In the age of quick-drying, sweat-wicking, water-repellent fabrics, it’s easy to forget that many synthetics are developed to imitate and improve upon natural fibers — namely, linen. Airy, absorbent and naturally quick-drying, linen boasts a handsome slubbed texture that softens and strengthens with time. Yet linen’s most defining (and underrated) characteristic is its ability to absorb 20 percent of its weight in water before feeling the slightest bit damp.
The world’s best flax linen is milled and woven by Libeco in Meulebeke, Belgium. Family-owned since 1864, Libeco is one of the region’s last remaining mills, specializing in bed, kitchen and bath linens. Most notable, however, are its dish towels. In plaid patterns with vibrant, washed tones and neutral stripes, Libeco’s towels only get better with repeated use. And with unmatched absorbency and a soft texture, they’re ideal for drying delicate glassware (just as much as accidental spills).