How To Wear Linen In Winter: Expert Tips From Ma + Lin

You might associate it with breezy shirts and skirts. But it’s perfect for cooler weather, too. Here’s how to wear linen in winter

By Chere Di Boscio

When you think of ‘linen,’ what comes to mind? Elegant table cloths? Summer shorts? Floaty white shirts?

The truth is, linen is one of the best fabrics to wear in the hotter seasons, thanks to its breathability. It’s lightweight, all-natural, and has amazing temperature-regulating properties.

But did you know those properties can help keep you warm, as well as cool? Yep, it’s true. In winter, this plant based fabric retains the heat and prevents the body from freezing.

What you should also know is that as with all textiles, linen comes in different thicknesses. The fabric has an exceptionally rich texture. And its strong flax fibers are very durable and heavy enough to be worn even in the coldest weather. Especially if you’re layering clothes. Here below, we asked Yue Jiang, founder of Ma + Lin, for some expert tips on how to wear linen in winter.

How To Wear Linen In Winter: Expert Tips

What’s the easiest way to wear linen in winter?

One of the easiest ways is just through layering. If you’ve got a beloved linen shirt or dress, why not throw it over a turtleneck, for example? Turtlenecks are totally trending this year, and the combination of wooly textures with the smoothness of linen looks wonderful.

You could also try tonal layering. This just means layering the same colour palette of clothing in different tones. Think: black combined with charcoal grey and dove grey, for example. You could place a black linen jacket over a charcoal grey jumper, for example.

In your experience, what are some mistakes people make when trying to wear linen in winter?

Personally, I think it’s got more to do with the colour than the fabric. For example, pastels and bright floral patterns are more associated with spring and summer. Linens in dark hues like black, moss, brown or navy are more suited for winter. As my first collection is selling in winter, we feature two lighter hues (natural and flax) and two darker colours (terracotta and forest green).

Speaking of style, how do you determine your own styles for Ma + Lin?

I get a lot of inspiration on Pinterest (I could spend hours and hours on it!) I also go to vintage shops for inspiration. Before designing, first I determine the overall shape of the style I want. How it should drape on the body. Will it be fitted, or oversized?

Then, I select the right fabric to go with it. For my first collection, I used a medium-weight, plain weave linen, which can be worn easily throughout the whole year. Finally, I consider details. My latest collection features Italian-made wooden buttons, as well as Peter Pan collars on some styles.

What do you say to people who claim linen gets too wrinkly?

Well, linen does get wrinkly very easily. But that’s part of its charm! In fact, many linen fabrics now have a ‘washed effect’ just to highlight those natural wrinkles! It really differentiates linen from synthetic materials like polyester, which is sometimes treated with harmful chemicals not to wrinkle.

Why do you love linen so much?

What are your top styling tips for learning how to wear linen in winter?

  • Go for loose, larger pieces like vests and jackets you can easily layer over other garments
  • Choose darker colours, as mentioned above
  • If you have a low cut jumper, layer a linen blouse underneath
  • If you’re comfortable indoors wearing a medium-weight linen top, when you go out, just be sure you stay warm with a cosy coat
  • Accessorise according to the season. For example, to wear linen in winter with seasonal vibes, try pairing chunky a gold necklace over a sweater with a linen blazer. In summer, you can wear the same blazer with a camisole and some delicate, layered bracelets.
  • I personally think linen clothes look best when matched with other natural materials like raw silk, cotton, or Tencel.

Any last words?

Linen, being one of the most sustainable materials in the world, has made a big comeback in recent years. However, I feel linen is far from reaching its potential in the fashion industry. I want to show to my customers how to wear linen in winter and throughout the whole year, and how many different kind of garments can be made of linen.

Ma + Lin’s ethos is centred around traceability, transparency and sustainability. Besides only using eco-friendly dyes and materials, we are completely transparent about our entire supply chain, from flax farms to our dispatching centres (with a supply chain map dedicating for each product). We only produce locally. All raw materials and garments are made in Europe, in order to reduce our carbon footprint. And we choose our suppliers carefully. Our main fabric mill – Libeco –  has been carbon neutral since 2014, and our garment manufacturer, Paula Borges, is fully SMETA audited.

Ma + Lin endeavours to play a part in the “slow fashion” revolution. With our Made-to-order only system, customers experience the joy of delivery after a short period of patience and anticipation. I’m sure they will love and cherish the items for a long time, no matter what the season. That, for me, is the essence of sustainable fashion!

Chere Di Boscio
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