It’s what you’ll be wearing while sipping boat drinks on a tropical island. Why? Because it’s a luxurious and practical fabric, traditionally woven from flax, which is prized for it’s strong, absorbent, lightweight, and cooling fibers. Pure linen is soft—it actually gets softer with wear and washing—with a subtle texture. Its natural color is off-white or beige, but it is often bleached or dyed. Linen is used for household textiles and clothing, or if you’re an ancient Egyptian, for wrapping mummies. The only downside? It wrinkles easily, so you’ll need to keep an iron on standby for your linen pants, dresses, skirts, shirts and jackets.
Linen is one of the world’s oldest textiles, and its production one of the world’s oldest industries. People have used linen for thousands of years as clothing, paper, home goods, and even currency. The earliest examples of linen date back to antiquity, with some evidence suggesting that prehistoric peoples were the first to use linen fabric. In modern Western civilization, Irish linen is the gold standard, and the country is known for its high-end, luxury fabrics.
There is nothing that says ‘relax’ quite like linen pants. Usually reserved for the summer months or equatorial locales, linen pants are just begging to go on vacation. In fact, your chances of ending up on an island somewhere increase dramatically when you include linen in your wardrobe. On the mainland, tailored linen trousers are perfectly appropriate for the office, or as an alternative to a sundress. More casual linen pants, in baggier cuts with drawstring waists are great for lounging on a summer day.
Women’s linen pants fall into two categories—totally laid back or classic and sophisticated. If you’re headed to the beach, try a pair of relaxed or cropped, drawstring linen pants with sandals and a lightweight tee. For the office, tailored linen trousers with a high waist and wide leg look smart with a blouse, wedges and a satchel. Check out linen blends with a hint of stretch for a more fitted look.