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Linen is the perfect summer fabric — here are the best styles to wear

Beat the heat in these lightweight and stylish options.
Jannely Espinal wearing two different linen outfit looks, outside
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Jannely Espinal

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Depending on where you call home, summer heatwaves can pack a punch and have you waving your white flag at the idea of putting any effort into your outfit as you opt for an old T-shirt and running shorts. But you shouldn't have to sacrifice style for comfort, no matter how hot it is. As you swap your heavy layers for shorts, sweaters for tank tops and boots for sandals, adding a few breathable linen pieces to your summer wardrobe will help you withstand any sweaty situation.

Linen has long been a summer staple thanks to the variety of styles and designs the textile can be used for — and it might just be the saving grace for all your upcoming warm weather plans. Shop TODAY talked to an expert about the best maintenance tips to care for your seasonal clothes in the best way possible.

How to care for linen clothing

"Linen is like a fine wine — regular wear and wash makes linen softer and more comfortable over time," said Stitch Fix stylist Whitney Keeffe. "Instead of trying to keep your linen like new, focus on helping it age gracefully by following care instructions and storing flat and in a cool, dry spot."

Keeffe shared a few additional tips for how to best care for your linen garments. "The best way to care for linen at home is to machine wash at a low temperature and hang or lay flat to dry. I always say that if you’re going to wear linen, you need to embrace the wrinkle. But if your garment is a little too unkempt from sitting too long in the dryer or being stored all winter, you can iron it on low heat."

How to style linen during summer

For a classic day look, Keeffe recommends wearing a "classic linen button-down with straight fit jeans and a pair of sneakers or flat sandals (linen and Birkenstocks are a match made in fashion heaven)."

During the night, linen can be paired with classier elements and darker colors. The inevitable wrinkle of the linen will give your outfits a more relaxed look, but the right accessories can elevate any outfit.

"Opt for wide-leg linen pants with something more smooth and streamlined on top like a fitted knit tank or silky cami. Finish with some strappy block heel sandals and elevate the look by adding a third texture (think straw clutch, twill jacket or an open weave cardigan)," shared Keeffe.

Whether you're planning your vacation wardrobe or looking for something light to walk around the city, here are a few linen pieces to keep you fresh through any summer heat. Also, these are a step up from your favorite tee-and-shorts combo.

Linen clothing for women to shop

Old Navy High-Waisted Linen-Blend Wide-Leg Pants

Combine your colorful tops with these trendy linen pants from Old Navy. The loose-fit silhouette and elastic waistband will keep you comfortable throughout the day. Pair it with a pair of casual flats for the weekend or high heels for the evening.

Gap Linen Boyfriend Shirt

This chic linen shirt is available in a dozen different colors and is crafted with 100 percent linen fabric. Wear it over your favorite bathing suit as a classier cover-up or pair it with your favorite shorts for an elevated casual look.

Quince 100% European Linen Pants

A plain black linen pant is a summer staple that can be dressed up for work or worn casually for brunch with your friends. This lightweight pair is made from OEKO-TEX Standard 100 material to ensure no hazardous substances are present. The relaxed fit is essential for those sweltering summer afternoons.

Quince 100% European Linen Short Sleeve Shirt

This versatile linen shirt is flowy enough that it can be worn with your favorite work pants for a professional look or can be tucked into jeans for more casual outings.

Old Navy Sleeveless Linen-Blend Jumpsuit

The best thing about linen is that is a breathable material that can be worn on very warm days. This Old Navy jumpsuit is the perfect addition to your wardrobe when you run out of outfit ideas. The cinched waist offers a figure-flattering style and, always an appreciated bonus, there are pockets!

Athleta Cabo Linen 4" Short

For your next warm weather getaway, pack these linen shorts from Athleta. Not only will they make your life easier, but they'll pair well with your one-piece bathing suits.

Madewell Cotton-Linen Pull-On High-Rise Tapered Pants

Look effortlessly elegant in these pull-on pants from Madewell. The relaxed fit makes it easy to tuck in a blouse or button-down shirt and offers a sophisticated look wherever you go.

Amazon Essentials Sleeveless Linen Jumpsuit

Whether you opt for the light blue color or the eye-catching shade of yellow, this linen-blend jumpsuit can keep you cool from head to toe. It features a back zipper and functional side pockets for added convenience.

Banana Republic Factory Linen-Blend Blazer

This neutral blazer is ideal for breezy nights and days you need to look more put-together. Not only is this a great office essential when you get a bit chilly indoors, but it also doubles as great outerwear.

Caslon Linen Blen Shirtdress

For those days when you want to stay chic and comfortable, wear this shirtdress. You can take it from work to the weekend with an easy change of footwear. It also has a tie to define and flatter your waist.

Treasure & Bond Button-Up Linen Blend Camisole

Summer calls for tank tops and this button-down cami will make muggy morning commutes more bearable. Add a blazer for a put-together look or keep it casual with your favorite pair of jeans.

Gap High Rise Linen-Cotton Pleated Shorts

If you're someone that struggles with finding the perfect shorts, look no further. This pair from Gap has a lightweight feel and a high-waisted silhouette that hugs your curves.

Quince 100% European Linen Button Front

Look refined in this delicate dress from Quince made of 100 percent linen. The design features side pockets, front button detailing and an adjustable belt to enhance your silhouette.

Universal Thread Women's Utility Cropped Jumpsuit

Stay comfortable during your summer activities with this cropped jumpsuit. It's the perfect attire to wear during your next strawberry picking adventure or next Caribbean vacation. Wear it over a long sleeve shirt or keep it classy with a pair of wedges.

Caslon Linen Joggers

These joggers will keep you cool and flexible during the summer thank to the linen-blend material. The pockets are an added plus and look great with a white shirt. "They were super comfortable, flattering, and a cooler/more upgraded option to jeans," noted one customer.

INC International Concepts Linen Twist-Hem Blouse

Do you love blouses but don't like to tuck them in? This option offers a twist-hem detailing that looks chic and glams up any bottom you wear. "The fabric feels great to the touch — it sits very comfortably at the waist," said one reviewer.

Boden Turn Up Linen Pants

Add a fun print to your wardrobe with these linen pants from Boden. The floral design will complement any neutral top and can be worn for all your outdoorsy escapades. The pants are fitted at the waist which adds a flattering feel to your outfit.

Lauren Ralph Lauren Plus Size Roll-Tab Sleeve Top

This Lauren Ralph Lauren shirt doubles as outerwear when you wear it with a cami. This plus-size version comes in four different colors to complete your summer wardrobe options.

Everlane The Linen Workwear Shirt

Keep it fresh and simple this summer with the ultimate work blouse. The short sleeves and relaxed fit pair well with slacks, denim and even joggers. The breatheable linen will keep you cool all summer long.

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