Try as we might, it’s rather difficult to effectively dress a pair of shorts up. There’s a definite ceiling to their potential formality, which we find maxes out somewhere around smart-casual.
So what do you do when it’s the height of summer and you need to be dressed sharply? Sweat your way through a summer wedding in a pair of wool dress pants? That’s what most guys do, but there is another option.
Linen trousers are the answer to your summer suiting woes. They can mingle with dress shoes and tailoring, while keeping you cool, dry and stylish, and they’ll happily stride over into other areas of your wardrobe too.
Want to pair them with a tailored jacket? Great. Thinking of teaming them up with a tucked T-shirt and loafers? That’ll work too. They’re one of the summer’s most undersung yet surprisingly versatile pieces, and you’d do well to arm yourself with a pair.
To help you out, we’ve pulled together some need-to-know info regarding this breezy legwear option. From what to look for to the best brands to buy, here’s everything you need in order to welcome some linen into your wardrobe this season.
There’s a reason linen has been a staple in hot countries for millennia. It’s light, breathable, quick to dry, excellent at wicking moisture away from the skin and reflects heat well when light in colour. In short, it’s the ultimate natural summer fabric, and it works just as well for trousers as it does for shirts and tailored jackets.
Linen is also far more environmentally friendly to produce than cotton. The method of making it from the flax plant uses nowhere near the amount of water it would take to make the same amount of cotton. It can also be processed without the need for chemicals, and fewer harmful pesticides are used in the growth of flax plants.
There are a few different types of linen trousers to choose from. If you’re looking for something super laid back to wear on vacation, then a loose-fitting linen drawstring pant might be the best option for you.
For something a little more formal, go for a proper tailored trouser that can be worn as part of a linen suit or tailored separates.
The way a pair of linen trousers should fit depends largely on the style. An informal drawstring trouser can be nice and floaty and loose fitting, but a tailored version should be cut for a more form-fitting shape.
If in doubt with linen suit trousers, pay your tailor a visit and have some alterations made.
Linen can get extremely expensive. If you browse the big Italian ‘quiet luxury’ brands, it’s not unusual to see pairs priced in excess of £500. Perhaps even more. Is it necessary to pay this much for a decent pair? Absolutely not.
We’d say a good benchmark to aim for if you’re looking for a well-made pair of Italian linen trousers is between £150 and £200. For mid-rage options from trusted brands, around £100 should get you something nice.
For budget options, it’s entirely possible to get a decent pair of linen trousers for around the £50 mark, or possibly less if you hit the sales.
Blugiallo provides an ingenious service that allows you to get perfectly tailored garments without leaving the comfort of your home. Browse the selection, pick a piece you like and customise it to your requirements and preferences with the help of the brand’s experts.
With the linen trousers, you can tweak everything from the closure to the number of pleats, as well as the fit itself.
Shop now at Blugiallo
British brand Sunspel makes some of the best wardrobe essentials in the business. So good, in fact, that its clothes have even been worn by Daniel Craig himself in various James Bond movies.
Check out the Pleated Linen Trousers, which are ideal for dressing up for summer weddings.
Shop now at Sunspel
Premium resortwear label Vilebrequin makes upscale garments for sunny weather. The brand is best known for its swim shorts and short sleeve shirts, but there’s plenty on offer in terms of legwear too.
Vilebrequin makes jeans and chinos, but it also makes some great linen options as well. Check out the Straight Linen Pants, which feature a classic cut and are available either in plain white or vibrant orange.
Shop now at Vilebrequin
Luca Faloni is quickly becoming one of the leading names in linen, relying on some of its native Italy’s oldest mills for fabric. This isn’t any old material; this is to linen what Champagne is to sparkling wine, or what Savile Row is to a tailor-made suit.
Put simply, it’s the best of the best. The Lipari trousers are excellent all-rounders that can be paired with anything from tailoring to trainers.
Shop now at Luca Faloni
We’re big fans of London-based brand L’Estrange and its signature brand of premium, uber-versatile essentials.
The brand’s 24 Trouser is a long-time favourite here at Ape HQ due to its excellent fit and the fact that it can be worn in so many different ways.
Thankfully, there’s a linen version too, so you can enjoy the cut, practicality and versatility all year round.
Shop now at L’Estrange
As you might have guessed from the name, Flax London knows its way around a linen garment. The brand specialises in creating 100 per cent linen clothes and makes them right here in England.
Everything is designed with versatility and timelessness in mind, with understated colours, classic cuts and tried-and-tested silhouettes.
The Patch Pocket Linen Trousers are £200 a piece and available in six versatile colour options ranging from faded indigo to oatmeal.
Shop now at Flax London
Wax London is a great brand for picking up high-quality yet reasonably priced garments that are often made right here in the UK.
There are two styles of linen trousers to choose from: the Kurt, which is loose-fitting and heavily tapered, and the Alp, which is more fitted and tailored. The former is perfect for general day-to-day duties, while the latter goes great with tailoring for smart-casual summer settings.
Shop now at Wax London
Reiss is a great option for picking up understated yet stylish pieces with flattering fits at mid-range prices. Styles change from season to season, but there’s always a good selection of well-made linen pieces on offer, ranging from tailored jackets to trousers.
Shop now at Reiss
Marks & Spencer is an often-overlooked treasure trove of quality clothes at bargain prices. It’s an excellent place to shop for tailoring, including summer suits.
If you’re on a budget and in need of a pair of decent linen trousers to wear to a summer wedding or similar, this should be your first port of call.
Expect to pay anything from £30 for a pair of linen-blend trousers up to £100 for pure Italian linen versions.
Shop now at Marks & Spencer
If in doubt, Uniqlo. The Japanese high-street favourite is almost always a safe best with it comes to the simple things executed stylishly, and linen trousers are no exception.
Styles change every season, but there’s always a couple of styles, usually covering everything from loose-fitting and laid back to slimmer smart-casual options.
Shop now at Uniqlo
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