Foutas: Form Over Function?

Style :

In my family's giant rubbermaid box of beach towels are a couple of towels that no one ever uses.  They are beautiful- flat, striped, huge, woven with vividly colored thread.  They've been in that box my whole life, and never once have I seen anyone use them.  Even if every other plush terry beach towel is sopping wet, no one touches the flatweave towels left in the box. 

The towels are beautiful, so I've always wondered where they came from.  No one can remember, except my uncle says they've been in the box since the 1970's.  My grandparents traveled all over the world, so it's very likely these pretty striped towels came from somewhere overseas.  Recently, I've seen similar towels popping up, so I decided to do a little research.

These flat-weave towels are known as foutas or pestemals.  They were historically used in Turkish baths, called hamams.  Originally, they were used as both a towel and a sarong-type covering.  Now, they are also used as blankets, wraps, and tablecloths.  They are typically made of 100% cotton and very soft.

No doubt foutas are beautiful- the brightly colored stripey patterns are just stunning. But here is where I become skeptical: Everything I read online says they are extremely absorbent, even moreso than plush terry towels. This seems impossible for me to believe! Scents and Feel, self-described as "The Home of the Signature Fouta Towel," has a fantastic selection of vibrant foutas online. 

Honeycomb Fouta, $65 for 38 inches by 78 inches

Etsy and eBay have a few foutas as well.  You may try searching under fouta, hamam, hammam, and pestemal.


These towels from Scents and Feel were featured in Real Simple last year.

Real Simple

Foutas aren't all brightly colored and flashy- this rather masculine bathroom featured in Domino uses foutas to soften the room.


Turquoise foutas make perfect baby blankets.  Such a nice change from the traditional blankets you see!  My next friend to have a baby is totally getting one of these from me...

So the big question:  Have you ever used a fouta to dry off?  Is it really absorbent?  Leave us a comment and let us know!  Maybe next year at the beach someone will actually use those lonely striped towels in the bottom of the box...

Stay tuned next week for some fab new additions to MoS Marketplace and for MoS Washington's return from Paris!  Have a great weekend!

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