I Tested Summer's 22 Best Linen Pants—Here's What Came Out on Top

These trousers are perfect for beating the summer heat, from drawstring styles to tailored versions.

Linen Pants
(Image credit: Julia Marzovilla; Getty Images)

Made with a touch of ‘90s fashion minimalism and a certain Carolyn Bessette Kennedy sensibility, linen pants conjure up images of coastal sun-soaked summers because— if nothing else—warm-weather dressing is a study in finding fabrics that leave you looking put-together even in sweltering summer temperatures. No matter how you style your linen pants, experts and fashion insiders agree they deserve a place in your warm-weather rotation.

While linen shorts and linen dresses are ideal vacation wear, lightweight linen blazers work perfectly as professional summer work outfit staples. Bloomingdale’s Ready to Wear Fashion Director, Janelle Lloyd, says, "A great pair of linen pants are a timeless purchase, and one that's well worth the investment, especially as temperatures continue to rise (and with contemporary brands like Theory, J.Crew, Banana Republic, Alex Mill and Everlane to name a few) offering options for both in-office and off-duty wear," she says.

Olympia Gayot, J.Crew’s Creative Director of Women and Kids, is a huge fan of linen, and while shades like white and cream are still some of the most popular choices, she notes that you don't have to shop for linen pants exclusively in those neutral colors. “The modern linen trouser has evolved to mean more unique patterns and bright colorways, with design details like front pleats, embroidery, drawstrings, and embellishments, and they come in all kinds of lengths and rises,” she tells Marie Claire. They've become just as versatile as any other pair of pants.

Here, we've tested and curated a fashion-forward edit of the best expert and editor-approved linen pants on the market and tapped stylist, content creator, and author of The Jones Report newsletter, Angharad Jones, for styling ideas—our favorites and more ahead.

Marie Claire's Favorite Linen Pants

Shop the Best Linen Pants

Fashion E-Commerce Editor Julia Marzovilla tests the Alex Mill Riley Pants In Linen

Alex Mill's Riley Pant In Linen earned top marks for comfort.

(Image credit: Julia Marzovilla)

Fashion E-Commerce Editor Julia Marzovilla tests the COS Linen Culottes

COS's Linen Culottes offered a formal take on the typical linen pants.

(Image credit: Julia Marzovilla)

Fashion E-Commerce Editor Julia Marzovilla tests the Everlane Linen Easy Pants

Everlane's Linen Easy Pants were just that: the perfect wear-everywhere summer pants.

(Image credit: Julia Marzovilla)

Fashion E-Commerce Editor Julia Marzovilla tests the Banana Republic Italian Linen-Cotton Wide Leg Jeans

Banana Republic's Italian Linen-Cotton Wide Leg Jeans were a little long, but they look great with heels.

(Image credit: Julia Marzovilla)

Fashion E-Commerce Editor Julia Marzovilla tests the Athleta Retreat Linen Mid Rise Wide Leg Pants

Athleta's Retreat Linen Mid Rise Wide Leg Pants were sportier than other options, but that's what made them cool.

(Image credit: Julia Marzovilla)

Fashion E-Commerce Editor Julia Marzovilla tests the J.Crew Kate Straight-Leg Pants in Stretch Linen Blend

J.Crew's Kate Straight-Leg Pants in Stretch Linen Blend got the office stamp of approval.

(Image credit: Julia Marzovilla)

Fashion E-Commerce Editor Julia Marzovilla tests the Abercrombie & Fitch Sloane Tailored Linen-Blend Pants

Abercrombie & Fitch's Sloane Tailored Linen-Blend Pant aren't see-through in the slightest.

(Image credit: Julia Marzovilla)

Fashion E-Commerce Editor Julia Marzovilla tests the Caslon Drawstring Straight Leg Linen Pants

Caslon's Drawstring Straight Leg Linen Pants are so comfortable and so affordably-priced.

(Image credit: Julia Marzovilla)

Shop Other Linen Pants We Love

What To Look for in the Best Linen Pants

  • Fabrication: Are your preferred linen pants made from 100 percent linen, or are they a blend? There are upsides to both: 100 percent linen pants tend to be more lightweight but can feel rough on the skin and are more prone to wrinkling. Blends, particularly those made with cotton, are less wrinkly and can be softer to the touch.
  • Silhouette: With so many options on the market right now, consider your preferred silhouette. Straight-leg tailored options work well for the office and are considered more timeless, but trendy cargo-style or cropped versions can be fun to experiment with.
  • Color: Shades of white, cream, navy, and black are classic options, of course, but consider other colors, too— as J'Crew's Gayot noted. Pastel-hued or floral iterations brighten up even the most timeless summer wardrobe staples and are great to throw in your suitcase for your next vacation.

How to Care for Linen Pants

  • Check your care label or the brand’s website for the best cleaning options for your specific pair.
  • Sort your clothing into lights and darks in the washing machine to prevent dye transfer.
  • Hand-wash linen if you're particularly worried about your pants shrinking in the machine. Some brands recommend that you exclusively wash your linen pants by hand, so double-check before laundry day.
  • Avoid bleach and fabric softeners when you wash your linen pants, as these products can weaken fabric over time.
  • Not all linen pants should be tumble-dried. If yours can be (check the washing instructions!), consider drying them with wool dryer balls to eliminate wrinkles. Hang-drying your linen pants is the most delicate approach.

How to Style Linen Pants

When multiple celebrities back a fashion item, you know it’s got to be good—and linen pants fall into that category. Follow Dakota Johnson’s lead and team them with a button-down for a casual summer work outfit that wins every time. Gayot follows a similar approach when styling linen pants. "I often find myself wearing linen trousers more casually throughout spring and summer with a light sweater or a T-shirt layered underneath a blazer, plus a pair of loafers or sandals and a classic belt," she says. Relying on other summer staples is the key to making them work.

If you have a more formal occasion, Sienna Miller’s pinstriped blue suit at Wimbledon proves that the easygoing fabric can easily be dressed up.

If you're headed out of town, use Jennifer Lopez’s vacation outfit as inspiration and team your breezy linen pants with a contrasting bikini top.

Dakota Johnson, Jennifer Lopez, and Sienna Miller styling linen pant outfits

A-listers prove that linen pants can and should work as a wardrobe staple no matter the occasion. Dakota Johnson loves them for everyday wear, Jennifer Lopez prefers to wear them on vacation, and Sienna Miller shows just how easily they can be dressed up.

(Image credit: Getty Images; Backgrid; Getty Images)

Outside of the celebrity circuit, linen does work for everyday wear. “I love wearing them with a sleeveless, cropped linen top—in a matching or contrasting color—and fisherman or strappy suede sandals. It’s simple but effective, and you can always add jewelry and accessories to create more details,” says stylist, content creator, and author of The Jones Report newsletter Angharad Jones. “I’ll also pair them with an oversized linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up, either loose for a casual daytime look or tucked into the waistband for a more ‘pulled together’ outfit.”

Influncers and content creators show off the best linen pants outfits.

Members of the street-style set style linen pants with other classic colors to show how easily the staple can be integrated into a summer wardrobe.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Meet The Experts

Olympia Gayot
Olympia Gayot

Olympia Gayot was born in Toronto and grew up drawing, painting, sewing, with her mother and grandmother from an early age. She was an avid painter from a young age, and her instinct for fashion merged with her art in painting portraits of her family and friends, with specific attention to details of their clothing. She attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and upon graduating in 2003, began her career painting commissions and simultaneously designing for small brands and assisting stylists in editorials. She originally joined the J.Crew team in 2010 as a Design Director and was with the brand for seven years, followed by three years spent at Victoria’s Secret with their Design team. In September 2020, Gayot returned to J.Crew as the Head of Women’s and Crewcuts Design. Olympia works with her team throughout the year to create and deliver seasonal collections and collaborations with exciting partners including, London-based Liberty, Cassi Namoda, and more. A big fan of the arts, Gayot seeks inspiration and creativity from all around her. She looks to furniture, interiors, fabric, and the New York architecture for inspiration, along with conducting research at her favorite galleries and bookstores in the city. Olympia is happily married to her husband Matt, and they have two sons, Aalto and Ulysses.

Janelle Lloyd is the Women’s Ready-to-Wear Fashion Director at Bloomingdale’s
Janelle Lloyd

Janelle Lloyd is the Women’s Ready-to-Wear Fashion Director at Bloomingdale’s, and you may also know her as style authority and influencer of Wait, You Need This. Janelle is a seasoned vet in the fashion space with experience in buying, styling, and marketing for many brands we know and love. 

Angharad Jones
Angharad Jones

Bio: Angharad Jones is a freelance writer and content creator based in the UK. For more than ten years, she’s worked behind the scenes at premium fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands, which has led to a lifelong appreciation of quality, timeless design. You can find her on Instagram @angharadbjones and Substack at The Jones Report

Julia Marzovilla
Fashion E-Commerce Editor

Julia Marzovilla is the Fashion E-Commerce Editor at Marie Claire, where she reviews the latest launches from fashion and beauty brands, finds the best on-sale items around the internet, and interviews experts to find the best products in any category to share with her readers. She also creates shopping guides that span every vertical on the site as an expert in everything from the best laptop bags to the best laser hair removal devices.

In her near decade of experience, Julia has both written for several top outlets in the E-Commerce space and worked at major fashion labels. Prior to joining the Marie Claire team, she contributed similar shopping stories to sites such as Bustle, InStyle, The Zoe Report, Who What Wear, and worked as the Trending Fashion and News Writer STYLECASTER. You can find her across the internet at @JuliaMarzovilla. In real life, you can find her creating shopping guides for her friends, cooking or baking in her too-small kitchen, or buying tickets for the next time Harry Styles is in town.

Julia has a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Journalism from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. She lives in New York City, her hometown.