Notes From the Field: A Linen Love Affair

December 16, 2013

By Cheryl Katz

I am a linen devotee.

Hard to believe, but there was a time when I waited until May to pull out a linen dress or a pair of linen trousers.  Of course, that was back in the day when I waited until June to wear white shoes and still traded a winter handbag for a summer one. Luckily those days are long gone and now I wear linen whenever I want, no matter the season.

Those same old school rules kept me using terry cloth towels when I could have been using linen ones. But who knew? Growing up my mother swore by Wamsutta, their wide range of colors guaranteeing a perfect match for our pink and gray tiled bathroom. Even my dad, who was not interested in domestic science and was color blind, endorsed them. A proud New Englander he was an early adopter of buying local, their New Bedford mill less than an hour’s drive from our house.

But like my wardrobe, I no longer adhere to old rules.

Years ago, on a trip to Rome I used my first linen towel. It was a revelation. It weighed next to nothing, dried quickly, and, maybe, because it seemed taboo, felt especially luxurious.

Back in the states I found linen towels hard to come by, and when they were available, the prices were often prohibitive. But thanks to JoAnne Chirico, the founder of Goodlinens, that’s no longer a problem.  Her line of 100% linen towels is as absorbent and quick drying as I remember. And, something I hadn’t realized (until I could afford a stack), they take up considerably less storage space. So now anytime I want, whether it’s my dress or my bath towel, I indulge my love of linen.