RALPH LAUREN: "Regent," 100 percent Turkish cotton, $33 reduced to $15.99, Bloomingdale's, bloomingdales.com. Ellen says: Excellent absorbency and luxury heft but not worth paying full retail. Ideal at this 50 percent-off price. At 58 inches long (like the green one far right), it is 6 inches longer than the shortest (yellow) towel! CANNON: "Super–Sized Egyptian" towel, 100 percent Egyptian cotton 2-ply loops, $13.99, Sears, sears.com. Ellen says: A decent midrange towel. Nothing special. TY PENNINGTON STYLE: Bamboo (base all-cotton; pile 60 percent cotton, 40 percent viscose rayon from bamboo), $15.99 reduced to $7.99, Sears, sears.com. Ellen says: Best overall and a real bargain on sale, but I'd even (reluctantly) pay full price. Ideal combo of absorbency, thickness and softness. Couldn't detect any distinctively "bamboo" difference. COLORMATE: "Basic," 100 percent cotton ring-spun, $7.99 reduced to $3.99, Sears, sears.com. Ellen says: Lost more than 2 inches in dryer shrinkage. Skimpiest of all but still a fine choice for kids, dogs. JACLYN SMITH: "Today," 100 percent pima cotton, $7.99, Kmart, kmart.com. Ellen says: Flimsy and underwhelming but very soft. MACY'S HOTEL COLLECTION: 100 percent Turkish cotton, $40 on sale for $29.99, Macy's, macys.com. Ellen says: The most lush and spalike. A little too heavy and difficult to manage on small bodies. But these will wow your houseguests.
Tribune photo by Bill Hogan