of white trainers (Topshop, £16). Coming in at under £15, these shorts prove that you needn’t spend a fortune to update your wardrobe with linen.

Arket fluid linen trousers

Made from 100 per cent linen, these trousers are a great addition to any wardrobe – particularly if you’re back in the office and are looking for something that will keep you cool on your commute (and if your office AC isn’t on point). The straight leg and long length give these trousers serious leg-lengthening powers; a great flattering fit. Just make sure you’ve got neutral underwear to hand, as the material is a little see through.

Uniqlo women 100 per cent premium linen long sleeve shirt

The proof is in the name. Made from 100 per cent premium linen, the material is as soft as you’d expect, and the fit equally as great. The slight billow on the sleeves provides a nice shape, and the boxy cut is laid-back and relaxed. With a huge range of colours on offer (we particularly like the yellow and sky blue), and at such an affordable price point, we think this is the perfect addition to any wardrobe. If you want to tap into the Instagram trend, wear this with a pair of cycling shorts (Monki, £8), and a white cami top (Topshop, £6.99). But really this will go with everything in your wardrobe.

Other Stories cotton linen blazer

Sleeper Atalanta linen dress in micro polka dot

You’ll most likely have seen this dress everywhere. The off-shoulder puff-sleeves are on trend, while timeless, and the shirred and fitted bodice contrasts with the floaty skirt, working to accentuate your waist. It’s a flattering fit and very easy to wear. Due to being 100 per cent linen, it is fairly sheer – opt for neutral underwear underneath this one. It will also feel softer the more you wear. From floral to sky blue, it comes in a range of colourways, and we love them all. This is of course an investment piece, but one that we don’t think you’ll regret.

Free People we the Cleo tie top

Tie tops are having a moment, and this one from Free People is a great way to tap into the trend in a classic way. Adding a pop of colour to your wardrobe is in vogue summer, and we love the subtle lime shade that can be worn with just about anything. The flowy silhouette is flattering and easy to wear, and at 55 per cent linen, it’s soft to touch, and will easily see you through summer after summer. This comes up large, so you could easily size down and it would still fit like a dream.

The verdict: Linen clothing

With so many great linen items available at a range of price points, there really is something for everyone. But, if you’re looking for an item that will stand the test of time and see you through summer after summer, then it’s got to be Arket’s lightweight linen shirt. It looks great freshly ironed but works equally well when a little crumpled, and is guaranteed to go with just about everything in your wardrobe.

(The Independent)

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