Time was when the only terry cloth other than bathrobes was the towel one wore out of the shower.

We've come a long way from the towel cover-up. Terry touched the sportswear market last year and became a running favorite with joggers and other sports.

But now it has even come out in the open for day wear with top designers dishing out towel-like terry in dresses and separates. And the terry blazer is bound to be a favorite in warm weather for men and women, as comfortable with swimwear as with trousers. Touch is the big appeal, but so's the fact that terry attracts bright colors so well.

From left: Karen Gally shapes terry in an elasticized waistline dress for an open weave mesh yoke back. From Gally Goods at Woodward/Lothrop and Claire Dratch ( $90).

Carol Horn's grayish-blue T-shirt dress in terry at Garfinckel's ( $40).

Ron Chereskin's terry jacket in a natural color at Hecht's ( $60).

Ralph Lauren pairs a wrap top and sexy slit skirt in claret and black terry, available at Bloomingdale's ( $96 for the top and $82 for the skirt). CAPTION: Illustration, no caption, by Susan Davis for The Washington Post