Pratchett, chocolate orange, and my uncle are all excellent examples of Terrys yet, when it comes to acting as the material of a garment ideal for a seamless seasonal transition, none of them really do the trick.

For this though, there is another Terry that more than fits the bill: French terry. No, not a beret-wearing patisserie owner named Terry, but a versatile knitted fabric created with soft, towel-like loops.

Made primarily of cotton, French terry can often feature a blend of lycra, spandex, and polyester, which helps to increase its quick-drying and towelling attributes.

More than any other textile, it’s the perfect blend of warm summer days and chilly outdoor evenings, perfectly balancing breathability and coziness, without dithering either way.

Where denim is more popular, linen more traditional, and nylon more modern, French terry is the loose summer hug you didn’t know you needed. And in Spring/Summer 2022, French terry is enjoying a renaissance akin to the one that gave Leo Da Vinci his start.

From A Kind of Guise’s collection of Lino Shirts and Velloso Tees and Saul Nash’s terry-infused “SIBLINGS” collection to AURALEE and Jil Sander‘s latest warm weather capsules, SS22 is awash with with the plush textile.

Whether it’s on polos, overshirts, vests or shorts, French terry is high on the stylistic agenda.

At its roots, French terry is of course, French, and has been a thing since the mid-1800s. Initially (and still today) used for mass-produced towels thanks to its quick-drying capabilities, the fabric’s versatility has aided it in naturally transitioning to beachwear and loungewear, and then into the world of ready-to-wear fashion for everyday use.

Perhaps French terry’s first real fashion “moment” in recent days came during the mid-noughties when It Girls Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, and Lindsay Lohan flexed velour (officially known as terry velour) tracksuits, a far cry from Sean Connery’s baby blue polo in Goldfinger.

The material was eventually adopted widespread by luxurious labels like Balmain, Alexander McQueen, and Christian Dior, spreading to the industry at large as part of the athleisure boom.

Work-from-home culture has only further grounded French terry as today’s textile of choice for the comfy aesthete.

For a fabric that’s been around for almost 200 years, French terry’s rise to everyday wearable has been a long-time coming. And while it might not be a knighted novelist, a milk chocolate treat, or my mum’s brother, it is undoubtedly the ideal summer companion.


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