In fall 2020 we received, tested and reviewed two things from the American start-up Arms of Andes, which specializes in Alpaca wool outdoor clothing: The brand’s hiking socks (reviewed here), and the 110 V-neck t-shirt for women (reviewed here). While I was impressed by the fabric of the latter, the shoulder construction was too narrow for me. I was thus excited when the brand offered me to test the redesigned and naturally dyed Alpaca 110 t-shirt in return for an unbiased review. I received the t-shirt in January, and have thus been testing it for almost two months, wearing it both for hikes and everyday life.
The naturally dyed Arms of Andes Alpaca 110 t-shirt is suitable for:
- Everyday life
Like all Arms of Andes apparel, the naturally dyed Alpaca 110 t-shirt is made of 100 % Royal Alpaca wool, which means that the fibers are less than 19 microns in diameter. Nevertheless, I did notice that the surface of this t-shirt is not as velvety soft as that of the previously reviewed v-neck, but more prickly. The fabric of the two t-shirts should otherwise be identical, but perhaps the natural coloring (more about this below) has something to do with the decrease in softness? The Natural Colors Line, which this t-shirt is a part of, is specifically designed to be Leave No Trace Apparel, which for example entails that tags and the stitching is made with cotton rather than synthetic materials to make it 100 % biodegradable. Cotton thread is anyway to be preferred over synthetic thread when working with natural fabrics, although it is more prone to snaps since it does not have as much “give” as synthetic thread.
Another interesting component of the naturally dyed Arms of Andes Alpaca 110 t-shirt is obviously its color. When I first scoured through the brand website most apparel was available only in black, white and lilac. Since then, new natural color options have arrived. I thus received the t-shirt in red, which comes from Cochineal scale insects! As all the naturally colored apparel is hand-dyed (red, blue, grey), some unevenness in the color is to be expected. This is indeed the case for my t-shirt which almost features a tie-dye effect on both front and back. When I first washed the t-shirt on a wool cycle in the machine, I was aware that the color could bleed a little so I added a color catcher sheet to pick up any color on the run. Unfortunately, the color catcher sheet didn’t catch the extra color (maybe it only works with synthetic colors?) – which instead went on my daughter’s delicately lilac blouse, that was also put in the machine. Luckily, this miscoloring disappeared from the blouse after one or two washes. But, be smarter than me and avoid washing your NEW naturally dyed apparel with something lighter and sensitive in color.
Sizing and Fit
As mentioned above, the previously reviewed Alpaca 110 v-neck from Arms of Andes was very narrow around the bust and shoulders, although it was a size Large and I’m usually a Medium. According to Arms of Andes’ current sizing chart I’m exactly between a M and L (with a waist circumference of 76 cm/30 in). I was therefore curious to see how the redesigned and naturally dyed 110 t-shirt (also size L) would compare to its predecessor. The difference in size is indeed significant as you can see on the image where the old v-neck is laid out flat on top of the new t-shirt. The two t-shirts seem to be at least one, if not two sizes apart. Indeed, the new t-shirt is so loose on me that I think I could easily fit into a size M if I was opting for a tighter fit. Which is a nicer feeling than not fitting into the largest size available (Arms of Andes tops are only available up to size L). The new naturally dyed t-shirt is also about an inch or so longer than its predecessor, as are the sleeves which are also wider.
Comfort and Functionality
The naturally dyed Arms of Andes Alpaca 110 t-shirt is made with regular seams just like the previous version, but as the fit is much much looser they are not bothering me at all. Only tight-fitting base layers need to have flatlock seams. It’s worth noticing, however, that the seams on the sleeve cuffs and bottom hem are made with a much more robust but elastic stitching which is white as the cotton thread doesn’t pick up color as effectively as the Alpaca wool fabric. This creates a different look for the t-shirt, but doesn’t impact the functionality. The biggest problem with the Arms of Andes Alpaca 110 is that the material is more prickly and occasionally itchy compared to its predecessor – at least on my skin, which is sensitive and dry by nature. The itchiness is mostly felt once you put one or more layers over the t-shirt, so I will try to use it mainly as a standalone piece. Otherwise the fabric performs great in terms of breathability, odor-control, moisture-wicking properties, UV-protection and temperature-regulation.
Washing and drying
While the v-neck previously reviewed had (hand) washing instructions printed in the neck, the redesigned and naturally dyed Arms of Andes Alpaca 110 t-shirt has them printed on cotton label inside the shirt. Here you can see that this t-shirt can be washed on a gentle (wool) cycle in the machine and air-dried. As the fabric is very light-weight and porous, it dries super fast.
I’m very happy with most of the changes that has been made to the Arms of Andes Alpaca 110 t-shirt, which is now also available in multiple natural colors. The sizing is more appropriate, and thus the fit is looser which plays better with the regular seams used throughout the t-shirt. I’m slightly worried that the material is less soft than on its predecessor, but it’s possible that it is just a stand-alone issue with this prototype that I tested. Otherwise the fabric performs similarly to Merino wool, except that it is warmer and lighter.
If you have any questions about this product, drop me a line in the comments below.
We field tested this product. The rating shows its overall performance.About Rating
- Similiar properties to Merino wool, but feels warmer and lighter
- Sustainable production
- Single source origin = less CO2 from transportation
- Redesigned for fit and function
- Material is slightly itchy