How To Style Linen For Effortless Looks (No, It's Not Just For The Beach)

Linen is one of the most timeless fabrics of all time. It's a lively fiber that's become synonymous with timeless chic style: Think of beach getaways in the French Riviera, and sipping cocktails on the Amalfi Coast. While linen can conjure up some romantic images, it's also a sustainable fabric. It comes from the flax plant, a hearty crop that grows well even in drought. Linen lasts, so once it's a part of your wardrobe, it's there to stay. And when its sartorial life is done, linen is biodegradable. So there's a lot going for it.

With all of this in mind, we want to bring linen into our summer wardrobes as a staple. It's traditionally linked with beaches, but linen can go so many other places. You can dress it up, dress it down, wear it at home, and wear it out. Here's how to take this comfortable, stylish, easy fabric everywhere.

On-the-go linen looks

Linen is perfect for the ideal on-the-go summertime look. Whether it's running errands or meeting friends for lunch, linen is the perfect look. TikToker Victoria Correia suggested a white tube top with white linen pants and a gray sweater thrown over the shoulders. Pair it with layered gold necklaces and casual, gray sneakers. Correia later combined her white tube top and linen pants with a black blazer for a slightly more done look.

What's so compelling about linen is the versatility of its color palette. Yes, whites and creams are the traditional color, but its range is so much bigger than that. TikToker Syazana Sukiman styled the perfect look for daytime linen. She wore bubblegum pink linen pants with a matching pink short sleeve button-up top. She paired her head-to-toe linen with cream sandal heels and a tan shoulder bag.

Dressing up linen

Linen isn't just a casual fabric. It can be dressed up to create a very chic effect. Sofia Richie proved this while readying for her wedding to Elliot Grainge in the south of France in 2023. Richie wore a white, button-up linen vest by Posse with a white linen maxi skirt and shared the look on Instagram. The look was elongating and elegant. Richie paired the linen with white leather sandals and a Chanel ribbon tying back her braid. She held a white, Chanel shoulder bag. Structured linen dresses and skirts like this are the perfect way to dress up linen for a night-out look in the summer.

The key to dressing linen up is to opt for fitted cuts. J. Crew's linen button-front shift dress is the perfect example of this elegant cut. Gold buttons and front pockets give a tailored look to the linen. Pair with a clutch and heeled sandals. While we love the airy linen looks, if you want to make it dressy, go a little more fitted. 

Working with linen tops

The white linen button-up shirt is one of the most classic ways to incorporate linen into your wardrobe. TikToker Ida Giancola offered styling tips for working with a linen shirt. She paired an open linen shirt with shorts and a bra top underneath. For a dressier look, she kept the open blouse and bra top but incorporated them with jeans and an oatmeal-colored blazer. She later paired the linen shirt with a high-waisted skirt and tied the shirt in a bow at the bottom, giving a cropped styling.

Linen blazers are another beautiful way to wear the fabric. TikToker Ash Owens gave styling tips for working with a cream linen blazer and said that nothing "screams spring" quite like it. Pair an oversized blazer with loose denim for a minimalist, contemporary feel. Accessorize with a straw bag or a brown, leather shoulder bag.

The classic linen dress

One of the easiest ways to work with our favorite fabric du jour is through the linen dress. With this styling, think of the classical, breezy, loose-fitting linen dress that's so workable in the summer. These linen looks work so well with effortless styling since the voluminous fabric is its own statement. The cuts are gorgeous with spaghetti straps or an off-the-shoulder vibe. Since the structure of the linen dress is maximalist, accessorizing should be kept to a minimum. Wear the dress with leather sandals and a shoulder bag. Even a canvas shopping bag works well with the casual chic look that linen dresses offer.

Another point to consider with linen is how the color impacts your warmth while wearing it. If it's particularly hot, choose lighter-colored linen. Stylist Gabbi Maragos told Byrdie, "Color is also something to consider when shopping for a linen dress. Lighter colors tend to absorb less heat with wear." So for hot days, go classical with your color range, from whites to creams and soft pastels. 

Let linen replace your winter sweatpants

Linen functions as a perfect staple for loungewear and pajamas. While the classic sweatpants might be great while chilling at home in the winter, linen is a great way to step up the lounge game. Linen functions beautifully as breathable, comfortable sleepwear. Opt for loose pants, jumpsuits, or roomy dresses. What makes it so compelling is how cool linen is in warmer weather. Brands like Parachute that specialize in linen loungewear keep the cut roomy, with stretchy, elastic or drawstring waists — so there's no fear of feeling restricted or confined. Let linen breathe with you as you rest and restore yourself. The best part is that loungewear requires such easy styling. If you need to head out, keep your linen look and pair it with flip-flops and a sleek bun for a versatile style.