Towels are one of the first things we grab for in the morning and one of the last things we touch at night, yet when it comes to replenishing our towels, whether it be face, hand, or bath, we rarely give the purchase much consideration.
When it came to introducing towels into the Home Treasures line, softness, absorbency and durability were at the forefront of our search. It was with these factors in mind that we introduced our Izmir Collection, a 550 gsm, zero twist, Turkish cotton, terry towel. Yes, we realize that’s a lot of technical terminology, so please allow us to explain each factor independently! Understanding the language of towels will help ensure that you get the look, feel and performance that you want.
ORIGIN: Just as the weaving of luxury linens is deeply rooted in Italian culture, the Turks are credited for producing the highest quality towels on the market. Why is this? Turkey invented the first towels in the 17th century, and with the growth of the Ottomon Empire, so did the use of the towel. It was during this growth that towels evolved from flat woven linen, to feature loops, which we associate with terry towels today. For this reason, towel production is deeply rooted in Turkish culture and the country remains the leading authority still to this day.
FIBER: Our Izmir towels are made from 100% long-staple Turkish cotton grown in the Aegean Region. The long fibers allow for fewer joins to occur when spinning the yarn, which result in stronger and smoother cotton threads. These longer, stronger and smoother threads result in towels that offer higher durability, a supremely soft hand and greater absorbency. While Egyptian cotton, also known for long, strong fibers, is also used in towels, research has shown that their absorbency is too high for towels. I know we thought there could never be too much of anything, but Egyptian cotton towels are shown to absorb too much water and not dry fast enough, causing them to remain wet long after use, giving rise to a musky smell.
YARN STRUCTURE: Our Izmir towels are made with a zero twist spun yarn. What does this mean? Typically, yarn is twisted before it is woven into the towel in order to increase the strength of the fibers. By twisting the yarns, both short and long fibers can be used in production. However, for Zero Twist towels, the yarn is not twisted, but instead put into a synthetic casing that dissolves when the yarn is dyed (all towels are dyed, even white ones!). This process is only possible when using long, strong, premium cotton fibers, so with zero twist towels, you know you are getting the highest quality cotton. Also because there is no twist in the fibers, they have a larger surface area, which increases absorbency without bulk and allows for air infiltration so the towels have a more efficient drying process.
WEIGHT: Towels are measured in GSM, grams per square meter. This refers to the density of the fiber used to weave the towel. Generally the higher the gsm, the thicker the towel. However, similar to the misconceptions with thread count in bedding, the higher the gsm does not always lead to a higher quality towel. First of all, aside from gsm, you must also consider the type of fiber, the weave and the finishing. A 800 gsm towel made from twisted, short staple cotton may not offer the softness, absorbency and durability that you would experience in a 500 gsm, zero twist towel made from long staple Turkish cotton. Additionally the thickness of the towel depends on the weave – a twisted towel may have a lower pile and higher feeling density than the equivalent zero twist towel that will feel fluffier and plusher. So once again, like bedding, numbers are not the only metric for measuring quality.
STYLE: Now for the fun part! With technical details behind us, when it comes to choosing the right towels for your bathroom, many of us are focused on curating the right look. Our Izmir towels are available in six colors – White, Ivory, Candlelight, Oyster, Sion, Summer Brown – which were selected based on the most popular colors found in bathroom tiles and marble. These are finished with a sateen piping, available in over 50 colors, which allow you to create a bespoke color combination that is best suited for your bathroom. Furthermore, we offer a variety of styles to choose from so you can truly design a unique look: Antalya offers a bound scallop finish for playful touch; Bodrum has a contrasting piping for a pop of color; Ribbons creates a clean tailored look with a pair of ribbons and straight edge finish; And our collection of laces – Doric, Morocco, Valencia and Wreath – can all be added for a more refined, traditional finish.
We know the process to high buying quality towels is not straight forward. There’s always a balance to absorbency, feel and look. So, as you shop for the perfect towel, try to keep certain quality measures - origin, fiber type, weave - in mind!