Addicted to novelty since 2001

I Bought a Linen Suit Today

Well, I bought it last week, but picked it up today. This brings my current stock of suits to a grand total of two. As I read recently in Esquire, better to have two good suits than five cheap ones.

On average, I wear a suit once a month. Weddings, other ritzy events and some speaking engagements are about it. Seeing as I work from home, and all of my clients are in software, I don’t know that I’ve ever worn a suit for work. My other suit is a nice one I got in Dublin, but it’s charcoal grey and wool, and hardly the thing for summer weddings. I know that you don’t necessarily need to wear a suit to weddings on the West Coast, but I kind of like getting dressed up once a month (in particular, I like the cufflinks). And I always prefer to be over-dressed than under.

Why linen? An excellent question, according to the folks at Before buying it, I was looking for photos of the kind of suit I had in mind. Picture Anthony Hopkins in the final scene of Silence of the Lambs, when he calls Clarice from some tropical country. I found this article on buying your first suit. This is actually the fourth suit I’ve ever bought, but they had some interesting thoughts on linen:

Okay, Panama Jack, you look at the linen, you think it’s nice, it’s lightweight, it’ll be a bit different from everyone else… but don’t be fooled. The style will be the same, because that’s what suits are all about. But as a fabric goes, linen wrinkles quickly, stains like a bitch, does not travel well, and is not a classic look. Be warned that your dry cleaning bills will be quintupled. It is not acceptable for a first suit. It is acceptable for a first tablecloth.

Bollocks to them, I say. In truth, though, I’ve always liked safari clothes. I shopped at Banana Republic when all their clothes were beige and there was a jeep bursting through the front of their store. I’m not going to wear a Panama hat with my suit, though I may when I’m fifty.

Despite this quote, I’m very happy with the natural-coloured three-button number I procured from Harry Rosen. I like it for all the reasons they do (lightweight, different) and all the reasons they don’t, especially the wrinkling factor. After all, everyone always says “well, it’s linen, it’s supposed to wrinkle.”

10 Responses to “I Bought a Linen Suit Today”

  1. Heather

    Pictures! We need pictures!

    Linen is pretty nifty. It’ll wrinkle if you look at it cross-eyed, but even wrinkled linen carries a posh factor of seven or eight. It’s the ‘hell, yeah, it’s linen. It wasn’t cheap and I know it wrinkles, but I like it! So there! I’m cool and comfortable!’

  2. Darren

    If you’re particularly unfortunate, I’ll return with a photo from the next wedding I’m at.

  3. Olaf

    I’m a linen fan myself. I’ve just got into linen “polo’s” recently. They’re ultra comfortable and usually have a nice *hang* factor. I can also dig the cufflinks; I had been looking for French Cuffs since I was about 10. Incidentally, I own two suits myself. I keep the classic look with a 5-button (I’m 2 meters tall), and a pin-striped, double-breasted number. Very cool, but like you I very seldom have an opportunity to wear them.

  4. Sue

    Owning linen clothes is kind of a statement of one’s socio-economic class, I find. Repeat after me: “I don’t care if I have to dry clean it – I’m rich and the cost is a drop in the bucket compared to how much I spend having my SUV detailed.”

    If you love ironing like *I* love ironing (in which case I know a good treatment program), then you look forward to summer with glee, anticipating all the time you can spend ironing your linen pants and shirts.

  5. Jay Currie

    Or you can adopt the genuinely upper class attitude towards linen which is “wrinkles are fine.” Ironing linen reeks of suburbia.

  6. eric

    do you have any suggestions on where to find linen suits at this time of year either online or in stores any info would help

  7. Belinda

    Hi there,
    I just read your thoughts on linen, even though it was 2 years ago. I wore a linen top today and I love it, but by the time I got to work it was wrinkled! I don’t like that part about linen – especially when I do take the time to iron it.

    But I did enjoy reading about your experiences. It’s pretty funny. I’m wondering how many suits you have now?

  8. hamish-andrew

    good moaning! because I ironed my linen jacket on the outside with no
    cloth its gone shiny.Any tips on
    restoring it?

    there’s some irony here that a wrinkly
    thinks he can press linen without reading the manual.

    Any ideas? Bye for now

  9. Val Parks

    Linen suits are great for ultra hot climates but not for work… they tend to wrinkle alot and arent meant for wearing every day e.g work. They should be worn on special occasions, this make them last longer and looker fresher when you do wear theme. Linen suit? Are you rich?

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