A Brief History of the Linen Suit

March 13, 2023

A Brief History of the Linen Suit

Linen suits are a timeless classic that have been a staple of men's fashion for decades. Made from the fibres of the flax plant, linen is a breathable and lightweight fabric that is perfect for warm weather occasions. 

Linen suits are versatile, comfortable, and stylish, making them a popular choice for weddings, business meetings, and other formal events.

Let’s take a quick look at what exactly linen is, where it comes from, and some of the appeals of this fabric in a suit.

What is linen?

As we mentioned at the top, linen is made from the fibres of the flax plant. Unlike cotton, which is made from the bolls that grow on cotton plants, linen is manufactured using the stems of the flax plant.

Linen is far more difficult and costly to produce than cotton. This makes it a less popular and more expensive choice for suits. There are a number of time-intensive and finicky steps that come with turning flax into linen, including stem separation, combing, reeling, and drying.

However, due to coming from the flax stems, linen has unique properties when it comes to moisture wicking, making it ideal for wear in warmer climates and ensuring the linen suit is still a staple in many a gentleman’s wardrobe.

A brief history of linen

Linen has been used for clothing for thousands of years, maybe even back to pre-historic times! The ancient Egyptians were known to have used linen for clothing, and it was a popular fabric in ancient Greece and Rome.

In the Middle Ages, linen was used to make undergarments and was considered a luxury fabric. During the Renaissance, linen became popular among the wealthy and was used for clothing and bedding.

In the 18th century, linen suits became popular among men in Europe. The suits were typically made of white or off-white linen and were worn in warm weather to keep the wearer cool. 

Linen suits became even more widespread in the 19th century when they were worn by British soldiers stationed in tropical colonies. The suits were practical for the hot, humid climates, and became a signature look for the Brits.

As the 20th century rolled around, linen suits made their way to the Hollywood elite. Some of the biggest actors of the day were often seen sporting a dashing linen number, catapulting the fabric into the public eye and causing it to become associated with glamour and sophistication.

Although not as popular as they once were, linen suits are still found in many gents’ collections and provide a versatile option for many occasions.

The unique qualities of linen

Linen suits are known for their lightweight and breathable fabric, making them a great option for warm weather events. The fabric is also known for its durability, so linen suits can last for many years with proper care.

Another benefit of linen suits is their versatility. Linen suits can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. A linen suit can be worn with a dress shirt and tie for a formal event, such as a wedding. Or it can be dressed down with a casual shirt and loafers for a more relaxed look in the office or out with friends. 

Linen also works wonderfully with a variety of colour palettes, meaning you don’t need to compromise on your colouring to still look elegant in a linen suit.

Finally, they’re just dang comfy! The lighter feel of the fabric and the typically more relaxed fit mean that you’re free to move about without the risk of any restrictions. Perfect for events where you’re on your feet a lot… or even having a little boogie!

Head to Tweedmaker for all your linen needs

Whether you’re looking for a suit that will keep you cool during intense days in the office or something to wear to a destination wedding, Tweedmaker has got you covered.

Have a browse through our range of linen suits and pick out your perfect look today!