How I style my navy linen maxi dress

How I style my navy linen maxi dress

As you read this post I will be enjoying the delights of Paris. If the weather is as predicted I shall be wearing my new navy handkerchief maxi dress from John Lewis. It formed part of my Paris Capsule wardrobe. It is linen and yes it does crease.  I know that linen divides opinion. You either love or hate it. I am in the love camp. So let’s take a minute to discuss the properties of linen. In high temperatures, it is one of the coolest fabrics you can wear. I keep several linen outfits in our apartment in the South of France ready for the hot and humid months of July and August. There are some great linen dresses for sale in the local markets and many chic French women buy and wear them with confidence and an air of Je ne sais quoi.

Yes, linen creases. If you are going to wear linen this is something you will need to embrace. I give mine a quick press after washing and then relax and enjoy its natural qualities.

How I style my navy linen maxi dress

A simple linen dress is a wonderful blank canvas on which you can paint your own picture with the aid of accessories. Here I have added a pale blue light wool shawl, frayed edge straw hat and chain bead necklace. I have had my hat for several years (similar) and purchased my scarf and necklace in St.Tropez market.

How I style my navy linen maxi dress

My basket is also from St.Tropez market. Wicker baskets are very popular this year so there are plenty available in the shops at the moment.

How I style my navy linen maxi dress

Do you accept and embrace the properties of linen or is it not your cup of tea?

The photographs were taken in the gardens of Hampton Court Palace by Laura Hines, follow her on Instagram.


  1. Dorothy
    4th June 2018 / 13:39

    I love linen, wrinkles and all. I live in the southern US and nothing beats linen and/or cotton for our hot humid weather.

  2. Brenda Chell
    4th June 2018 / 13:46

    Thumbs up! You look lovely Josephine.

  3. Wendy in York
    4th June 2018 / 13:51

    I love linen too . Perhaps it depends on your personal ‘style’ – I’m not the neat type & prefer to look more relaxed . It seems to need sunshine though & to my eyes looks sad in bad weather . So you don’t need a lot of it in the north of England 🙂

  4. 4th June 2018 / 13:56

    I agree: love a plain linen dress. The possibilities are endless. I have two that have been in my closet for over ten years, and I sitll reach for them, in black and red.

  5. Anne Woodyard (@MusicandMarkets)
    4th June 2018 / 14:09

    I love linen, for both myself and my husband. I have a favorite black linen dress – kind of a fit and flare style – purchased over 20 years ago at Gap that I wear year after year, redying periodically to refresh when the color fades. I hope it lasts forever!

    • 5th June 2018 / 10:34

      Hi Anne
      Gap used to make some great summer dresses I still have a couple. Sadly recently they do not seem to be using the same quality fabric.

  6. Jasmine
    4th June 2018 / 14:37

    Looking lovely as usual Josephine. Unfortunately, I rarely (have occasion or the right weather to) wear dresses but I am very fond of my linen trousers – once broken in and no longer scratchy. However, as it’s not the most robust material, I tend to wear them out quite quickly so I am always looking for new ones!

  7. Lesley Pearce
    4th June 2018 / 14:46

    I love linen creases and all!

  8. Mary
    4th June 2018 / 14:53

    Sorry, I dislike “pure” linen. Recall the time I spent a fortune on some from Ireland. Felt really untidy every time I wore the garments. Expensive lesson!
    Must say I like your outfit, Josephine, apart from the shoes!!

    I now tend to buy a garment with a percentage of linen : works for me.

    • 5th June 2018 / 10:32

      I agree Mary A percentage of linen in a garment an often be the answer.

  9. Teddi
    4th June 2018 / 17:42

    I agree with Mary on two counts. I am more comfortable with a linen blend. Also, I don’t own a pair of tennis type shoes. There are so many nice looking and very comfortable walking shoes by Dansko, Clark’s and many more. I just spent two weeks walking on uneven rocks and cobblestones on the Amalfi Coast wearing a very nice looking pair of Dansko sandals. I have walked all over Europe and part of Asia very comfortably in Dansko and Clark sandals and flats.

    • 5th June 2018 / 10:30

      Hi Teddi
      I agree linen blends are excellent you get the quality of linen often without the hassle. I have tried Clarks shoes and I did not find them very comfortable also as I have small feet in relation to my height they looked a bit clumpy. I will shortly be trying out some Van Dal Shoes so will report back. Don’t know Dansko will check them out.

  10. Christine
    4th June 2018 / 18:51

    I am a linen lover as well. You cannot beat it when it’s hot and I don’t mind the creases. I have had linen pants, shirts and dresses for years.

  11. Judy
    4th June 2018 / 18:54

    Me too! Love that navy, Josephine. I am in Majorca at the moment with my trusty white trousers and long shirt, and beige shorts bought from Vivi-direct years ago and always first in my case when packing for a warm weather holiday.

  12. 4th June 2018 / 19:27

    Love linen, but quality can be variable heavier weaves and good tailoring means that it creases a bit rather than totally crumpling into a soggy mess. However if you enjoy feeling neat and tidy in your personal presentation you’ll probably never feel comfortable in that kind of fabric

    • 5th June 2018 / 10:26

      I agree MaureenC If possible buy the heavier weave linen it will wash better and last longer.

  13. 4th June 2018 / 22:05

    I like linen quite a lot, although as another reader says — linen comes in a variety of qualities and combinations with other threads.

    I love my linen Eileen Fisher pieces (am going to give an EF viscose/linen white tunic a light ironing later today). I also have a delish, longish, navy handkerchief dress like yours, but it’s sleeveless. My 72-year-old arms aren’t the most presentable, but whenever I wear that navy linen dress I feel like the dress says for me, “I’m feeling great, and aren’t I lucky to have two lovely arms and shoulders!”

    Then there’s the great viscose/linen long blazer I bought for $5 at Good Will earlier this year. I think I’m down to about 25 cents per wear.

    And I don’t mind the wrinkles — in the linen or my arms or calves or throat or face. Because aren’t I lucky to be upright and wearing such lovely linen!. 🙂

    • 5th June 2018 / 10:25

      I agree Ann quality of linen does very. It is better if possible to spend a bit more money and purchase the thicker variety. Some of the thinner versions don’t always look too get when they crease and they don’t last.
      I love your philosophy thanks for sharing. I notice that French women in the South often wear sleeveless linen with confidence. They generally seem to be accepting of their ageing bodies.

  14. Shirley/ Vancouver.B.C.
    5th June 2018 / 03:26

    No linen is not for me, I am a very tidy person and linen is not tidy. I do not even like it on other people sorry.

    • 5th June 2018 / 10:20

      Hi Shirley
      No need to be sorry everybody has their own preferences.

    • Lynda Banister
      12th June 2018 / 18:25

      I’m not a fan of linen either but I did once have a printed linen skirt which I made myself and lined/backed in fine cotton. This gave it some body and the pattern disguised the creases. It was a remnant of a very expensive fabric however.

      Most of what is sold as linen or linen mix is thin, floppy and looks like a rag in minutes – not for me! Recent holiday very hot – + 32 degrees and very humid. I think quality cotton jersey, crinkle cotton/viscose are good options and if only you could get pure cotton seersucker now, cool and smart!

  15. Alison M. Gunn, Ph.D.
    15th June 2018 / 21:10

    I actually find linen (the thicker variety) to be a bit too warm on truly hot days. I wore linen in Paris last June in 33˚C temperatures, and had to take it off. Wrinkles in linen (good linen) are only important if the garment is one that is expected to look pristine. Otherwise, life is too short to worry about wrinkles if your purpose is to stay cool. In fact, though, I wear linen in medium-hot temperatures. I have had all kinds of weights of linen; having grown up in sweltering and humid Hong Kong, I can attest that handkerchief-weight linen is best in that temperature zone. Thicker linens hold up better in the long run, but come with their own problems. I am inspired by your dress to find myself a linen maxi, though!

    • 16th June 2018 / 09:07

      Hi Alison
      I think it depends on the style. If the item is loose enough I think most weights of linen work. I don’t like any restricting garments in very hot weather.

  16. Karen Grohs
    3rd June 2019 / 21:10

    I love linen because it’s cool, and I live in the desert where summer temps can and do reach 120 degrees. I only wear cotton and linen in the summer. I especially like lighter weight gauzy linen. This summer I’m living in linen capris and a linen gauze big shirt.

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