Woolen pants and rugged, raw denim don't mesh well with warmer weather. Frankly, shorts aren't always appropriate either. As such, you should work linen pants into your wardrobe. Yes, the term "linens" is oft used to describe sheets or towels, but we're talking about trousers here. They're breathable, often elegant and yet under utilized.
What Is Linen?
Linen, which comes from the flax plant, is what's known as a bast fiber. Bast fibers are materials collected from the inner bark, aka the bast, which surrounds the plant's stem. Other bast fibers include hemp, ramie and mulberry.
Linen's got a lot going for it, especially compared to other fibers (like cotton). It's more durable than cotton, making it perfect for heavy-duty applications. Because it's quick-drying and breathable, linen is a go-to for warm weather garments. It's hypoallergenic, naturally anti-bacterial, and because the fibers are so long (it can grow up to 6 to 8 inches, compared to cotton which maxes out around 2.5 inches), linen fabrics are smooth, anti-static and won't pill. Unlike wool, linen won't attract moths.
Whether worn to the beach or the bar, a pair of linen pants are surely an upgrade in at least one category — style or comfortability. Choose wisely, though, as all aren't made equal. Some prove see-through (too thin or not double layered) while others wrinkle relentlessly (too unstructured).
What an Expert Says
"Natural fibers tend to be more breathable than man-made,” Todd Snyder Chief Product Officer Alejandro Rhett says. That's why recommends linen for when it's warm out. “It’s a porous fiber, so it lets in air as a natural coolant. "We," he says, referring to the those at the Snyder brand, "think that’s the best fiber and fabric for summer."
By combining cotton and linen, Wythe, a New York-based brand with Western influences, these chinos prove longer-lasting, better at withstanding wear and wash and warmer, in case you want to wear them year-round. Available in four colors, they fit and feel like your favorite chinos, but they're more breathable, because they're 35 percent linen.
Behold, some of the most luxurious, and yet absolutely resilient, linen pants on the market. A collaboration between Standard and Strange and Blluemade, these Garden Pants are inspired by "War Garden & Victory Garden posters from WWI and WWII," and they truly are durable enough for the dirt: double knees provide protection at stress points; a split v waist prevents splits; two tool loops offer storage; its long fiber Belgian linen construction resists wrinkling; and the additional pockets prove big enough to actually store something worth carrying.
Linen is admittedly not the most durable fabric, meaning it's easier to rip, faster to wrinkle and harder to nurse back to normal. That makes spending less on less higher-end option OK. I'm all for buy less, buy better, but occasionally you need pilot a look before you drop the better part of a paycheck on pants. Mango's linen pants are smart, tailored and only $70 bucks.
Cut from heavyweight navy slub linen, a blend of 65 percent organic cotton and 35 percent linen that's actually tougher than cotton alone, Taylor Stitch's Morse Pants are workwear refined. Ultra-tough yet flattering and impressively pared back, you can wear these outdoors, in an industrial setting or to dinner — and seemingly everywhere in-between. A garment wash has given them incredible softness out of the box, but a triple stitched waistband, pair of hems, joining seams and more promise durability.
Orlebar Brown makes the quintessential Linen Trousers in a flattering, tailored fit. Straight-fitting through the leg and contoured in the carriage, these can pass for formal or elevate an outfit that's more easy-going. Plus, they have cinched hips to help tighten the waist if you wear them with your shirt tucked in.
Alex Crane's linen pants are cut from sustainable 100 percent French linen, temperature regulating, stain and odor resistant and, as we mentioned before, stronger than 100 percent cotton. Rough these up; we promise they can take it, and the biodegradable wash they were treated with shortly before being sold promises they'll break in well (and quickly).
Dany Del Mar does vacation wear well. It's the type of stuff you'd wear to a remote location with a well-stocked bar. But your weather need not be tropical to order it. The Brisa Linen Pant is a smart, relaxed pant with an elasticated, draw string waist you can wear with its matching top or just a T-shirt.
Todd Snyder turns three pants — chinos, sweatpants and linen trousers — into one in its Beach Pant. It has two big front pockets, an elasticated waist with an internal string and a wide fit.
Typically, linen is only used to make chinos or "beach pants," straight-fitting trousers with simple pockets. But Lone Flag used the fabric for a pair of cargo pants, complete with big pockets on both legs, which lend to its technical aesthetic.
Made in India from a mix of 55 percent linen and 45 percent cotton, Corridor's Open Weave Trousers are an ideal bottom all year. They have a pull tab front closure, semi-scooped pockets and wide legs.