A Most Useful Textile
The ancient Egyptians were onto something with linen, a textile so versatile and valuable that they used it as a currency as well as for clothing themselves and wrapping mummies. Botanists were similarly impressed, weaving a compliment into the Latin name for flax: Linum usitatissimum translates to “most useful linen.”
Thousands of years later, the rugged fibers of the flax plant are still being transformed into linen, prized for its strength, durability, and luster. The high absorbency makes it especially desirable in the warmer months, and below we’ve assembled some of our favorite uses, from breathable bedding to effortless summer trousers. When other fabrics are soggy and clinging, linen keeps its cool.