Sure, the Sophia soft shell jacket has got all the technical bells and whistles you'll want, but it also looks so dang good that you'll get compliments and stand taller wearing it. Our tester has literally turned heads walking into a room (granted, one full of tech-head outdoorsy folks, but stillâ€¦), many of whom would say, "Wow, that's a great-looking jacket. What company makes it?"
Head-turning aside â€“ although who doesn't like to get a few looks now and then? â€“ this is a jacket that will also get business done in the mountains or on the slopes then transfer well into the city streets to run errands or hit up an urban coffeehouse.
First the tech talk: The proprietary Duet fabric from Isis for Women is a durable, tightly woven, sleek one that has a functional two-way stretch nylon shell that is water repellent. It is bonded to a soft-to-the-touch moisture-wicking polyester lining. You'll not only get protection from abrasive rock, pack straps or skis, as well as wind, you'll also keep fog, drizzle and light snow from soaking through. However, anything more than a drizzle, if steady, would be too much for it. One disadvantage is the continuation of the soft lining into the arms that can grab onto shirt or sweater sleeves as you are sliding an arm in, unless you remember to hang onto the cuff of your shirt or sweater, leaving you with a bunch of fabric by the biceps â€“ cool if you're trying for the Popeye look, not so cool otherwise. Of course, a disadvantage for one is an advantage for another. If you're more inclined to wear short sleeves, you'll love the softer lining next to your bare arms.
The shoulders are seamless so you not only have a great streamlined look, but there are also no seams or stitching to cause discomfort when wearing backpacks or harnesses. A drawcord hem can cinch down to keep out any additional breezes or drizzle.
The touches a woman will appreciate: There's that cozy microfleece lining on the inside of the collar to keep your chin and face snugglier, and the microfleece pocket lining does the same for your hands.
Invisible zippers on side hand pockets and on one vertical chest pocket keep that sleek look (you know, the one that turns heads). The vertical chest pocket is also placed well for a women to wear â€“ what a concept.
The slightly dropped hip length means you'll not leave your kidneys hanging out in the cold either. Our tester found the sleekness of the jacket with its princess seaming and cut meant you better think about sizing up a notch if you are planning on layering underneath; she wore a size that should have been a bit big, but found putting anything under it other than a thin baselayer and microfleece left her feeling overly compressed. For those who simply must have a hood, there isn't one, but it's hard to notice the turning heads when your head is undercover.
One other nifty touch is found in the inside protective flap of the zipper which has a tape with a string of stars for a nice decorative touch that'll make you smile every time you put it on.
(If you really like the look, Isis also does soft shell pants called Lucy, retail $155, also made of the Duet fabric but a slightly lighter weight version that matches the jacket, but again, don't sit on any puddles on ski lift seats.)
SNEWSÂ® Applause Meter: 4.5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: $185.00
For More Information:www.isisforwomen.com, 1-866-875-8689 or 802-862-3351