With the weather changing, many of us are thinking about changing our wardrobes too. Those of us in northern climates are ready to usher out the heavy sweaters and layers of winter and bring on the fun and breezy clothing that will take us from spring and through the summer. We can go from pants with thicker fabrics to breathable fibers that keep us cooler as the heat rises.
Denim is a fabric that can work year-round and comes in a variety of weights. Linen is primarily a lighter-weight fabric that can be ideal for many warm-weather outfits.
The versatility of denim
Denim is a widely popular choice because of its durability and versatility. It comes in many different weights and colors, although when most people think of denim, they think of a traditional blue shade. Because it is a durable fabric that can get more character as it ages, it is not surprising that denim is a top choice for pants.
While thicker denim can be difficult to sew, it doesn’t wrinkle easily and travels well. Over time, denim has become a neutral wardrobe stable, so regardless of the color of your top, it will likely pair well with denim.
Linen is s timeless choice
For many, linen presents a clean and sophisticated fashion statement. As a very breathable fabric, it can be a favorite for summer wardrobes. Depending on how it is treated and structured, linen can be crisp and tailored, or softer and flowing. Linen can also wrinkle easily, so in tighter or more tailored clothing, you can often develop creasing in the fabric that may not wear well.
Construction: Denim vs. Linen
Denim is a cotton twill fabric with a diagonal ribbing pattern specifically created by the way it is woven. This diagonal ribbing distinguishes denim from other cotton fabrics of similar weight, like canvas. Denim is easy to reinforce, which means it can be made into pants that provide extra durability at critical places like knees and pockets, while also being very mendable when tears and holes do happen.
Linen thread comes from flax plants, so even at its origin, it is very different from denim. Unlike cotton thread, flax thread does not have elasticity, so linen is stiffer than cotton. Its unique origins also give linen’s surface anti-bacterial and stain-resistant properties, while also being exceptionally absorbent. If cared for properly, linen is less likely to shrink.
One commonality with both denim and linen is their ability to become softer and more comfortable over time. With proper care and washing, denim or linen pants will become favorite stapes in any wardrobe.
Cost difference for denim & linen pants
With most clothing, the cost will be a direct reflection of the quality of the fabric used and the complexity and structure of the garment. Linen quality can be a direct reflection of the tightness of the weave, communally measured by thread count. Many consumers have heard the term, “thread count”, but what does that mean? Thread count refers to the number of threads woven in one square inch of fabric. The higher the thread count, the smoother the feel of the fabric against the skin.
Denim is a reasonably priced fabric. The cost of denim pants (or jeans) is largely a product of where they are made and the marketing and reputation of the manufacturer. Styles are vast, so chances are there are jeans somewhere that will fit your body and your lifestyle, and make you feel fabulous when you wear them.
Denim for casual
As an accepted neutral fabric, denim can go with anything, but it is usually meant to be part of a more casual outfit. Some restaurants or event venues may even specify that jeans are not allowed in order to promote a more sophisticated atmosphere. For pants, denim works as jeans, shorts, capris, or bib overalls, so whatever casual event you have on your calendar, denim will probably serve you well.
Linen for a crisp sophistication
Linen is a highly dyeable fabric, so it can take on a lot of different style perspectives. Most resort wear wardrobes would not be complete without a pair of white linen pants to pair with flowing, tropical tops. Because of its tendency to wrinkle, the looser the pants are, the less likely you are to get set-in wrinkles. Just be advised that if you are wearing linen that has been starched, wrinkles will happen.
Denim was first woven in the Nimes region of France and was known as “serge de Nimes”, which was shortened over time to “de Nimes” or denim. It gained popularity in the U.S. in the 1800s during The Gold Rush, when its durability made it a wardrobe staple for prospectors. It has become a foundational piece of most wardrobes and represents a casual, rugged, and uniquely American fashion look.
Linen is one of history’s oldest fabrics. Made from flax fibers, examples of linen fabrics have been dated to as long as 10,000 years ago. Linen was widely used in clothing and home fabrics for centuries but became a more expensive fabric once increased cotton production hit the textile market in the 1700s.
The bottom line
For a versatile wardrobe that can go from casual to dressy, having both denim and linen pants in your collection will serve you well. Follow manufacturers’ instructions on the care of your pieces, and your denim and linen pants will take you stylishly through your life.