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7 Reasons you should switch to Turkish towels

Phyllis H. Moore is an author, retired social worker and former owner and operator of a bed and breakfast. She has written four novels in the southern gothic style with a Texas twist. She enjoys reading, writing, gardening, travel and vi...

Why you need to ditch the boring white towels and try foutas now

I don’t make resolutions at the beginning of a new year, but I do intend to try something new. Last year, I decided to branch out and try a new basic. I have always been a “fluffy, white towel” person. In my opinion, they look good in any bathroom decor and they feel good. White towels are also easy to clean in a washer of bleach and detergent, and they can all be washed together, no need for separation. Those were my favorite — until I discovered the fouta (pronounced "foo-tah").

Foutas are Turkish cotton towels, tightly woven, oversized, quick drying and versatile. I saw an article on them in a popular magazine and thought they might be interesting to try, so I set out to try this new thing, but all of the resources listed in the article were sold out. Like a kid lusting after the most popular toy for Christmas, I had to have these elusive towels. Internet search to the rescue: I found they are plentiful, varied, offered at several price points and extremely versatile, as promised.

The weave of the most expensive fouta should run through both sides of the towel, so you cannot tell the front from the back. They come in a variety of colors and subtle patterns. Some of the less expensive versions may not have the detailed weave, but they are appealing and I envision them draped across the end of a child’s bed as a light weight throw. They are large enough to be used as throws, offering a more comfortable alternative to the knitted afghan in the warmer months. The fringe or tassels also vary. My preference is the twisted fringe. It holds up to many washings and does not fray or become tangled.

Fouta Lifestyle offers Turkish towels with this appealing fringe. West Elm also offers the twisted fringe hand towel. Wayfair offers a variety of fouta options at several price points. Occasionally, I have spotted foutas at Home Goods, and when I do, I stock up for gifts and the pool. They are great wedding and graduation gifts, folding easily for travel and storage.

In my opinion, the appeal of the fouta is the texture, the ability to fold it into a lower profile than a conventional terry towel and the versatility. The fouta dries quickly because it is thinner than most towels, making it desirable for the beach and pool. It is also oversized — most are 72 inches by 40 inches, making them large enough to easily wrap around your body (and not just a small body). They can be used as attractive tablecloths, wraps, shawls, throws or beach blankets. Because they are 100 percent cotton, they are easily laundered and comfortable to the touch.

I’ll admit, at first my husband whined about the absence of his favorite towel, but after experiencing the fouta one time and enjoying the size and absorbency, he is a fan, too. They occupy half the space in the linen closet and can be rolled up in a basket, exposing the textural fringe, creating a conversation piece in the bathroom for guests and visitors.

Last year, I went through a monogram phase, embroidering initials on napkins and towels. My foutas are now sporting my monogram, which has also held up nicely to many washings. They are my new best friends, a little addictive and perfectly harmless. I feel it is my duty to inform others of the fouta adventure and share the cultural experience.

Benefits of foutas:

  1. Generous size (72 inches by 40 inches)
  2. Good texture, weave and attractive fringe
  3. Nice folded profile (about half the size of a fluffy, terry towel)
  4. Very versatile — throws, shawls, tablecloths, beach blankets
  5. Absorbent
  6. Dry quickly
  7. They're a new take on a household basic

I hope you will try them and enjoy. I have no stock in Turkish towels. It’s just something I like.

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