Winter cycling jackets and vests used to be all about flat and featureless surfaces. Any hint of bulk was a no-fly zone, especially in air space dominated by road cycling.
Now, the increasing popularity of bicycle commuting and casual riding has added new dimensions to clothing for pedaling through the cold-weather months. Features like quilting not only deliver warmth and wind resistance, but also conjure iconic fashion references. Think hunter jackets and Chanel flap bags.
What’s new is a sleeker silhouette — the same one that has turned down vests from Uniqlo into layering staples for daily wear. Today’s wizardly technical fabrics, weather-resistant and lightweight, plus synthetic insulation for quick drying, pack warmth without bulk into versatile jackets, vests and tops with features for cycling.
‘Tailored Tech’ Trend
Out front in bridging the gap between cycling performance and wear-it-anywhere comfort and styling for women and men is Café du Cycliste. “Tailored tech” is how the fashion-forward Nice, France-based cycling apparel company describes it.
The subtle touch of decorative stitching at the shoulder of the brand’s Yolande Wool Cycling Jersey ($215) is reminiscent of that on motorcycle jackets. But it’s in the Heidi Winter Jacket ($265) (top photo) that channel stitching, which secures a layer of wind resistance to the torso and shoulders, really makes a statement.
Performance Meets Style
Abundant technical features qualify the Heidi jacket for long winter hauls on a road bike, but one could as easily wear it for commuting or pedaling around town. The polypropylene interior keeps the rider dry, while the brushed polyester finish wicks away moisture and feels soft next to the skin. Discrete shoulder zips on the face of the jacket open to mesh venting to help prevent overheating, and three back pockets deliver ample capacity for the extra cargo that cold-weather cycling sometimes demands.
Outerwear and layering pieces, from a variety of other cycling and active-apparel makers, add synthetic insulation that’s stitched between inner and outer layers of fabric. The slideshow below highlights a few of the best examples, including some cool collaborations like the partnering of the popular London cycling cafe Look Mum No Hands! (LMNH) with the heritage maker of quilted apparel and gear, Lavenham.