There's a reason some towels look plush after a dozen washes and some are more like furry pancakes: It all comes down to the grams per square meter, or GSM. It's the bath equivalent to thread counts with bedsheets, and anything over 550 is ideal, says Thrifty Chic
authors Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell. Not all brands list GSM, though, and when that's the case, go for one that's 100 percent cotton or Supima
. Cotton blends are common, but they can flatten out after a few months' use, the authors say. Remember: Quality towels can be pricier, so you may want to start out with two, then build your collection over the years.