Vests: the under-appreciated middle child of winter layering.
The Aurora Vest from Ministry of Supply seems to be an engima; I can’t find an arrangement in my winter clothing where it doesn’t fit. If you’ve been following my desperate spiral into minimalism, you know that the Aviator Chinos are already a staple of my formalwear. You also know that it takes a lot to make the cut into my meager wardrobe.
Let’s start with the technical stuff. The 40g of Primaloft Gold insulation is a perfect middle ground; there’s enough loft to retain warmth, but not enough to give it the bulk of other insulated vests and jackets. An 80g/sm ultra-high denier softshell boasts a 10k/10k waterproof/breathable rating, so it keeps out the wet without heating up. Finally, the coffee-infused polyester lining keeps your ferocious traveler B.O. at bay, a lot like a wool sweater might — at least, in theory; long-term testing will tell if this inner fabric does the job. So far, it smells good.
It looks smart, too. A minimalist face with no awkward insignia, logos, or labels keeps to a minimalist aesthetic that pairs well with a dress shirt, underneath a blazer, or just paired with a plain-colored shirt.
Vests have the natural benefit of warming your core without overheating you like a full coverage insulated jacket. As a bike commuter, I see every part of the spectrum between “near-hypothermic” and “sauna” during the course of my morning ride. I start my ride with this vest tightly zipped under (or over) a windbreaker, and end my ride with the windbreaker stowed and this vest fully open, allowing full ventilation to keep me from sweating.
The attention to detail means you get to look smart, too. Bike commuters often get loped into the same social category as televangelists and vacuum salesmen, so it’s nice to be able to trade the sportswear and tights for something that looks professional, clean, and understated. It’s a great vest I can wear almost every day.
I’ll check in with long-term durability testing later in the winter. You can do your own product testing by jumping over to Ministry of Supply, where the Aurora Vest meets a sister Aurora Jacket and an entire line of commuter-friendly professional attire.
Until then, stay warm!