The Capo Cortina Wind Vest stands out from most of its women's-specific competition with a trim, well-refined cut that lays down nicely where it should, never bunches or flaps, and does a superb job of blocking out the cold winter wind.
The sleek fit is aided by the tailored armholes and the Windtex Flight Plus 2 fabric, which improves on older Windtex materials with its softer hand and added stretch. This allows for a trimmer cut while still providing enough give to accommodate the usual winter layers.
Additional versatility comes with the breathable mesh back, which lets the sweat evaporate if needed when the effort levels increase. If things really heat up, the vest is highly compressible and easily tucks into a standard jersey pocket.
Getting into your jersey pockets underneath the vest is made easier by the non-elasticised waist and a slightly flared lower hem that allows the vest to fall gracefully over the hips.
While the mostly black design is appealing and refreshingly free of pink or baby blue hues, it isn't ideal for nighttime visibility. Capo at least includes a line of reflective piping along the sides of the back for evening rides.
Overall construction quality is excellent as is attention to detail: the zipper not only has a fabric "garage" that protects delicate skin from cold metal at the neck, it's also backed by an extra flap of Windtex fabric behind to stop drafts from getting through when the zipper is up.
The Cortina vest is expensive at US$129.99 but still a somewhat rare find in the still-developing world of high-quality women's cycling clothing with its quality cut and serious styling. With such sturdy construction it will likely last for many seasons to come, too.
Available sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Available colours: black/white/red
Pros: Great fit, keen styling, highly packable, very effective against cold wind
Cons: Expensive, limited nighttime visibility
More information: www.uplandsg.com
Cyclingnews verdict: 4 stars