Are Linen Shirts Warmer Than Cotton? (Read This First)

When it comes to staying warm as the weather gets cooler, choosing appropriate clothing is one of the most important factors to consider, as your health depends on it.

However, during the summer, when you are out choosing what particular summer clothing to get, it becomes a challenge to pick between linen shirts and cotton.

The challenge stems from the many factors that come into play when choosing which to go for. And among these factors, you want to know which is cooler or warmer.

Cotton is warmer than linen because it lacks three factors with which linen excels. First, linen has breathability, good heat conductivity, and can wick away moisture; that is to say, you will sweat more wearing cotton than you will in wearing linen, as air can easily permeate the fibers of linen. In addition, cotton can absorb heat from the skin.

In this article, we’ll see which shirts are warmer between cotton and linen, whether you can wear linen in winter, which is best for summer, which is best on the skin, and which keeps you cooler.

Which Shirts Are Warmer, Cotton or Linen?

Are Linen Shirts Warmer Than Cotton

Cotton shirts are warmer than those of linen. For a certainty, linen is good at keeping your cool, but at times, it becomes too good at doing so.

You will often enjoy wearing linen while walking outside in the sweltering heat. However, when you enter an air-conditioned office, you will almost freeze.

Cotton shirts are warmer than that linen because they insulate better than very breathable linen shirts. But, on the other hand, a new linen shirt comes with a starchy, scratchy feel.

Linen is often thicker than cotton, but cotton is softer, smoother, and bulkier, so it is warmer than linen as the weather becomes cooler.

Cotton shirts do not conduct heat, so they can effectively combat cold as the temperature decreases.

Can You Wear a Linen Shirt in Winter?

Linen shirts are lightweight, resilient, and highly breathable, making them the perfect summer wear. But, they are not advisable for use during winter, or you will freeze to death.

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Although a linen shirt is a summer essential, you can still wear it through the wintertime and at the same time feel warm and comfy. However, to achieve this only if you know how to wear your linen shirt during winter.

Here are a few techniques that can help you dress in linen shirts during winter;

#1. Choose and Take With You Heavy Linen Clothing

Choosing to wear heavy linen clothing means you intend to trap more warmth onto your body to avoid freezing from the cold weather. 

Linen fabric has rigid and robust natural flax fiber with rich texture and thermo-regulating properties.

#2. Linen Shirt for Winter Should Have Several Layers

To keep ourselves warm during winter while still wearing a linen shirt, the linen shirt should have layers of other thick-textured fabrics

You can bring exciting fashion to the next level with the proper fashion technique.

#3. Linen Shirt With a Remarkable Tonal Layering

The layering method uses the same color palettes but different shades (tones). For example, you can wear a black turtleneck sweater on top of a linen blazer.

You will be warm and comfortable with the turtleneck sweater hugging your body. 

At the same time, the linen blazer (maybe of gray color) will serve as a tonal layering giving you a nice fashion outfit for winter.

#4. Linen Shirt for a Relaxed and Casual Appearance

Here, you can unbutton the linen shirt and allow the turtleneck you are wearing inside to shine through. Then, you may choose linen trousers or a jumpsuit for the lower part of your body.

Are Cotton or Linen Shirts Better for Summer?        

Linen shirts are by far preferable for summer. However, it should be essential to your capsule wardrobe when traveling in warm climates.

To help you see the reason why linen shirts are the best to put on during summer, the following table shows the differences between cotton shirts and linen shirts;

Properties Linen Cotton
Texture Rough Smooth 
Softness Less soft than cottonSofter
Flexibility Less flexible than cottonMore flexible 
Durability More durable than cottonLess durable
Weight Heavier Lighter 
Absorbency Less absorbent More absorbent 
Hypoallergenic  More hypoallergenicLess hypoallergenic 
Breathability More breathable Less breathable 

One of the benefits of using linen during the summer is its sustainability. Meanwhile, the drawback of using linen shirts is the price.

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#1. Sustainability of Linen

Owning a wardrobe is good, but owning a sustainable wardrobe is best, which everyone is aiming for. People go for shit with low carbon footprints and good social impacts.

Regarding raw materials, cotton negatively impacts the environment since it needs chemicals and pesticides to support the cotton plant’s growth.

However, on the part of linen, the flax plant grows well without adding chemicals and water. 

Therefore, its resistance to pests is also a natural phenomenon.

Apart from the production of linen, the flax plant’s seed also produces what is known as linseed oil which is also precious and economical.

A linen shirt is a good investment since it lasts longer than a cotton shirt. 

When washing at times, your cotton shirt may wear or tear, but in the case of linen, it only gets softer and softer with time.

Buying linen shirts can always be a good use because it can last very long, reduce waste, and save resources. 

Remember also that it is a natural product that is a sustainable and biodegradable material.

#2. Price of Linen

It is not surprising to you that linen shirts are expensive because they are very desirable. And its production involves a lot of labor-intensive procedures.

And also, there is a significant limitation regarding where a flax plant can grow. Manufacturers’ work to produce textiles in the textile industry reflects on the final product’s price.

Does Linen Keep You Cooler Than Cotton?

Linen clothes and fabrics keep you cooler than linen clothes and fabrics. And this it does quite remarkably.

You can feel cooler with linen shirts during summer than those wearing silk and cotton. However, note that your perspirations will be 1.5 times less too.

Here are the benefits of wearing linen shirts in summer;

#1. Breathable

Linen shirts can allow air to move between their fibers due to the natural properties of the flax plant and its weaving. So, by wearing it, you can feel cooler during summer.

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The nature of linen fabric is such that rather than clinging onto your, it stays a bit away from your body, allowing the air that gets in to reach you and keep you cool.

If you have an overheating problem, linen is best for you during summer. It is also the best for keeping you cool at work or walking outside during summer.

#2. Conductivity of Heat

A remarkable ability to conduct heat is one thing linen can boast highly of, together with absorbency and coolness. 

It means the heat from your body can escape through your linen shirt, keeping you cooler. 

And this is remarkable because linen’s heat conductivity is five times that of cotton and 18 times that of silk.

#3. Reflectivity of Heat

Apart from conducting heat away from your body, it can also reflect the heat coming towards you, the shirt’s wearer. And it can do so without the need for other bulky layers.

#4. Moisture-wicking

Another interesting thing about linen shirts is that they keep your body moisture free as the fabric will quickly take the sweat off your skin and release it into the air.

A linen shirt will have to absorb up to ⅕ of its weight before you notice that it is wet, thanks to its molecular structure.

Perspirations will not easily make it clammy, and note that the water evaporation rate from the surface of linen shirts is speedy.

When I look at how water is easily and quickly absorbed and evaporated, I can only see and conclude that linen shirts operate effectively as a cooling system does.


Does Linen Stretch When Worn?

If it is pure linen, it will not stretch but will resist abrasion. However, due to the poor elasticity of linen fibers, they break if you fold or bend them repeatedly in the same area.

Is Linen Itchy to Wear?

Yes, it is; even high-quality linen can feel itchy and uncomfortable. But, as the linen cloth gets older, it tends to become less itchy.

Can Linen Shrink?

A typical linen will shrink by 4%, but under intense situations or conditions, linen can also shrink to about 10%.

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