Universal Standard’s New Linen Is Secretly Stretchy

Photo: courtesy of Universal Standard.
When it comes to elevated classics that meld seamlessly into any capsule wardrobe, Universal Standard reigns supreme. On top of boasting one of the most inclusive clothing-size ranges around, the brand is also a reliable purveyor of functional fashion — offering everyday staples that still feel cool, thanks to creative collaborations with of-the-moment labels like Erdem. And now, right on summertime, we've been blessed with the newest of such all-covetable collections: Universal Standard's custom stretch linen. The limited-edition lineup — consisting of a button-down tunic, pull-on shorts, pull-on pants, an elegant jumpsuit, and a shirt dress — takes linen's more unforgiving stiff qualities and replaces it with some stretch. “If you can develop a linen that looks like classic linen, but has that stretch, it’s more comfortable for anyone who wears it regardless of size,” Alexandra Waldman, Chief Creative Officer at Universal Standard, shared. “Linen to me is a mark of summer … It has its own rumpled elegance that I’ve always wanted to be able to wear and very often found I couldn’t because it never sat on me the way I hoped it would — the way I imagined it should," Waldman continued. This linen dream soon became a reality because of what Waldman details as Universal Standard's commitment to fabrications that "make wearability more of a pleasure" and are "more inclusive in terms of body differences both in size and topography.” The new stretch linen is available in sizes 00-40 with prices beginning at $74 for the shorts and topping out at $128 dollars for the jumpsuit. Scroll on to shop the full collection and read my thoughts on a few of the pieces I was able to try on in IRL.
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I was able to try on the stretch linen Dawn tunic in black and it's genuinely better than I could have hoped. My arms and my shoulders are a bit larger than the clothing size my torso usually calls for with button-down shirts. Due to this, I always size up a size or two to accommodate which translates to button-downs often looking oddly oversized in my torso area. The barely-there stretch in Universal Standard's linen is the perfect addition to eliminate this issue I've been struggling with for years! On top of that, it's light and moves really well as you lift your arms too.

The shorts are roomy and slide on easily, making them ideal for bending down or moving about freely without any riding up. You sometimes forget you are wearing shorts with how light they are. However, they still cover your body well — so, no need to worry about revealing something you weren't intending to.
I can definitely see myself wearing this on the beach or on any warm summer occasion, TBH. It's very breathable to the point of almost feeling completely weightless — which makes it more than ideal for those hot & sticky days ahead. I thought the white jumpsuit would be completely see-through BUT I'm wearing a green bra in this picture...can you tell?! (Wear neutral underwear if you want to stay on the safe side.)
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Although I didn't try on the pull-on pants IRL, I can imagine they have a similar fit to the shorts; easy to pull on and roomy but with a longer leg that features a cute-cropped hem. The pants also feature side & back pockets, which is always a plus. These would be very easy to dress up with a blouse and heels or down with a simple tee or even over a one-piece bathing suit.
Another style I didn't test out firsthand but imagine offers the same excellent stretch fit of the hi-low tunic top that can often be an issue with button-down styles across larger chests and arms. This effortless piece also features a hi-low hem that grazes mid-calf with a subtle sexy side slit and the added bonus of two side pockets.
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