Now that Memorial Day has passed, and it's unofficially, officially summer, it's time to think about switching bed linens from winter coziness to summer crispness. If you're going to freshen your linen closet, the folks that make the fine linens at SFERRA have a message for you: stop obsessing about thread count.
Most of us use thread count -- that is, the number of threads per square inch of fabric -- as a proxy for quality. And it is definitely important -- just go to any good linen department and give the samples of different thread count a good stroke and scrunch. But it's not the only thing that matters, nor is it what matters most: the quality of the fiber matters more. (You could have a sheet of densely woven straw, for example, and you wouldn't want to sleep on it.) Egyptian cotton is most used in luxury linens because it produces a long fiber, or staple, which means it's easier to spin into smooth, fine yarn.
After that, the weave that's used influences the feel of the sheet. For summer consider linen, a loose weave of long flax fibers, like SFERRA's Classico line fitted queen sheet for $210, king flat sheet for $315. Or go with percale, a tight uniform cotton weave that results in a matte look and a smooth, crisp feel. For example, pictured here is SFERRA's Sereno line, fitted queen sheet for $410, king duvet for $1,080. But okay, just because you're not obsessing about thread count doesn't mean you have to forget it entirely: the Sereno line has a very luxey thread count of 800.
Learn more about SFERRA's "Lose Count" campaign by friending the company on Facebook.
Next month Birds of Sausalito, makers of luxurious boxer shorts for men, will debut its new premium pajamas (above). Made of the same custom Pima cotton fabric as their beloved boxers, each pair is hand tailored with extraordinary attention to details such as single needle stitching and mother-of-pearl buttons. Price at $280 per pair, they will be available as of June 1 at select stores and online. Birds set out to create the best-fitting, most comfortable boxer shorts ever made, perfecting every detail of design, cut, fit and fabric. They're hand sewn and made of a 2-ply 160-thread count Sea Island Cotton, arguably the most luxurious available.
Yumi & Laurie makes a high-end, stylish, eco-friendly line of blankets, which it calls "blanQuettes." They feel like a large, plush Turkish towel and are designed with vibrant and whimsical colors and patterns inspired by founder Laurie Suzuki's trips to Japan and Europe and the beautiful textiles she saw there.
The blanQuettes are woven out of 100% organic and sustainable cotton and bamboo fibers, are anti-microbial (safe for allergy sufferers), and machine washable. The blanket is light, so it can be used in all seasons, and is manufactured with environmentally sound materials and techniques.
Five styles are available, all 6'6" x 4'9": St. Moritz (rich texture, $225), Nevis (two-color floral, $225), Laguna (vibrant colors, great for teens, $195), Furano (three-color Asian-inspired design, $235), and Milan (texture with calming colors, $225).
All are on sale (20% off these prices) until December 31, 2008.
How much would you pay for a sustainable t-shirt? Luxury Redefined thinks the world is ready for the £100 sustainable T-shirt. What makes Luxury Redefined's shirt so special is that it is certified organic and Fairtrade. The shirts are made from cotton that is grown in a Peruvian co-op. It is rain fed rather than watered and the cotton is not dyed or bleached.
You've probably never thought about the sustainability factor of t-shirts, but it turns out that growing cotton takes a lot of water. The shirts are made in England at the John Smedley factor in Derbyshire. It will come with a mini-brochure made from 100 % post-consumer waste paper and printed with vegetable ink that explains the manufacture of the T-shirts. The shirts will be available this spring in men's, women's and children's sizes or you can try to win one in the contest from Smart Planet.
Filed under: Decor
Filed under: Decor
Cotton Monkey Bedding is a line of linens made from 100% certified organic cotton, grown without any pesticides or chemicals, and is finished with wool batting that is not treated with formaldehyde or bleach and is antimicrobial. Only non-toxic dyes are used. The result of all this is that the bedding is ultra-soft and as safe as can be for a baby's sensitive skin. They make sheets, quilts, crib bumpers and throw blankets, and you can mix and match the various patterns they offer. A full Cotton Monkey set, which will outfit a crib completely, is $704.
Filed under: Apparel
Blame it on the changing seasons, but seersucker is back in style this summer. Seersucker is no longer limited to the bold blue-and-white stripes of yesteryear. Instead, this season's seersucker is more refined and available in more styles than ever before, so it looks great while retaining its easy-to-wear comfort and cool, breathable feel.
Kenneth Cole has Flat Front Seersucker Pants that are a pale khaki in color. The cotton cloth"s pattern is so fine that only your comfort will remind you that you"re wearing something so casual. Price: $79.
For classicists, Paul Smith still has a blue and white seersucker suit, but the stripes are narrow and the lines of the jacket and pants are clean and up to date. It's great for a summer luncheon, business travel or ever a daytime wedding. Price: $1,195.
Filed under: Decor
Filed under: Apparel
Sundresses are on the casual end of elegance. Largely sleeveless, they are perfect for garden parties, a lazy Sunday brunch or a picnic at the park. They should be comfortable and easy to wear, but classy at the same time; sundresses are not too casual and should look good with strappy sandals or thong flats. This spring, there are a couple of trends that are showing up in the sun. The biggest one is white. White is the must-have shade for spring dresses. It is flattering and cooling, simple enough to be paired with any other shade and bright enough to be eye catching. Large print patterns and stripes are popular, too, but are definitely coming in second to the simple white dress. Other trends to look out for are dresses with empire waists and fuller skirts, as well as easy-to-wear shirt dresses, all of which can be very figure flattering.