The linen shirt is the season’s hottest item


It’s time to rev up and get moving again. The summer requires a style suited to it, for life outdoors. But where to begin? With a white linen shirt, that icon of timeless elegance and without question the most versatile item in the wardrobe, because it brings class and freshness to a formal context under double-breasted jacket and pleat-front trousers and, even better, with a pocket handkerchief and a tie in fine silk jersey. And it also gives a great performance in more convivial situations, slightly unbuttoned and worn untucked outside trousers. In this case it also looks good in the completely open version, over a crew-necked T-shirt.

And as the style gender-gap gets narrower, more and more women are choosing to wear a linen shirt with French collar or Mandarin collar, under masculine jackets or more casual jackets over jeans. On the beach, in a boat or on a sunny day in the country, it acts as a second skin over swimwear.

The linen shirt has now taken its rightful place among the season’s trends, and its appeal has even reached the catwalks of the major designers, who have customised it with sophisticated, powdery colours such as sage and wine-red; there are also brighter colours like strawberry, or the blue reminiscent of Capri villas and the palest blue, as well as the essential stripes in various thicknesses which, with button-down, Mandarin or French collar, meet every requirement for all occasions. 

Taking the lead among the most sought-after menswear items for this season is the Hawaiian shirt, bedecked with palm trees and exotic floral patterns in more and more unusual colour shades and contrasts, sometimes digitally printed, while in other cases it’s the hand-painted effect that captures the attention of the more discerning public. 

The bowling shirt is also known by many as the typical Aloha shirt, with flat, fold-down collar.
In December 1951 this popular version of the linen shirt made the cover of Life magazine, when it featured President Harry Truman wearing a floral version with pockets.

It was the stars of the big screen who put the stamp of success on this shirt in the collective imagination: from Frank Sinatra in “From Here to Eternity” (1953) and Elvis Presley in “Blue Hawaii” (1961) to Johnny Depp in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” (1998), and the ultimate romantic hero, Romeo, played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the Baz Luhrmann adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy.

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