Linen is pretty much tops when it comes to eco-friendly fabrics. It’s made from the sturdy and multi-functional flax plant, which grows easily with minimal water and little to no pesticides (unlike cotton, which is tough on the environment–even organic cotton isn’t ideal).
Plus linen fabric is incredibly durable, which is why you’ll discover antique linen bedding, towels and table decor commanding a nice price at flea markets. If it’s not heavily dyed or treated linen is even biodegradable! (You can learn more about linen’s green credentials at Good On You.) Linen also takes dye quite well, so you can extend the life of white or light pieces by dying them with indigo or another natural dye if they get stained.
I realize that linen clothing wrinkles and doesn’t have the most stylish reputation, but that is changing as linen starts to have a fashion moment. And while linen sheets and towels might take a little getting used to if you’re new to them, I think you’ll get hooked once you give them a try. Here are some beautiful pieces and amazing brands that will have you falling in love with linen.
This Japanese brand is like a wearable love letter to linen and has a bit of a cult following thanks to chic silhouettes with a trend-defying look you can wear season after season. The linen is sourced from Lithuania, which is known for the high quality of its flax. In addition to habit-forming clothes, Fog Linen Work creates beautiful and sturdy towels and table linen, and sells linen remnants for any creative crafting visions you might dream up.
A New Jersey-based maker of chic linen bath and beach towels, Deck Towel promises that their towels are “20 times more absorbent than cotton” and “repel sand, stains and odors” while getting softer with age. They carry an impressive variety of colors and patterns (all the ones you’d want, nothing weird).
Good Linens makes linen towels and accessories that feel earthy and luxury all at once. They promise that their towels are “absorbent, wonderfully textured and lightly exfoliating,” air dry quickly and improve with use. I have been using their linen bath towels for more than a year now and I am a total convert. I’ll admit that the first few times I dried off with a linen towel it felt strange, since they don’t have the fluffy feel of the cotton terry most of us are accustomed to, but I soon adjusted and wouldn’t go back. They’re surprisingly absorbent and (as promised) dry quickly and just somehow feel cleaner to me than cotton towels do.
Linen clothes don’t even have to look like linen, as evidence by these slouchy linen tanks and tees, made in the USA by Amour Vert.
The next time you’re shopping for any sort of textile, do your mother Earth a favor and think linen!