While the interest in conscious consumerism has been long brewing, 2020 seems to be the year that brands are finally adding themselves to the sustainable shopping pot in a more meaningful way. We’ve seen an explosion of recycled-fiber styles from the likes of Everlane, Summersalt, and Madewell; the ever-increasingly popularity of secondhand outfits like the RealReal; the proliferation of brands launching recycling programs for merchandise. And, what's more, the companies already on an environmentally-minded mission are now expanding their offerings. The latest brand to do so? Our favorite eco-friendly footwear imprint: Allbirds. The beloved retailer is no longer solely a shoe label, as today marks the official launch of its first-ever foray into clothing. The entire capsule collection is designed with Allbirds’ trademark soft minimalism and sky-high environmental standards — and we tried it on first.
Allbirds’ initial apparel offerings are streamlined into a collection of wardrobe staples sharing the same sleek design and wool-based fabrication of the footwear that we (along with a veritable “flock” of fans) have grown to covet. “We leaned into our core tenets — simple design, premium natural materials, and commitment to sustainability,” the brand explained in a launch statement. The four no-fuss styles include a feather-light boxy tee, a super-cozy cropped pullover, a chic shrunken cardigan, and a perfectly-cropped puffer crafted from the brand’s signature sustainably-sourced merino wool. With prices ranging from $45 to $250, the collection doesn’t come cheap. But, its worth is more than accounted for in premium quality coupled with eco-friendly standards — something that, as mentioned above, we can vouch for firsthand after testing each of the new pieces IRL. Join us, R29’s friendly neighborhood Shopping team, below as we don Allbirds’ first-ever apparel. You'll find everything from selfies to self-timer shots, our outfit-pairing suggestions, and real-talk on how we felt wearing it.
The women’s version of this barely-there tee has a boxy, breathable fit, making it stylish enough for socially-distant meetups but cool and roomy enough for a workout. It contains a blend of chitosan — a fiber made from alkalized crustacean shells — and the brand’s signature merino wool and eucalyptus tree fiber.
“This tee arrived in my life at just the right moment — last week, I did some damage at Shaina Mote’s archive sale, and I needed a cropped top to wear with the hyper-high-waist dungarees I scored from the LA designer. I’m wearing a size small here, and the TrinoXO tee hit in just the right spot, despite a torso that I’d describe as woefully short. The silky-softness of this tee can’t be overstated. It has the weight of a perfectly broken-in thrifted piece — one that can take years of washing and wearing to achieve — but instead of being flimsy and sheer, it’s just opaque enough and palpably strong. (The fiber bounced back into place with ease after a few aggressive stretches.) I wore on a mild weekend day of walking and wrangling my daughter, and despite plenty of schvitzing, the tee smelled totally neutral the next day. It was perfect for layering under my favorite vintage wool sweater, adding a barrier of softness between my skin and the normally-itchy fiber and remained totally invisible thanks to strategic tailoring.” – Emily Ruane, Fashion Market Writer
“Wow, and I mean — wow. Are all t-shirts suppose to be this soft because they definitely are not. Butter-soft and lightweight, this easy slightly-cropped tee came in my favorite hue, which isn't really a hue at all. It's ideal for layering beneath oversized cardigans and chunkier knits, too. I love how the fabric feels against my skin. I'll definitely be wearing for both early-morning dog walks and more dressed up occasions.” – Cortne Bonilla, Lifestyle Market Writer
“You know those garments that look kind of whatever on the hanger, then transform into something incredibly on your body? Allbirds’ XO Tee is one of those. It's a boxy t-shirt that checks every box for me: sliiiiiiightly sheer material that feels cool against my body and wicks sweat; slightly dropped shoulders, a neutral white-grey color, a hem that sits right at my waistband. It's greater than the sum of its parts. Oh, and it's sustainable too.” – Mirel Zaman, Senior Health & Wellness Writer
Merino wool is beloved for its breathability — it somehow manages to be cooling and moisture-wicking all while maintaining a sublime softness. Allbirds’ shrunken crewneck sweater (rendered in the magical fiber) is like a beautifully tailored blanket for your body.
"Confession: I own more fast-fashion sweaters than I'd like to admit — and therefore many of them are not crafted from sustainable materials, like wool. SO, this Allbirds' piece was a treat. After pulling it on I was immediately reminded why investing in fewer pieces of higher quality is a good move (both personally and environmentally). It fit like a glove (wearing a size small here) and, although very warm, had the durable-but-breathable feeling of a fabric that would wick away perspiration well. The best part? It wasn't itchy at all, as I feared a real-life wool sweater might be! The purple was a colorway I wouldn't ordinarily choose for myself but its richness surprised me as a subtle-statement piece with major layering potential. Oh, and the cropped fit was simply perfection; not so short that my belly button peeked out when I raised my arms, not so long that it hit that weird-teetering-on-my-crotch area. It's a pricey purchase for sure, but one I can see lasting long enough to make it a worthwhile wardrobe investment — and, ultimately, a more mindful choice I can make in place of buying several under-$100 sweaters with a far shorter closet-life." – Elizabeth Buxton, Market Editor
“The proportions of this pullover couldn’t be more perfect, from the slightly dropped shoulder to the mid-hip hem. (I’m wearing a size small here.) I was especially obsessed with the sleeves, which hit ever-so-slightly above the wrist. (I’m always cuffing too-long sleeves to make room for bangles or keep them out of potential baby-related messes.) I love the Natural Gray colorway — it has the heathered tone of vintage sweats. Also, this bad boy is toasty! The hot-water heat has yet to turn on in our pre-war apartment building, so I’m often layering up on cooler days to ward off the indoor chill. But I actually had to take this sweater off after a little while — I was heating up! Its sleek, shrunken silhouette belies a heavy-duty warmth that’s perfect for when you need to add layers without bulking up.” – Emily Ruane, Fashion Market Writer
This is not your academic’s moth-eaten cardi: with a perfectly-preppy deep V and three oversized buttons, it’s a supremely insulating but still chic layering piece. Allbirds' wool cardi is ideal for channeling Ivy Style with an eye towards sustainable construction — thanks to its merino wool fabrication.
“I'm all about some comfort, especially as we ease into colder weather and multi-layer ensembles. This cardigan is perfect — with the right combination of softness and warmth. I love leaving mine open for fall with gold necklaces or layering atop a neutral turtleneck. 10/10.” – Cortne Bonilla, Lifestyle Market Writer
“When this wool-blend cardi arrived at my doorstep, I immediately was excited to put it on. The knit is thick and cozy but is so deliciously soft – not heavy or scratchy at all. Plus, the cropped, slightly boxy fit is a great fit for my petite frame. (I’m wearing an XS here.) Not to be outdone, there’s the cropped short-sleeved tee that I’m wearing underneath the cardigan in this photo. I may never understand how it is somehow crafted with fibers derived from discarded crab shells, but the result? Super lightweight, airy, and very layerable.” – Karina Hoshikawa, Beauty & Wellness Market Writer
A simple but beautifully designed winter coat in everyone’s favorite silhouette: Allbirds’ wool- and eucalyptus-fiber puffer offers the heavy-duty warmth of cold-weather outerwear with minimal environmental impact (thanks to the brands’ ZQ Merino-certified, humanely harvested wool). Even the water-repellent coating is eco-friendly with its Bluesign-certified fluorine-free composition. The cozy fill along with its interior lining is a blend of tree-fiber and recycled polyester.
“I’m not alone in fiending for all things quilted this winter, but your typical baffled nylon and poly-blend jackets are often not very eco-friendly. So I was pretty thrilled to read that Allbirds’ take on the style is composed of both their sustainably certified merino wool and Trino, a proprietary fiber that blends wool and renewable eucalyptus-tree fibers, And just because the materials are low-impact doesn’t mean this coat is flimsy, either — I wore it outside a few times and felt primordially insulated. (The weather hasn’t been quite cold enough for me to test his coat out of a freezing day, but I’m looking forward to taking it for a spin once temperatures drop in earnest.) In terms of fit, the size small was comfortable — I probably could have taken the XS for a more tailored fit, but when it comes to outerwear, roomier is better for me. Like all merino wool, this jacket’s outer shell was touchably soft — not itchy, like the traditional stuff. I can’t wait to add this puffer to my winter-whites rotation.” – Emily Ruane, Fashion Market Writer
“Busted out my best self-timer pose for this (almost) head-to-toe Allbirds’ lewk. I've already waxed poetic about the cropped-to-perfection wool crewneck sweater (pictured here tied around my waist) and now I'm back to lay down some more prose about this cropped-to-perfection puffer — something I didn't think could be done! As someone with a broader set of shoulders, I tend to stay away from cropped/boxier silhouettes especially when said silhouettes are puffy. But, after throwing this style on (in a size small), my preconceptions were shook: it was tailored in a way that made it feel somehow streamlined with the perfect hint of retro-coolness I'd always longed for those in vintage men's ski-jackets that inevitably ended up making my upper body rival the Michelin Man's. I also usually gravitate towards softer neutrals but was surprised at how versatile this darker charcoal gray ended up looking layered in with my pair of pastel pink clogs! Now to the feel: structured but soft with insulation that felt considerable but not confining. In other words, I run HOT and did not get the feeling I was going to sweat bullets in this thing after a quick power-walk around the block. All in all, $250 is a chunk-o-change to shell out on a jacket (I tend to be a little more budgetary with my coat buys) but, factoring in everything from its eco-edge to streamlined style and overall durability, I'd say Allbirds' puffer makes a compelling case to drop that dough if you're able. (PS: I'm also wearing the TrinoXO™ Tee here layered underneath the puffer and can confirm that it also nails a streamlined-boxy fit crafted from soft-yet-durable and moisture-wicking materials — I did a 45-minute workout wearing the thing and was still able to snap this picture after sans lingering-sweat stains. FYI.)” – Elizabeth Buxton, Market Editor
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