Nicole

May 272013
 

cottonMost towels, bathrobes and bath mats are made either partially or completely from cotton, and this versatile fabric has been part of our lives for approximately 5,000 years.

There are four main species of the cotton shrub, which are categorized in terms of the different locations in which they are cultivated and grown. Most cotton produced for commercial use is white, but shrubs that naturally provide green and brown cotton fibers are also found although they are not widely cultivated. As cotton fabric is generally identified by the location in which the shrubs were grown, it’s not unusual for items such as towels and bath robes to be said to be made of, for instance, Egyptian cotton, Turkish cotton or American cotton.

The cultivation of cotton changed during history. Although the USA and Europe implemented mechanical cotton harvesting machines, cotton is still picked by hand in many countries including, among others, India, Egypt and Pakistan.

Organic cotton is becoming more and more popular in this modern day and age, and here, the term “organic” means that the cotton shrub has not been genetically modified and that it has also not been subjected to foreign substances like pesticides. A fair percentage of the organic cotton bathroom items – including both towels and monogrammed towels – are made in Turkey, China, India and Portugal, and these towels generally come in a wide range of colors, like browns, light blues and beiges, and are made of 100% organically grown cotton.

Robes, towels, mats and other bathroom linens can also be made of a mixture of cotton and other fabric like, for instance, the Bamboo washcloths and towels that are made of both bamboo rayon and Egyptian cotton and the Waffle kimono robes that are made of 35% polyester and 65% natural cotton. Other brands are made solely of one highly specific type of cotton like long staple Turkish cotton, American superior Pima cotton, combed Egyptian cotton and fine Egyptian cotton.

Cotton has become an integral part of our everyday life – with the growing and harvesting of cotton now being a multi-million dollar international business – and western civilization probably wouldn’t be able to function quite so well without it.

 

Apr 292013
 

Mudanya_13Legend has it that towels were invented in the Turkish city of Bursa, and, although this may or may not be true, beautiful Bursa is most certainly worth a visit.

Bursa – the jewel of Northwestern Turkey – is home to just under two million people, and, every year, more and more tourists are discovering this city’s fascinating mix of history and natural wonders. From bubbling hot springs to marvelously informational museums and from vibrant shopping centers to magnificent marble palaces, Bursa has it all, and there can be nothing better than lounging around on soft and fluffy monogrammed towels at the gorgeously appointed Celik Palas thermal bath.

Towels and other bathroom accessories – including bath mats and bathrobes – have many uses in today’s society, and, for instance, there’s most definitely no shortage of bath mat-like prayer rugs to be seen in Bursa’s main attraction: the Ulu Camii mosque. Also known as the Bursa Grand Mosque, Ulu Camii is a brilliant example of early Ottoman architecture and sports twin minarets as well as no less than 20 decorated domes. The mosque is, however, best known for housing the largest collection of incidental Islamic calligraphy in the world, and every tourist who visits this divine building simply has no choice but to gape at the wonderful writings on its walls.

Bursa is also located close to several of the nicest beaches found on Turkey’s northwestern coast, including Kursunlu, Armutlu and magnificent Mudanya, which lies on the Marmara Sea’s stunning Gulf of Gemlik. Robes and swimsuits are the costume de rigueur for all Bursa beaches, and the town’s proximity to so many attractive bathing venues – and the resulting need for so many people to get dry – could possibly just have something to do with why the town is credited for inventing towels.

Turkey is known for many things – including tasty Turkish Delight and steamy Turkish baths – but towels are generally not the first things that spring to mind when the prospective tourist thinks about visiting this fascinating country. Given Bursa’s unique history, however, perhaps they should be.

Apr 262013
 

towelsThe majority of today’s towels and robes, and even most bath mats, are made out of Terrycloth, a little known but very common type of fabric that pops up in the most interesting of places.

What ties the sport of cricket, squalling babies, bath time, clothing items and bed-linen together? If you answered “Terrycloth” – or Terry toweling as it is also known – you would be correct. Due to the very specific way that Terry cloth is manufactured, it has an extremely high absorbency rate, which makes it ideal to use in any situation where cloth is needed to soak up large amounts of liquid. Terry also turns up in the unlikeliest of places, and can be found making up wristbands, diapers, sheets, hats, bathrobes, and, of course, towels.

Terry cloth is so special because, while one side of the fabric is straight, the other side is woven in such a way that long loops are formed from each individual strand of cotton. The general terry rule is the longer the loop, the more absorbent the fabric will be, and this is because a longer loop means there is more open fabric area to absorb liquid. Terry cloth is usually manufactured completely out of cotton, but there are instances where lycra and polyester are also thrown into the mix. The manufacturing process, which is, furthermore, extremely complex, involves the fabric being woven on special looms sporting two longitudinal warp beams, and the weaving technique that produces terry cloth is known as “warp knitting”.

Although extremely popular, terrycloth isn’t the only fabric that towels – even monogrammed towels – are made of, and, these days, these bathroom necessities are also made of synthetic microfiber and waffle fabric. Nothing beats the warmth, comfort and absorbency of terry cloth, however, and it’s no wonder that bath robes, bath towels, hand towels and bath mats are almost exclusively made out of this versatile fabric.

Terrycloth may not be named after anyone – the name most likely comes from the French work “terir” meaning to pull through – but almost everyone knows its name.

Feb 022012
 

Monogram

Calligraphy – sometimes called the art of fancy lettering – might, given the advent of the digital age, not be as popular as it once was, but it’s making something of a comeback disguised as the art of monogramming.

Styles of calligraphy are usually categorized in terms of factors like the language the work is written in and the country that language originated in, and, as such, styles like Tibetan calligraphy, which used to be practiced by the High Lamas, and Islamic calligraphy, which is written in Arabic, are common. The art of monogramming, on the other hand, involves embroidering the owner’s initials on articles of clothing like bathrobes or towels, and, therefore, doesn’t involve using any one particular language.

While those who indulge in the art of calligraphy use specialized pens to write on paper, parchment or similar surfaces, those who are in the business of creating monogrammed towels, robes and other such items will embroider the owner’s initials directly onto the fabric. Similarly, while most calligraphists will use black ink – although the use of colored ink is not unknown – monograms can be embroidered in a variety of different colors, including such exotic hues as papaya, espresso and cranberry.

One aspect common to both calligraphy and monogramming is the use of different fonts, and, in calligraphy, this would especially apply to documents written in English. A font can best be described as a style of lettering, and common fonts would include Ariel, Calibri and Times New Roman. Those buying new towels or bathrobes can often choose the type of font they would like their initials embroidered in, and these fonts can range from those utilizing simple, utilitarian styles to those that exhibit greater flourish and are, perhaps, more aesthetically pleasing. Another curious fact that’s relevant only to the art of monogramming is that the middle initial is always slightly larger than the other two.

Fine works of calligraphy are always treasured, and, in the same way, monogrammed bathrobes, towels and even bath mats are always thought of as just a little bit classier than items without monograms.

 

Jan 062012
 

Towels

My favorite set of towels ever was the cheesy, thin, scratchy bath towels I bought when I was about thirteen years old. There was a reason for their popularity, though, as they had painted on them in cheap and gaudy colors pictures of my favorite superheroes.

I grew up a lonely child whose close friends included Wonder Woman, Spiderwoman and Super Girl. From them I learned truth, justice and, if not the American Way as I was living in Africa at the time, that it was better to align oneself with the light than the dark. The day the superhero carnival came to my tiny town, I saw through the illusion cast by the sweaty and uncomfortable actors in their ill-fitting costumes, but I was entranced by the memorabilia I could buy, and thus did the superhero-embossed the towels come into my life.

I’ve kept those towels for over thirty years now, and, each time I look at them, I’m instantly transported back to a time when everything was so much simpler because the world could be divided into solid colors and solid concepts: Black and white; good and bad. It isn’t, however, the towels themselves that are important – with their slightly out-of-proportion fantastical figures they actually seem rather ridiculous now – it’s the idea behind the towels. It’s the understanding that the towels are souvenirs of a time that no longer exists.

People tend to keep things that mean a lot to them for many years, and, those who are looking to give their loved ones gifts that last should learn The Lesson of the Towels. Towels – including monogrammed towels – are not the only gifts that can be given, however, and, if we continue the bathroom trend, bathrobes and bath mats should also feature on the gift menu. Robes would, in fact, be more personal gifts than towels, and, it also stands to reason that monogrammed robes top the list of desirable bathroom-wear.

The moral of the tale is fairly simple: Memories do last but they sometimes need a little help from something solid…like superhero towels.

 

Nov 132011
 

bathrobes

It’s a little known, but interesting, fact that bathrobes are classified into different categories on the basis of factors like the type of neckline or collar they have, the type of fabric they’re made from, the type of weave displayed and the type of sculpture sewn onto the fabric.

If robes are categorized according to their collar type, then those with hooded collars, kimono-style collars and shawl collars would dominate the market. The hooded collar bathrobes are quite self-explanatory, and contemporary fashion is actually inundated with items of clothing of the “hoodie” variety. Kimono-style robes all, for all intents and purposes, collar-less, and, on the whole, this makes for an extremely comfortable robe with great flexibility of style. Last but not least are the robes with shawl collars, which are collars that are able to be drawn together around the wearer’s neck.

Bathrobes are made from only certain types of fabric – those with above average absorbency – and robes made out of wool, nylon and silk are common. A fairly new innovation in the world of bathrobes was the advent of synthetic microfiber, and more and more robes are now being manufactured from this material, which is both super-absorbent and super-lightweight. The way the fabric is woven is also extremely important, and, to date, four very specific bathrobe weave styles have developed: terry, waffle, velour and flannel. The major difference between these four weaves concerns whether or not the fabric has loops, and whether these loops are cut or uncut, and this would influence things like how heavy and absorbent the robes are.

Bathrobes are among the only items of clothing that have sculpture – “bas-relief” type fabric texturing – sewn onto the basic fabric. Fabric sculpture is also known as styling, and styling is added to a base fabric for a number of reasons including increasing the fabric’s water absorbency and adding weight to the garment, which is desirable as the heavier the robe, the better it will hang. There are many different sculpture patterns, with linear patterns like Window Pane, Zig-zag and Ribbed possibly being the most common, and buyers can choose whichever pattern they find most attractive.

There’s truly a lot more to the simple bathrobe than what meets the eye, and buyers are spoiled for choice when they are shopping for robes that promise quality, stylishness, absorbency and durability and yet won’t break the budget.

Oct 292011
 

Kids Bathrobes

As we all know, children get dirty – often – but this is a problem that is rather easy to solve and that usually involves dunking them in the bath at least once a day! After bath-time is over and done with would, however, be the ideal time to wrap junior and the little miss up in their very own snug kids’ bathrobes.

Possibly the most popular type of kids’ robes available today are the hooded terry velour robes, which are perfect for both boys and girls. These robes, which come in two colors – pink and white – will fit all children from the tiniest tyke of three to the eleven year old who has just had his latest growth spurt. This is not a “one size fits all” situation, though, and the small and medium robes (“S/M”) are specifically designed for the three through six age-group, while the large and extra-large (“L/XL”) ones are tailored for the seven through eleven year olds.

Hooded terry velour kids’ robes are known for being extra soft and extra absorbent – possibly because kids are usually extra active and extra dirty – and they are also known as being extremely comfortable to wear, not to mention extremely durable. Terry velour children’s robes are made from Turkish cotton of the highest quality, and, despite the fact that they are actually manufactured on sight in Turkish factories, they are incredibly reasonably priced, and buying one or two or more of these robes will never break – or even unduly strain – the budget.

Due to the growing popularity of monogrammed towels and monogrammed adults’ bath robes, parents should be happy to learn that they also now have the option to have monograms embroidered on their children’s bath robes. Monograms are available in a large selection of styles and colors – with the latter including such exotic hues as Bright Mint, Lake Blue, Lavender and Cranberry – and kids will love to see their initials appearing on their personalized bath robe in some bright and shiny color. Bath robe monogramming is usually also a service that is offered for free, which makes personalizing a robe or two all the more attractive.

Towels, bath mats and bath robes – for both adults and kids – are all must-have bathroom accessories, and buying them can be fun and exciting, especially when the price is just so right!

Oct 212011
 

waffle1

Waffles, the sweet and crispy dough-based snacks that are sold throughout the world, are known and loved by just about everyone. All waffles, whether from America, Belgium or Hong Kong, are made by frying dough in a patterned steel grid, and waffle bathrobes are so called due to their fabric’s resemblance to the waffle-grid shape.

It is, however, the fabric’s extremely unusual square-patterned weave that gives it it’s “waffle” label and that makes the robes so very soft yet durable as well as so comfortable yet highly absorbent. Kimono robes are, furthermore, usually double stitched to give them that extra bit of strength, while spa robes are ultra-lightweight and plain waffle robes are known for the speed at which they dry.

Waffles are versatile and can be enjoyed with cream, syrup, fruit, cheese, peanut butter or simply with dusted sugar. Waffle robes are similarly versatile and can be used at home, at the spa or at the gym, and, as they don’t take up a lot of space, they can easily be packed into a suitcase and taken on vacation. Waffle bathrobes also come in a variety of styles, colors and sizes, and, as with monogrammed towels, Waffle robe owners can have their initials embroidered on the latest addition to their bathwear wardrobe in a number of hues and alphabet and letter styles.

Consumers in the market for buying Waffle robes should, while they’re in the mood, also pick up some matching towels and maybe even some bath mats. All three styles of Waffle bathrobe are, furthermore, unisex, and they’re also all machine-washable. They can therefore be enjoyed by the whole family, and, with their discounted prices, free monogramming and free gift-wrapping, they also make first rate gifts.

Whether they’re served with bacon, kiwifruit, chicken, or good old maple syrup, waffles are loved by all, as are the plush and beautiful Waffle bath and spa robes.

Sep 092011
 

Bath Mat

A lot has been written about towels – even monogrammed towels – as well as about bathrobes, but bath mats tend to be the country cousins of the bathroom-decor world as not much is ever heard about them. This is not quite fair, however, as, just like towels and robes, every single bath mat has a lot to offer.

There are several different types and brands of bath mats to choose from, and, if one is decorating a bathroom on a budget, then pure cotton bath mats are the way to go as these are generally the least expensive. They also come in a variety of different colors – enough to match any color-scheme – including smoke blue, garnet red, tearose and moss. Bamboo bath mats, on the other hand, come in such brilliant and weather-themed hues as rain and cloud, and they are made of 60% combed Egyptian cotton and 40% bamboo rayon.

Elegance bath mats are made solely of long staple Turkish cotton, and these reversible mats are also completely machine washable. The words seafoam, moonstone and desert sand conjure up visions of moonlit vistas on far away shores, but they should also conjure visions of beautiful bath mats, and this is merely a sampling of the shades the Elegance mats are available in. Unlike the Elegance mats, Supima bath mats are made of 100% American Supima cotton, and they are known for their sheer luxuriousness. Supima mats also come in colors that will put one in mind of dinner – examples include merlot, bisque and butter – and they are the perfect side-dish to any main bathroom meal.

The most eco-friendly of all the bath mat types must surely be the organic bath mats, which, as their name suggests, are made of certified organically grown cotton. These mats are manufactured in Portugal, and their stunning color options include stone, coffee and Aegean blue. Egyptian cotton mats are different from the rest as they are textured, and they also extremely absorbent because of their unusual thickness. Starkly simple white, cream and charcoal are on the Egyptian cotton bath mat color menu, as are the more complex – but equally as exquisite – shades of air blue, espresso and lite gold.

Given all of the above choices, no one can say that there isn’t a bath mat to suit every single person, every single bathroom and every single occasion.

Jul 092011
 

Towels

Gift-giving holidays like Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas teach us that items like monogrammed towels and bathrobes make great gifts, but the world is wide, and there are many exciting and intriguing festival days to be found and enjoyed if only one knows where to look.

Maundy coins may not be in quite the same league as towels or robes, but they are what’s given out in the United Kingdom – and usually by the Queen of England no less! – during Maundy Thursday. This celebration, which commemorates the Last Supper, takes place on the Thursday before Easter and is also known as The Thursday of Mysteries and Covenant Thursday.

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is an important holiday and is observed around the world in such diverse countries as India, Mauritius, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Although the exchange of gifts only represents a small part of this fascinating celebration, which, in some cultures, signifies the ascendance of good over evil, the giving of presents among family members is becoming more and more important.

El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla – more commonly known as Cinco de Mayo – is celebrated in both Mexico and the USA, and the practice of giving gifts in celebration of this sometimes rowdy and boisterous holiday has slowly become more popular over the years. Although The Day of the Battle of Puebla is not synonymous with Mexican independence, it does present a good reason to celebrate as it is probably the most well known example of paying homage to the culture and traditions of Mexico.

Although one doesn’t usually see people celebrate Maundy Thursday, Diwali or Cinco de Mayo by giving each other monogrammed bathrobes, towels or bath mats, these types of gifts are extremely popular and are often exchanged during the more traditional Western festivities like Christmas. Children can also join in the fun, and International Children’s Day would be a fine time to give the teenager in your life a personalized terry velour pastel pink kids robe.

Gifts will never go out of fashion, and neither will luxury bathroom accessories.

Apr 152011
 

towels

According to Douglas Adams, author of the incredibly successful “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series of sci-fi/fantasy books, a towel is the most important item that a galactic traveler could ever carry around with him.

In his books, Adams lists the many and varied uses to which towels can be put, and, although most of us don’t have to battle Ravenous Bugblatter Beasts of Traal on a daily basis, we can surely think of at least ten practical situations that could instantly be improved should towels be introduced into the equation. Although towels – along with fine bathrobes and bath mats – are usually found in bathrooms, there’s no rule saying that they have to stay there, and the congenial towel is also known for its appearance in the kitchen (the oven towel), next to the pool (the awesomely absorbent chamois sports towel) and on the beach (the common-or-garden beach towel).

Towels are popping up in all sorts of strange places these days, and, while Japan gives us the exotic oshibori wet towel – used to wet one’s hands before eating – England offers the traditional tea towel, which dries cooking implements in the kitchen. Specific types of towels have also been developed for specific parts of the body, and foot towels and hand towels are common examples of these types of towels.

Monogrammed towels – where the towel-owner has made his or her ownership of a particular rectangular piece of absorbent fabric obvious by embroidering his or her initials on it – are no longer the domain of only the rich and famous, and, these days, anyone who buys a towel can choose to have it so personalized. Bath robes can also be monogrammed, but, as towels generally run a larger risk of getting lost among general bathroom laundry, monogramming seems to work better for towels than bathrobes.

Those who worship towels should mark every May 25th on their calendars: this is when Adams’ Towel Day is celebrated and also when every wannabe galactic hitchhiker carries their favorite – and oh so useful! – towel around with them.

Mar 022011
 

cotton

Some folks have plenty reason to say “I wish I was in the land of cotton”, and it’s no coincidence that these are the folks who have not yet discovered the wonderful world of luxury Egyptian cotton bathrobes, hand towels, bath mats and bath towels.

The story of the cotton blossom began in Mexico a little over eight thousand years ago and, at that stage, there was no way that the primitive laborers could know that their efforts would – many, many hundreds of years later – result in the manufacture of such quality items as the luxurious Supima towel, made of 100% American Superior Pima Cotton, and the eco friendly organic towel, which is made of natural cotton to create the perfect bath towel.

Cotton is not, however, only used to make towels, and this versatile fabric is also the main ingredient in bath robes – including kids robes – as well as most kinds of bathroom mat and tubmat.

In the early days, cotton was also cultivated in such exotic places as India, Iran and far Arabia, but it’s a good bet that the early nomadic traders didn’t carry the organic Terry Kimono bathrobe – made of 100% Turkish cotton – the Platinum bathrobe, which is manufactured completely out of Egyptian cotton, or the Waffle bathrobe, complete with monogram, among their trading goods. The popularity of cotton garments slowly spread across Asia, Europe, Africa and both the Americas, but it took Britain’s Industrial Revolution – with its almost instantaneous infusion of mass produced cotton clothing – to make cotton goods accessible to almost every family on earth.

Today cotton is the main ingredient of several different types of material including the striped seersucker, the heavier and ridged corduroy and the highly absorbent terrycloth, which is the basis of almost all towels and bathrobes. Today’s top cotton-producing countries include the Peoples’ Republic of China, the USA and Pakistan, but not all of these countries are able to compete on the same level as those with less developed infrastructures are not able to command as high a price for their cotton as the more well developed third world countries.

None of our favorite soft Turkish bathrobes/towels, tubmats and spa mats would be the same without that magical white fluffy plant known as cotton, and this magical snowy-white plant will continue to be cultivated for decades to come.

 

Feb 032011
 

Organic Mats

Along with bathrobes, hand towels and bath towels, bath mats have been around for a long time. There is, however, far more to the simple tubmat than meets the eye, and those interested in reading up on the history of the mat will, no doubt, be fascinated by what they uncover.

Today the luxury bath mat comes in several styles, including the reversible bamboo mat of combed Egyptian cotton and bamboo rayon and the incredibly soft Supima bath mat, available in such interesting colors as merlot, chestnut and marine. Far less luxurious and eco friendly, however, were the Marsden or Marston mats that were popular during World War II, which were made of perforated steel and which were used to build temporary landing strips and runways.

Mats have been around for thousands of years – the hand-woven funeral mats on display at the Pecos Rio Grande Museum in Arizona were created between 2,000 an 5,000 years ago – and, as today’s quality mats can testify, cotton bath mats are now made with an extremely high degree of sophistication. The Organic bath mats, for instance, are manufactured in Portugal of 100% certified organic cotton, while the Elegance bath mats are made of long staple Turkish cotton and are equally at home in the bathroom or the upscale spa.

Although some mats are made from the tough brown and white coir fibers found in coconut husks, luxury bath mats, just like quality bath robes, towels and kids robes, are made from materials such as organic cotton, rayon and supima cotton. For those who like matching sets, Terry Velour Turkish bathrobes and towels can be paired with made-in-Turkey Supima mats while a Kimono Waffle bathrobe – complete with fancy monogram and made from 65% natural cotton – can be combined with a machine washable Pure Cotton bath mat to make the perfect bathroom linen set.

No matter what the history of the mat actually is, today’s best dressed bathrooms should all sport quality bathmats, and, as high quality mats are eminently affordable, why not buy a different color mat for every day of the week?

Jan 272011
 

BanyanWikipedia

Bath robes belong to the same garment family as housecoats, kimonos and dressing gowns, and all of these serve to conceal either a wet body – the bathrobe’s specialty – or the fact that a person is dressed in informal clothing. What is, however, not very well known is that all of these robes are generally thought to be descended from one common item: the Eastern-influenced banyan.

The banyan came to popularity during the mid-19th century and was mainly worn by men of the upper and upper-middle classes while engaged in leisurely pursuits like studying in their libraries or writing in their studies. It became, furthermore, quite the thing for men to be wearing brightly colored banyans in their formal portraits, and, without this very obvious record, the wearing of the banyan would probably have passed into history without so much as a whisper echoing down the decades.

Just like modern bathrobes, banyans were made of fabrics like cotton and silk, but, most definitely unlike modern bathrobes, banyans came with matching long caps or turbans instead of matching sets of bath towels. A further difference between the banyan and the bathrobe is that the banyan was always worn over a suit of clothes and was never intended to be a wet body’s first refuge after hopping out of the bath.

Although the exact origin of the banyan is rather unclear, most sources agree that its loose fit was adopted from similar robes that had made their mark in the 17th and 18th centuries in such exotic places as Persia, Asia and Turkey. Early banyans did not sport sleeves and were almost exclusively the domain of men – rich and leisurely men – and only later did it become accepted practice for women to wear housecoats, dressing gowns and bathrobes. Surviving patterns for the banyan also show that it could be made entirely out of one piece of fabric, often with an inner lining of a complimentary color.

Banyans were the status symbols of their day, and this is where they part company with bathrobes, which are more practical than precious.