Warm-Weather Dressing: How To Wear Linen With Sophistication

Anyone can dress for winter, that’s easy. Throw on some layers, vary the textures and seal the deal by pulling on your chunkiest boots. Summer, on the other hand, can be far trickier. Soaring temperatures reduce the bulk of your clothes to back-of-the-wardrobe irrelevance for several months, and with fewer garments to call on, making an outfit sing requires some real sartorial finesse.

But there is a secret among menswear’s savviest dressers; a wonder fabric that can take summer ensembles from so-so to sizzling, while keeping you cool and comfortable in the process. Its name? Linen: a long-time favourite of Pitti peacocks, young Riviera affluents and Balearic old-timers alike.

It’s something that premium Italian menswear label Luca Faloni knows all about. Since the company’s foundation, this breezy, summer-friendly fabric has been something of a staple in its collections. All of Luca Faloni’s garments are made in Italy, using only the absolute finest of locally-sourced materials, and when it comes to linen shirts, shorts and trousers, things are certainly no different.

With that in mind, who better to help us equip you with everything you need to know about linen? If your summer wardrobe doesn’t already feature this airy, laid-back fabric, now’s the time to put things right. From what to buy to how to wear it, here’s everything you need to know.

For The Love Of Linen

But first, what makes Luca Faloni’s linen so special? The answer can be traced back to the brand’s native Italy, where it relies on the country’s oldest mills for its fabrics.

This isn’t any old material. This is to linen what Champagne is to sparkling wine, or what Savile Row is to a bespoke suit. Put simply, it’s the best of the best, balancing softness and comfort with strength and durability, resulting in garments that hang beautifully, hold their shape and get even better with age.

Key Linen Pieces

The Shirt

When shopping for linen, a shirt should be at the top of your list. This laid-back summer favourite is the quintessential linen garment and the perfect alternative to that Oxford-cloth button-down you wear the rest of the year. Luca Faloni knows this, which is why the brand offers three different takes on this warm-weather favourite.

Firstly, there’s the Portofino: a classic-collar linen shirt, available in a range of colours and patterns, spanning everything from traditional white to coral and everything in between.

Next up, the Forte, which features a band collar and three-quarter button-up closure, for an off-beat twist on a classic silhouette.

And finally, the Versilia: a classic long-sleeved linen shirt with the addition of a band collar for a more casual look. All are made in Bergamo, Northern Italy, by skilled artisans, using the finest 100-per cent pure linen and mother-of-pearl buttons.

The Shorts

As far as shorts go, there’s a tendency among men to stick to three key styles: chino, tailored and swimming. Linen is often overlooked, which is a crying shame in our humble opinion, as it offers one of the best comfort, style and practicality propositions you’re likely to get from any type of summer legwear.

The Panarea Linen-Cotton Shorts from Luca Faloni provide a premium alternative to some of the most popular short styles. The combination of lightweight fabric and classic styling means these shorts can happily stride directly from the beach to the bar, making them a versatile addition to any vacation wardrobe.

The Trousers

Full-length legwear is notoriously tricky to nail in the summer months. Jeans, chinos and dress pants – the styles that normally have our backs come rain or shine – can be hot and uncomfortable when the mercury rises. That’s why we’d recommend opting for a linen trouser instead.

Luca Faloni’s Lipari Trousers are the perfect solution. Like all of the brand’s garments, they’re made in Italy using high-grade fabric which feels as good as it looks. They’re also available in a range of colours to suit every taste and come in a versatile, modern tapered fit, which will lend itself nicely to a wide variety of outfits and shoe styles.

How To Wear Linen

Summer Smarts

Dressing for smarter occasions in summer can be tricky. Your traditional heavyweight cotton shirts and wool tailoring aren’t comfortable to wear once the mercury rises, so how can you keep your cool but still look put together? Step forward, linen.

Here, we retain a sense of sophistication by utilising a timeless navy pants and khaki green shirt combination, but render it in linen so it’s more appropriate for the season. A band collar allows you to drop the tie a loosen your top button without it appearing sloppy, while cuffing the sleeves keeps things relaxed yet refined.

Travel Ready

Linen’s trademark mix of comfort and coolness makes it perfectly suited to travelling in style. This outfit capitalises on that by incorporating some of the comfiest and most casual linen styles into an ensemble that would look equally at home in the departures lounge or out for dinner.

Luca Faloni’s Elba Polo Shirt is the hero piece. It’s cut from a linen-jersey blend that combines the best parts of both fabrics resulting in a stretchy, soft and breathable finish. The slub look of the material also brings a nice touch of texture to the table.

Legwear-wise, linen trousers offer the perfect compromise between shorts and jogging bottoms. They’re comfortable, but still smart, and allow the legs to breathe.

Earth Tones

White is the go-to colour when it comes to linen, but the fabric’s trademark texture lends itself well to other hues too. Earth tones – think green, beige, stone, rust, burgundy and mustard – tend to work particularly well in linen, with the added benefit that they can be combined to great effect.

A foolproof approach is to use light legwear (shorts or trousers) with a darker top. The resulting contrast works to create a perfectly balanced look that can be easily built upon with tonal knitwear or a tailored jacket in a complementary shade. Ideal for vacations and summer evenings out and about.

Shop linen at lucafaloni.com

A paid partnership with Luca Faloni – words and opinion Ape’s own.

Paddy Maddison

Paddy Maddison is Ape's Style Editor. His work has been published in Esquire, Men’s Health, ShortList, The Independent and more. An outerwear and sneaker fanatic, his finger is firmly on the pulse for the latest trends, while always maintaining an interest in classic style.