My first encounter with Alpaca was Everlane’s alpaca wool blend sweater (which I reviewed here). But because it had such a high nylon content I, one, sent it back and, two, really wanted to try a sweater that was 100% alpaca (no plastic please!). In the Everlane review I went over why alpaca fibers are better than cashmere and why it’s now the luxury fiber for sweaters (cashmere is no longer a luxury because even fast fashion brands like Uniqlo churn out cheap cashmere (including Everlane’s $100 cashmere I’m sorry to say)—which is also harming the environment with its mass production). And well 100% alpaca sweaters have the “luxury” price tag to match (like this one, this one and this one). Trying to find a sub-$300 100% Alpaca sweater is pretty much impossible. So I decided to stalk my favorite clothing consignment site, TheRealReal and found one from Lauren Manoogian (that link is for the one I actually tried on in this review and there are similar ones here and here). I’ve reviewed one of her items before, where I talk about the ethics and values of sustainability behind her company (she’s not quite slow fashion, but almost). Her limited number of items each season aren’t cheap but they’re made to last. But the best way to afford her pieces is by buying them used!
I was lucky enough to snag this 100% Alpaca sweater for about $128 (incl shipping) but had to compromise on the size (it’s a large). But I figured with my big ‘ole prego belly, the large would probably be a good fit. So what did I think of the sweater? Alpaca really is an amazing fiber! The 100% alpaca knit was super warm (even with the shortened sleeves) and the sweater was super thick, but still lightweight considering how thick the knit felt. There was zero itch and if you’re sensitive to wool, this is probably the best alternative since it’s still ultra warm. It’s not as smooth and soft as cashmere, but much thicker and better than regular wool. I can’t speak to how it wears and whether it pills or not since I ended up not keeping it (but alpaca is supposed to pill much less than wool and cashmere). But considering this is a used sweater, there was no pilling at all (but of course I don’t know how many times it was actually worn by the previous owner). It was around mid-50’s when I was wearing this sweater and even with the shorter sleeves, I was feeling almost overheated in it.
So why didn’t I keep it? I just didn’t think the shape and length flattered my body. The large overwhelmed by petite frame (I’m 5’4”) and I think it made me look shorter than usual. Of course it did accomodate my prego belly but I couldn’t really see myself wearing a sweater this long post partum, so I sent it back (and thus it’s available again on The RealReal site). I think if you’re taller than me (around 5’6” and above) then this sweater might be a better fit.
But my appetite to find a used 100% alpaca sweater is even stronger than ever. I’m on the hunt y’all! Anyone else try 100% alpaca and what did you think?