This J Crew Irish linen shirt. Some people hate how linen holds wrinkles, but I personally love it. Linen has a life to it and looks best when its a bit crumpled - the texture gives the fabric a kind of “lived in” elegance. As long as your linen shirt fits well, these crumples will give you an insouciant look without making you look messy.
And J Crew’s version fits fairly well. It’s slimmer than most models out there, and comes in extra-small for overly skinny guys like me. The only quip I have is that all of J Crew’s shirts have small collars. I prefer my collar points to be about 8.25cm long and the back of my collar to be about 5cm high. J Crews are much shorter, by about 1 to 1.5cm. As such, it lacks the panache that, say, a Guy Rover linen shirt will have. The Guy Rover is what I’d really like to recommend to you, but this series isn’t called “For $70 You Can Buy,” so if you really only have $50 to spend, I recommend J Crew’s. Plus, if you spend over $150 on J Crew’s final sale items right now, and use MUSTSHOP as your coupon code, you’ll get 30% off plus free shipping. That brings this puppy down to $35. Not too shabby if you’re on a tight budget.
Note that when you first get your linen shirt, it will feel rough to the touch. However, linen softens quite a bit over time, and before long, you’ll have one of your most comfortable shirts ever. Just remember to never bleach your linens, as the harsh chemical will destroy the fibers.
Linen’s our pick for the perfect summer fabric—light, breathable, more rugged than you think—but the threat of intense wrinkling scares a lot of gents into cottonhood. But bringing rumpled linen back to the crisp look of the gentleman above is easier than you’d think. You just need a gameplan.
The good news is, linen’s a surprisingly sturdy cloth, so you can skip past the steamers and pants presses to the real thing: the most thorough ironing you’ve ever done.
First, lay the garment in question on a flat towel and wet it down with a little water until it’s damp. (This helps the heat spread around and generally prevents you from scorching the thing.) You can do it with your iron’s steamer, but dripping water from your fingertips works just as well. Once it’s damp enough that it soaks through to the towel, turn your iron up to 11 (seriously, as high as it will possibly go) and give it a thorough twice-over. If your iron’s hot enough, you’ll be effectively steaming the item from the inside. Just wetting it down will take out a good deal of the wrinkles, and the atomic-level ironing will keep them out.
As for mojito stains…we’ll save that for a different post.