A girl in our office has an orange terry towelling bucket hat that her partner always steals. He says it reminds him of a XXXX Beer bar mat from the 1970s. Apparently he likes to wear it when he’s mowing. “He can keep it,” she says. “That’s sweaty work."

The more we think about it – and many designers agree – terry towelling’s sweat-vanquishing ability makes it the ideal fabric for any gentleman’s summer wardrobe. Plus, it has a laidback larrikin/preppy prince vibe that labels like Orlebar Brown, Fendi and Bottega Veneta are on board with. Think Pat Cash winning Wimbledon in 1987 wearing his trademark checked sweat band (inspired by Cheap Trick, FYI).




While we’re on Orlebar Brown, this terry polo shirt should top your holiday packing list going forward. This is no beach poncho – its slick tailored fit means the soft terry fabric will keep its silhouette wear after wear. If you’re not feeling this shade of blue, it also comes in beige and navy.


When we investigated it, it turns out that “terry” towelling is not named after a real guy. It comes from the French word “tirer”, which means to pull out – referring to the technique where pile loops where were pulled out by hand to make traditional Turkish towelling.




Brother from another mother

A close relative of terry towelling is the closer cropped, more polished velour fabric, which comes from the Latin “vellus”, meaning hair. “Velour” also refers to the towelling fabric with cut loops.