VANGARD RETRO JACKET
The Vangard Retro wool jacket is the continental club rider’s classic reproduced for modern audiences but without the increasingly outlandish pricing that’s swept in with the craze for everything “vintage”.
Genuinely winter-weight merino wool, renowned for its moisture wicking, odour repelling qualities, teams up with a high quality acrylic part lining and double stitched wind-proof “half gillet” front/shoulder sections. Elsewhere, embroidered logos, elasticated rainbow collar, cuffs and hem complete the authentic, chill-cheating and extremely flattering theme.
Talking of which, sizing is more generous than usual, so thankfully their UK distributors sent a medium, proving an excellent fit, despite my shorter than average torso. Its full-length zipper is equally refined and easily engaged in winter-weight gloves, should temperatures fluctuate.
Arguably the perfect accompaniment to old school fleece lined plus fours/ looser cut “Tudor” type longs, it’s pretty sharp with street style/messenger trews and bog standard Lycra fare too, thus no major decisions or fashion faux pas. Despite figure hugging tenure, there’s still sufficient room for long sleeve base and mid layers while cuffs have sufficient elasticity to overlap traditional winter gloves for seamless comfort.
However, the two rear pockets intricate tags proved more challenging when liberating energy bars/similar snacks on the fly. Talking of which, these aren’t particularly cavernous but will manage spare tube, snacks, micro-jacket and other roadside essentials without them bounding around like play fighting puppies. Occasional frisking from overhanging foliage has made little impression and I’m confident (boil washing/tumble drying aside) that it will remain stunning many winters hence.
These qualities meant the Vanguard became my default option through a very changeable November. Long, steady miles with temperatures teetering around the teens usually induces a soggy glow around my mid-lower back but the natural yarns wick rider generated stuff pretty much seamlessly and appear unaffected by the man-made top layer.
At the other extreme, twenty mile midnight blasts through icy crosswinds were pleasant, retaining heat better than polyester/Gore-tex garments when tending roadside punctures. Sleet/drizzle couldn’t dampen resolve either, though heavier sky-fall gatecrashed our party within twenty minutes, so overlook micro-jackets at your peril.
Verdict: Not cheap but nonetheless, a beautifully made classic cold weather training jacket.