With summer firmly on the horizon, it's time to shake off your sweats and embrace a lighter aesthetic. This season, linen is firmly on our radar.
Loved by celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston and Kate Middleton for its ease of wear, linen is unparalleled when it comes to class, elegance and style. This humble fabric is also perfect for the warmer weather due to its lightweight, breathable nature.
Below, The Australian Women's Weekly Fashion Editor Mattie Cronan breaks down everything you need to know about styling and caring for linen, and where to buy this season's best pieces.
This season, Uniqlo is undoubtedly the place to go for all your linen needs. The brand stocks a versatile, affordable range in a number of designs and colours. You can't go past its perfectly tailored Linen Cotton Tapered Pants, $49.90, which pair easily with chic flats and a white tee. Alternatively, opt for one of the brand's stunning Linen Blend A-Line Sleeveless Dresses, $59.90 each, which are available in a range of on-trend, earthy tones. Simply pair with sneakers and a tote for the ultimate summer look.
"I like to layer up pieces in a relaxed tailored look," says Mattie. "The more the pieces are worn and lived in the better it looks.
"The wrinkles and imperfections are what gives your look its character. I love earthy tones, Khaki, golden browns, creams… There are such lovely summery colours out at the moment and I am loving adding lilac, which works with these more neutral shades too."
In terms of fabrics that work well with linen, Mattie recommends cotton, silk and all linen blends.
When it comes to accessories, Mattie recommends experimenting with different textures. For our shoot, she opted to use neutral accessories that perfectly complement Uniqlo's unique shade of linens.
"I would stick with natural fibres, leathers, straw totes, or a canvas bucket hat," advises Mattie. "Adding a pop of colour with a tote or cross body bag works well too."
The good news is, linen is a versatile fabric, so it suits almost any occasion.
"A summer's day at the beach, on holidays, to work, for a special occasion - you can wear linen virtually anywhere," says Mattie.
A great example of this is Uniqlo's Premium Linen Shirt, $49.90, which is easily layered and available in a range of colours including pink, blue and white. It's part of the brand's Masterpiece range, where each season, the item is tweaked and further improved upon so the fit and feel is perfected.
Linen is universally regarded as one of the most wrinkle-prone fabrics, but Mattie thinks this only adds to its charm.
"I would use a hand-held steamer to tidy up before wearing, or an iron for trousers, but know this might not stand the test of time," she says.
The good news is, linen certainly doesn't need dry cleaning. You just need to pay attention to the temperature of the water when washing, according to Mattie.
"I would launder on a cold or warm cycle on a delicate wash setting. I would also look for a mild linen specific detergent to maintain your linen pieces."