Sustainable and toxin-free living

Sustainable and toxin-free living

Sustainable Street Style: We’re All Grownups Here


#Sustainable style: Grey alpaca sweater by Callina

Year 28 felt like a tipping point for me. I have probably said this before, but when moved from being 27 to 28, I moved from a sense playacting adulthood to feeling like I could start to claim some credibility and stature. I’m in my late-twenties. This blog thing seems to be working, my up-speak and vocal fry is fading (I hope), and I am sliding into my seat at the proverbial table, happy to raise my hand and give my opinion. Well, I’ve always given my opinion, but now I feel like it is more well-formed.

So, I want my wardrobe to reflect that. Out with the cutesy patterns and bows, the girl-ish silhouettes and garish colors, and in with neutrals, tailored touches, and well-crafted details.

This winter I will be wearing this soft, luxurious baby alpaca and merino sweater by Callina* constantly. Alpaca, if you remember, is the soft and sustainable alternative to cashmere. Alpacas are cute and fuzzy, to start, plus they are soft on the ecology of the land, produce more material using fewer resources, naturally come in a wide palette of neutral colors, and can thrive in a variety of harsh climates, making them well-suited for a world with a shifting climate. A note on the terminology: I am not wearing a sweater shorn from a mewling baby alpaca. When they say “baby” alpaca, they are referring to the short fibers that are hand-sorted from the long ones, to yield a soft and high-quality knit.

This particular sweater is hand-knotted by artisans skilled in traditional techniques in Peru. It is OekoTex Standard 100-certified, which means it uses no harmful chemicals during the dying process. It is soft and warm, well-crafted, with a modern silhouette. It is my new favorite. You can check out the rest of Callin’s selection of sweaters here.

#Sustainable street style: alpaca cropped sweater by Callina

The hat is by Hat Attack and is made in the U.S. with grey wool. I bought it last weekend in Cold Spring, New York, at the General Store, but you can buy it here. (Though it wasn’t as expensive in Cold Spring. Good excuse to make a weekend trip!) The shoes are by Nisolo; they’re my trustiest flats. The purse is by Eleven Thirty, ethically made in Canada. (This particular one is sold out everywhere, but you can get the same style without the patterned hide at Kaight.) The jeans are Banana Republic; I picked them up at the swap last weekend. Somebody at the swap is my size and height – I didn’t even need to hem them! And the button down is H&M’s in-house brand.

Yes, H&M’s in-house brand. I love the look of white button downs, but I am awful about keeping them clean. If I don’t drop food down the front, I stain the collar by sweating too much. Because of this, I have to be budget conscious. I’ve bought pre-loved button downs, but I’ve realized that I hate the polyester ones (especially since polyester micro-threads wash into the ocean). So I’ve settled on buying cotton button downs from H&M, which uses a lot of organic cotton.

#Sustainable street style: alpaca cropped sweater by Callina

* Sent to me for free to try.


  • Alden Wicker

    Alden Wicker is an award-winning investigative journalist and author of To Dye For: How Toxic Fashion Is Making Us Sick — and How We Can Fight Back (Putnam). She splits her time between managing her internationally recognized platform on safe and sustainable fashion,, and contributing to publications such as The New York Times, Vox, Wired, Vogue, and more. She’s made expert appearances on NPR’s Fresh Air, the BBC, and Al Jazeera to speak on consumer sustainability and the fashion system’s effect on people and the planet.

Last Post

Review: Fulfill Your Dream of DIY Beauty With Classes at the NY Institute of Aromatherapy

Next Post

Cleaned Out Your Closet? Here's Where to Take Your Old Clothes