this thing's incredible

The $20 Linen Set I’ve Been Wearing Nonstop

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Leon

Earlier this summer, it hit me. I knew I wanted an easy-to-wear outfit versatile (and comfortable) enough to both WFH in my mostly un-air-conditioned, semi-renovated home office and run errands in my neighborhood without feeling like I’d forgotten to change out of my pajamas. I needed a linen short set.

After a quick hunt, I found what I was looking for in terms of style — but not budget. As much as I wanted to buy an ethically made, sustainable linen set from a cool brand, I wasn’t ready to commit. That’s when I found this $22 Walmart set (now reduced even further).

It looked just right: a short-sleeve button-down shirt with a turndown collar, paired with elasticated, drawstring shorts. You can choose between mostly neutral colors (beiges, black, white) or brighter shades of blue and purple in straightforward sizing, from small to extra-large.

Photo: Retailer

Note: We found what appears to be the exact same set at Amazon for $1 more, with more sizes available, so we’ve linked to it below, too.

I went for the beige set, in a large, which arrived in a week from a third-party seller — not Walmart proper — in a simple brown envelope. But, most importantly, it worked perfectly. I could throw it on minutes before calls started, wearing it as is, with a T-shirt layered underneath or the added glint of some gold jewelry. I was initially afraid to wash it, assuming it would shrink, distort, or not be as long-wearing, given the price. But it came out of the machine unaltered, if a little wrinkly.

Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Leon

A week later, after I ordered another set in black that I maybe like even more, I knew I couldn’t gatekeep. I shared the news on my Instagram Stories and immediately had dozens of friends asking where it was from. One friend, a Hudson Valley–based botanical stylist, ordered her own set to wear for chores at home, like pulling weeds and making clay pots, but found herself wearing it out and about, as well. “I wore the shorts straight from the garden to the nail salon where an adorable older woman asked me where I had bought them,” she wrote. “1,000 percent coastal grandmother in the best way.”

Meanwhile, another friend reported from L.A.: “I was influenced. Bought it for a trip to the Italian coast, but haven’t stopped wearing it inside my house since the heat wave arrived. Sent a selfie to my gal group and convinced two others to buy!”

Summer’s ending, but my love affair with this set seems permanent. And, obviously, there’s always next spring.

Some more versatile loungewear we've written about