When it comes to interior decor, don’t forget about this frequently overlooked zone: the linens. Often an afterthought, they’re just as important to the look of a room as a great piece of furniture or wall hanging. “We seem to forget that we spend more time in bed and at the dining table than any other location during our lives,” points out luxury linens doyenne Julia Berger of Julia B. “One’s bedroom and dining room are lived in, viewed and enjoyed every day. Enabling each of those special places to shine and be beautiful is what this should be all about.”
For brides to be, linens and a trousseau rank high on the checklist of wedding traditions — right up there with the old, new, borrowed and blue. “In many parts of Europe this century-old custom was considered to be the most precious gift to be provided by the bride’s extended family, often hand-embroidered by the mother, the grandmother, the aunt as well as other close female relatives,” adds Berger, whose own company offers a bespoke couture service to design a personal trousseau collection from scratch. “In North America, we have witnessed a revival — perhaps it’s even a discovery — of this fabulous tradition.”
Here, Berger shares her pro tips for the linen novice, from trousseau 101 to choosing the right monogram.
How to Navigate the World of Fine Linens & Avoid Thread-Count Mania
When it comes to bed linens, the most typical question I receive, is “What’s your thread count?” As proud as we are of our thread counts, which go as high as 1,000 threads per square inch, I caution everyone from thinking that this statistic is a true indicator of quality. Far more important than the number of threads is the actual quality of the threads themselves; the type of weave and care used in producing the linen can dramatically affect their quality and touch.
Think about the climates and environments you live in, your preferences for warmth or coolness, your adjacent bedding products — be they down, wool or piquet — to make the right individual choices. Personally, I learned to appreciate fine textiles at an early age from linens that were handed down to me by my great-aunt. You would be amazed at their softness, durability and beauty, even after decades of use. We always encourage our customers to touch the fabrics and let their hands and cheeks make the choice for them. After all, I doubt that a 100 years ago anyone was running around boasting about one’s thread count. In this crazy digital world where everyone is trying to quantify everything and keep score, maybe we should create scores for beauty and joy?
Calling All Brides: How to Create Your Personal Linen Collection
Our very extensive selection of designs, colors and fabrics serve as a palette so that we can always capture the individual tastes and aspirations of the bride. However, when it comes to selecting the first set, I always encourage brides to consider white as choice number one. Bridal white linens are not just pure and fresh; they are the easiest color with which to mix and match and build upon as a foundation of one’s collection.
How to Choose the Right Monogram
The selection and personalization of one’s monogram needs to reflect one’s personal tastes, whimsies and passions. Monograms are such a beautiful way of personalizing one’s home and that is why we work through a multi-step process with brides, including a review of their family’s vintage pieces, gaining an understanding of their color preferences as well as seeking to ensure that the monogram complements the rest of the home decor.
Decisions around monograms can be tricky and at times invoke questions of which names should be represented as well as the order in which they should appear. Traditionally the monogrammed trousseau was developed over a period of many years, starting long before the young woman’s husband was chosen and therefore those pieces typically featured only the initial of the bride’s last name. Today, of course, tradition and gender equality are battling each other, resulting in a much broader range of options. That being said, there are a few important things to always keep in mind when making these choices:
1. How many letters?
Determine whether one, two or three letters best suits your preferred way of visualizing your name
2. What is the preferred order?
If multiple letters are preferred then making certain that bride and groom are happy with the order in which they will appear is very important and we urge brides to have that discussion before finalizing their decision.
3. New or vintage?
Often families have existing vintage pieces and sometimes even crests which they would like to copy or at least use as inspiration for a new design. Our couture service is designed to support this process and the results are beautiful and uniquely personal for every bride and her family.
How to Care for Linens
One of the fabulous things about fine linens is that, if proper care is taken, they can get better over time. Linen care requires following three essential rules:
1. Only use the right detergent — non-abrasive and delicate
2. Never use bleach, even with whites, as it weakens the fabric
3. Store your linens, after pressing and folding them carefully, in a dry environment
More to explore in Entertaining
- Entertaining 1.14.20 Cocktail of the Month: New Year, Timeless Margarita
- Entertaining 1.13.20 At Home—To The Very Max—With Tory Burch’s Filipa De Abreau
- Entertaining 12.19.19 A Creative Director’s Take on the Holiday Table
- Entertaining 12.9.19 Entertaining with an Entrepreneurial Twist
- Entertaining 12.2.19 How-Tos: Seven Tips for Creating the Ultimate Holiday Tablescape