The Proper Way to Look Good in a Linen Shirt One button could make all the difference

This is sexy: a breezy linen button-down with the sleeves rolled up ever so nonchalantly. This is not sexy: an oversized, boxy linen shirt that hangs to halfway down your thighs. The first is cavalier, a guy who could maneuver a sailboat and speak several languages would wear this. The latter is utterly amiss, with as much sex appeal as a high schooler trying to lose his virginity, as much finesse as navigating directions with a paper map.

Don’t be this guy:

Linen Shirt Fail

Beverly Hills 90210

Don’t wear this beautifully constructed fabric like a loose and frumpy sheet. Linen, made from flax plant fibers, is so light and breathable that people make bedding out of it. Imagine being wrapped in bedsheets an entire day, while you’re still out and about. This durable, moisture-absorbing fabric, perfect for warm weather and humidity, is an absolute wardrobe essential.

There’s a correct and incorrect way to wear this staple item, so we’re going to give you the consummate rundown.

Slimmer Fit

Linen Shirt Slim Fit

Linen shirts are inherently light and airy, so a baggy fit will look sloppy. Instead, choose a slimmer cut for a modern and buoyant look. If you’re wearing the shirt untucked, just make sure it isn’t too long, hugging awkwardly around your hips.

Shorter Sleeves

linen shirt long sleeves

Mohawk General Store

The long baggy sleeves pictured above are a hard “no.” If you’re going with a short-sleeved shirt, have the cuff end at your bicep. If you’re wearing a long-sleeved shirt, make sure the sleeves are fitted. To avoid parachute arms, you can leave your cuff buttons undone or roll up your sleeves.

Colors and Prints

pink linen shirt by ted baker

Ted Baker

Try different colors. A neat white button-down could look slick, but white linen that’s too free-flowing will make it look as if you’ve drifted in on a river raft with a rose between your lips. Cut the romance novel aesthetic, and instead, try a hip color like pastel pink.

Rule of the Buttons

Lucky Brand Linen Shirt

Lucky Brand

How many undone buttons is just one too many? With an untucked linen shirt, you should always keep the very bottom button undone. As for the top, we advise one to two undone buttons, max. Three is pushing it, unless you’re wearing an undershirt or you’re out by a lake all day. Four undone, and you’re past the red zone, Sir.

How do you like to wear the staple linen shirt? Tucked or untucked? Sleeves rolled? How many buttons do you undo? Let us know below.