Only a few fabrics are as soft, sweet, and reminiscent of summer as linen. It divides opinion but possesses undeniable durability and breathability, in addition to being a perfect fit in both casual and formal environments. They wrinkle and don't hold shape well, but that's what’s great about them. After all, for some of us, summer would not be tolerable without it. Apart from being more lightweight and breathable, linen is 30 times stronger, more hypo-allergenic, and much more environmentally friendly than cotton.
However, all linen is not created equal. Flax is grown globally but some places produce higher quality flax than others while some climates are better for retting and manufacturing linen from the flax plant. Ireland is the best place on earth for manufacturing the plant, while plants grown in northern Europe and retted in Russia or China tend to bear fibers of the poorest quality because of regional bacteria and climate.
Below, we've rounded up the best, softest, most high-quality linen shirts for men brands that we could find within a wide variety of styles and price ranges so you don't end up overpaying for poorly-woven and under-processed fibers rife with wood chips and chemical residue.
As far as premium resort wear is concerned, few labels are better equipped to deliver the goods than Orlebar Brown. The original guys who made ‘smart swimwear’ a thing, have expanded into menswear that takes the tourist-like feel out of summer vacation style. It has earned itself a cult following thanks to its tailored swim shorts and photorealistic, beachy prints but their abilities stretch far beyond just high-quality swimwear. Check them out for a full range of linen shirts.
Sometimes less is more and while menswear is almost always a game of “you get what you pay for”- the Japanese high-street retailer Uniqlo is one of the rare exceptions to the rule. When it comes to high-quality basics, Uniqlo is difficult to beat, and it just so happens that linen shirts for men are the area in which the brand excels itself. Flattering cuts and durable manufacturing are some of the best, making these linen shirts the best value options around. Available in a range of styles and colors the Uniqlo Linen Shirt is your must-have. A word of warning is that they sell out during winter so you’ll need to stock up before then.
Ralph Lauren is having somewhat of a resurgence and this example of a linen shirt is just amazing. The go-to label for East Coast Style, Ralph Lauren is no stranger to shirt crafting. The brand’s buttoned-down oxford has been a staple item for well-dressed men for decades, but RL’s linen options provide an alternative for the warmer summer months. What was once a brand for snobby people is now a go-to for affordable and smart menswear.
Richard James’ newest collection reminds us of a throwback without a large dose of Ivy League aesthetic. Composed of a versatile cotton-linen blend in a regular cut, this shirt works well with shorts or under a blazer for a smarter look. With RJ’s laser-precise production it makes our top 5.
For decades, Linen Club has practiced the making of the finest, most fashionable linen collection through the use of advanced European technology and high-quality flax from Belgium and France. An untiring dedication to perfection and a promising partnership with the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp (CELC), makes it India's finest linen brand. Today, it is synonymous with the most vibrant and in-vogue linen fabrics in over 50 countries across 6 continents.
Other Notable Brands
If you want to look good while doing good, Everlane is the brand you’re looking for. This eco-conscious brand only uses material from the most ethical factories globally, conducting audits on things such as fair wages, reasonable hours, and working environment. They pride themselves on their “radical transparency”; revealing the true cost behind all of their products whether it be materials or labor or logistics. This allows you to see exactly what you’re paying for.
Steeped in American vintage style with some Transatlantic influence from the founder’s origin in Paris, Hartford employs premium fabrics like French linen and Albini cotton to produce leisurewear for all seasons. But with the hottest part of the year on its way, we wouldn’t blame you for buying one of these linen numbers and giving it a shot.
It’s the only brand in the world that wants you to buy less, but better. The constant churn of fast fashion is disastrous for the environment and they’ve set out to change the way you think about clothes, creating extremely durable pieces that are designed to last and be worn every day. The label only makes one linen shirt made using 100% linen farmed in Normandy, it features a relaxed tailored fit that’s ideal for hot weather with mother of pearl buttons and is available in 5 colors.