The Ultimate Guide to Turkish Towels - Pomp & Sass

The Ultimate Guide to Turkish Towels

Turkish towels in Canada. They have been a best kept secret, a towel for ‘people in the know’, a fabulous find from exotic destinations. They are a general use product immigrating families no longer have easy access too. When stocked on shelves, they are often overlooked as an unknown item. What am I talking about? Woven towels of coarse.

Woven towels, also called Turkish towels, Hammam towels, pestimals and futas are a traditional towel in many warm climate countries. They are superior product to the North American terry cloth in so many ways yet are having a hard time integrating. Here at Pomp & Sass we are celebrating this product with unique designs and bright colours. Here are all the reasons we love them so much.  

Why are Turkish towels becoming so popular

 It’s no secret that the North American housing and employment climates are different from those of years past. We now live in smaller spaces and require our possessions to do more.  Consumers are also making informed decisions about companies they support. Ethical standards, environmental impact and philanthropic works are under constant public scrutiny. Products themselves are rigorously tested and publicly reviewed. Turkish towels by Pomp & Sass are trending because they excel in all three of these categories. 

Versatility & Travel

Flat woven towels do more. It’s surprising! Fold them small, bring them everywhere. These towels are perfect for small storage because they fold into drawer, bag or purse. Use them at home in the bath or as light blankets. Use them as a travel companion, on the plain, the beach or hostel. They also work as a sarong, head wrap, scarf and picnic blanket or table cloth. 

A Luxury Item

The woven towel is a soft, light, absorbent towel. They don’t need chemical fabric softeners and never get crunchy. Associated with Hammam baths, these work as a full body wrap, towel or blanket. The high quality cotton is strong, durable and lasting. It makes an impact and adds value to the space it’s used in. Speaking of space, fifteen body towels can fit into a dresser drawer. Hello closet space! 

Fair Trade & Eco Friendly

Pomp & Sass interviewed our manufacturer with rigorous scrutiny. They are required to have a safe workplace environment, clean drinking water, fair pay and quality standards. Only adults are allowed to work on site. They work 8 hours a day with two 15 minute tea breaks and a one hour lunch. Weekends are not required to work and holidays are vacations. It’s not enough to sell quality goods, the value is generated right at the beginning. 

Woven towels are, in themselves, an environmentally friendly choice. Made from pure cotton, with environmentally conscious dies with almost no waste.  Pomp & Sass is making an effort to do more. We sell a plastic free product. Our tags are made of cotton. We replaced our packaging with a single product card made of sugar cane. Our mailbag is certified compostable. We also have office policies that reduce waste like e-billing, reusable dish-ware and less paper mail distribution. Only when required by our fulfilment centres do we use poly bags to package our products.  

A Healthy Choice

Fabric softeners are dangerous. Woven towels not only avoid the need, but they work better without it! The fabric softeners clog the cotton so it’s best to avoid it. These towels are therefore better for your skin and the environment. All this without sacrificing quality because the towels stay soft naturally. 

The fast drying and breathability of the textile equate to fewer germs. Bacteria breed in wet surfaces often associated with terry cloth towels. By eliminating the terry cloth loops, we open the towel to better air flow. This product is therefore better for the skin, the immune system and don’t tend to stink. Simple detergents are efficient to clean them so you can feel good about staying clean and green.

Size Matters

Large towels are considered a luxury for those with a lot of storage. No longer! One Pomp & Sass towel wraps most people with enough coverage to confidently navigate the change room. They fold small enough to fit into a drawer, bag or purse. Even the hand towels are large without sacrificing space in your linen closet. Finally, we can have more without storing more. 

Immigrating to Canada

Imagine leaving your home, navigating a new culture and not having home comforts. People immigrating from hot countries seek out towels they're used too; bright, colourful, woven towels. Unfortunately the majority of woven towels offered on our market have been in neutral tones. Pomp & Sass offers bright, graphic designs that bring joy, and a sense of home to those who are used to the product. We may not know the struggle of immigrating but we empathize with our friends and want to help. Everyone should feel comfortable in their home. 

What are Turkish towels

At Pomp & Sass we call them woven towels because that’s what they are. The textile itself is made from a ring spun, condensed cotton yarn, woven into the towel. To produce our unique designs, we used machines to manufacture our product. This eliminates waste and lowers cost. 

Traditionally used for over 600 years in some hot climate countries, Turkish towels are a traditional item for many people. Because they are a common item, they have been given many names: Pestemals, Turkish towels, Hammam towels and futas. Identify them from their smooth surface, softness and tassel or rope fringe.

How to Use a Turkish Towel

Known for their versatility, Turkish towels are used in amazing ways. What makes them an incredible product is how many ways they can in fact be used. Bellow are a few:

  • Bath towel

    • Bright, absorbent and fast to dry, use these towels for everyday bathroom uses.
  • Beach towel

    • Sand free, easy to cary and beautifully designed. Use them to dry off, sunbath or wrap it around your body to cover up. Lounging poolside? They are ideal as blankets for summer naps. 
  • Yoga Towel

    • Tested by yoga professionals, they have a high approval rating during practice. The towel can be used rolled as a support, as a small pillow or light blanket. Use it after practice in the shower. When damp it’s still lightweight and can be put back into your bag for the walk home.
  • Fashion Accessory

    • Wrap it. Tie it. Drape it. Turkish towels can be made into a dress, top, skirt, vest etc. 
  • Shawl

    • For conferences, weddings and large functions. Throw it over your shoulders when your cold. The tassels, colours and design stand out! 
  • Sarong

    • Often called infinity wraps, this large sheet of fabric can be made into a stunning dress for the beach balini after a swim in the ocean. Wrap it poolside or walking after a swim wherever you are. 
  • Scarf

    • Pure cotton doesn’t get make your neck sweaty and dries quickly after being snowed on. Fold it or crunch it around your neck. The tassels are a fund accent! 
  • Travel

    • Wear it on the plain like a scarf. Use it as a pillow or blanket on the plain. Going to a hostel, camping, or other place without towels? No problem! Even when wet it travels well without dripping or weighing you down. Wash it in the sink and hang it to dry. Use it for more than just a towel. You won’t travel without one again.
  • Light Blanket

    • On the couch, beach or yoga class, it covers lightly without overheating. It also looks great as a throw on the couch, wall ladder or bed.
  • Small Living

    • Folded the Pomp & Sass towel measures 10’’x10’’x2’’. Wash it in the sink or with other cotton laundry. In conjunction with its versatility, it’s ideal for small living storage and functionality.  Even as a pop of colour it brings joy into the space. 
  • Gym Towel

    • Gone are the days of small, crunchy gym towels. Wrap it around yourself and go to a steam, shower or both. Yes even with ONE towel! Throw it into your gym bag with confidence and walk home. We’ve tested it for this use and given it flying colours. A+!
  • Picnic Blanket

    • Soft enough for the whole family and big enough to lay down on. One towel works for two people or a couple with young kids. 
  • Table Cloth

    • With the Pomp & Sass designs and pretty little tassels this makes for a glorious tablecloth or table runner. Impress your guests with these designs.
  • Tree Skirt

    • Why store a tree skirt all year for the winter holidays when you already have a Pomp & Sass towel? Style it your own way and love it all year long. Fan the tassels into a semicircle or place them into a point. With red, green and blue designs there are colours prime for your decor. 

Different Towel qualities

As with every product on the market, there are low to high quality options available. Here are attributes to consider when choosing your own towels. Although we are biased to our own Pomp & Sass product and want you to buy from us, we also want you to be an informed consumer.


    • In Europe, good woven towels average 65 Euros each, that's about $100 Canadian dollars. Because of the low product knowledge in Canada, the prices here we're generally lower until 2020 when some of the prices rose. Undercutting prices is also a popular marketing strategy here so you can find these towels really cheeply. What that translates too is a competitive market where good quality products compete with low quality. Inflated prices won’t always mean better quality so it’s important to read reviews and look at the companies website. 

Cotton quality

      • Not all cotton is made the same. There is short and long cotton. The way it's processed changes it too. Turkish towels should be made from Turkish cotton because its long and lasts longer. When spun into yarn it's very absorbent and soft.
      • Cotton blends usually indicate there is plastic in the textile. Acrylic and polyester are plastic based which are not great for durability, absorbency or drying time. Bamboo is a reusable resource and transforms the product to feel different and absorb mildly less. To be specific, bamboo towels feel more slick or silky. There are also hemp blends which are extremely rare and incredibly nice. 


    • Look at the yarn. Smooth, tight yarn will absorb best and last longer. Puffy, lumpy yarn won’t last as long or work as well.  Ideally you want a light towel with a tight weave made of cotton or hemp. Heavier towels and ultra light towels simply indicate volume of cotton used to produce them. Look at the weave when looking at quality. 


    • Woven towels become softer over time. However if a towel arrives rough, you may have a lower cotton and yarn quality. If your Turkish towels become crunchy or stiff there may be fabric softener in the cotton. Simply put a cup of white vinegar in the laundry to solve this issue. 


    • You don’t need a heavy towel to absorb water. Look for a medium weight towel so you can depend on it without being weighed down. Pomp & Sass towels are about 370 grams which work well to absorb as well as maintain a lightweight profile. If you go the other way with an ultra light towel, you may not have enough fibre to soak everything up. 


    • Can your towel stretch from fingertip to fingertip with your arms stretched wide? Or at least almost. Size matters with towels and yours should wrap around you. The size it folds into should also factor into the equation because then your not using it, it shouldn’t affect your home. Safeguard your storage with woven towels folks. It's a game changer.


    • Turkish towels are commonly sold in neutral tones and striped designs. Although there is nothing wrong with this, consider designs and colour. Pomp & Sass offers new designs exclusive to the brand. You could have seasonal designs, trending colours and add the pop of colour your space needs. 


    • Is your towel made in an ethical way? Is it plastic free? Did the company you bought it from supporting their community? If so, how much? Pomp & Sass offers ethically made and environmentally friendly products. We donate a portion of profits to charity while also promoting the charities we support. Our corporate practices are inclusive and fair. We’re on a mission to be a positive influence in the world. When you buy our products, you support more than just our bottom line. How many companies are doing that? We're definitely tooting our own horn here but there is only love in our hearts. 

The Pomp & Sass Difference

Canadian Eh

Nikky Starrett, owner of Pomp & Sass, was born and raised in Canada. When looking for a product to re-design and brand she discovered woven towels. Seeing the hole in the market and the opportunity to be a positive influence, she decided to more forward. Recognizing this traditional item was not from her direct heritage she respectfully branded her product with an inclusive name of woven instead of Turkish, Hammam, Pestemal or futa. By designing products that suited the untouched markets she also wanted to support her community. Pomp & Sass does not promote this as a new product. Instead we promote our designs as exclusive. 

As a Canadian citizen Nikky chose charities that supported Canadian and global causes. Contractors are sources in country and abroad without descrimination. Salary employees are be hired for their credentials, not status or other factors. No assertion of prejudice or misgivings will be given.  The only exception will be for those to hold prejudice as this is unacceptable in our corporate culture. 

In order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must be intolerant of intolerance. Karl Popper

Fresh Designs

Pomp & Sass specializes in customization. Our product development and manufacturing process allows us to create unique designs with quantities as low as 100 units. This unique positioning enables us to offer small businesses, private labels and fundraising initiatives exclusive designs. Have a design made specifically for your business or choose from our catalog. 

Large towels and hand towels are made to match. Want tags and swing tags made? We can make that happen with our product development services. 


We are community beings. We cannot be in this world without affecting or being affected by others. For us, being a positive influence in the world cannot translate into anything other then giving back to our community. However giving back 1% of our profits didn’t feel like enough. Although this is generous, we wanted to do more. Therefore Pomp & Sass has decided to give 1% of profits with a goal of 10%. We will be promoting charities to support their community awareness. Occasional fundraising towels are also launched with 20% of towels being donated to charities. Through all of these initiatives we will be enabling our community to do more while giving of ourselves financially and practically. This feels right to us.

Were on a mission to be a positive influence in the world

Owner Nikky Starrett wrote the Pomp & Sass business plan with the intention of being a positive influence in the world. When she meditated on what that meant, she saw it as an inclusive, welcoming and giving company. Building her own brand gave her the ability to make the type of company she wanted to work for. It also meant that she could develop a business plan that did more and gave more while also supporting her family. Building a better life for herself wasn’t enough, she was going to build a better life for her global community too. 

Her story is one of hope, resilience and courage, with her beautiful story of recovery from a lifetime of pain, Nikky went passionately in a journey of entrepreneurship when she was given a second chance to live her best life. Knowing first hand how difficult life can be, she wanted to make a change. Suffering didn’t make her spark dim, it polished it to shine. Through Pomp & Sass she is letting her light shine. With some grace, she will also enable others to do the same. 

Ethically Made

Pomp & Sass manufacturing of their Turkish towels is done in Turkey. The employees are all adults over the age of 18 and work in a clean, safe facility. They are paid fairly and treated respectfully. Working hours are from 8am to 5pm with two 15 minute tea breaks and one lunch hour. 

Quality products start at the beginning. More importantly, we should not benefit from the suffering of others. Pomp & Sass plans to inspect our manufacturing facilities as soon as our companies grows to accommodate the expense. Although we would have liked to inspect the facility before partnering with them, we prioritized our charitable giving initiative and relied on the guarantee of trusted advisors. By funneling startup funds into our community and delaying a travel expense we hope to have a larger impact for good sooner. 

Environmentally Friendly 

Pure cotton towels are environmentally friendly because they are plastic free, have little manufacturing waste and don’t require chemical fabric softeners. They require less water to wash and can be recycled into other goods. Turkish towels eliminate the need for other goods by their virtue of being versatile. Their small fold size and lightweight also lowers the amount of shipping fuel and packaging required to distribute to customers. 

Pomp & Sass maintains the environmental friendliness of the Turkish towel. We also try to do more. The dies used in our process are certified safe for human use. When we consider the infrastructure issue of waste water in Turkey, it’s a small relief in a bigger problem. Unfortunately there is little we can do as this issue is on a government level. Making changes we have control over is what we are therefore focusing on. On top of making an eco friendly product, we have chosen to only have a biodegradable product card. By transitioning from physical packaging to product photography we are eliminating waste. We only use poly bags when required by our fulfilment centres and are looking to transition into a better option.

More on this subject

In office, we use dishes and reusable travel cups. Printing has been minimized to essentials. We turn the LED lights off when we aren’t there, only boil water we need, have reusable batteries and other waste reducing practices.  We use e-billing and lowered our advertising paper use by 70% from what was ‘required’ to make sales as per industry standards. Whenever we see a way to reduce waste we try to implement it as soon as possible. In fairness we see ourselves at the beginning of our green journey while giving ourselves credit for walking.  

We use Amazon FBA for one of our fulfillment centre which has implemented a Frustration Free Packaging program within its own infrastructure. This equates to lower, more sustainable packaging solutions. By implementing this partnership, Pomp & Sass hopes to lower our footprint as well as increasing our shipping reliability. 

Pomp & Sass isn’t perfect. While  we are making efforts to make a better product with as little waste as possible we understand there is room for improvement. Our search for ways to implement better, more sustainable practices will not end and is always a priority. 

Making a positive impact in the world

Owner Nikky Starrett is passionate in her mission to be a positive influence in the world. Her story of hope drives her and challenges her to make difficult choices for her company. Choices that cost money and add workload while offering others prosperity and safety. At a young age, Nikky developed fibromyalgia from ongoing stress and trauma. She has known deep loss, poverty and trauma. After ten years of intense suffering, her syndrome was cured during her pregnancy with her daughter Fern (who the fern towel was made in honour of). With her beautiful story of recovery and second chance to live her best life, Nikky is passionate about being the change she wants to see in the world. When building her company, she focussed on making a plan to give back, do well by others and the environment. By putting a product to the market that is both beautiful and functional she hopes to inspire joyfulness in others. Pomp & Sass isn’t just a towel company, it’s a way to inspire, support and balance company structure to both support employees and the community they operate in. 

The Pomp & Sass Name

Pomp & Sass was named because of our hope to balance work and life. A person and company can have “pomp” which denotes self importance. We translate this attitude to mean structures, intentional and hard working. Sass comes from our playful side. When you combine hard working and playfulness, what you have is a product that functions while looking great. Our towels certainly qualify for that! The Pomp & Sass corporate structure also lends to this. We work hard while also allowing play and celebration. 

Pomp and circumstance, a classical composition by Sr Edward Elgar also inspired the name. The classical composition brings us through both a festive upbeat tune as well as a strict march. This personifies our attitude perfectly and helps to remind us of our mission.  

Thank You

To everyone who buys our products, reads our blog, follows our social media accounts and engages with our content. For walking this journey with us, telling your friends and family about us and generally being awesome along side of us. We see you and appreciate you.

This article is written for and by Pomp & Sass in hopes of clarifying and explain our product in an in-depth way. If you have questions or found us in error please reach out to us via our contact page.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.