What Color is Linen? Natural Linen Explained

What color would you like your linen garment to be? Dark blue, snow white, bright pink or mustard yellow?

You can find it in any color imaginable since this fabric takes in the pigment extremely well hence it’s easy to dye it.

But have you wondered, what color is linen naturally?

What Color is Linen

What Is The Natural Color of Linen?

Light buff, oatmeal, and ecru are the most popular colors for linen fabric, and shades ranging from lighter to darker grays are also common.

Its color highly depends on the conditions that flax was growing in. Sunlight, wind, moisture, and many more factors decide what color linen will turn out and what shade will be the base for your timeless linen clothing.

So, surprisingly, there is no one correct answer to this question. 

Linen is a natural fabric made out of the flax plant, a flowering crop in blue-purple color. But this color attribute of the plant itself does not necessarily result in the same color of the flax.

Why Does Linen Color is Distinguishable and Dissimilar?

If you ever notice that your undyed linen color garments from different stores or different times of purchase look different, you will now know the reason why.

The color of the processed linen fabric is relative to the underlying conditions of the farming and production process of the flax plant.

For instance, the linen fabric will take on a green-yellowish shade if the flax plant has been harvested earlier. The green tone occurred in the linen fabric because of the high nitrogen level present on the farm soil.

Additionally, some green-toned linen fabric is due to the flax plant's early harvest time - just before it comes to fruition.

If the flax has been harvested past its schedule, it will result in a warm brown shade on the linen fabric. The bluish tint in the linen fabric is due to the cold water the flax has been soaked into.

What Color is Available for Linen Fabrics

What Color is Available for Linen Fabrics?

Undyed linen color is loved by many because it’s so magical and special to be able to see the natural color of linen as it’s so unique and pure straight from the arms of Mother Nature.

Not to mention, undyed linen has its inherent superior attributes such as anti-microbial, anti-allergenic and gets softer every time you wash it.

But if you want something colorful and in a bolder color, linen fabric still has something to offer for you- dyed linen giving you a vast range of shades and colors to choose from.

How is Linen Dyed in Various Different Colors?

Linen is an ancient fabric being used for more than centuries now. With this, ancient practices combined with new technology develop several modern dyeing methods.

Here is the list of the most widely practiced methods to dye linen in a variety of colors.

  • For instance, linen has to be washed first to remove any odds and sods just like in olden days and then treated with direct, reactive, and sulfur dye in either neutral or alkaline bath.
  • For the linen fabric undergoing the direct dye approach, no other chemicals should be applied to the material. Not to mention that this approach guarantees no damage to the flax fibers in the fabric.
  • Bleach is being applied to linen to wash away the fabric's natural color, providing a way for the linen to shine and have a clear finish.

Retting is the strategy most manufacturers of linen fabric have been using today.

What is Retting?

Technically speaking, retting refers to the manufacturing technique to facilitate the separation of the fiber from the stem resulting in the fabrication of linen fabric and factor in the color of natural linen.

One of the most widely used means in retting is water, wherein the most practiced technique is having a significant number of bundled stalks submersed in still or slow-paced water mechanisms or bodies of water.

This way, most of the dirt and coloring remnants present in the linen have been wiped out, producing a light-colored, yellowish tone close to ecru.

For others, with limited water resources available, another approach such as dew retting has been practiced for about two to three weeks to separate the fibers with the implication of sun, air, and dew in the process. This technique basically makes any color darker, ending in tones close to grey.

As a matter of course, these are the most common practice used today to offer a massive range of shades and colors of linen.

Linen Colors in Detail

Natural color of linen is often called ‘linen grey.’ Usually, it’s a combination of light grey and brown, a mixture of most natural tones close to the earth and simplistic life.

But again, depending on many flax growing conditions, every time the color of linen presents us with a different surprise!

You can imagine it to be somewhere between ivory, ecru, oatmeal, and taupe.

How to Wear Natural Linen Color?

How to Wear Natural Linen Color?

Free of dye linen is a neutral color perfect for both casual and luxurious outfits depending on other clothes and accessories.

It’s very easy and convenient to match natural linen color with other neutral colors such as white, brown, grey, and black. It also looks great with brighter colors such as Night Navy, Evergreen, or patterns such as Plaid Brown.

Linen fashion is one of the most exciting styles for everyday and casual wear for ages. Not just because of its inherent nature but also with its various range and assortment of colors available.

This makes linen fashion more fun and interesting because you can play with a wide variety of color shades complementing many tones possible, categorically providing a well-balanced fashion ensemble or outfit for you.

How to Match and Choose your Linen Colors?

You should take note of this guiding principle to instinctively match your linen fashion color scheme – always match up or bring together warm tones together and this predicament applies to a cool color scheme as well. 

Going against this principle might look attractive for you for some time, but the unconventionality and coolness may wear off soon or earlier, you might speculate.

So we strongly suggest following the golden rule, which is warm to warm colors and cool to cool colors scheme at all times.

Natural color of undyed linen can vary from ivory to taupe depending on the conditions the flax plant, the fabric is made of, was growing in.

No matter the shade natural linen has, it is great to be worn on special occasions and casual days, depending on how you decide to style them.

Let your imagination create wonders!