Why You Should Ditch Wool and Cashmere, and Opt for Alpaca Instead
Fall is here! For some, this means pumpkin spice lattes, trips to the pumpkin patch, and getting ready for Halloween. For others, myself included, this means summer is over, days are getting shorter, and the weather is getting colder. Nonetheless, as we switch to our cold-weather wardrobe, we also have to think about how this fall season is different as we’re staying home more and value simplicity above all. Whether we’re working from home or running errands outside, daily life in our new norm brings a whole new list of priorities around getting dressed comfortably.
As someone who passionately hates cold weather, I couldn’t help but question, “which sweater fiber is the most warm, versatile, coziest, softest, and comfiest?” Now, I have done my fair research and present to you my results: poly and synthetic blends usually come in cute trendy styles but lack warmth and comfort. Merino wool is pleasantly warm but can leave you clammy and itchy by the end of the day. Cashmere is oh so cuddly and soft but has proven to be quite delicate and holey.
Finally, after a long search for heat, I’ve found a sweater material that combines warmth, versatility, coziness, softness, comfort, and a list of other appealing qualities to keep you at ease during cooler months. The perfect sweater, my friends, is the one made from alpaca fiber.
Alpaca at a glance:
- Light and warmer than wool.
- Luxuriously soft to touch with a silky sheen.
- Comfortable and versatile to wear.
- Grows naturally in dozens of beautiful shades.
- Promotes sustainable agriculture in the Peruvian Andes.
Cousin of the llama, alpacas graze at elevations of 10,000 to 14,000 feet on the harsh high plains of the Peruvian Andes. Their thick, sumptuous coats grow naturally in over 40 shades and most importantly, they’re super cute!
Don’t worry, shearing alpaca fleece is actually good for them as they will overheat in the summer if their thermal fleece is not regularly removed. They are necessarily sheared once a year for their own health to prevent disease and illness that can occur when their fleece becomes too long or matted. The shearing of alpaca is a historic Peruvian practice that is typically grounded in the wellbeing of the peaceful and valuable animal.
More Reasons to Choose Alpaca:
Alpaca fiber is officially a “Peruvian flagship product” meaning it’s native to Peru and recognized by travelers abroad. Alpaca clothing belongs to the fair trade market offering higher prices to producers and better conditions for workers in the textile industry, supporting the livelihoods of the thousands of families who are involved in production.
Made using ancient techniques with the environment and planet in mind, alpaca fiber is a renewable resource and 100% biodegradable unlike most synthetics. The fiber is also known to be more healthy and hygienic providing natural ventilation, heat insulation, and protection from the cold.
Alpaca fiber is warmer and stronger than wool, and so resistant to saturation that it’s nearly water-repellant, unlike cashmere. It’s also free of lanolin, present in wool, making it hypoallergenic. Light shades of alpaca fiber are also better at absorbing dyes, making it perfect for vibrant colors.
Tips on how to style your Alpaca Sweater:
Pair a shorter opened cardigan with a tucked-in shirt underneath and a crossbody bag diagonally. Add some statement earrings to complete your look and voila!
Throw on a colorful alpaca shawl over a basic outfit to look more put together.
Mix and match shades of black. Pair a longer alpaca cardigan with a black tucked-in shirt and black skinny jeans for a chic “I am expensive” look. Add some black booties to balance!
Add a pop of color with a red alpaca cardigan over your everyday jeans and t-shirt look for bold sophistication.
Who says you can’t wear white after labor day? Break the rules with a white alpaca cardigan just when it starts getting chilly outside.