Jeans Made for Summer: Linen-Blend Denim

June 12th, 2014

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Two things a lot of guys don’t know about jeans:

1. “Jean” is a term for a style, not a fabric. Jeans do not have to be made of denim, and denim can be used to make many other garments that aren’t jeans, including trousers. The “jean” style is generally characterized by having 5 pockets (two western and a coin in the front, two patch in the back) with a single button (or rivet) waistband, a western split yoke on the back, and chain-stitched seams.

2. Denim is naturally a heavyweight fabric that doesn’t breathe particularly well. Although it comes in many different weights, it is generally not intended for the warm months of Summer.

That leads me to my point: the best summer jeans are not made of pure denim. I’ve been really loving linen blend jeans lately. They have the comfort, fit and functionality of traditional 5-pocket denim jeans, but they are lighter, breezier and they have that whispy linen texture and character.

Here’s three of my favorites, all available this season as part of Nordstrom‘s expansive denim collection.


1. Grandpa Chic


Seersucker and linen, what a magical blend for Spring/Summer.

Of all three of the jeans in this post, these are by far my favorite. I love the high waist, the fuller leg, and the cropped hem. Being that they are a dusty navy and super lightweight (63% cotton 37% linen) they have a leisurely old school feel to them. These have quickly become one of my favorite pants for the season, and I think they’re only going to get better.

There made in USA by Billy Reid and they’re on sale now.


This is the shrunken leather tote bag I designed with Frank Clegg. I had to make sure the handles were extended long enough to fit over the shoulder; that’s crucial when you’re traveling a long way with a heavy tote.

Unfortunately we’re no longer taking orders for the Frank Clegg x Dan Trepanier collection, since I got snubbed by exclusivity clauses with their Michael Bastian collaboration – which is really well done. I told ya’ll they were limited edition! Thankfully I spoke to Frank and we plan on coming together to release a second collection.

A few seasons ago I bought this short-sleeved seersucker shirt from Lands End. I wore it once, then went straight back and bought it in three other colors. The feeling of seersucker on your skin on a hot sticky summer day makes a world of difference.


Of course, there’s no better way to finish off a high-waisted, short-sleeved grandpa-inspired look than with a pair of low-vamp kiltie loafers.


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  • TMS

    Great website — just discovered it! You might add an option to this list for budget-minded shoppers who still want to look stylish. I usually wear Ralph Lauren myself, but some time ago I discovered the Dockers 5-pocket twill pant, which fit about like the Ralph Laurens you show here. They come in gray, blue, green, several shades of brown, and the usual khakis. At one time they had a beautiful red and a pastel light blue, but I haven’t seen those two lately. They only cost about $35!

  • Brady

    Did you size down at all for your LE seersucker? Or just have it tailored? I have a few of the short sleeved OCBDs and one size down seems to fit best

    • Dan Trepanier

      I did size down. This is a size Small with no alts.


      • Brady

        Thanks Dan

  • Desmond

    Terrific post – could do with some of those duds down here in the Aussie summer.
    Dan, did you have any tailoring done on the Lands End seersucker?

    • Dan Trepanier

      Nope. Straight off-the-rack. Although it’s a size Small.

      • Desmond

        Cool beans, thanks

  • Juan

    Aw man, I get so much shit for wearing my burgundy Weejun kiltie loafers but I just love them! I don’t care people call me “grandpa”; my grandfather had a pair just like mine and was a stylish SOB, so I don’t mind looking like him at all!

    Also love the high-waisted jeans. I have short-ish legs so I have been wearing my pants a lot higher than most people my whole life, and I actually think it looks much better. The waist is more accentuated and I love that most of the times I end up looking like one of those refined gentlemen with interminable legs illustrated by Fellows on those vintage Esquire and Apparel Arts numbers, even though I’m only 6’0″.

    Might have to get one of those button-downs as well, even though seersucker isn’t as popular as you might think, here in Italy.

    Great piece, top notch material as always!

  • Livestrongcmc

    Man those first 2 looks are on point! Great stuff

  • Malefe

    Gustin. Grey silks. Check em out.

  • Martin

    I really like look #2 & #3 and while I’m the first to admit you are 100 times more stylish than I will ever be, #1 is just a little too Steve Urkel for me. High waist, high ankles I just can’t get Urkel out of my head when I see them.

  • Joe

    Hey Dan,

    I have to say I really liked this post. I’ve been a long time reader, and though I haven’t really liked some of the more “out there” posts lately, I’ve stuck with it; glad I did! I was just going to ask your opinion on the sleeve fit of the seersucker Land’s End shirt. I don’t typically wear short sleeve button-up shirts because the sleeve openings are too wide, and I think they look silly when they are flapping around. I have pretty decently thick arms, so I was wondering if the sleeve fit off-the-rack for these are slim enough to hug the arms (I know it kind of all depends on how big your arms are, but if you could generalize).

  • cam

    I have to ask how do you fit those RL Varick jeans?? I know you’ve made mention to your larger thighs in the past and mine are quite thin. I ordered a pair last season and I couldn’t move in them. Maybe I should order a size or two up in the waist and take them in? Anyway, great post highlighting how to stay looking sharp with the rising temps.

    • Dan Trepanier

      The polo jeans are quite narrow through the upper leg, but fortunately my thighs have been gradually shrinking since my college basketball days. Unfortunately that means I don’t have the same hops anymore…although I can still get above the rim (barely).

      You could buy a size up and have them tailored down – that’s always a recipe for making sure every area fits properly.

      Thanks for you continued support Cam. Hope to see you at one of our TSBmen events when we go on tour…once we get that TSB RV, lol.

      • Shawn

        Damn son, I don’t even think I can reach the net LOL!

  • Miguel

    Excellent post Dan,

    I’ve noticed a lot of this pants, they look kind of loose and weak but I’m going to give them a try since I had to purchase some lighter material pants since most of my jeans (denim) are heavy and dark.

    Humid areas like NY, Jersey I mostly be wearing something made out of Linen, light cotton or shorts.

    Thanks for the tips.

    • Dan Trepanier

      In my opinion linen trousers should be a little looser. It’s naturally for a breezy fabric to have a slightly breezier shape. And yes, these are huge in humid climates, like sweaty NYC subway cars.

  • Shawn

    Now, that’s what I’m talking about. Look #1 is money, and if you wouldn’t have mentionned it, I would’ve never guessed that seersucker shirt is Land’s End! Might have to take the plunge and order a couple; they’re so cheap anyway! Everything seems right about look #1; I’ve never been a fan of short sleeves, but coupled with seersucker, and in this shade, I love it! Thanks for the great post Dan!

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks Shawn. Go for it on the seersucker shirt, you’ll wear it often enough to justify the $40.

  • Josh Moulder

    Links are broken, “Next Look” button goes to page 2, but it’s still pointing to the 1st page

    • Dan Trepanier

      Huh? Seems to be working fine. Can you clarify?

      • Josh Moulder

        Working fine now, loving the 2nd look by the way, simple but still stands out, to me at least

        • Dan Trepanier

          Thanks mate.