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Linen vs cotton clothing: what is the difference?

Linen and cotton are both beautiful, natural fabrics that work wonderfully well for different garments depending on the desired look, finish and specific qualities you’re after. In this week’s post, we’re going to explain the difference between the two and give you some tips on how to wear them throughout the seasons.

So, what are the differences between linen and cotton fabrics?

Appearance and texture 

As both linen and cotton are made up of natural fibres, they wrinkle easily, giving a gorgeous, relaxed appearance. Initially, linen is much more rigid in texture but softens with age, whereas cotton has a smoother finish as cotton fibres are softer to touch than their flax fibre counterparts.

Durability and strength

The fibres of linen and cotton are woven very differently, meaning they not only differ in texture but durability and strength too. Linen threads are thicker making the fabric more durable and longer lasting, which leads to an extended life cycle of a linen clothing piece.

Linen fibres are also wrapped tighter than those in cotton yarn, increasing its longevity even more so. By contrast, cotton has a little more stretch and flexibility than linen.

Breathability and absorbency

Both fabrics are breathable, but the breathability of cotton depends more so on how the fibres are woven, whereas linen fibres are hollow meaning air and water can easily circulate. For this reason, linen and cotton make great garment choices for the summer months as they help to naturally keep you cool all day long. 

Some of our favourite linen garments

If you ask us, every wardrobe needs a staple pair of linen pants. These are such an effortless, breathable style in summer and provide a stunning texture to layer up with in winter. We love our wide leg culottes and our linen chino pants.

You also can’t go wrong with a beautifully timeless linen dress or linen overalls; so elegant all year round and we love how linen fabric improves with age and lasts a lifetime (if you look after it properly – read this care guide).

Linen vs cotton: what is the difference? - Dreamers & DriftersLinen vs cotton: what is the difference? - Dreamers & Drifters

Some of our favourite cotton garments

Cotton tops make for a gorgeous and versatile style in hot and cold weather alike. Like our super cute Jade top! Wear with your favourite pair of denim jeans, culotte pants, midi skirt or layer up with warm knits and plenty of accessories.

Linen vs cotton: what is the difference? - Dreamers & Drifters

One of our favourite summer styles though, is to actually combine linen and cotton clothing pieces together; the perfect outfit from beach to bar.

Shop our new arrivals online now or in our Byron Bay boutique. Want more tips of wearing linen in winter? Check out our detailed blog post here.

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