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The North Face Grace Jacket : Wrap Up for Winter

When I'm not actually on the move but merely moving about town or between my fancy Swiss chalet and the little coffee shop down the road, I need full-body warmth. And, because I'm allergic to down, I prefer the non-puffy type of warmth.

My Insulated North Face Grace Jacket is the perfect winter coat. It's got me covered head to kneecaps in a combination of thin but effective insulation and a waterproof, breathable outer layer. The Grace has all the same technical features I'd expect in a performance jacket, such as sealed seams, weatherproof material, a two-way zipper, and plenty of pockets for all my gadgets and essentials.

On the outside of the jacket there are two large front pockets, each sealed with both a snap enclosure and a zipper, and to small, enclosed chest pockets that remind me of the chest pockets on a jeans jacket. Inside, there's an attractive quilted lining with an MP3 pocket and discreet zippered pocket on the other side of the jacket for secret stashes.

The raglan sleeve design gives me a great fit in the shoulders with the bonus of freedom of movement and easy layering over a thick sweater. I like that I have the option of removing the insulated hood on days where I prefer a slimmed down look with a nice wool hat. The wide belt and flared sleeves (which have zippers to expand the hem to accommodate bulky gloves) give the Grace a bit more style than the average cold-weather trench coat.

An example of how warm this coat is: I recently wore it on a 40 degree day (that the Weather Channel reported "felt more like 33 degrees") over just a short-sleeved cotton t-shirt and was almost too warm! Paired with merino wool, this jacket will easily keep me warm even when the mercury drops to (or below) freezing temps.

Available in Black, Brown, Vintage White, and Icy Blue, sizes XS-XL. If you're just looking for rain protection, the Grace Jacket also comes in a non-insulated shell version.

Bottom Line: Stay warm, stay dry in this urban trench that's also idea for ski resorts and watching winter sports from the sidelines...or even staying comfortable when you walk your dog on bitter cold nights.--E. D. (Jan '07)

Price: $249

BUY ONLINE : Backcountry ski and snowboard gear, camping, ,

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