Okay. I must be the last person I know to discover the joys of linen. The only person in my acquaintance who purports to love clothes, yet who hates linen. I know, unbelievable, eh? But this summer, my friends, I am pleased to say that I have undergone a linen conversion.

I’ve always known I should love linen. And, in theory, I did. I knew all the arguments about how sustainable it is as a fabric. How cool it is to wear in the summer. Cool in so many ways. Don’t all the cool girls swear by linen trousers, and tops, and shirts, and dresses? Doesn’t wearing linen make one look effortlessly chic? As if trying too hard to look good is beneath one?

In my defence, wearing linen has always offended my anal, perfectionistic psyche. It’s all those wrinkles, folks. Those wrinkles put me off. I mean, how could I, someone who ironed a crease into my jeans for years and years, stand all those wrinkles?

But lately I’ve been reconsidering my stand on linen. With the onset of white hair, and my own wrinkles, I began to rethink linen. Even shopping around for a linen shirt this spring. I thought that my changing fashion sensibilities, my increasing comfort level with clothes that were looser and messier, might benefit from some linen in my closet.

So when Grae Cove contacted me with the offer to send me three pieces from their linen collection in return for a review of their products, I did my research, and then accepted. But I’ll tell you that story in my video. Have a listen.

Note: I was given the three pieces I’m wearing in this post as a gift from Grae Cove, in return for writing an honest review.

As promised in the video, I’ll describe the outfits in more detail below.

For Outfit #1, I hoped to create a slightly dressier, dinner date outfit. The purple linen dress is called the “Georgina Swing Midi dress.” My sandals are Michael Kors, as is the cream bag, which is quite old. The purple stud earrings are from Magpie Jewellry, and the sweater is from Theory. If you’ve been around here for a while, you might remember I despaired of ever finding a way to wear that sweater, until I just started tying it around my neck as an accessory.

Outfit #1

Outfit #2 would be suitable for shopping or lunch in the city I thought. I love those big bronze-coloured metal hoop earrings from Magpie. I’ve had them for years and don’t wear them enough. The sandals are Stuart Weitzman and are about a decade old. They are brown patent leather with tortoise-shell rings holding the straps together and a low wedge heel. My Eric Javits straw bag is fairly new.

Outfit #2

I pulled Outfit #3 on to run errands the other day. The white shorts I made myself out of an old pair of NYDJ white jeans. I’m wearing my Vejas sneakers, and carrying a cloth bag bought at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, UK, back in 2017. “Obstinate, headstrong girl” … I love that quote from Pride and Prejudice. The blue “popover” shirt is called the “Tabitha boatneck, 3/4 sleeve.”

Outfit #3

For Outfit #4, I paired the Tabitha top with my old navy Max Mara suit trousers, very old flat black sandals from Michael Kors, my bag from Bath, silver hoop earrings from Magpie, and my new Tory Burch sunglasses. I tucked the front of the top into my pants, bloused it over my waistband, and left the back of the shirt out. I love this outfit the best. The loose, easy vibe of the baggy shirt with the loose pants kind of epitomizes the style I’m aiming for, I think.

Outfit #4

Outfit #5 is a bit of a throwback. I’m wearing my Everlane cotton tank under the Grae Cove “button-front Camp Shirt.” And on the bottom the problematic yellow linen cropped trousers that I bought a couple of springs ago. The Eric Javits straw bag looks great with the yellow trousers and the white tops and Vejas sneakers. And I was tickled to dig out that pair of earrings from back in the eighties. The stud part is wooden, and the hoops are some sort of woven straw. They work really well with the rest of the outfit. Still even though this outfit looks fine, it’s not my favourite. I just don’t feel like the woman who would wear that outfit anymore.

Outfit #5

Outfit #6 is more like it. More like me. Now… at sixty-seven. I’m wearing an old black camisole from Theory under the Grae Cove Camp Shirt, a black Nordstrom belt, my black Aritzia cargo pants, and my black Birkenstock-style sandals. My earrings are big silver hoops from Magpie. This outfit epitomizes the feeling that I’d hoped a few linen pieces might bring to my wardrobe. A bit chill, a bit easy and loose, a bit messy. No too uptight or worried about wrinkles. Any sort of wrinkles.

I’m not sure I’m there yet, folks. But I’m working on it. My linen conversion should help with that.

Outfit #6

As you can tell, I liked the three items I received from Grae Cove.

*** update. May 10, 2024. I have just tried to access the Grae Cove website and am unable to do so. Not sure if they’ve gone out of business or what. So I have deleted the links from this post. Sorry for any inconvenience to you. ***

Like I said in the video, my friend Lisa Carnochon from the blog Privilege also wrote about Grae Cove a few weeks ago. The fact that I trust Lisa was a big part in my accepting the offer of free merchandise from them.

But before I accepted, I also did my due diligence by researching them further.

I read the details on their website, about their products and their processes. They are a Hong Kong-based company with U.S. headquarters in San Francisco, CA. And their manufacturing takes place in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, China. They ship directly from their factories. You can check what the company says about the materials they use and their manufacturing practices here. I liked what they said about using sustainable materials, and finding ways to keep their carbon footprint lower.

In my research, I found a number of negative reviews of the company. A couple of the websites which published their take on Grae Cove were not trust-worthy themselves. In one “rating article” the grammar was so egregious that it made me laugh. A common complaint in consumer reviews was that the purchaser did not know the clothing was made in China, or would be shipped from China. Really? Grae Cove clearly says this on their website.

And I found as many complimentary reviews as negative ones.

Just for fun, I ruffled through my closet this morning and found that the first four items I pulled out, a Nordstrom Signature shirt I bought last year, a Tory Burch linen tunic, my Everlane cashmere crew-neck sweater, even the Rag and Bone dress I was wearing in the video, were all manufactured in China.

I am not going to belabour the point any more except to say that if we want to be critical we should do our research, and be fair in our assessments.

So enough with the serious stuff. It’s your turn, my snazzy friends. Are you a late adopter of linen like me? Or have you always been one of those cool linen girls?

P.S. A little blog housekeeping:

I must say I dithered and hemmed and hawed before I accepted the gifts of merchandise from Grae Cove. But you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I have stressed and fussed every step of the way in my journey to monetise my blog. Should I or shouldn’t I? How does making money from the blog align with my values of slow fashion and conscious consumerism? What to do, how far to go, does doing this or that make me look untrustworthy, am I living up to the stuff I taught kids for so many years? Sheesh. Sometimes I get tired of hearing myself. And I know for sure Hubby does.

But publishing a blog is becoming a more costly enterprise every year. As the blog grows, it costs me more to maintain it. As my readership grows and the number of posts that are on the server grows, so do the costs charged by my host company. I’ve just had to upgrade and my hosting fees have almost doubled. As my subscriber list grows, so does the cost of sending out emails when a new post is published. The bigger the blog the more complicated any glitches become and the less able I am to solve them myself. So I pay someone to do that for me.

This is not meant to be a big whine. Even though it may sound like it. It’s just to let you know that using affilliate links is the only way I am currently paying for the blog. So I would appreciate your using my links, if you make a purchase after reading my post.

And if you like the YouTube videos, please like and subscribe to my channel after you watch them. It doesn’t cost you anything, and there are no intrusive emails. YouTube puts advertisements into everyone’s videos, even small accounts like mine. I don’t get a slice of that until I have 1000 YouTube subscribers. I didn’t know that until recently. I figure if I can make a share of the ads that YouTube is going to put into my videos anyway, it could help to finance my blog. 🙂

P.P. S. The clothing links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission which helps to pay for the blog.

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67 thoughts on “My Linen Conversion”

  1. You look amazing in your new linen. That dress is really interesting, and with pockets (!!!) I have been on the website for the past little while, and am having a problem narrowing down my choices. Can you tell me if there is a duty charge when the items arrive. I just had some paperwork arrive from the states and was charged for that, but not from Australia so I am rather confused. Do you think the pants would become nice and soft after a few washes? I know, too many questions, but the prices are good and the workmanship looks good as well, so would like to try some. I hope the affiliation works in your favour, you deserve some benefit. Also good to know about the sizing.
    Hope your bites heal well, I still have some marks from this year’s attacks.

    1. I bought a shirt from Grae Cove a
      month ago and am very happy with it. No duty as it is included in the price. It did take almost three weeks to arrive. Overall happy with my purchase.

    2. I have no idea about the pieces after washing… not yet at any rate. But Dee says her order had duties included. So I guess that answers that. Any more questions I can be unhelpful with?? Ha. 🙂

  2. You look fabulous in these clothes. Bravo to you. You’re a wonderful model. You’re right having a blog is expensive. You raise money with grace.

  3. Sue, you have obviously put a great deal of time, effort and thought into attempting to subsidise the cost of running the blog and ensuring this aligns with your values. Stop second guessing yourself! You are doing a great job! I think your honesty shines through…and you look good in linen.xx

  4. Thanks for explaining a lot of stuff I didn’t know about the cost of running a blog, and how those costs increase as a blog grows in popularity. I had no idea, but it makes sense. And it’s great that you are able to recoup some of those costs, while being open about the ways you are doing so.
    I’ve loved linen for a long time. Living in a coastal city where summer temperatures over 30 and 35 C are not unusual, and where summer humidity can be oppressive, linen is my salvation. I love linen shirts and trousers, but linen dresses are my favourite – flowy, cool and comfortable. I started with a selection of navy and grey linen dresses, with some white, pink and light blue shirts. Over the last few years, with my new salt and pepper hair, I’ve branched out into hot pink, chartreuse and light blue linen dresses and I love them all. And I’ve hardly ever ironed any of them. You look effortlessly lovely in your new linen pieces – welcome to the I Love Linen club!

    1. Thanks, Maria. I’m still kind of looking for a pink linen button up shirt. I tried three from Aritzia and hated the shape or the colour of all of them.

  5. That pale blue top is great. As a fan of linen – easy to wear, easy to sew, looks dressy and looks casual – my wardrobe has quite a few pieces now. I find it creases less than it used to in years gone by and it might be because often you find it is a linen mix these days. Sometimes it is just a heavier linen. The trick is less is more in an outfit otherwise you can go total coastal gran without too much effort and the next thing you know, you and Stu will be dancing along the beach together in the waves…

  6. My favourite is outfit 2 , then 6 then the yellow trousers one . I’ve always liked those yellow trousers 😁 That mauve ? colour is just lovely & really suits you . I think I’d like it with your trainers too . I’ve been a linen girl for a long time & love it’s casual , slightly scruffy look . I’ll always keep my favourite linen blouses & jackets . There’s a German company called Oska which uses a great heavy linen & I bought some of their pieces to take to hot countries . I learnt not to pack it flat but roll it up instead . My problem with linen is I feel it needs sunshine to look right & sometimes that’s in short supply here . Linen in the rain is quite sad to me . You are lucky to have dependable summers , just right for linen .
    Your video was an excellent lesson on judging the quality of a garment . Something we should all do . I think you did right to accept their offer & can see why they approached you , your integrity is obvious .

    1. Ha. Those dang yellow trousers. Part of the issue is what to wear on my feet with them. I need a beige pair of flat sandals. Hmm. P.S. Scruffy is the perfect word. I love the slightly scruffy look of linen.

  7. I’m a linen lover from the time I’ve started to choose my own clothes. I don’t mind wrinkles (any wrinkles :)), although I like it fresh ironed ( for the start)
    I’ve started with jacket/ shirt+ skirt combos,than linen trousers ,now I wear mostly linen dresses( majority of them are like your mauve dress and I wear them all the time at the sea side,nothing like linen in hot climate)
    In the city ,I wear still linen trousers or,if I wear a linen dress, it is for a casual coffee. I like the brand you are wearing,it is an excellent price.I’ll check the shipping (although I have enough of dresses for now)
    I’ve bought my first linen dress at a pop up store at the sea side 15 years ago and am still wearing it there. Than I’ve found Loveandconfuse on Etsy,brand from Lithuania(now they have their own website), excellent quality
    Love your combinations
    Dottoressa

    1. I like everything freshly ironed to start. I’m working on not being so anal about that. I’ll be wearing my linen dress to lunch next week. It’s a perfect patio lunch outfit in the heat and humidity we’re having now.

  8. Sue, You look very pretty in all of the outfits. I think you look great in the Rag and Bone dress. Not too short. Just rock it. It’s funny – I pulled a dress out of the closet this week that is (linen! green! made by me) and slightly above the knee. I wore it to work with a jacket and was fussing over it (too short?) and then realized it was just above the knee, A-line, I looked very nice…so why stress? It’s a bit more robust and underlined so less casual, but linen is a great summer fabric.

    I think you did a very nice job of explaining, in a transparent manner, what you are doing and the considerations around it in regard to trying to recoup the costs spent on maintaining the blog. An alternative would be to put a donation button on your blog of course, if you don’t want to do affiliate things. I’ve given donations to blogs I like before and would do so to yours.

    I think my favourite of the linen pieces is the blue popover, but probably because I have a similar top and would wear the outfit with the MM trousers! I’m also kind of a wrinkled mess by nature, so it is not surprising that I love linen shirts (especially buttoned ones). I’ve never been a big fan of that type of dress with the gathering under the bust, but you wear all of the items well. I think you look most comfortable/at ease in the final outfit, however, which is interesting.

    1. The donation button is a good idea- perhaps Materfam would let you know whether this works for her.

    2. I was thinking of you, Stephanie, when I was trying my best, my inept best, to discuss how the pieces were made. And channelling Justine Leconte as best I could. 🙂

      1. Ooh Justine Leconte is great, from what I’ve seen. You did a great job in showing the features that do, indeed, show that care was taken in the sewing! The pieces look to be well-made.

  9. Ahh-perfect timing. I almost ordered from Grae Cove yesterday but hesitated. This is great-thank you. You look great in all of the outfits. I appreciate your detailed descriptions. Do you mind sharing your sizing of each item? I would like to use it to compare and be more educated when ordering. Thanks again.

    1. Thanks, Sandy. I talk about the sizing, and my size, and how the pieces are made in the video. I am wearing a size large in everything.

  10. Valeri Johnson

    I love linen and wear a lot of it in the summer. I also love the dress you were wearing and most of the other dresses on the website. My problem is that they are always too tight in the bust. I’m petite so I have to order an XL then alter it to fit in the shoulders. The tent style dresses would fit but look ridiculous with a large bust since they flare out from there. I really wish they would make the bust larger.

  11. Dear Sue, you look absolutely gorgeous in the purple dress. You look beautiful in all the linen. Thank you, thank you for the link to Grae Cove, I will be ordering. Already had purchased two white linen tops this summer, from a little consignment shop I love. The owner had ordered them from India…she always has a few new things along with the consignments. So excited, going to get me a new dress.

  12. I have no problem with you monetizing your blog. It costs money to run and much of your time to put together your well written scripts. Showing two or three pieces from a reputable company with links is in no way offensive. You did your homework on the company and put that forward, as well. What I do have a beef with is those that do “try on hauls”. I have unfollowed many because it is just a buy, buy, buy blog. Once again, that disposable culture.

    Like you, I have a dislike of wrinkled garments so linen is not on my radar. I’ve tried! I bought a beautiful linen dress and wore it to a ladies conference. I was a wrinkled mess by the time I arrived (seat belt & sitting on the drive over). I washed it, ironed it, then consigned it.

    You look lovely in the purple dress, Sue.

    1. Ah yes… the “hauls.” I’m surprised that people are still doing those. Bit tone deaf in the current climate, no pun intended.
      P.S. I remember a linen top and skirt I loved in the eighties. Very Jackie Kennedy in style. But I was always a wrinkled mess after my 45 minute drive to work… and seat belts.. don’t get me started.

  13. I have felt exactly like you have about linen and have been also thinking about trying it. You look amazing in all your choices. Love your comment about the collar facing. Hate it when it is left unfinished. Do you think you need a streamer to freshen them? LOVE your yellow flowers with the white edges. Also, you look amazing in the navy dress. It’s looks great.

  14. Thanks, Sue, for your review. I ordered 2 things from Grae Cove after hearing about them from “Stylebee”.

    The first was the linen blazer and the second the same white “camp shirt” you styled. The items are very well-made, and I found the company’s customer service excellent – do be prepared to wait though, as the items take a long time to arrive. My only other complaint is the strange sizing – the blazer just didn’t fit properly anywhere, and I sent it back. And the shirt in my normal size medium was way too tight and short. So not sure I would order again from them because of the guessing game around sizing!

    And ps – we easily pay for all kinds of media we “consume”, so I support whatever steps you need to take to make the blog sustainable. Thank you.

    1. Oh and ps – I forgot to say – there are several great Canadian companies (here in Victoria) that make great linen clothing – so if readers want to support Canadian small business, these are great choices:

      nomi designs (The “Nicole” dress and the “Robyn” shirt both look wonderful on)

      korinne vader

    2. Thanks, Kris. I just followed the sizing charts on the website and it worked for me.
      P.S. The security thingie on my host’s server flagged the two links in your second comment so I couldn’t publish them. 🙁 Sorry about that. I left the names of the companies in and deleted the link so the comment would publish.

  15. So enjoy your blog, Sue, for so many reasons. I ordered the purple linen dress and can only hope it looks as flattering on me as it does on you.

  16. Suz from Vancouver

    You look great in all the outfits. I really like linen, have for years. And linen knit is very nice too…..
    Due to my laziness, instead of ironing, I’ve started spritzing my linen tops with water to smooth out some wrinkles. Works “good enough” for me. Still need the iron for pants though…..
    One personal quirk of mine is I’m not keen on wearing a woven linen top with a woven linen bottom. Looks fine on others, just feels odd on me. ~°°~

    Thanks for posting.
    Suz from Vancouver

  17. I have been slowly dipping my toe into the linen pool lately. Having just returned from Phoenix where the temperatures were in the low 40’s I can certainly see the need for cool breathable fabrics.
    I think you looked stunning in the dress. The style and colour really suits you!

  18. You look wonderful in the purple dress and the other linen pieces, but especially the dress. As a still-recovering perfectionist, I haven’t purchased any linen pieces yet because I’m petite and they are very difficult to find.
    Yes, I think you should monetize your blog. Why not? You put lots of work into it. Just because you enjoy it doesn’t mean all that work should be given away. I trust you, as much as it’s possible to trust someone you have never met, to recommend only products you like and think are worth the price. Go for it!

    1. I published on the free platform Blogger for years until technical glitches were taking up all my time, and people couldn’t comment etc etc. So I switched to a paid platform. I do love to write my blog. But from the beginning I was determined that it would be cost neutral. So far I’ve been able to cover costs with the affiliate links to clothing and books. But not any more. My costs have gone way up… like everything. And I’m doing fewer fashion posts that feature new pieces which are still available. So I’m seeking new ways to cover costs. The “Buy me a coffee” button might be the answer. We’ll see.

  19. I like your linen choices. I too am experiencing a linen conversion and have bought three dresses locally (long, knee length and slightly above the knee). I bought two short sleeved linen tops, one quite similar to your blue one, and a white. I do have to say that I bought a Olsen LBD at least 20 years ago. It’s a boat kneck, A line, linen and has been my “go to” dress for many occasions. I just change the accessories to fit the event and it sees me through three seasons. BTW, I’m 83 and I still care very much about style and fashion. I love your blog and it’s so refreshing to actually have a vibrant Canadian woman guiding us through our style.

  20. You look great in all your linen pieces but I especially like the purple dress on you. Like you I avoided linen because of the wrinkles but bought some loose linen shorts a couple of summers back. They are cool and comfy and if people take offence at the wrinkles that is their problem.
    Like others I have no issue with you trying to cover some of the costs of running your blog especially as you are so transparent about it. You shouldn’t be out of pocket for something which provides pleasure for so many.

  21. I’m going to join the others who have said that the possibility to make a voluntary donation toward your blog expenses would be very welcome. I would love to support a blog that has brought me so much enjoyment over the years … there is definitely room in my subscription budget for that! Affiliate links related to clothing are often not a viable option for me since I am hard to fit.

    1. Thanks, Denise. I read your comment to Hubby last night and he says to “go for it.” With the encouragement of so many readers, I may do that. 🙂

  22. Thank you, thank you for the Grae Cove endorsement. I have been admiring their items but have been hesitant to order. You have such a good eye for style and wear clothes so well. I just ordered the dress in Sea Blue for my daughter’s birthday. I know she will love it. (I hope it arrives in time. A few comments said their orders took a while but website says should be shipped 2-3 days and take 2-9 days to arrive. Fingers crossed!)

  23. Thanks for introducing me to a new brand. I’ve been a linen lover for many years. My go to brand for shirts is Power of my People (excellent quality linen and made in Canada!). This year I took a chance on some linen pants from Athleta now that we have a store in our local mall. I’m so impressed with them! The quality is very close to POMP and what’s even better is that they don’t bag out after wearing. Mine are a wide leg style, pull on, with slits at the inside leg, in case you’d like to add to your linen capsule.

    1. Power of my People makes beautiful things! Always looking to support small Canadian women-run companies.

  24. I love the dress on you. It looks easy and sophisticated. You are ready for summer!

    I like linen. I don’t love wrinkles, but I have always made an exception for linen. It is such a soft and breathable fabric.

    It’s funny, I just bought two sets of soft cotton pillowcases and they were so wrinkled when I pulled them from the dryer. I was disappointed, but I am not going to iron them. We ironed sheets and pillowcases when I was a kid and I am over that. The pillowcases will simply have to be wrinkled. At least they are very soft. I probably won’t buy more of that brand.

    However, I may buy some linen from the brand that you are wearing. The clothes are appealing. Enjoy your linen this summer!

  25. I’ve tried to embrace linen, but haven’t been entirely successful. I did, however, buy a pair of wide-legged linen/rayon pants recently that I absolutely love. They look like linen, but drape like rayon, and don’t wrinkle as much as linen on its own.

    In an attempt to shop ethically, I’ve been trying not to buy anything new that was made in China, but it’s difficult and I haven’t been 100% successful. In addition to concern about the treatment of factory workers, which is likely similar in many third world countries, I have grave concerns about China’s relationship with Canada. When I lived in China in 2013, they didn’t even try to hide their intent to take over the world through what they called soft power. We read about it then in the English language newspapers and I see it happening all around us now.

    1. I hear you Elaine. It’s a complex issue of which I don’t know enough. And all that was part of the reason I debated about whether to accept the clothing gifts.

  26. Ooh! Dresses with pockets and sleeves! And a discount code! Thank you for your review and research. I just ordered 2 dresses.

  27. I had no idea you were not being compensated for all those brands you include with each mention of a garment. I’ve used your code and ordered from Grae Cove but was disappointed to learn, after I ordered, that the shipment is coming from China. I thought I saw Made in USA somewhere. I just do not like sending my money to China to help them try to take over the world. But hoping I enjoy the garments, since done is done.

    1. Well, it’s not that I’m not compensated at all. But only if someone makes a purchase using my affiliate link, and only if the brand has an affiliate relationship with the cooperative to which I belong. But that was my choice to use what’s called “passive links.” Readers can choose to click or not. Sorry you were confused about the origins of Grae Cove’s merchandise. I tried to be clear about it… it’s definitely not made in the USA. 🙂

  28. I love your blog and have been following for years. I do wear linen in the summer snd if I buy that pretty purple dress, I’ll use your link. I can understand the problem of your growing costs. I myself don’t see the need for email notification of new posts. I check once a week to see if there’s a new one. Maybe it’s a cost you could cut.

  29. Outfit number 6 is also my favourite. It is most like you.

    I see no reason to feel bad about accepting the clothing to review, or to monetize your blog. Do what you have to do to keep your posts coming.

    Dawn

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