While bath towels have been a household staple for hundreds of year, their journey from a rare luxury, to a plain, functional tool to colorful, ornate home decor has bean anything but linear. Towels, like clothes, have fashions that come and go. One design has remained popular throughout the ups and downs of other trends: the iconic Blue Striped Towel.
The Blue Stripe has made its way into many ubiquitous locations around the world, from hotel bath towels to home decor. And for a good reason! When one sees the nautical Blue Stripe, one’s bathing experience can evoke feelings of a warm day spent relaxing by the ocean. The Blue Striped Towel fits right into the beachy, ocean-inspired themes that many choose for their bathrooms.
So how exactly did cotton bath towels and the classic Blue Stripes get their start?
The Journey of Cotton throughout History
Before towels became a vehicle for expressing personal style and taste, things like cotton towels and linens were hand-made using a painstakingly long and labor-intensive process. Far from the staple they are today, cotton linens were once considered an expensive luxury that only the wealthy could afford.
Dating all the way back to 3,000 BC, farmers in India began growing and spinning cotton fibers into yarn to make textiles for clothes and linens. Because of its lightweight and breathable qualities, cotton made a great choice for the Indian climate. Long days working in the hot sun were infinitely more comfortable in lightweight cotton. Soon, the nearby Egyptians discovered that cotton would grow extremely well along the lush banks of the Nile River. Planting quickly escalated, growing into the world-famous specialty Egyptian Cotton that is still boasted as the most luxurious type of cotton today.
But despite its desirability, Cotton was still time-consuming and expensive to produce, making it cost-prohibitive to most households. It took several millennia, in 1973 specifically, for cotton to really became a household staple With Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin, which could produce cotton fibers ten times faster than by hand, the ability to mass produce cotton fabric propelled its popularity by making it affordable and readily available. Demand for cotton skyrocketed as people all over the world started to take note of the practicality of cotton and began using the fibers in a variety of household products. Women ordered cotton fibers by the yard and would sew and hem the fabric by hand for sheets and bath towels. By the end of the 1800s, weaving factories were mass producing terry cloth bath towels, which eliminated the need for hand sewing and forever changed the way we purchase cotton towels.
Now that we know a bit more about the birth of a cotton bath towel, where does the Blue Stripe come in?
Breton Stripes: From Function to Fashion
Stripes on linens we popularized in 1858 as part of the French naval uniform worn by sailors. The iconic horizontal stripes weren’t just a sporty design; they served a very important function in helping distinguish overboard sailors from the rolling waves, making it easier to rescue them. During this time, the French Navy hailed from Brittany (Bretagne, in French), a small northwest region in France surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. This naval uniform sported but the sailors in the region became known as the “Breton” stripes, and are now commonly associated with all things French and Marine. The stripes became more than just a symbol of the navy, and soon you couldn’t turn a corned in Bretagne without seeing these stripes.
But how did these stripes travel from a French seaside town to the global stage of fashion? As fate would have it, the world-famous fashion designer Coco Chanel spent some time vacationing in the town of Bretagne in the early 1900s. From there, she was inspired by the Breton stripes seen on the many local sailors and subsequently launched a nautical line of apparel in 1917. This nautical-inspired line was well received, and high-society women were seen sporting the Breton stripes in cities all over the world.
The Breton stripe reached even higher popularity during the film era of the 1950s, when Hollywood leading ladies and gentlemen like Audrey Hepburn and James Dean began donning the simple but iconic pattern. This proved that the stripe could work for anyone’s style, from high society, paired with an ascot and tulle skirt, to counter-culture anti-heros, worn with leather and denim. Over the years, the Breton stripe has not lost its popularity in the world of fashion, and it remains a staple in many closets throughout the world today.
Nautical Is Still a Hot Trend
Who doesn’t love the feeling of being at the beach? Not just the sand and the waves of the shore itself, but the relaxing nature of beach towns and vacation homes. With the pleasantness and relaxation of this setting, it’s no wonder that people want to bring it home. What’s more, these themes are easy to design and coordinate to create a cohesive theme.
If you’re looking to create your own seaside-themed bathroom, there are two directions you can go in: calm and relaxing beach themes, and bold energetic ship-inspired themes.
1. Wall Color Sets the Tone –
BEACH: To recreate the relaxing vibe of a beach home, choose a calming colors to conjure images of warm, breezy days, soft sand, and lapping waves. Creams, soft blues or sandy pinks are common colors that create a soothing atmosphere.
SHIP: If you’re looking to invoke the energy and sharp organization of a ship deck, you can opt for a navy blue with crisp white accents, or bold, woody paneling. These bold colors will create a ship’s hold atmosphere that you can then lighten up with other accessories.
2. Display Furniture Inspired by Your Setting –
BEACH: If your bathroom has light-colored walls, offset the soft colors with furniture constructed of unfinished or distressed hardwoods to give it the natural, weather-worn feel of beach properties, which evoke a sense of quietly passing time.
SHIP: If you choose to go the bold route with navy or brown walls, offset these dark colors by choosing a white vanity and cabinet to keep the space feeling clean and energized. Further accent the blue and white theme by placing white subway tiles for your back-splash with white or light wood floors.
3. Use Art to Set the Scene –
SHIP: If you have empty wall space in your bathroom, choose to add framed art with pictures of the sea, ships or even antique photography of a ship’s interior. If you find black-and-white or sepia photography, make the images pop with clean white frames.
BEACH: Almost any beach scene, from serene dunes, to vintage mid-century aerial photos of umbrellas and beach chairs can instantly add a cheery note that brings you right back to the last time you stuck your toes in the sand. Frame these with light natural wood that matches furnishing (bonus points for using driftwood!).
4. Accessorize with Classic Nautical Symbols –
SHIP: Instantly recognizable symbols of ship-life include antique anchors, help wheels, and ropes with sailors knots. Clean lines and symmetry with these accessories will mimic the organization of a ship deck.
BEACH: Seashells and sea life can be featured on curtains, furniture cushions and shower curtains. Real seashells and driftwood can be displayed on counters or windowsills to bring the ocean theme to life. The more seemingly haphazard
5. Bring on the Breton Stripe –
The best thing about this stripes is that it works for both themes since it was derived from official naval styles and popularized by resident beach-goers. Hang blue striped bath towels, hand towels and washcloths in your bathroom. Add coordinating blue striped bath mats in front of the bath and sinks to keep your ship deck spick and span when stepping out of the shower. Displaying a variety of coordinating bath towels, linens, and bath mats will bring all of the small details together and complete your nautical theme.
Other Uses for Blue Striped Towels
Buying blue striped towels wholesale or in bulk means you can get a great price on a high-quality, multi-purpose towel. This is a great strategy because you never know when you’ll need spare towels for guests visits, beach and pool trips, or other household uses. Here are a few ideas for other ways to use your 100% Cotton Blue Striped Towels outside of the bathroom:
- Poolside Comfort and Convenience – When lounging poolside, the towel serves to dry off after taking a dip as well as to add comfort the pool deck furniture. The blue striped pool towel is the perfect poolside addition. Whether you run a hotel pool or you frequently entertain guests in your own backyard, having a selection of quality pool towels on hand is a must. Since these towels will be used time and time again, offer your guests 100% cotton towels, which will remain soft and absorbent in spite of their durability. The pop of bright blue will make these pool towels fit right into any theme.
- Matching Robes – A pool robe completes the feel of luxury when dipping in your own home pool and will lend a coordinated look with your pool towels. If you’re handy at sewing, transform on of your spare large blue striped bath towels and make a matching pool robe for your children.
Crafts and Activities
- Picnic Blankets – There’s nothing better than having the whole family gather together for an outdoor picnic on a gorgeous day. Make a unique and comfortable picnic blanket by sewing together four to six of your blue striped bath towels. Your new picnic blanket will be big enough to fit the entire family, plus the heavier weight of the towels will stay put and won’t blow away as easily as a lightweight sheet on a windy day.
- Throw Pillow Covers – By using your extra blue striped towels as pillow covers, your throw pillows in your guest bedroom can now coordinate with your décor in your guest bathroom. High-quality towels will work great as pillow covers. If they get dirty, they can easily be washed along with the rest of your towels in the washing machine.
- Superhero Cape – Make your kids their very own super hero cape, so they can fly around and save the day! Superman’s cape has already claimed the color red, and Batman has his black cape, so why not make let your child be their very own super hero with a blue and white striped cape? You can easily modify your bath towels by attaching Velcro on both sides of one end for a safe, easy-to-remove cape. You can take it to the next level by adding your own symbol or patch to one side. Now, this fun way to use your towels!
- Cleaning Rags – It may seem strange to use your brand new towels for cleaning rags, but if you buy them at wholesale prices, it can be a great use for those extra few that you have nowhere to hang, or for any that have become stained. Since the absorbent material is durable, they will make cleaning easier than using an old, cheap fabric.
- Dishtowels – Blue striped hand towels can serve a dual purpose as a hand towel in your bathroom and as a dishtowel in your kitchen. The superior absorbency of 100% cotton will work great in both situations, and the blue striped design will add a cohesive decorative flair throughout your home.
- Baby Bibs – If you have small kids, you know how much food can end up all over your baby rather than in their mouth. It’s definitely worth it to have a multitude of bibs handy for all mealtimes. Instead of buying a ton of bibs, make your own using your extra towels. Simply cut your towel into a bib shape, hem the edges and sew on ribbon for ties or add Velcro to the ends. It’s as easy as that.
- Dog Bibs – Let’s face it, some dogs seem to make sleeping and drooling their full time jobs. If you’re fortunate enough to have a slobbery furry friend like a Newfoundland or St. Bernard, you know all too well that the amount of drool that comes out of their mouths is astonishing. If you’re tired of keeping towels strategically placed around your house for quick drool mopping, create a dog bib just as you would for a baby. Except for this one, be sure to add extra-long ties for wrapping around that big, fluffy head. The classic blue stripes will make your dog look dapper while simultaneously fulfilling a very necessary function.
With all of those additional uses for high-quality towels, you now know the magic of a classic Blue Striped Towel and you won’t be able to stock your shelves with enough of them!
Wholesale Blue Striped Towels
Purchasing wholesale Blue Striped Towels is easier than ever at Towel Super Center. We offer a variety of sizes of Blue Striped Towels. You can complete your nautical themed towel collection and stock plenty of towels on hand for a variety of other uses as well. All of our towels are made from high-quality, long-lasting 100% cotton, so these timeless towels are sure to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use. Shop Hotels4humanity.com for all of your towel needs, and browse our vast selection of other towel options for your business or home.