Earlier this summer, we were offered an opportunity to review foutas from a locally owned company, Fine Foutas, based in Darnestown, Md. At first, I was really stumped as I’d never heard of the word fouta (I’m not up on an all the fashion trends), but a quick Google search informed me that they have been the “in” item of the summer season for THREE YEARS, so I figured I’d give the beautiful Tunisian towels a try. After all, I spend at least three hours at our pool every day for swim practices and later an afternoon dip.
First, let me explain what a fouta (pronounced “foo-tahs”) even is, for those of you who have never tried one. Let me quote from an article from the Times style blog from 2012:
Bright, slight and often striped, a fouta is a textile derivative of the traditional hammam towels of Turkey and North Africa. Standard styles are large enough for one person to lie down on at the beach, but since they’re made most often of lightweight cotton and linen, they roll up tightly — perfect for tucking in a tote and taking with you. What’s more, they’re as absorbent as traditional terry-cloth towels, and they dry quickly, too.
We received two complimentary foutas, one Le Ibiza (below) and one Le Portofino (which my daughter is modeling above at our pool). Fine Foutas are hand woven by Tunisian artisans using 100% organic cotton (other brands are from Turkey rather than North Africa). Both foutas are gorgeous and generated much buzz at every pool we visited in the past few weeks (several, considering our pool swims against other pools in the county).
Nobody would believe they were more than a sarong-style wrap until they saw my kids dry off after swimming. One friend even said: “They’re like fancy hand towels you don’t think will work until you have your first spill, and then you can’t believe they actually cleaned everything up on your counter.” “Yes!” I responded. They are incredibly absorbent and remarkably fast-drying. And surprisingly, they aren’t any more expensive than say a monogrammed LL Bean towel.
Our Ibiza ($49.99) fouta is hand woven with metallic lurex yarn and 100% organic cotton dyed in a beautiful shade of “apricot” (peach) with a contrasting trim, although there are 15 different colors available. It’s shimmery and so pretty I used it as a shawl and cover up until my kids demanded to use it as an actual towel, favoring it over the terry-cloth ones we’ve been using for years. The honeycomb weave combined with the shiny fabric is lovely and quite flattering against olive skin.
The Portofino ($45) fouta, my daughter’s favorite as you can see above, is a flat weave in various color combinations. Ours is the Blue and Yellow with Salmon and White Stripes, but there are four other colors available too. The flat weave isn’t shimmery like the honeycomb lurex weave, but it’s just as beautiful. My sons preferred the Portofino too, since they thought the Ibiza was too “girly” and left that one for me. Now they each want their own fouta in a different color. Luckily, Fine Foutas has five other collections in addition to the Ibiza and Portofino, including a Petit collection that is ideal for babies and toddlers and quite reasonable at only $25.
With summer half over and swim team season a wrap, it’s time to treat yourself, prepare for that beach vacation, or get that favorite swim coach a special gift: a Fine Fouta. I have to admit that in addition to the two we received for review, I’m getting ready to order a few more for our end-of-summer trip to the Outer Banks. These foutas are so lightweight and packable, they will save us room when packing the car and are so distinctive we’re unlikely to lose them like my kids kept losing their usual rugby-striped towels all summer.
Discount code for The DC Moms readers: Enjoy 20% off your order with Fine Foutas. Just mention DCMoms20 in the Special Instructions to the Seller or place your order by phone (202-680-2909) and mention DCMoms20. Discount only available until August. 15, 2015.