All of the linen…
Here is my comprehensive “Summer of Linen” post, which includes mini-reviews (and links to the full ones) of all the linen that has passed through, and some, ended up in, my closet. The purpose of this (trying lots of linen) was really to compare different types of linen, to see what I liked the best, and maybe determine what holds up to wear/washing better. Of course, I haven’t tried every single linen brand out there, not even close, so take that for what it’s worth. I did try Amour Vert, Eileen Fisher, Elizabeth Suzann, James Perse, Everlane, Grana, Sunja Link, Esby, Emerson Fry, and Zady.
I’d still love to try Emerson Fry’s linen t-shirts. I had a Not Perfect linen dress come through SLOWRE, and loved the mid-heavyweight linen on that, and I have had CP Shades linen, and found it comparable to Eileen Fisher’s handkerchief linen.
In case you don’t want to read through everything to get to the heart of it, here are my personal favorite linen items, in order of preference (favorite first):
- Elizabeth Suzann – the “heaviest” linen of them all, and for that reason, the “best” in my estimation
- Emerson Fry organic linen caftan – mid-weight, slightly less “heavy” than ES, and oh-so-soft from the beginning
- Eileen Fisher organic handkerchief linen – beautiful lightweight linen, but sturdy
- Everlane woven linen – not the linen tees – light/mid-weight linen, comparable to Emerson Fry, but not as soft at first
- Sunja Link – more stiff
- Zady linen tee – linen tees seem to be mostly all the same, but I found Zady’s linen softens up best, although it DOES tend to loose it’s shape faster
- Amour Vert linen tee – I’ve only had this a couple days, but it’s good. Rather thin, but has a very nice drape
- Everlane linen tees – loose their shape less than Zady, but prefer their older linen tee styles to the new ones
Below, mini-reviews of the linen in my own closet:
Eileen Fisher organic linen boxy dress | buy here – original post
Eileen Fisher organic linen shell | buy here – original post
Eileen Fisher organic linen boxy top | buy here – original post
Eileen Fisher organic linen pants | buy here – original post
All my Eileen Fisher handkerchief linen is perfect for summer heat, and really easy to wear. It’s a good weight, although I slightly prefer Elizabeth Suzann’s heavier weight linen. All the EF linen pieces have held up beautifully to washing & wearing, dry fast, and always get lots of compliments. They show creases/wrinkles a bit more than Elizabeth Suzann, but not as much as Everlane’s linen boyfriend shirt.
I wear the EF linen several days before washing, and in between wears, I spritz each piece quite a bit with water to release the wrinkles and help it look “fresh” for the next wear.
In terms of linen care, I find it incredibly easy to care for: I wash it on delicate, all together, with The Laundress detergent, and then hang to dry. I never iron or steam my linen, mostly because I appreciate linen’s natural look, but also because I find it rather pointless! (Here’s also a great piece at Racked with more details on caring for linen)
James Perse linen button down | sold out (similar) – original post
(mediocre linen, frankly. It’s good, rather thinner than I like, and sort of stiff, but nothing special, and the style was sort of underwhelming on me. )
Esby linen top | buy here – original post
(I liked the linen on this top, it was a nice medium-weight, but the style was a little too feminine for me.
It’s up on SLOWRE right now…)
Everlane Linen tunic | sold out – original post
(love this tunic, and it’s held up really really well over the last year, to wearing and washing. I do wish Everlane would bring styles like this back. I like it better than their new linen tees)
Sunja Link linen dress | buy here – original post
(oh, how I love this dress…the linen is quite a bit more stiff than other linen, but I think that’s because of the pattern’s printing. I look forward to it softening up over time, though, I imagine it will)
Everlane linen sleeveless blouse | sold out – original post
(this blouse is wonderful after I got it altered last year. I haven’t worn it but once or twice this year though, in favor of tops with sleeves. The linen isn’t my favorite either, it’s thin and delicate)
Zady linen sweater | buy here – original post
(love this sweater, but as you’ll see in my original post, I wish it was cropped and more of a boxy fit. But it is a nice classic fit and makes a great layer – I’ve worn it on the plane. The linen is a nice open-weave, not itchy at all, and although it looks delicate, isn’t.)
Elizabeth Suzann Linen harper tunic | buy here – original post
(my favorite linen piece – Elizabeth Suzann’s linen is superior to all others; it’s a heavier weight, which means it falls better and doesn’t show wrinkles/creases like many of the other pieces do. It feels soft and supple from the get-go and washes beautifully.)
Everlane linen v-neck | buy here – original post
(I like this tee, but the v-neck is so huge it’s hard to wear. And after I washed it it shrunk in length a bit, which is okay, I like the new length better actually. Everlane’s linen tees start out pretty itchy, and this one is still not super-soft yet.)
Everlane linen shirt dress | sold out – original post
(I liked this okay, but gave it to my sister because she loved it…)
Everlane linen boyfriend shirt | buy here – original post
(this is another favorite linen piece – I like the quality of the linen, it’s a bit heavier than Eileen Fisher’s handkerchief linen but slightly lighter-weight than Elizabeth Suzann)
Zady linen tee – it has shrunk in length since this picture, and lost some shape, become stretched out a bit more around the hips.
A note on linen t-shirts: I like the general construction (finished, folded under hems) of Zady’s linen tee, but not the shape. The linen on all the linen tees seems very similar, maybe Everlane’s is a little heavier than either Zady’s or Amour Vert’s. Amour Vert uses an “open stitching” method on the hems, which I find strange, and am not convinced it will hold up for years that way, and I was disappointed that the hem at the neck isn’t folded over and stitched so it doesn’t pop out. But I love the shape…
I also tried the Grana linen boyfriend shirt (it came through for consignment on SLOWRE) and thought the linen was inferior to Everlane’s boyfriend shirt, but the fit was slimmer – less oversized.
Le Fil Rouge linen blanket (via credits from Garmentory) – LOVE THIS – so does Dagny 🙂
What is your favorite linen? How do you care for it? What’s your oldest linen piece?
(FYI, Rodale’s is offering an extra 30% off all sale items now, and there are quite a few good linen pieces from Nuthatch, Not Perfect, CP Shades & Eileen Fisher in the sale section)
This is a little off topic, I’m sorry, but I took a glance at Slowre and it’s looking great!! The only thing I can’t figure out is how to view everything at the same time. I love all the different ways to sort (type of clothing, designer, size) but I also want the option to browse through everything. How can I do that? <3
Grechen Reiter says
excellent point!! i just re-did the site yesterday and took out the “shop all” option without realizing it – it’s back now, except it’s called “everything” 🙂
thanks for your feedback – i totally forgot about that!!
I bought two of the Everlane tees at the beginning of the summer and wore them a few times. I definitely agree that they are itchy, and hopefully that will go away after a few more washings. They seem better suited to late summer/early fall here, so I’m saving them for that. But you did make me feel much better about my bra. I think it’s fine for it to show slightly and looks very nice on you. Thanks for such a great and thorough post!
I’m the one who bought the Grana linen shirt. 🙂 I’m planning on altering it to make it short sleeve and remove the lapels/collar. I liked its weight but it was a little stiff, so I washed it, and that softened it *slightly* but not much.
So far I don’t have a favorite linen piece, or much linen at all. I really want to wear more linen, but I’ve had trouble finding linen I like – for one thing, it always seems way too scratchy! But I have learned you really have to give it a good washing first and then it will soften up. I ordered an Amour Vert Ryan tee that I hope will get some good use. Thanks for doing this review, it is very helpful!
I’m actually planning on making some linen pieces. I’ve started getting back into sewing, and I’m excited about making some pieces like caftan dresses and dolman tops.
Grechen Reiter says
oh! i think making your own is the BEST idea!!
and yes, you really do have to stick with linen and wash/wear it before it becomes super-soft and more wearable. but it’s totally worth it i think –
Grechen Reiter says
thanks catherine – the amour vert tees are definitely thinner, and better for summer if you’d like to try one of those when they have a code. not itchy at all, and with really nice drape…
+1 for Elizabeth Suzann linen!!
I recently received my much-awaited Georgia dress in navy linen. It’s perfect. I love the structure that the heavier weight linen maintains, and the fact that it’s completely opaque so I don’t need to worry about which undergarments to choose for the day. The Georgia style is a boxy cut and is somewhat loose on me, but it doesn’t have that sack-like appearance like so many other linen dresses. I just love it so much. Well worth the wait. It’s late in the season, but I will probably order a midi version of the Georgia for next summer. Fingers crossed for linen stripes next year!!
That Harper tunic is on my wish list for next spring! It looks awesome! Do you not wear it much in the heat of the summer, due to how thick the linen is? I ordered an Emma kimono in black linen and can’t wait to receive it!
Thank you for your thorough reviews! I lived in linen growing up in Atlanta, but it made its way out of my wardrobe after 8 years in New York and Michigan. Now that I’m again living through sweltering summers in DC, I really need to revamp my summer wardrobe and bring the linen back. Currently, I only have a pair of linen pants that are from Gap, though I bought them used a few years ago from a thrift store. They’re wonderfully soft, and I’ve been wearing them to work every week. I ordered two linen dresses from Pyne and Smith, who hand-sews them with a small team of seamstresses out in California. Like Elizabeth Suzann, they’re produced as ordered, and they’re popular, so there’s a backlog. Hopefully my dresses will ship in the next week, and I’ll get some wear out of them before it cools down. I typically make a fall trip to the Eileen Fisher Company Store just north of Baltimore – maybe I’ll see if I can stock up on linen items for next summer.