If you’ve had a thorough look around our clothing and homeware ranges, you may have noticed something: we love linen.

From luxurious bedding, to lightweight pajamas, to summer dresses and winter coats. It’s one of our absolute favorite textiles. We thought we’d talk about the numerous benefits of linen and why exactly we want to spend 100% of our time wrapped up in it.

If you’d like to read more about our linen pajamas specifically, check out Ben’s review of his pair.

1) Strength

We champion long-lasting things, and the primary reason we love linen is because it’s really, really strong. Linen is made from long, lustrous fibers from the stems of the flax plant - and it’s the length of these fibers that gives the fabric its longevity. 

Linen’s inherent durability is the main reason we think it’s worth investing in. It’s much stronger than cotton, and linen garments can hold up to decades of wear.

Piglet Basic Bed Linen Bundle, Dove Grey
Our beautiful linen bedding by Piglet is an heirloom investment that will last and last. You’ll love the feeling of high-quality flax against your skin year-round.

2) Ultimate comfort

Linen is well-known for being highly breathable. When it comes to bedding, better fabric breathability allows your body temperature to regulate quickly, leading to a faster and deeper sleep. Linen is also hypoallergenic, making linen bedding perfect for sufferers of eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions, because it calms rather than irritates.

Linen clothing is usually associated with summer, for good reason. The absorbent nature of the flax fibers means it can absorb up to 20% of its weight in moisture without feeling wet. Wicking moisture from your skin in this way keeps you dry and comfortable in the heat.

In the cooler months, linen’s porousness gives it a warm, comforting feel. Often made into loose designs, linen is perfect for layering, and thicker linen garments are versatile pieces ideal for spring and autumn. 

3) Sustainability

Flax is a rotation crop, farmed naturally in small batches. Linen production requires very little pesticides and water (rainfall will often suffice), and every part of the plant is used up. It’s much more biodegradable than cotton too - so it can even go in the compost at the end of its life.

According to the European Confederation of Linen and Hemp, a linen shirt will use 6.4 liters of water across its life cycle, compared to 2,700 liters for a cotton shirt. As well as the water-intensive growing methods cotton requires, this staggering comparison is due to the fact that linen needs to be washed less - which leads us neatly onto our next point.

Piglet linen pyjamas, blueberry

Our beautifully-made linen pajamas by Piglet are made of stonewashed French linen. Perfect for lounging and sleeping year-round, they get softer and softer with wear and use.

4) Low-maintenance

Linen doesn’t require a lot of looking after. It’s naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which means you can wear linen for longer between washes. It resists dirt and stains, withstands high temperatures and can be dry-cleaned, machine-washed, or steamed. Furthermore, the smooth flax fibers of the material will never pill and become bobbly.

What about ironing? Linen is well-known for wrinkling and creasing easily, which is due to its lack of elasticity. However, we’re of the opinion that line-dried linen, which will remain slightly crinkled, is as beautiful as a perfectly ironed piece.

A lesser-known benefit to linen is its imperviousness to moths. Clothes moths - or rather, their larvae - are the bane of many long-lasting natural fibers, such as wool (one of our other favorites). However, because linen contains no keratin, moths leave it alone.

5) Improves with age

Linen has a stiffness to it that feels really fresh and clean - like crisp sheets. But once you start wearing it, this texture ‘breaks in’ to silky softness. This will reset each time you wash it, but over time, your linen will just get softer and softer. It’s one of the pleasures of keeping linen garments for years.

6) Timeless aesthetic

Linen’s natural luster and texture lends depth to any outfit, whether you’re artfully layering up in the autumn or wearing one simple summer dress. Linen’s porous fibers can be dyed rich colors, which combine with its texture to create a dynamic aesthetic that can’t be imitated.

Linen fabric has been around since 8,000 BC, used in all sorts of applications worldwide. It truly is a timeless textile - a classic linen shirt could be one or one hundred years old!

Piglet linen tablecloths and napkins
Made from Piglet's signature stonewashed French flax, these classic linen napkins and tablecloths create an effortlessly sophisticated look, even when crinkly.

Why does linen cost more?

Whilst we can wax lyrical about the many benefits of linen, we acknowledge that it doesn’t come cheap. The reason linen is more expensive than cotton garments is because manufacturing it is a long, labour-intensive process - from harvesting it to creating the fabric itself. There are also geographical limitations to where flax will happily grow. 

Linen accounts for less than 1% of textile production worldwide, and it has long been associated with luxury. However, the qualities inherent to this fabric make it an outstanding choice when it comes to keeping your things for longer. We believe that if you’re making purchasing decisions for the long term, linen is an investment that will pay off time and time again.

November 24, 2020 — Jana Pleyto