A Brief History of Linen
For sweltering summer months, nothing beats the breathability of linen – you will always be cool in linen, literally and figuratively. Our passion for fabric led us to a curiosity about its origin and history. If you are not sure how to wear linen or work it into your wardrobe, we’re here to help!
Linen is woven from the fibers of the flax plant, a long and flexible plant with a single blue flower. The stalks contain the bundles of fibers that are later turned into fabric. Flax thrives in climates where the soil is relatively warm and moist, there’s plenty of sunshine, and the nights are cool. Harvesting and processing flax is incredibly labor-intensive and requires many skilled workers to take it from the field to fabric.The next step towards becoming your favorite shirt, the flax goes through the process called “retting” where the flax stalk is pulled from the soil and left in the field for a period of time (from two weeks to sometimes up to three months). Once retted, the plants are then baled like hay with linen twine to prevent cross-contamination. The bales are then transported to the turbines where the flax is “scutched” or processed through a machine that beats the woody parts of the stalk to separate it from the valuable fibers. After the scutching process, the longest fibers are then hand-selected from the turbine based on their general characteristics and natural coloring. The process includes four steps: combing, pressing, bleaching, and spinning the linen.
Linen is a multi-function fabric in use and in style, and is used for a large range of products. Linen is a fantastic fabric for clothing and is the perfect fabric for warmer weather due to its lightness and airiness. From men’s linen shirts to tailored jackets and suits, linen is a menswear staple. It is easy to both dye and launder. This fabric really has stood the test of time and continues to feature as a firm favorite in wardrobes around the world.
Styling with linen: for shirts, you can wear anything from casual chinos to a more formal pair of trousers. The flexibility of linen allows for a variety of looks from weekday to weekend, and as the use of linen grows in the menswear scene, you will find that linen will be found in everything dress shirts to suits. Spectre & Co.’s own linen blend shirts, however, are on the more casual side with a short sleeve and band collar. Although you probably wouldn’t want to pair them with a suit, they make a great layering piece on chillier days under a lightweight bomber or jacket, or just on its own during a warmer day.
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