The Men’s Summer Linen Edit

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For years, I steered clear of linen. As pleasant as the breezy material sounded when summer temps started to climb, its notorious propensity for wrinkling felt like enough of a headache to be prohibitive. Once I learned how to shop smart, though, I found heavier-weight linens that actually kept their shape – and were well worth the occasional trip to the ironing board.

There’s no better fabric for giving a sense of laid-back cool, but as insinuated above, all linen products are not created equal. So I sampled products from seven of the biggest names in menswear to find out which ones were actually worth the purchase. Read on to find my honest recs on the linen shirts, shorts and trousers you need for the summer of ‘23 – for getting in that vacay state of mind even if you’re stuck at home.

Everlane

The Linen Short-Sleeve Standard Fit Shirt

$78
$78
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Credit: Everlane

Let’s kick things off with a solid, middle-of-the-pack option: Everlane’s standard fit offering, available in eight different colorways. I went with the blue and white pinstripe for a trip to Puglia last summer, and found it to be just as wearable at the beach as I did at aperitivo. It’s a reliable, great-looking cut, but Everlane’s assertion, though, that it “looks even better wrinkled” wasn’t exactly my experience. I found this shirt to have a much better wear directly after a wash, and pretty quickly thereafter it started trending towards shapeless. That might not be shocking for linen exactly, but I’ve found myself returning more frequently lately to other shirts below.

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J.Crew

Short-Sleeve Baird McNutt Irish Linen Shirt

$89.50
$89.50
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Credit: J.Crew

If Irish linen is considered to be the world’s best, and the best linen in Ireland is milled by Baird McNutt, then by extension you could argue this is the best linen shirt in the world. And honestly…? I wouldn’t fight you on it. I love everything about this shirt, from its rich, inky blue hue to its polished cut that still wears softly. It’s pretty difficult to find an outfit this shirt wouldn’t look great with, and it lends itself to semi-formal summer occasions without feeling a bit stuffy.

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Alex Crane

Sun Tee

$65
$65
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Credit: Alex Crane

Named for its ability to regulate heat even on the sunniest days, the Sun Tee by Alex Crane is undeniably an easy, breezy wear. My caveat, though, is that it may not be the cut for everyone. My partner has a more defined chest than me, and the tee looks much better on him since it accentuates that feature – since I’m lankier, it sort of just hangs from my shoulders. It’s not even necessarily a fault of the construction: this is 100% French linen knit in Portugal by top-of-the-line producers. But no honest review would be complete without flagging who the ideal customer might be (and not be).

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Dandy del Mar

Brisa Linen Shirt

$129
$129
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Credit: Dandy del Mar

Dandy del Mar truly never misses. I’m rocking their swimwear, their waffle-knit sets, even their bathrobe whenever I get a chance, and nary is the time I’ve worn any of them without getting a ton of compliments. The same is true for this embroidered linen piece, that’s chock full of details but still feels clean and simple. The fit verges on boxy and runs slightly larger than true sizing, but as someone that can’t rock a truly boxy shirt this one still looks great on me – in fact, I’ve come to love the added structure, given linen’s tendency to slacken.

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Quince

100% Linen Shorts

$34.90
$34.90
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Credit: Quince

Shorts this nice, at this price? Practically unheard of. As much as shorter inseams have been trending for men, there’s something adorably normcore about this almost-knee-length cut. They’re easy to dress up or down (or both at the same time, like the pitch-perfect styling in the picture above) and are lightweight enough to add easily into any suitcase. That said, their paper-thin gauziness means they wrinkle heavily, and almost immediately, so you’ll need to keep tabs on their status before wearing out in public.

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Percival

Willow Linen Shorts

$150
$150
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Credit: Percival

At the other end of the price spectrum for shorts you’ll find Percival – but one look at that print, and it’s clear these are one-of-a-kind. Percival excels in crafting eye-catching patterns, with a restraint and subtlety that makes them feel accessible and not garish. I’m a big fan of these shorts, but have found that the uniqueness of the print makes them trickier to style. Luckily, Percival also sells a matching Cuban Linen Shirt ($225) for the most stylish poolside set this side of Havana.

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Buck Mason

Loomed Linen Fatigue Pants

$158
$158
Code:
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Credit: Buck Mason

I gave linen pants their fair shot a few years ago — I tried pairs from Zara, Club Monaco, even my darling Percival — and could never find anything even remotely flattering. But when Buck Mason came out with their very own, I had a feeling I could trust their dependably excellent tailoring. Sure enough, their linen pants are snug where it counts, with a structured pocket that keeps my phone and car keys from feeling like they’re swinging around in parachute pants. They’re stylish enough to be more than resortwear; they’ve become my new summer go-to, even after years of skepticism.

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Everlane
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J.Crew
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Alex Crane
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Dandy del Mar
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Quince
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Percival
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Buck Mason
Everlane
The Linen Short-Sleeve Standard Fit Shirt
$78
$78
Code:
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J.Crew
Short-Sleeve Baird McNutt Irish Linen Shirt
$89.50
$89.50
Code:
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Alex Crane
Sun Tee
$65
$65
Code:
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Dandy del Mar
Brisa Linen Shirt
$129
$129
Code:
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Quince
100% Linen Shorts
$34.90
$34.90
Code:
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Percival
Willow Linen Shorts
$150
$150
Code:
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Buck Mason
Loomed Linen Fatigue Pants
$158
$158
Code:
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SOAK UP THE SUN

And there you have it: a starter pack for the chicest, softest linen items to kick off summer. While they might take a bit more maintenance than your classic cotton blend, if you’ve ever spent a warm August night clad in linen then you know it’s worth the extra care. Keep that fabric steamer on hand and you’ll be looking fresh til Labor Day.

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Everlane
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J.Crew
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Alex Crane
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Dandy del Mar
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Quince
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Percival
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Buck Mason

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