I know I’m not the only one who has been reacquainted with terry cloth this summer. My style has changed slightly since the days of Juicy Couture terry cloth sweatsuits, but the wearability of the material has not. It feels like terry became the perfect combination of comfortable but still presentable for those of us who sat around in pajamas for an entire year. It also has been a wonderful solution to what seems like endlessly hot and sweaty days. I’ve put together 12 outfits for you, some of which are for traditionally “terry” occasions (beach, pool, etc.), but I hope that some of these open the world of terry up for you this summer beyond what that magical Juicy Couture sweatsuit of yesteryear did.
For a Day-to-Night Summer Party
Terry comes in various fiber lengths, meaning that some have smaller loops than others. Those with smaller loops are less towel like, and more cotton facing. This Simon Miller set, in one of my personal favorite colorways (it’s on sale right now both at Simon Miller and Nordstrom), is a great hybrid between pool party cover up and fun dress. With the matching pants (which come in seven different colorways if you want to color block), some heels, sunglasses stowed away (in a coordinating terry bag), and swapped for some hoops (hidden in your tiny bag), you have a great day-to-night look, pool optional.
For a Picnic in the Park
Even when you're not poolside, terry is a good fabric for comfortable wear when you’re still lounging, but in public, like at the park. This printed terry set is lightweight and a statement, but comfortable with a loose fitting cabana-style button down and elastic-waist shorts. Paired with some lightweight hoops, a little basket bag (picnic, duh), and fun sandals, you have an easy park look to keep cool and also cool.
For a Bike Ride
I personally own this set and find it sort of a midway-point between terry cloth and jersey material. It’s extremely stretchy, lightweight, and tight but not constricting at all. With the shorts being quite mini, I like to wear a loose-fitting, lightweight button-down over it, which would be great flapping in the breeze while, say, riding a bike. Paired with easy sneakers and a terry cloth crossbody bag, you have a terry look for a comfortable bike cruise.
For a Campfire
I know people are doing these—even in the city—because I smell them. I envision, if I were invited to one, that I’d wear something like this: a terry bra top with matching lounge pants, a loose cotton button-down for when the hot summer sun sets, and some comfy slip on flats. The terry keeps your look casual but the bra-top-pant-set makes it thoughtful and cute.
For Outdoor Yoga
I pass by a yoga/meditation class in Central Park all the time in the 90-degree heat. A lot of people are wearing swimsuits or shorts/sports bra combos. I think that this little set from Buci is a great alternative to those options, and something you could add, again, a button-down shirt, like this extremely flowy, lightweight silk one from Allëdjo. This terry set is one with smaller loops and is somewhat stretchy like the Frankie’s Bikini’s onesie, so it's comfortable to move and bend and, I suppose, do Child’s Pose in. Add a recycled towel bucket hat from Dos Swim for some extra terry and a pair of sandals you can take off to go barefoot while doing yoga, but still wear comfortably on your walk home.
For a Clambake
I immediately thought of Tombolo when going to write this ode to terry cloth outfits. Tombolo makes really great genderless cabana shirts, many of which have fun embroidery. These shirts have a longer loop, so you can really feel and tell that they’re terry. With such a boxy statement top, I would wear a mini skirt, which will peek out under the shirt’s hem, some sneakers to go from table to table in, and a fun bag. All you need now is a bib for eating.
Terry cloth swimwear is a no brainer and I love this one from Jade Swim (which is selling out fast). I’ve been wearing one-piece swimsuits as bodysuits a lot this summer, and because terry is a cotton-based material, it's more breathable for all-day wear. This bikini from Triangl can also be worn as a top after a day at the beach. While at the beach, use a scarf as a sarong, and once the day by the ocean is over and you’re headed to dinner or whatever’s next, put on some lightweight shorts, and move the scarf into your hair as a headband or in your ponytail. The terry sandals—which Frankie’s Bikinis recently launched and I very much love—are a nice terry final touch.
For a Cocktail Party
A terry cloth dress is a great answer to a hot outdoor summer party. This bright pink mini from La Veste is adorable and very easy to dress up with some heels and jewelry. Spill a drink on yourself and you’re fine, it’s a towel.
For Something a Little Extra Fancy
This summer, Kule launched a six-piece collaboration with Lily Eve, made from recycled towels. Each jacket—black and white, blue and white, or pink and white—has a matching bucket hat for daytime wear. The terry cloth fabrication of these jackets feels sort of velvety, so I also think these jackets, especially the black and white one, are perfect for dressing up, worn sort of bolero-style with a silk slip and heels. It’s a lightweight terry cloth option for added coverage for a fancy occasion.
For a Night Out Dancing
We don’t typically wear cotton lounge sets out dancing (unless you’ve somehow found a way), but they’d actually be the perfect answer to the heat while you move around the dance floor. This comfortable set from Dannijo is sort of that, though. It’s stretchy and comfortable like loungewear, but with an asymmetrical tank and mini, it’s club-wear appropriate!. I paired this pale yellow one (they come in several pastel colors) with platforms and fun coordinating earrings. Oh, how I've missed nights out dancing.
For a Nice Dinner
Since terry cloth is usually a pretty casual material, you don’t necessarily think of it for dressing up, but this pastel colorblocked button-up from Ceremonia can give off upscale vibes. So, when you’re forced to eat on the patio at your partner’s work event, you’ll still stay cool. I paired it with wide leg trousers (these are Dickies, but you could go fancier too depending on the event) and I dream of it with those jelly-esque platforms from Gucci. Some jewels and a cute mini bag tie a nice bow on this event-worthy terry ensemble.
For Casual Friday at the Office
I know not everyone works in fashion, so this may break your office dress code. But on summer Fridays, even the more conservative workplaces let you break out the shorts. These adorable pistachio green ones are tailored, above-knee, and most importantly, are double-sided 100% cotton toweling for structure. For the office, I’d pair with a blazer or smart vest, loafers, and a summery bag that still fits all your needed materials for work. You may be at the office on a Friday in the summer, but you're wearing terry cloth and out early!