Welp, apparently I can’t stop buying Alala. I feel like I’ve bought and tried on at least half of their fall collection by now. So, here we go again: more reviews! I bought all of this on Black Friday discounts from a mix of Alala’s site and Bandier. (I’m *almost* done with the review backlog I’ve been working through for weeks. Yeesh.) Anyway, here’s the details on my latest Alala haul:
The sherpa vest has gotten a lot of positive reviews since its debut earlier this fall.
It has a vegan leather exterior with a sherpa fleece lining. The weight of it felt warmer than an average vest, but definitely not as warm as a heavier duty puffy vest. The sherpa is soft, though not quite as soft as the sherpa that lululemon uses.
My main fear with the vest was that it would just be too big. Unfortunately, my fears were confirmed. This vest didn’t do anything for me. It’s too boxy and doesn’t quite sit right. The vegan leather does mean that the fit is stiffer and it doesn’t relax like a regular fabric would to cover up the fact that it’s big on me. I would’ve needed an XXS for this one to work, so back it went.
A version of this vest originally came out last fall, dubbed the flawless vest. I loved it at the time, but I couldn’t swing the cost. I’d been thinking about it ever since. This year, it popped back up on Bandier (I haven’t seen it anywhere else this year) and I wasn’t going to let it get away this time.
The vest is made of Alala’s thicker polyester fabric, similar to the fabric they used on the blanket jacket. In other words, it’s not a flimsy jersey, but sturdier. It’s smooth and soft, but not cottony. There are quite a few nice details on the vest, like the usual gold hardware, plus open mesh lining the hood accenting the outside of the pocket.
This fit a little bit better than the sherpa vest above, but still left something to be desired. Like the sherpa vest, this would’ve been great if an XXS was made. At the price, I needed to love it more than I did. Overall, vests didn’t go so well this time around! On the plus side, I ordered both of these vests from Bandier, and their return process is very quick, easy, and generally painless.
Shadow dolman hoodie
The shadow hoodie is another style I’d had my eye on for a while. I like the casual, cool look, and I could use a the long sleeve layers.
You can let the waist sit high above your hips, which is usually how I do it, but it’s also long enough to pull down all the way over your hips. Like a lot of Alala’s tops, the sleeves are cut slim on this one and the forearms are pretty snug on me. Even so, the fabric is stretchy so getting it on wasn’t a problem.. It’s a loose fit through the body, so taking your normal size will be best. If you sized down for a tighter fit through the body, you’d probably find the sleeves too tight, so I don’t really suggest trying that.
The fabric is Alala’s jersey, which is very soft to the touch. It’s the same fabric as the weekender dress and flyweight tee. Jersey means it’s on the thinner side, i.e., not thick and heavy like a cotton hoodie.
I like the mesh cuff details that spruce these up. The hood drawstring has gold accents, and there’s also a roomy kangaroo pocket in front.
By the way, Jenn of Running on Lentils also has a review of this same top (in black) if you’d like to read another opinion and see other pics.
Granted, this hoodie is a bit similar to the flyweight hoodie tee I already have, but I’m keeping it anyway. I do have a slight preference for the flyweight tee overall, but the two hoodies have a bit of a different look, so they’re not exactly interchangeable.
Blocked crop tights in black/shiny pewter
Alongside the captain crops, the blocked crops have become a staple in Alala’s lineup. The subtle side and knee accent is nice for those who want something besides basic black, but don’t want to commit to a full-on color or print. If you don’t want to go full-on robot with the pewter captains, these blocked crops are where it’s at. I got my first pair of blocked crops from Alala’s spring ’15 collection and have worn them a ton since then. The knee accent placement still works for me, even though I’m fairly petite at 5’3″.
The legs on the blocked crops fit a hair smaller than Alala’s captain crops. This is a plus for me, since the captains can be a little large on me. If you have the same issue with captains, I recommend giving the blocked crops a try. Overall, they fit pretty much true to size. As with other Alala crops, there is no drawstring at the waistband, but I find that the waist stays put very well without it. There’s also the usual back zip pocket for keys, cards, etc.
The opacity on these is pretty good, but not totally perfect. Just make sure you check yourself before heading out for squat day. The black fabric is a slick nylon blend. It’s similar to lululemon’s luxtreme, but a bit softer and silkier. It’s a really nice, versatile fabric. I already have the captain crops in all-over shiny pewter (review here), but I love the blocked crops with pewter, too, so I’m keeping both! I’m unsure whether the pewter finish on the captains will work well in ultra-hot weather (and I won’t know for several months), so these will be a lighter weight alternative that still has the same snazzy shine.
Chill tights in stripe pique
I actually reviewed these once a few weeks back, but I sent them back because they were just too small. So, consider this a follow-up review.
I ordered this pair in a size S. Sure enough, these fit WAY better than the pair in XS I had ordered before. The sausage effect I’d run across in the leg with the last pair is much improved with a size up. Plus, they were just way easier to put on. That said, even in the S, I did notice that the calves still feel somewhat snug, so if you have thicker calves, be mindful of that.
The stripe pique fabric is a supplex blend (a type of nylon); it’s actually a textured knit, rather than printed. The fabric is very thick and totally opaque. On the inside, it’s fuzzy and soft. These feel like they’d be just shy of actual fleece for warmth factor. As I implied above, the fabric is a tight weave that results in a firm fit. Unlike the first pair I ordered, it was much easier to comfortably move around in this larger size.
Overall, if you’re going to order this particular color in the chill tights, I definitely recommend trying a size up.
Chill tights in black
The chill tights in black, while nominally the same tights as the stripe pique tights above, are totally different in terms of fit and feel.
I ordered the black chill tights in my normal Alala size, XS. Sure enough, they fit perfectly. Unlike the stripe pique chills, the black ones are made of tactel. I have a couple other Alala pieces in this same fabric; I absolutely love it. It’s a bit hard to describe if you’ve never felt it. It’s plush and soft, but not too cottony or “fuzzy”. It’s smooth-faced, but not slippery.
Although the zipper looks white in Alala’s stock photos, it’s not. You can see in the above photo that it’s actually a light seafoam color. The shine side panels are not tactel, and they’re subtle but spruce up these pants. The pocket is medium sized. I can smash my phone (iPhone 6) in there if I have to, but it’s a tight squeeze and kinda sticks out funny.
I also love that tactel is always opaque. Absolutely nothing shows through these. The fabric is lightly compressive, has a generous amount of stretch and flex to it, and is really flattering on the booty. The rise is a little higher on the chill tights (in both colors) compared to Alala’s other bottoms, coming up just a bit below the belly button. I did find that the waist runs a hair small, but not enough to bother me. If waistband pinching is often an issue for you, watch out for that on these pants.
The fabric feels the same on the inside as on the outside (except at the side panels). As far as warmth goes, these are definitely cozier than your average yoga or running fabric, but probably not as warm as a thicker fleece. I would put these on the same level for warmth as lululemon’s brushed fabrics. They’re just a tad thinner than the stripe pique pair above.
To further investigate the difference between fit in the two pairs of chill tights, I laid the black (XS) on top of the stripe (S). Sure enough, the stripes are cut noticeably larger than the black pair through the waist, hips, and legs. This confirms my suspicion that Alala did still use the same pattern to cut both pairs. That said, the pique fabric doesn’t have the same flexible stretch that the black fabric does, which is what causes the two pairs to have a completely different fit and feel.
All told, I decided to keep both of these tights. I’ve worked out in both and have no complaints there. I love the look of the stripe pique, but I do have a slight preference for the fit and feel of the plain black if I had to choose just one.
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Bonded vest: via Bandier
Get 15% off on the Alala main site: enter AA15 at checkout