As temperatures dip and winds pick up, assembling suitable layers for city cycling warmth and comfort is a challenge — especially for those new to cold-weather commuting.

Outerwear is a case in point: On a cold, breezy day earlier this week, I figured that my light-weight down parka would be a good choice.  But pedaling against a headwind on Manhattan’s Westside greenway instantly caused me to overheat. When I yanked down the zipper, the wind inflated the jacket around me.  Not only was I transformed into Ms. Michelin Man, but, judging from the drag my billowy garment exerted on my momentum, I might as well have been wearing a giant parachute.

My take-away: Ideal urban cycling outerwear is not only warm and wind-resistant, but also sleek and breathable. I like the combination of style and performance in the collection of women’s jackets by Nau, a Portland, Oregon-based maker of sustainable urban and outdoor apparel.  Bonus: The color, tobac, also coordinates well with the new urban helmet from Giro that I featured in a recent post.

Shroud of Purrin Jacket
Price: $280
Wind and water resistant, lightly insulated soft shell with recycled polyester fleece lining and asymmetric zipper. Performance features: four-way stretch, protective high collar and shaped cuffs that cover backs of hands. Additional colors and longer trench style are available.

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