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Linen shirts can be worn on an outdoor workday. Courtesy Andamen
Linen shirts can be worn on an outdoor workday. Courtesy Andamen

Linen shirts that have the power to multitask

The updated version of Linens can multitask when styled minimally with a pair of structured trousers, lightweight denims or chinos

We know the classic button-down linen shirt belongs to summer. But of late it has been undergoing a makeover with constructional add-ons like collar and cuff variations, androgynous cuts and traditional-but-subtle surface ornamentation, even fabric blends. Experts say this updated version can multitask when styled minimally with a pair of structured trousers, lightweight denims or chinos. You can wear it in summer, during the monsoon, on a weekday in a relaxed office set-up, on a Friday in a formal work space, or on an outdoor workday.

Fine blend

According to Delhi-based Suket Dhir, common linen fabric (made from the stalk of the flax plant Linum usitatissimum) wrinkles, but is classy and works well for semi-formal occasions. If you want a formal feel, invest in a high-quality linen-blend, basic-cut shirt. Dhir, who is into relaxed couture, or high-end clothing, with minimal cuts crafted out of natural fabrics, says, “Linen, when blended with silk or wool (like merino), can be worn throughout the year in a formal way thanks to its fall. This means you could experiment with fabric blends instead of cuts." 

Tweaked white

A classic white linen style never goes wrong. But when you vary its length, it becomes another story, says Ujjawal Dubey, whose label Antar-Agni is known for its fabric explorations, smart cuts and relaxed silhouettes. “A collarless, semi-casual (white) shirt with variation in length is perfect for daywear (to work). A dark colour in the same shape can be worn to semi-formal get-togethers."

Boyfriend shape

This is an androgynous (unisex) shape that can be styled up or down as required, says Delhi-based designer Anuj Bhutani. “The versatile boyfriend shirt can be worn as a layer, paired with high-waist linen trousers, or on its own as a shirt-dress (and a simple shirt for men)," he adds.  Slip into it for an informal work meeting or a post-work drink with colleagues. 

Experimental take 

Investing in a linen shirt with tonal or discreet detailing (self-on-self prints, traditional weave patches or piping) in places like the under-placket, collars or cuffs makes a lot of difference, says Delhi-based Satvika Suri, co-founder of men’s contemporary-cum-heritage shirts brand Andamen. Suri, who co-owns the brand with partner Siddharth Suri, says: “You can choose when you want to show these (details). This shirt can be worn with a closed placket (and cuffs down) for office or opened (with the cuffs rolled up) for a fashionable evening. You can layer it with a sports coat when required." It pairs well with well-fitted denims or dark-coloured, structured chinos, and brown oxfords or moccasins, in relaxed office spaces.

Variated collar

Mumbai’s Kiran Bajaj and Jaya Redkar, co-founders of The Linen Way, a women’s apparel and accessories brand, suggest trying collar variations in shirts. Their first pick: the Peter Pan-collared, full-sleeved slim-fit shirt that you can wear tucked in with solid-coloured pants for a formal look. Second, an asymmetric panel, half-sleeved shirt with a mandarin collar, worn with structured trousers, dark denims or high-waist skirt. “Complete the look with subtle jewellery and a pair of ballerinas or peep-toes," says Redkar. 

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