Do you ever feel like you’re wearing pajamas when you wear linen pants or shorts? Because linen is so soft, it can be tricky to wear and look pulled together. However, with a few simple tips, you can easily pull together outfits with linen pants. Today I’ve got four tips for styling linen pants–and shorts–for ya!
I especially love linen because linen is softer than denim, tends to be less constricting and easier to move around in, and it’s lighter weight. It’s much more comfy and breezy.
Today’s looks feature linen pants, but the tips can be applied to linen shorts as well.
BTW, if you’re worried about linen and wrinkles–well, yeah, that unfortunately is part of wearing linen. But, it’s VERY important to note that all linen pieces are not created equally, and some linen items wrinkle WAY, WAY more than others. If a pair is wrinkling too much, pass on it and find another pair that wrinkles less. Just don’t rule out linen pants or shorts completely!
Alright, on to the tips!
SIZING: I’m 5’6″ and usually S/M or 6 in clothes and 8.5 to 9 in shoes.
Tip #1: Add a harder texture
When pairing linen pants with a softer shirt, like a t-shirt or really soft tank top, you’re putting together two really soft pieces. That’s when you can get into “pajama” territory easily. To balance that out a little, make sure to add something with a harder texture, such as an accessory like jewelry or a hat, or a completer piece with structure like a denim jacket (if temps allow). I would opt for both, knowing that I might take my jacket off at some point.
The first outfit above shows my very favorite SUPER soft and stretchy ModCloth tank. It’s SO comfy, and also very soft. However, that softness needs to be offset with structure or something with a harder texture. I added my go-to pendant necklace to anchor the outfit with a harder texture.
In the second outfit, I used an equally SUPER soft and stretchy white tee. It’s extremely comfy, but again, that softness needs to be offset with structure or a harder texture. I added the pendant necklace there too. Additionally, the denim jacket adds more structure to the outfit, as opposed to a soft piece like a cardigan, and helps pulls together the outfit.
Shop the Outfits:
Black Tank: ModCloth (exact–wearing size M, similar)
White Tee: c/o Nordstrom (exact in other colors–wearing size S but want to try XS, crewneck version, similar–I wear size S)
Jacket: Nordstrom (exact–wearing size M in Sweet)
Tan Pants: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Olive Pants: c/o Nordstrom (exact–wearing size S)
Slide Sandals: Old Navy (similar–I wear size 8.5, similar)
T-Strap Sandals: Old Navy (similar)
Crossbody Bag: Nordstrom (similar–back in stock on 7/13, similar in 1-grey)
Tote: Nordstrom (exact)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)
Tan Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact–wearing size M)
Tip #2: Pair linen pants with a nicer top
Just because linen is soft and casual doesn’t mean you can’t pair it with top that’s a step above a basic t-shirt. Nicer tops work well with linen pants and can dress them up a bit!
The lace top in the first outfit has some structure on its own. In the second outfit above, the leopard print top isn’t super fancy, but it is a notch above a basic t-shirt. I can wear it for a business casual look, and I can dress it down with linen pants. Both tops have more structure than a soft tee/tank, which helps combat the softness of linen pants.
My leopard print top is from last year and not available, but there is a very similar version HERE and a sleeveless version HERE that is great! There are tons of other types of tops that work great with linen pants of all sorts of colors. Shop some through the widget below for ideas!
Shop the Outfits:
Lace Top: J.Crew Factory (similar, similar, similar)
Leopard Top: Target (similar, similar–tank top, similar, similar)
Shorts: Target (similar, similar)
Pants: Old Navy (exact–wearing size XS)
Ankle Strap Sandals: Born (exact–I wear size 9 but could probably do 8.5, low in stock, similar, similar)
Twisted Sandals: (similar, similar, similar)
Tote: Nordstrom (exact)
Crossbody Bag: Sole Society (similar)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)
Tan Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact–I wear size M)
Blush Earrings: c/o Nickel & Suede (exact–wearing size M)
Tip #3: Wear tops with finished hems
Alright, what do I mean by a finished hem? First, let’s talk about what I’m actually trying to have you avoid: pairing linen pants with a top that’s too long, hangs loosely in a way that looks sloppy and not intentional, or hangs shapelessly on you. This is really important almost always (and is something I talk about in my online course Simply Put Together), but it’s especially important with linen pants to avoid that “rolled out of bed” vibe.
So, what IS a finished hem? Generally speaking, I mean something that looks intentional. Whether that’s some detail at the bottom like a loose front-tuck, a knot, a top with a twist or tie at the bottom, has a peplum that’s at the right length on your body, or a top that doesn’t have any special details but is simply hemmed to the right place on you so that it looks intentional versus like it’s just hanging and not doing anything for your shape. (Proper length tops are another thing we talk about in Simply Put Together that have made a WORLD of a difference for women! So important!)
In the outfits I’ve shown so far, I either tuck or knot the top, or wear a top that already has a tie built in. That detail makes the outfit look intentional, which again is so important when working with soft pieces like linen, and polishes it off.
Shop the Outfit:
Top: J.Crew Factory (similar, similar)
Pants: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Sandals: Target (exact–low in stock, wearing size 8.5, similar, similar)
Bag: Nordstrom (similar–back in stock on 7/13, similar in 1-grey)
Earrings: Nickel & Suede (exact–wearing size M)
Tip #4: Wear “real” shoes
This is not the first time I’ve talked about this (see this Plain to Polished post). But again, with soft pieces like linen, real shoes are even more significant. By “real” shoes, I basically just mean don’t mail it in with a pair of clunky sneakers or cheap-looking rubber flip flops. That’s all, really! Any of the sandals in my recent post 6 Versatile Flat Summer Sandals work. It sounds simple enough, and perhaps it’s because I live in San Diego which is a beach town, but I see cheap flip flops or clunky sneakers way too often. Switching those out for “real” shoes makes a HUGE difference in polishing up your look, especially with linen pants that are prone to looking really casual. (Check this Plain to Polished post for a more in-depth look at the power of shoes with side by side comparisons.)
There you go! Keep these four things in mind when styling linen pants, and you’ll be able to look stylish and put together in comfy linen pants/shorts and soft tops!
Shop More Linen Pants and Shorts
Check out some of these linen pants and shorts options below. Some of them are a STEAL for the price!
FREE Summer Outfit Formulas Cheat Sheet
Did you catch the FREE summer outfit formulas cheat sheet yet? It’s a free download to help you figure out what to wear this summer!
There are 12 different combos that you can rotate through each day, using different pieces from each category each time to create new combos. Plus 12 outfit examples!
Download the free Summer Outfit Formulas guide HERE or through the form below.