Dress shirts are available in many different fabrics. In addition to cotton, you can find them in linen. Linen dress shirts, in fact, have become a popular alternative to their cotton counterparts. You can wear them in suits or other formal outfits, and you can even wear them in casual outfits. If this is your first time hearing about linen dress shirts, though, there are a few things you should know before adding them to your wardrobe. This post offers a complete guide to linen dress shirts.
What Is a Linen Dress Shirt?
Linen dress shirts are formal or semi-formal button-up shirts that are characterized by a linen construction. Linen is a soft fabric with many of the same properties as cotton. It's soft, lightweight and hypoallergenic. While cotton is derived from the cotton plant, though, linen is derived from the flax plant. Linen consists of fibers from the flax plant that have been harvested and woven together.
Some linen dress shirts are short-sleeve, whereas others are long-sleeve. Regardless, they are all formal or semi-formal button-up shirts that feature a linen construction. They are made of the soft fibers of the flax plant. Linen dress shirts aren't made of cotton, nor are they are made of wool or other fabric. Assuming a linen dress is 100% linen, it will be made completely of flax plant fibers.
Benefits of Linen Dress Shirts
Being that dress shirts are available in so many other fabrics, you might be wondering what benefits linen offers. After all, linen dress shirts look almost identical to cotton dress shirts. They have a similar texture and a similar level of softness. While you can always wear a linen dress shirt to experience its benefits firsthand, you can expect some common benefits.
Linen dress shirts are lightweight. They weigh less than nearly all other types of dress shirts, including those made of cotton and wool. With a linen dress shirt, you can rest assured knowing that it won't weigh you down. All linen dress shirts are incredibly lightweight.
Not only are they lightweight, but linen dress shirts are also breathable. What does this mean exactly? Linen dress shirts are breathable in the sense that they won't trap your body heat. As your body generates heat, it will dissipate through the thin and lightweight linen fabric from which the dress shirt is made. During the spring and summer months, wearing a linen dress shirt can keep you cool thanks to its breathable properties.
While they are lightweight, linen dress shirts are still strong. Research shows that linen is about 30% stronger than cotton. Linen dress shirts retain this same level of strength and durability, making them resistant to premature wear and tear. You can use linen dress shirts in your daily outfits without fear of them ripping or fraying. Thanks to their strong and durable properties, linen dress shirts last a long time.
Like other dress shirts made of an organic fabric, linen dress shirts are resistant to shrinkage. If you've ever purchased a dress shirt made of a synthetic fabric, you may recall it shrinking. Synthetic fabrics are susceptible to shrinkage.
How to Choose a Linen Dress Shirt
While all linen dress shirts are made of linen, they are available in different types. If you're going to invest in a linen dress shirt, you'll need to choose the right type. For starters, you should consider whether you want a short-sleeve or long-sleeve linen dress shirt. Short-sleeve dress shirts are generally more casual than their long-sleeve counterparts. And because they leave some of your arms exposed when worn, they are better suited for the warmer months of the year.
If you're going to wear it during the spring and summer months, stick with a short-sleeve linen dress shirt. If you're going to wear it during the fall and winter months, you may want to choose a long-sleeve linen dress shirt, instead.
You'll need to choose a linen dress shirt in the right color. Like cotton, linen can be dyed just about any color. Some linen dress shirts are white. White is probably the most common color in which linen dress shirts are available. Of course, you can find linen dress shirts in dozens of other colors besides white. They are available in blue, red, green, yellow, orange, brown and more. Think about what other garments you'll be wearing it with, and choose a linen dress shirt in a matching color.
Don't forget to consider the collar style when choosing a linen dress shirt. All dress shirts have a collar -- and those made of linen are no exception. The style in which the collar is made, though, may vary. Some linen dress shirts have a normal spread soft collar, whereas others have a spread stiff collar or a wide spread collar. There are nuances between these collar styles. When shopping for a linen dress shirt, choose a collar style that matches your personal preference.
Tips to Maintain a Linen Dress Shirt
Linen dress shirts aren't immune to stains and blemishes. If you regularly wear a linen dress shirt, chances are it will get dirty. The good news is that you can easily clean linen dress shirts.
Because they are made of an organic, all-natural fabric, linen dress shirts can be washed. You can either hand wash or machine wash them. Hand washing is the safest solution. Just fill a tub or sink with warm water, after which you can clean a linen dress shirt with a small amount of liquid detergent. Alternatively, you can machine wash them. If you're going to machine wash a linen dress shirt, though, remember to use the gentle cycle setting.
Keep in mind that linen dress shirts may develop wrinkles. Wrinkles are fairly common with linen dress shirts due to the fabric's lightweight properties. To remove them, you can either iron or steam your linen dress shirts. Ironing or steaming offers an effective way to eliminate wrinkles from the lightweight linen fabric.