No longer the preserve of towels and bathrobes, terry cloth, also known as 'towelling fabric' or 'terry cotton', is having a major moment as the fabric of choice for everyday attire. It may be a result of the growing desire for comfortable and practical loungewear, but the past few years have certainly seen a surge in brands opting to use terry cloth across their collections. The fabric, which is soft, lightweight and breathable, makes for the perfect material for casual garments like jumpers, shorts, sweatpants and polo shirts.
What is terry cloth?
The term ‘terry cloth’ comes from the French word tirer, which translates as ‘to pull’ or 'to draw out', referring to the weaving technique. The most common type of terry cloth used in garment making is French terry. It is usually woven from 100% cotton, with one of the sides flat and smooth, while the other face, worn against the skin, features a series of cross loops. Terry cloth's origins in menswear date back to the 1920s, when it gained popularity as a go-to fabric for athletic wear, before taking off as a staple of luxury resort wear.
These days, terry cloth is a commonly worn fabric that only continues to grow in popularity, thanks to its supreme comfort as well as its absorbent and moisture-wicking properties. It's the perfect choice for the summer months, when you're flitting between beach and bar and need something that can straddle both worlds. So, without further ado, here's our pick of the best terry cloth clothes for men right now.
Best terry cloth clothing items in 2023
Aurélien Terry Towelling Polo Shirt
Dutch label Aurélien is all about quiet luxury, – clothing that's elegantly understated and doesn't need to shout to be heard – which is exactly what you get here. This terry cloth polo shirt is simple but oh-so-elegant, guaranteed to become a staple in any wardrobe. Wear it poolside with printed swim shorts or team with chinos and loafers for smart-casual appeal.
Wax London Terry Sweat Shorts
Wax London never fails to disappoint with its characterful takes on menswear classics. Here the brand reworks its signature sweat shorts in organic cotton terry cloth. The drawstring waist and relaxed fit offer ultimate comfort, while the playful print takes them up a notch. Team them with Wax's matching terry cloth Didcot shirt for a statement-making head-to-toe look.
The Resort Co Terry Lounge Hoodie
Bid bye-bye to your threadbare hoodie from a thousand years ago and upgrade to this sports-luxe style from Swedish label The Resort Co. Handcrafted in Portugal from organic towelling cotton, it boasts a super-soft feel. Perfect for throwing on after a dip in the sea.
Hamilton and Hare Terry Sweatshirt
Hamilton and Hare is best-known for its premium men's underwear, but did you know the British brand makes an excellent line of loungewear too? Case in point: this terry crewneck sweatshirt, a perfectly cut staple that you'll never want to take off. And who says you have to? Wear it lounging around at home or out and about, teamed with blue jeans and minimalist trainers for effortless off-duty appeal.
CDLP Heavy Terry Shorts
Stockholm-based brand CDLP takes boring basics to the next level, reinterpreting them in innovative fabrics and flattering cuts. That's exactly what they've done with their Heavy Terry Shorts. Made from a blend of recycled and organic cotton in a loopback knit, they're durable yet breathable and perfect for everyday wear – whether you're hitting the gym, exploring the city or lounging around at home.
Closed Terry Cloth Polo
Elevate your warm weather wardrobe with this super-soft summer-ready terry cloth polo shirt from Closed. Style it with a pair of loose drawstring trousers and espadrilles for an effortless look that you'll want to live in all summer long.
Pangaia Towelling T-Shirt
This terry tee from Pangaia comes in a boxy fit for an on-trend slouchy look. Made from organic cotton, it's treated with peppermint oil to keep it fresher for longer. Style it with matching shorts and a pair of slides for a dose of poolside cool.
For more working-from-home wardrobe staples, read our guide to loungewear.