Why Linen, Why?

For many Mid-Atlantic residents, linen is the quintessential summer fabric.  But for this fashionista, linen is a siren’s song that lures you in with its sophisticated look and then dashes your style on the wrinkly rocks.  Because few things look as unpolished as linen after 45 minutes of wear.

So why does this gorgeous Rouland Mouret-esque dress have to be linen? Why?

Tailored V-Neck Linen Dress (Asos, $59)

Some of you are probably thinking, “But Belle, it’s only 26-percent linen.  That can’t be that bad right?”

Remember what I was saying about the siren song?  They fool you into thinking, “Well, it’s mostly cotton, I can probably get away with it.”  And then 45 minutes after you put it on, you stand up to get a second cup of coffee and WHAM!  You look down to discover that your dress has more wrinkles than Mark Sandford’s Appalachian alibi. (See Jessica Biel’s trousers for a visual reminder.)

The bottom line is that I don’t like linen.  It wrinkles, it bleeds color and it holds onto smells like Julia Allison clutches a cupcake.  And I frankly will not buy it.  Lucky for me, there is a similar dress available in knit.

So where do you fall on the fashion spectrum?  Or your pro-linen?  Or anti-wrinkle?


    leave a comment

  1. Rachel says:

    I’m anti-wrinkle, but I am often seduced into buying linen items because they look so wonderful in the store for the three minutes I have them on in the dressing room. I always think “THIS time it will be different. I just won’t ever sit down when I wear this dress….”

    June 16, 2010/Reply
  2. Sarah says:

    It wrinkles, it bleeds color and it holds onto smells like Julia Allison clutches a cupcake.


    June 16, 2010/Reply
  3. Ana says:

    I made the mistake to wear this beautiful white linen dress yesterday and the ENTIRE day I was self-conscious of how many wrinkles it had. If you wrote this based on an inspiration of seeing a woman with a wrinkly dress….that was probably me!! I love it though, maybe if i wear it for a couple of hours!

    June 16, 2010/Reply
  4. erin says:

    Totally pro-linen. I love the way it looks and keeps you cool in the humidity. I’ll suck up the wrinkles and wear a cute linen dress to work vs. a wool one any day.

    June 16, 2010/Reply
  5. Jill says:

    It can be really hot and itchy, despite its portrayal as a cool summer fabric, especially when lined or when you have to wear something under it because it’s on the sheer side.

    June 16, 2010/Reply
  6. BJ says:

    Belle, you seem to really like ASOS, and after checking out your site and theirs, I do too. What are the fits like with ASOS. I’ve been a litle nervous about ordering because I’m not sure of my size and the return policy seems to be a haze. My size seems to vary by the store, even though the measurements that they give are the same. In H&M, I wear a size 4; but in Express, my size varies between 0 and 2.

    June 16, 2010/Reply
  7. Shannon says:

    Rule of thumb when shopping, grab a ball of hem fabric in your first – if it immediately wrinkles, it is never worth it!

    June 16, 2010/Reply
  8. Belle says:


    I’m 34, 27, 37 and I end up wearing at least a UK8. Snug fitting dresses I like a UK10. Then I have the top taken in. Briitsh sizing is brutal.

    June 17, 2010/Reply
  9. Rory says:

    I love linen, and have probably 5 pairs of linen pants which I iron just about every Sunday afternoon in the summer. People expect linen to wrinkle during wear, and when you have temperatures and humidity like DC’s (or the South’s), you can’t blame folks for wanting to cool down a bit.

    June 17, 2010/Reply
  10. Bianca says:

    i hate it. i love the way it feels, but it bugs me that i can’t even put it ON without there being wrinkles. this past spring i was lured into a linen dress purchase…wish i hadn’t since i have worn it once even though it is SO cute!

    June 17, 2010/Reply
  11. E says:

    Linen is meant to wrinkle so I fail to understand why people insist on buying structured linen items (Jessica Biel’s pants) or trying to structure them with an iron! That being said, a loose-fitting pair of linen pants are great casual wear for summer months.

    June 17, 2010/Reply
  12. KLo says:

    I love loose-fitting linen pants. They’re so comfortable, cool and they ooze summer.

    June 17, 2010/Reply
  13. Belle says:

    I can see how it wouldn’t bother you on a casual Sunday, but for work attire, linen is no good.

    June 17, 2010/Reply