How to wear a linen suit: advice from expert tailors

A heavy wool suit is what most people think of when it comes to traditional British tailoring, rather than a light linen suit. However, linen suits have been worn in England since the eighteenth century, and they’re the perfect choice for summer weddings, outdoor events, and garden parties.

There are lots of options when it comes to linen suits, from relaxed fits to sharper, more formal styles. It’s essential you know how to wear and style your suit correctly so you don’t look out of place. Luckily, the master tailors at Phillip Alexander have compiled some expert tips to help you look your very best.

This blog will cover:

  • What is a linen suit? 
  • Why choose a linen suit?  
  • What should you wear with a linen suit?


What is a linen suit?

Linen is a breathable fabric made from the fibres of the flax plant. Suits made from this versatile and lightweight material are perfect for summer occasions and casual events. They’re often made in light colours, such as cream, tan, and light blue. These suits can be dressed up with matching trousers and a tie or chinos for a more relaxed look. 


Why choose a linen suit?

A linen suit is a classic choice, especially for events during warmer seasons or destination weddings. The primary reason so many men opt for linen is that it helps keep you cool. The material’s open weave allows fresh air to flow in and heat to escape, which keeps your body cool and ventilated.

The structure of this suit fabric also means that it dries incredibly quickly, especially when compared to thicker fabrics like wool or tweed. Its moisture-wicking properties reduce the likelihood of damp patches and prevent it from clinging uncomfortably to your skin. 

Linen is a durable fabric because of its strong and tough fibres. Your linen suit can be worn time and time again without losing its quality and softness. However, the one downside of linen is that it does tend to wrinkle easily. This creates a more relaxed look at casual events, but if you’re after a sharper appearance, you’ll need to check your suit carefully for wrinkles or opt for a linen blend instead.


What should you wear with a linen suit?

What you choose to wear with your linen suit can have a huge impact on your outfit’s formality. For example, a three-piece linen suit with a silk shirt and necktie communicates something vastly different from a relaxed fit linen jacket paired with chinos and worn open-necked.

What shirt should you wear with a linen suit?

You can always pair a linen suit with a matching linen shirt, especially if you want a more relaxed look. There might be some wrinkling with a linen shirt, so it looks best without a tie to create a casual outfit. 

If you want to look more formal, pair your linen suit with a neutral cotton or silk dress shirt and a complimentary tie. A poplin shirt is also a good option.

Whatever material you choose, a plain white or light-coloured shirt is always a safe choice. However, if your linen suit jacket is a light colour, you could always try a contrasting dark-coloured shirt.

What shoes should you wear with a linen suit?

The most common shoe pairing with a linen suit is loafers, but other shoe styles, such as boat shoes and Oxfords, are also common. Play it safe and opt for a neutral colour like dark brown or black, or make more of a statement with olive green or dark green shoes. 

Can you wear a tie with a linen suit?

Although a tie is by no means compulsory with a linen suit, it can create a sharper, more formal look. If you’re attending a wedding or other formal occasion, a white shirt, a patterned tie, and a matching pocket square will really elevate your outfit. 

Going open-necked is always an option if you’re attending a casual event or wearing your linen suit casually.


Bespoke linen suits by Philip Alexander 

At Phillip Alexander, we’re experts at dressing gentlemen for all occasions. We can craft a beautiful linen suit that fits you perfectly, whether you’re attending a specific event or would like one for everyday wear.  

With locations in Cheshire and Savile Row in London, we offer a range of tailoring services, including bespoke and made-to-measure suits. Whichever option you choose, our master tailors will be on hand to give you invaluable advice to perfectly style your linen suit! 

Bespoke linen suits 

Bespoke tailoring is the gold standard in British tailoring. Our master tailors will handcraft your suit in your choice of fabric and style. The result is a stunning bespoke suit that fits you perfectly and is tailored to your personal preferences and requirements. 

Made-to-measure linen suits 

Our made-to-measure dinner suits are an ideal option if you’ve been invited to an event and are running short on time. We use a combination of machine work and handcraft to make these quality tailored suits at a lower price point than our bespoke ones. Rest assured, you’re still getting a high-end linen suit that will look stunning wherever you choose to wear it!

Book an in-person or telephone consultation to speak to one of our tailors about a tailored linen suit.