Tradlands Review: Shelter Cardigan + Nico Linen Dress

Tradlands has a large social media presence, especially in the slow fashion community, and I was enamored with their versatile silhouettes and jewel-toned colors. But at its high price point, I wondered if it was worth the hype.

I had the chance to give them a try in spring 2021, and wanted to share my experience with the Shelter Cardigan and Nico Linen Dress in terms of sizing, quality, and durability.

I was gifted the Shelter Cardigan with no obligation to post, and I paid for the Nico Linen Dress myself. I am a Tradlands affiliate, meaning that I earn a small commission on any purchases through my affiliate links or discount codes, at no extra cost to you.

Overview of Tradlands: Ethics + Sustainability

Tradlands is an American conscious clothing brand dedicated to menswear-inspired, timeless pieces. They create two collections per year and also have an in-house pre-loved platform where you can buy and sell used Tradlands pieces.

Their clothing is made from natural materials, including linen, TENCEL, and Peruvian cotton. Tradlands’ factories are based in Peru and China; the founders have visited the family-owned factories themselves and also have third-party auditors. Workers are paid a living wage based on US standards. (This info on factories is from a blog post by StyleWise, where the writer interviewed the brand).

Sizing runs from XXS to 5X, which is pretty inclusive, especially since their pieces tend to be flowier. They’ve also been improving their size inclusivity over time, as they previously only went up to a 3X a couple years ago.

Overall, Tradlands meets several sustainability benchmarks. I’d love to just see more info on their supply chain, including their raw materials and factory regulations/code of conduct.

Tradlands Shelter Cardigan Review

The Shelter Cardigan is perhaps the best-known Tradlands piece. While most of their other styles come and go each season, the Shelter Cardigan has been a staple for years, with the colors being refreshed.

Since the size small in Sienna was sold out at the time, I opted for the XS. I’m happy with the choice since the cardigan is a slouchier style, so the smaller size feels just right. I also have short arms and have to roll up the sleeves slightly even when sizing down.

For context, I’m 5’4″ and 125-130lbs with a small chest, and I usually am a standard size small. If you want a looser fit, you might go with your standard size, and I’ve also seen some people size up.

Me wearing the Shelter Cardigan in Sienna with a burgundy turtleneck, yellow silk scarf, and yellow-green wide-leg pants
DSLR photos are by my brother—check out his portrait photography page

The Shelter Cardigan came in a paper envelope, and the packaging was totally plastic-free.

The first thing I noticed about the Shelter Cardigan was how weighty it was. I put it on a food scale and it measured at around 700g or 1.5lbs. While that does make it a little harder to travel with, I like how the sweater feels substantive; you can tell that the yarn is denser and higher-quality.

You can wear the cardigan with so many different outfits. I personally have only worn it unbuttoned and as a top layer, but if you’re going for a preppier look, you can button it and tuck the front into jeans.

It also pairs nicely with other Tradlands pieces like the Nico Linen Dress, though I tend to wear them separately since I like wearing a slouchier style with pieces that have more shape to them.

Me wearing the Tradlands Shelter Cardigan with the Nico Linen Dress

After 1.5 years, the sweater is still holding up really well. I’ve only needed to wash it twice, and each time, I washed it in the laundry machine and laid it flat on a drying rack. The shape is still great and the buttons are still sturdily attached (they do give you an extra one if you need it though). The only noticeable wear I see is in the lower sleeve area, where there’s more friction.

Wear on the sleeves of the Shelter Cardigan after 1.5 years

I highly recommend the Shelter Cardigan and would consider investing in another color myself (currently eyeing the Birch, which is a cream color). At $204, the price is pretty steep, but Tradlands does sometimes have sales, and you can find the cardigan used for around $120.

Tradlands Nico Linen Dress Review

Me wearing the Nico Linen Dress over a black turtleneck and leggings while walking in the woods
Ignore the white shoes haha—my black boots were hurting my feet!

The Nico Linen Dress is another staple piece of Tradlands that tends to stick around each season, though with changing color options. I wanted the Nico Linen Dress in Emerald for over a year, but the $197 retail price was too much for me to stomach. Eventually, the color was discontinued anyways, but I kept an eye out on secondhand platforms.

I was elated to finally find it for $64 ($75 plus a discount) in September on Tradlands’ Worn Well Exchange. The pre-loved section of the website is different in that you’re buying directly from the seller and not the brand. The process was really smooth and I got my dress in about a week in upcycled packaging. I also appreciated that the shipping cost was included in the price.

While I would’ve preferred the dress in XS, the one I bought was size S just based on availability. I couldn’t pass up the chance to get the dress at such a steep discount in this discontinued color! The Nico Linen Dress is extremely flowy, and at first I wished that I’d waited to find the XS, but the larger size is actually nice for layering in the fall and winter.

Me wearing the Nico Linen Dress over a black turtleneck and leggings while walking in the woods
Nico Linen Dress in Emerald up close

The material of the dress is 70% TENCEL and 30% linen. The fabric is light but sturdy, and it’s not scratchy at all; I’d say it’s pretty smooth. It does wrinkle a lot, however. I don’t mind and just wear it as is, but you may need to iron the dress if the wrinkles bother you.

There aren’t any zippers or buttons on the dress; you simply toss it over your head. The neckline is a subtle boatneck, which is perfect for the warmer months, and a nice way to show off a turtleneck in the cooler months. I’ve read in other reviews that the neckline can actually be a bit high/tight if you size down from your standard size, so keep that in mind.

Me in a field wearing the Nico Linen Dress in Emerald over a black turtleneck and leggings

The dress does have huge pockets, which can easily hold your phone or wallet, and more.

I’m happy to finally own this dress and have already worn it almost 10 times in the span of a month. I look forward to getting the cost per wear down to under $1.

Tradlands Discount Code

If this review helped you and you’re ready to purchase from Tradlands, it would mean a lot if you used my affiliate link and discount code. First-time customers can get 15% off with the code IMPERFECTIDEALIST15. This code works not only for their new pieces, but also their pre-loved ones.

I also have found several of their pieces on secondhand apps like Mercari and Poshmark (both are $10 off referral links if you haven’t signed up yet).

Let us know what you think in the comments if you end up buying from Tradlands! For more ethical brand suggestions, check out my sustainable brand directory.

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