I've long harbored a fervent obsession with linen— from vintage pillowcases to pebbly sheets and crisp napkins, there's nothing I don't want in this fabric (except clothing, ironically). It's bath towels where I think linen really shines, thanks to its excellent absorbency and light weight, and I aspire to a full set, extras and all.
Unfortunately (and those who share my affliction will attest), linen can be pricy. So while it make take me awhile to stock my linen cupboard (I mean, if I had one) with matching towels for All Of The Guests, I can work toward my goal bit-by-bit.
I've found a towel that suits my taste and budget, and it hails from Paris. Every time I visit my favorite city, which happens probably 1-3 times in an average year, I head to the Haut Marais and visit Merci, a favorite fashion-and-lifestyle shop. There, I buy myself precisely one of their beautiful honeycomb bath towels— a bath sheet if I'm feeling flush, or a hand towel if I've already spent half of my holiday budget on cheese and fancy face cream (it happens).
Building a set slowly is a good idea if you have budget or storage constraints. I remember my older sister collecting vintage Drabware through most of her university years in much the same way, piece by piece. If you go this route, consider whether the item you want is likely to be available long-term. Merci has been doing the same quality towels, in the same basic range of shades, for years, so buying these slowly makes sense for me.
Is there anything that you've collected slowly, over the years?