These Buttery, Cooling $100 Sheets Completely Changed My Mind About Sateen
Vintage-tee soft and Oeko-Tex certified.
Published Jul 28, 2023 1:42 AM
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If you ask me about bedding, I’ll usually say I’m a year-round devotee of linen sheets. Breathable yet weighty, there’s just something inviting about the material no matter the season. But when things get extra-sticky, I’ll change it up in summertime to chase the elusive cooling properties promised by percale and bamboo sets. Sateen, however, is a material I (previously) did not turn to.
My reasoning for this is because sateen—a type of cotton weave featuring a tight three- or four-over-one—is known for sealing in warmth instead of letting air flow through. This type of construction also lends to a slight sheen in the fabric; I prefer matte. (Here’s a visual: Where percale goes crinkly and linen goes laid-back rumpled, sateen gives rich and velvety.)
So when Quince—known for thoughtfully made and affordable home basics like curtains, rugs, and table linens—debuted what the brand described as “exceptionally soft and breathable” sateen sheets made with organic cotton, my interest was piqued. I won’t lie: I harbored a healthy dose of skepticism, but I was thoroughly intrigued to review them. A set waited patiently in my linen chest until the first hot day arrived this year—and, after a couple of months’ worth of sleep, consider me a cool sateen convert.
The Soft Feel and Relaxed Look
I had slept on other sets of sateen sheets (namely Dusen Dusen’s funky patterned ones), and while I loved the smooth feel, there’s no denying the weight that comes with them; even with air-conditioning on full blast, they lay more heavily during the summer months. So when Quince’s organic version in white arrived, I expected them to be supple and nice to touch. What did take me by surprise was the actual softness and look of the material, made from 100% long-staple cotton, which was more relaxed and less prim than I’d come to expect from sateen. While the 10 other colors might have a subtle sheen, the white isn’t shiny, nor is it quite a percale-esque crisp. To be straightforward: They’re just a really comfortable texture, like your favorite vintage T-shirt.
The Cool Factor
From the first night my husband and I snoozed on them, I couldn’t get over the heat regulation they provided. I run steamy at night and am always looking for options that’ll keep that in check. While “cooling” is often an overused concept that can be misleading, these are the real deal. They keep my body, and that of my marathon-ing mate, at an ideal sleeping temperature. They’re cool to slip into, and I never warm up to the point where I’m throwing off the top sheet or our quilt. I’ve been reaching for them all season long, even with other organic cotton and percale sheets in my test pile, many of which didn’t have the same immediate softness or cooling factors. They’ve held up to weekly washing, too; no pilling here. I would bet they aren’t just for hot sleepers either. Those who love the feel but sleep cool could pile on a duvet and be set.
Don’t take all of this from just me. Review after review of these buttery sheets heralds them as “supersoft” and “great quality” at an “unbeatable price.” You can also see several customer photos, too, if you are concerned about colors. Plus you have an entire year to sleep on them to decide whether you like them or not before returning them free of charge.
A note on the eco-qualities: Each set of Quince’s organic sateen sheets is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified (and labeled appropriately so, with a corresponding number), not just the factories the brand partners with. This is an important distinction, because many companies conflate the two without making it clear to shoppers.
The Thrilling Price
The price is, plain as day, pretty impressive. Compared to other popular sheet purveyors, Quince’s price tag is one of the lowest—we’re talking less than $130 for even a California king set that includes fitted and flat sheets and two pillowcases. If you go for just a fitted sheet and pillowcases, the prices dip even lower. In the case of the organic sateen, which is crafted in India, the quality could masquerade for more expensive brands. Quince credits the eye-popping pricing to its production model, offering that it avoids traditional supply chains in favor of sourcing directly from manufacturers.
The Little Details
Each set is finished off with a single needle-stitch cuff detail, but the very simple addition of “top” and “bottom” labels inside the fitted sheet brings me more joy than it should (I don’t know how many times I’ve had to refit sheets that don’t have this).
The Fitted Sheet Sizing
If there’s one gripe I have, it’s that the fitted sheet has shrunk a tiny bit to where it doesn’t quite reach around my 11.5-inch-tall king mattress with a 3-inch-tall mattress topper. It doesn’t bug me to adjust that in the morning and tuck the generously sized top sheet over it, but just so you know, shrinkage is a possibility.
The Final Word
I sleep on all kinds of sheets looking for the sweet spot somewhere on the continuum of linen, sateen, and percale—the place where I get softness, cooling, and little to no pilling. There are few sheet sets that I return to again and again (ahem, Cultiver’s linen), but I now count Quince’s organic sateen among them.