How to Style Linen Pants, According to a Stylist

Elevated doesn't mean boring.

A guest wears black sunglasses, gold earrings, a white silk scarf, a gold chain pendant necklace, a white tweed buttoned V-neck gilet jacket, a beige linen buttoned blazer jacket, matching beige large suit pants, a brown shiny LV monogram print pattern in coated canvas zipper Petite Malle handbag from Louis Vuitton, black shiny leather platform soles / block heels ankle boots , outside the COS show, on April 26, 2023 in Paris, France.
(Image credit: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)

With summer drawing to a close and temperatures fluctuating more and more throughout the day, it can be difficult to know what to wear in order to stay cool during the day without freezing at night. Linen pants, the classic summer staple, are my personal go-to for navigating this tricky time of year—particularly longer options, which pair seamlessly with a variety of tops, shoes, and accessories, and can be worn on just about any occasion.

"There is something so chic and effortless about wearing a beautiful pair of linen pants during the day or night," agrees celebrity fashion stylist Sarah Nearis. "The breathable, airy fabric and texture to me screams quiet luxury,  as well as letting yourself indulge in lightweight fabrics to celebrate the warmer months." She adds that while linen "should be worn mostly in spring and summer," it's also perfect for "hot summer nights in September." 

To better understand how to style linen pants for this transitional, ever-changing weather, I asked Nearis to lay out some of her favorite linen pants outfits. Below, the best pairings for linen pants, from blouses to accessories to outerwear. 

Avoiding Linen Faux Pas

While I firmly believe that all people are entitled to dress however they'd like, there are still a few tips to keep in mind when wearing linen—especially linen pants—in order to avoid mishaps. 

First and foremost, Nearis stresses that "linen tends to be lighter and sometimes on the sheer side, so it’s always important to remember to wear the proper undergarments." In particular, she swears by thongs, like these from Skims and these high-coverage ones from Commando. Above all, she says, "Avoid wearing panties with prints or textures that will be easy to see through the linen."

Nearis also cautions against wearing linen pants after September, if only because the ensuing temperature drop makes it too cold to wear lightweight fabrics like linen.

Otherwise, the world is your oyster when it comes to styling linen pants. "How you style it completely depends on the look you’re trying to achieve and how elevated you want to go," says Nearis. "The goal is to make the outfit seem like a story and flow beautifully"—and that story is up to you to write.

The Best Linen Pants Outfits

Chic and Simple

"Linen is a simple, elegant fabric and shouldn’t be overpowered by a top with a strong fabric or texture," says Nearis. Instead, she recommends sticking to light fabrics like linen, cotton, and even denim or silk, noting that she's an especially big fan of "high waisted tailored pants paired with a soft tank top or tee," noting "anything Enza Costa is my favorite right now."

For transitional dressing or cool late summer nights, she says, "I’ll throw a sweater over my shoulders to pull the look together."

And when it comes to shoes, recommends classic sandals, noting "I love pairing a high-waisted linen pant (or full linen suit) with a strappy sandal for a dinner look."

Lightweight Layering

Layering is a great way to navigate temperature and weather fluctuations as summer becomes autumn, and experimenting with lengths is a great way to take your layered look from basic to brilliant. Try an open shirtdress for what Nearis calls "a cooler evening or daytime look." She recommends pairing it "with slimmer or straight leg tapered linen pants, a bra top or a cami, and a strappy sandal or flat." She adds that she would also "add some layered gold necklaces and bracelets to accessorize."

Linen and Lace

Elevated and simple doesn't mean boring. If you love playing with texture, Nearis recommends incorporating elements like lace into your linen pants outfits, saying that she's been wearing this combination all summer.

"It’s sexy and playful but still tasteful," she says. "I’ve worn it with high-waisted linen trousers or mid-rise casual linen pants for a more relaxed look."

To lean into a more opulent look, try pairing the outfit with pops of gold via a watch, necklace, or pair of earrings.

Linen and Leather

I love pairing contrasting fabrics, and you can't get much more contrasting than linen and leather. But how do you pull these two looks together without looking like you got dressed with your eyes closed? Accessories, says Nearis.

"I am a firm believer that belts really can pull a look together," she explains. "Adding a thin leather belt to a linen trouser will instantly elevate you. They can be neutral in color and a warm gold finish will make an outfit that much chicer."

Shoes are another excellent way of incorporating leather into your look. Nearis points out, "Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean you have to be wearing sandals all the time with linen. I don’t think a closed-toe pump is necessary, but you should embrace the warmer months with a strappy sandal or mule to elevate the look."

Finally, you can cool down the leather look by opting for a top made from a breezy fabric like silk or satin. Nearies says, "I love the simplicity of pairing linen and silk together because they are both so effortless and chic."

Transitional Linen Looks

"When it comes to outerwear paired with linen pants, I’m a big advocate that less—and simpler—is more," admits Nearis. 

But if you're donning your linen pants towards the end of the summer or beginning of the fall, when outerwear often becomes a necessity, she advises, "I love a linen or lightweight blazer, a denim jacket, or for cooler nights and a nice juxtaposition, I would throw a leather jacket on. It all depends on how elevated you want to go, but for warm summer nights, you can never go wrong with a denim jacket or blazer to pull the look together."

Meet the Expert

Sarah Nearis fashion stylist
Sarah Nearis

Sarah Nearis is a fashion stylist and creative director. She is based in Los Angeles and Nashville.

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, politics, culture, and fashion at Marie Claire and at publications including The New York Times, HuffPost Personal, Bustle, Alma, Muskrat Magazine, O'Bheal, and elsewhere. Her personal essay in The New York Times' Modern Love column kickstarted her professional writing career in 2018, and that piece has since been printed in the 2019 revised edition of the Modern Love book. Having studied history, international relations, and film, she has made films on politics and gender equity in addition to writing about cinema for Film Ireland, University College Cork, and on her personal blog, Before working with Marie Claire, Gabrielle worked in local government, higher education, and sales, and has resided in four countries and counting. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, and spent two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy.

Deeply political, she believes that skincare, haircare, and sexual wellness are central tenets to one's overall health and fights for them to be taken seriously, especially for people of color. She also loves studying makeup as a means of artistic expression, drawing on her experience as an artist in her analysis of beauty trends. She's based in New York City, where she can be found watching movies or running her art business when she isn't writing. Find her on Twitter at @GabrielleUlubay or on Instagram at @gabrielle.ulubay, or follow her art at