I Tried The Internet’s Most Affordable Linen Bedding

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Duvet covers weirdly cater to all ages. 7-year-old me could care less about the best side sleeper pillow or how firm a mattress is, but a Lightning McQueen-themed duvet cover? A necessity. Cut to me a week ago: a young professional decorating my NYC apartment, scouring the web for an adult upgrade to my Etsy daisy print bedspread. This scavenger hunt, while exhilarating, came with a major downside: high price points. That is until I stumbled across the high-quality lifestyle brand Quince and its $170 European Linen Duvet Cover Set.

The keyword here is linen. A light, airy, all-natural flax duvet cover by itself typically goes for $100 to $200; throw in the pillowcases and you're jumping into the $200 to $400 range. A queen-size linen set from the home goods powerhouse Parachute retails for $374. So why does it cost so much more than other natural fabrics like cotton? Per Parachute's blog post, harvesting the flax is quite laborious and the finished product is stronger than cotton, feels boho-luxe, and is "ideal for year-round use." So you can understand the Shopping team's excitement when we discovered Quince's under-$200, 4.9-star, 100% woven European flax bedding. Read on to hear about my night with the internet's most affordable linen duvet cover set and to find out if it reflected that cheap price tag or felt like a million bucks.
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Photo courtesy of: Alexandra Polk
My Quince linen duvet cover set in Sand.

What is Quince?

We are equal parts impressed and utterly confused by this retailer's vast, category-spanning inventory. All it takes is a few clicks on the seriously sophisticated site and boom, your cart is filled to the brim with chic washable silk tees, classy 14-karat gold hoops, a moisturizer or two, and, of course, a lovely duvet cover set. The biggest surprise, however, is Quince's commitment to producing, "[items] of equal or greater quality than the leading luxury brands at a much lower price." In fact, the retailer first piqued the Shopping team's interest because of its $50 — sorry, let us spell that out for emphasis — f-i-f-t-y dollar Mongolian cashmere crewneck sweater. Then came the under-$200 duvet cover set, and we were sold.

Why is Quince so affordable?

Ever heard of cutting out the middle man? That's the main culprit. When you place your order, instead of going from sourcing agents to warehouses and taking other cost-enhancing detours, Quince's products go directly from manufacturers to consumers. (In other words, it’s a manufacturer-to-consumer brand as opposed to a direct-to-consumer brand.) For example, the mystifyingly cheap cashmere is crafted with $30 wool, costs $10 to produce, fifty cents to package, and $6 to ship — which leaves us with a grand total of $46.50.

The brand’s sustainability commitments and ethical manufacturing check out as well. According to its site, the majority of Quince's factories are "mid-sized, family-run operations" and the remaining "larger operations" enforce "rigorous ethical standards." The brand recently nixed all virgin plastic packaging and vows it will be 100% compostable by the end of the year. Many of Quince's cotton, linen, and percale products are also 100% organic. We will say, in comparison to other retailers, Quince uses fewer specifics and fewer metrics when describing its eco-conscious and ethical-labor efforts. However, the extremely transparent and thorough on-site explanation of its production costs brings a boatload of ethos to the table.
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What is the Quince European Linen Duvet Cover Set?

Photo courtesy of: Alexandra Polk
The linen pillow case.
This easy, breezy, beautiful set could book a Cover Girl commercial if need be. For $170, you get a queen-sized woven 100% European flax, 150-grams per square meter (relatively mid-weight) duvet cover, and two standard shams. The set comes in eight earthy, muted colorways and is pre-washed to ensure coziness. Plus, Quince mentions that its linen only gets softer over time. (Updates on this are pending.) The cover also features cute bottom buttons for closure and has corner ties to keep finicky comforters in place. Plus, although we hope this isn’t necessary, the retailer offers free returns for up to an entire year. 
Photo courtesy of: Alexandra Polk
The duvet cover's button closures.
“Luxurious,” “soft-yet-sturdy,” and “superb” are just a few of the words customers used to describe their sets. On-site reviewer Kevin H. raved how “nice, weighted, [and] cool,” his new covers are and that he enjoys the “linen on both sides,” aspect. Another happy customer, Brandi W., made a case for the ever-evolving plushness claiming: “I bought the sheet set first and fell in love. The linen gets softer and softer after each wash.” In terms of appearance, reviewer Lisa D. lives for the “farmhouse vibe,” and “[loves] the color and texture,” of her terracotta-hued duvet. And, after taking a peek at the pictures she provided, we can attest to Lisa’s good taste. 
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What does Quince's European Linen feel like?

To me, this bedding is in no way your traditional cozy, teddy bear-soft blanket. But I think that's why I'm infatuated with it. It's crisp, smooth, and authentic. Plus, upon opening, it smells like when you step into one of my favorite safe spaces: Cost Plus World Market. If you've robbed yourself of experiencing the comforting, earthy, organic, newly-lit candle scent of a World Market, then just know the duvet has a lovely, natural, and fresh laundry-like aroma.

Which is why I immediately slid it over my comforter, got under the covers, and buried my face in the cushy linen pillowcase like I was in one of those Downy commercials. I blame it on the breathability. Confession: I'm lying beneath it as I write this and the fabric just somehow doesn't get hot like my old cotton duvet. This isn't to say it is not cozy — in fact, I'm a somewhat rare heated-blanket-on-high, always-cold kind of sleeper and I slept like a perfectly temperate baby these past two nights. Fresh out of the bag, it's not "soft" per se — it's smooth, comforting, and, I have to repeat the most accurate word, crisp.

Is Quince bedding worth buying?

Photo courtesy of: Alexandra Polk
My very adult bed.
The Quince European Linen Duvet Cover Set gets my and my dear plushie Cheesecake's stamp of approval. My bed looks dressed to the nines and finally got the mature upgrade it deserves (though I will be keeping my stuffed animals 'til I die), and my face is obsessed with those infinitely chill linen pillowcases. Funny enough, many of the on-site reviews came from parents who purchased sets for their teen and college-aged kids, so perhaps it's the ultimate introduction to fancier bedding for up-and-coming youth. But, just like we said in the beginning, duvet covers appeal to all ages. So whether you're navigating your (insanely expensive) mid-twenties like myself, heading to university, or are an affordable linen bedding fan of any age, Quince's linen duvet cover set is the way to go.
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