Working with women over the ages (decades if we’re really counting) I find women have definite opinions about linen. Put simply, they love it or they hate it.
When I come across people who hate linen, it’s definitive and absolute…although I’m hoping to influence that passionate response right now.
My mother would have been in that I-hate-linen category. We could have been shopping together at Herberger’s in Fergus Falls, MN and I could have picked out a marigold linen top for her (she LOVED that color). She’d have looked at the fabric, her smile would have turned upside down and she’d have said, “No, Honey. It wrinkles.” She was from the Midwest so that’s the nicest way someone could express their disapproval. A non-Midwestern response could be, “Linen? Are you kidding? It wRiNkLeS. Never!!”
As if wrinkles make the garment defective from the start.
For the people who love it (I’m in that category), there’s no uproar. In fact, nothing has to be said. It’s like linen lovers share a secret wink, handshake, or a hug that makes you know how much they love and appreciate linen, too. Like loving weekday movie matinees, soft serve ice cream or watching a British detective series on Netflix, it just goes without saying.
Now if you study women who wear linen, I think you’ll see an air of confidence or je ne sais quoi. It’s an intangible quality but you recognize it when you see it. I have a theory on why that’s so and it starts with wrinkles.
News flash: Linen is supposed to wrinkle
Clients have said, “I don’t like wearing linen because I have to press it every time I wear it and then it’s wrinkled in five minutes. I don’t have time for the upkeep.”
Trying to keep linen from wrinkling is futile. It shouldn’t even be attempted. When you accept the fact that linen is supposed to wrinkle, there’s a freedom that comes over you.
What I notice is that when I put linen on my body or put it on a client’s body, fashion fairy dust starts falling all around. There’s an excitement in the air, a sizzle. If one could bottle it, it would be similar to the excitement that takes over the moment you tell the kids, “We’re going to Disneyland!” Remember that feeling?
Linen is practical. When the weather is warm-to-hot, linen is the coolest fabric you can put on. I like mixing it with other fabrics too. I took this Sandrine linen dress designed by Lisa Bayne from Artful Home and wore it over my frayed cotton creamy-colored ankle jeans. The Sandrine dress comes in three colors: ink (the one I’m in), poppy, and marigold.
Linen calls for expression. There’s an uncontrollable urge to adorn linen with your favorite things. And maybe for those of you who are skeptical about linen, think of it this way: Linen naturally calls for accessories and the pulled together look you create is going to draw the eye away from the wrinkles anyway. Win/win! You’ll feel cool and relaxed while looking glamorous or chic.
When I wore the Sandrine dress over my frayed jeans, I reached for my beaded necklace from my friends the Sol Sisters. Look at those colors; they stand out beautifully against the ink dress.
This dress made me reach for a scarf to weave into my hair. That’s what happens when you wear linen! I added my Wendy Stauffer earrings from Artful Home (here’s one of hers that is similar) and my Pat Flynn Iron Moonlight Cuff. It’s also from Artful Home.
Now tell me, are you going to say no to the linen dress when it looks as great as it does all put together? I didn’t think so!
Removing the jeans and wearing the linen dress alone
Like I said, linen makes me do things that I wouldn’t think to do with another fabric. At least the ideas wouldn’t come as fast as they do with linen.
Here I decided to go crazy with my pearls. I created a focal point at the base of my neck by grouping two chunky pearl necklaces together. I’ve done that before here in a jean outfit. I added my Alexis Bittar lucite earrings, my Lanvin vintage bangle, one of my button bracelets and my Victor Sanz owl ring. I put on my patent leather blush platform sandals by Prada. I felt ready to for the next social event on my calendar where I wanted to be on the dressy side.
Can you see how open linen is to accessories? And it very well could be the wrinkles that are enticing that action. With that little bit of rumpled feeling with the fabric, more accessories is more better. If this was a fine silk dress, more wouldn’t be better. It could be overpowering.
I pulled out my denim jacket as a quick wrap for the Sandrine dress. Aren’t those blues great together? My jacket had a cluster of pins on it already and I left them all on. Mostly they are pearl pins, plus a bee pin and one that has Mother’s initial: A for Alma. I want to bring her along in this outfit. She may not be ready to embrace linen but when she saw how cute this outfit is, it could have opened the door a tad.
One last thing to share about linen: I rarely if ever press it. I’ll take it off after wearing it for a day, hang it on a hanger. Some of the wrinkles will relax, but really, I don’t care if they don’t. I accept and embrace the properties of linen.
In closing let me just say that you are a free woman. I LOVE that about you! You can choose to wear whatever you want. You can also change long-held beliefs about things if you care to. And you can try new things with baby steps. Maybe you’re not ready to wear a linen dress but maybe you could wear a linen jean jacket or a linen shirt that you wear open like a jacket over a smooth T-shirt. I just want you to know that if you decide to join the linen loving club, you’ll be met with open arms. We really are a friendly bunch. You’ll like us.
So my friends, I’m ready to open the door to your comments. Love? Hate? Might consider? Open to trying it now that you know it’s meant to wrinkle? Have been wearing it for years; what’s the big deal? Let’s get this linen conversation going!
This post was sponsored by my friends at Artful Home. Thanks for letting me use the Sandrine dress to share my ideas about linen!
P.S. Here’s my friend, Cindy Hattersley from her Rough Luxe Lifestyle Blog. We just had lunch last week with three other blogging buddies. She’s a fabulous interior designer and loves linen too! Click here to read about her happy linen stories!