True sartorialists reach for one fabric and one fabric alone when the summer is in full swing - here's why linen is the number one choice in the heat.
One thing about linen that few people know is that it's one of the most sustainable natural fibres in fashion. Most understand that it's very lightweight, extremely breathable, and has a wonderful handle with a subtle crumple that softens the more you wear it, but its ecological credentials often get missed. As flax crops are not propagated, they only use natural rain water to grow, massively reducing the water burden compared to a crop like cotton. Most linen, at least most of the best stuff, gets harvested in Belgium where the terroir for the flax plant is just right. The eagle-eyed sartorial types among you will be asking then why Irish linen seems to be most coveted? Indeed, Ireland was a substantial producer of flax crops up until the 1950s when the indsutry shifted to Northern Europe thanks to more advanced agricultural methods and a more suitable climate. What we now refer to as "Irish linen" and what we cut our linen suits from at Favourbrook, is actually Northern European flax that has been spun into a yarn using Irish methods. The Irish Linen Guild has defined Irish linen as yarn which is spun in Ireland from 100% flax fibres, whereas Irish linen fabric is defined as fabric which is woven in Ireland from 100% linen yarns.
All very confusing, but rest assured we use the finest Irish linen we can get our hands on at Favourbrook! This season, we have focused our linen efforts on a number of suits and waistcoats that will look tremendously elegant for smart events or when worn as separates on more casual social gatherings such as lunches. In keeping with a traditional summer palette, we have crafted our iconic Newport jacket in coral peach, sky blue, stone grey and a navy herringbone linen. The jacket is slim-fitting in style and features a modern peak lapel with flower button hole and loop on the left lapel, four-button smoked pearl working cuffs and a single smoked pearl button at the waist. Inside the jacket is finished with Favourbrook's subtle ivory squares lining with two inside breast pockets and an internal ticket pocket. While the three tones come as suits, they can also be purchased separatedly and worn as summer separates in a more laidback style with a casual shirt, white jeans or chinos, and espadrilles.
We also cut our Casablanca jacket in two linen hues this season - a rich indigo alongside a stunning tobacco tone. The main difference between the Casablanca and the Newport jacket is that the former has two front patch pockets that offer a slightly more casual aesthetic than the Newport's angled flap pockets.
For more formal occasions such as weddings (remember those?!), a linen waistcoat is an excellent addition. Whether you're accessorising a lounge suit or it's forming part of your morning dress, a linen waistcoat has the dual benefit of not boiling you alive, and adding a discreet element of texture to your otherwise woollen morning suit. Many of our seasonal waistcoats are constructed from cotton, silk and linen blends to ensure the garment retains the benefits of all three.
On the casual front, we have expanded our linen shirting this season to include classic collar styles such as our Lagan Blue Colne Cutaway Shirt and Natural Colne Cutaway Shirt, alongside our very popular Safari shirts in Kirtling Khaki, Cobalt Evering and Navy Ethan. Featuring patch pockets and two button cuffs, the shirt is elegantly finished with horn buttons. It's casually elegant layered atop a simple white t-shirt as a piece of summer outwear for holidays or the weekends, but equally can be worn on its own with chinos.
To say that linen is a summer-only fabric would be doing it a disservice though. We've found that it wears extremely well throughout spring and autumn, and only really comes a cropper in the depths of winter when the mercury drops and the benefits of wool come into their own. It's also worth mentioning that while at first it may seem to have a somewhat stiff handle, linen benefits from wear, and you'll find that the more you reach for your linen blazer, the better it will drape and the softer it will get.