This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.
Congratulations! Your order qualifies for free shipping (Returns & Exchanges are always free!) Free global shipping & returns on orders over £75 or FX equivalent

Enjoy 10% off all orders when signing up for our newsletter

The History of Terry Towelling

When one thinks of days in the sun and what to wear you'd be forgiven for not putting Terry at the top of your list given that linen, cotton and even hemp might take precedence over what the traditional use is for terry in bathrobes, towels and, you guessed it... tennis racket grips & sweat bands...

Banish those thoughts for a while and let's take a closer look into this wonderfully versatile textile which is back in the spotlight, deservedly so.

terry head band

The History of Terry

Fabrics with a pile formed from loops of loosened, uncut warp threads were woven in ancient Egypt and pre-Columbian Peru; there is linen terrycloth from 4000 BCE.

Mainline production, however started in the 1850s. Samuel Holt’s terrycloth knitting machines began churning out terrycloth at an industrial scale.

The name terrycloth, it is believed, comes from the French verb “tirer,” which means“to pull,”which certainly makes sense given how the fabric is made. Its softness and absorption factor made it a clear choice for use in towels, especially considering before terrycloth’s invention, people just used woven sheets of cotton or linen to dry off.

history of cotton terry

"The use of terry dates back to 4000 BC."

terry cloth detail image

What is Terry Cloth?

It's a type of soft, thick cloth with many tiny loops on its surface that is often used to make towels. Usually made of cotton, the protruding loops of thread give it a soft and comforting texture.

The loops stand off the base on both sides of the fabric to increase surface area, enhance absorbency, and maintain a soft feel, traditionally associated with bath towels.

In clothing, unlike towels, terry is made using the 'French Terry' way where the loops are knitted on a single side of fabric, usually the exterior. Towels are made using a double sided woven terry cloth, giving the same surface on both sides.

Towels to 007

"James Bond has only worn a handful of terry cloth clothes in the series. The most iconic terry item is the baby blue playsuit, or ‘onesie’, in the 1964 film Goldfinger. It takes the concept of a terry cloth bathrobe but turns it into a fitted piece of clothing. It has a built-in belt around the waist with elastic around the back, an open patch breast pocket and large patch pockets below the belt. There are interior facings in terry cloth, but not a whole lining."

Terry at LOVE BRAND & Co.

We have introduced the Holmes and Powell to our collection of resort wear which brings in a truly comfortable and versatile polo shirt and short, perfect for relaxing after a swim or game of Padel.

As with all Love Brand styles these two terry introductions, the Powell and the Holmes, are named after Bahamian island or ‘cays’. There are more cays in the Bahamian archipelago than there are days in the year, each dazzling jewels in the ocean and the source of endless island living inspiration…