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How to wear white linen trousers

When it’s unbearably hot, nothing beats a pair of linen trousers for comfort. Yet, despite how great they feel and how quintessentially summery white is as a colour, white linen trousers are seen as a mature man’s favourite, making it hard to see how they could be a suitable option for men who want a modern look. However, a bit of styling and coordination with the right pieces can turn white linen trousers from a dated option into a timeless piece, and here’s how.

So as to maximise comfort, linen trousers typically come in a relaxed fit, which allows plenty of room for air to circulate. As comfortable as that might be, a loose fit is somewhat old-fashioned. For a modern look, roll up the trousers, just enough to expose part or all of the ankle. Keep it neat by aiming for a narrow turn-up that doesn’t look too bulky, as to make the lower legs appear too heavy. The trick is to make this an accent and not the focal point of your outfit.

Equally important is what you coordinate your white linen trousers with. Their loose fit can easily make your outfit look too relaxed, especially if worn with a loose-fitting shirt. To keep your outfit looking sleek, aim for balance by combining your trousers with slightly more structured pieces, such as a waistcoat or sport coat. However, avoid very structured or corporate-looking pieces, as these will contrast too much with the flowing texture of the linen trousers.

If you’d rather keep layers to the bare minimum, opt for a slim-fit shirt (not form-hugging) with a semi-stiff collar, for that bit of structure. Tunics are best avoided. For a more elegant (think cocktail party) look, wear the shirt tucked in but with the sleeves rolled up. So as to complement the soft texture of your outfit, consider belts in suede or woven cotton – polished leather will look too harsh and formal in comparison.

Similarly, light and casual shoes, such as stylish trainers or canvas shoes will work well. If it’s a dressier look you’re after, a pair of brogues, especially in suede, will also make a great match. Because of the trousers’ loose fit, loafers won’t work. They’ll just make your feet look too narrow. So as to keep the outfit looking light and fresh, black shoes seem inappropriate, as do socks.

Ultimately, white linen trousers will always result in a laid-back look – it just doesn’t have to be ‘midnight walk on the beach’ laid-back.

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