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Outlier produces classics and they also produce statement pieces. The Outlier Gostwyck Alphacore Vest is one of the few that straddles the fine line between the two.
- Price $350 on outlier.nyc
- Material Gostwyck Single Origin Merino and Polartec Alpha
- Fabric Weight 205gsm (Gostwyck Single Origin Merino) and 120gsm (Polartec Alpha)
I can never resist a Gostwyck piece from Outlier. Gostwyck is the finest piece of material from Outlier, or just about any brand out there. It's premium material from a premium brand, and not surprisingly, at a premium price.
This $350 jacket is everything I expect from Outlier. Unnecessarily premium merino wool, distinctive avant garde flair, and a price to match.
Now, I have to preface this review by saying that I'm not really a vest guy. I find them less versatile than a jacket, hard to layer with and frankly, a little dorky. But a vest from Outlier? You can be sure that I'll at least give it a shot.
I'm 6ft and about 200 lbs and as with every piece of outerwear I get from Outlier, I went with a size large. It was a little more snug than the other Outlier outerwear I am used to but just the right size for a vest. It has just the right fit for a mid layer and reminds me a little bit of the fit of the SEAGALE Bomber Jacket. I have layered it over another mid layer and it has just enough room to let me do so.
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I was complaining about how short the Outlier FU/Cotton GT was, but the Gostwyck Alphacore Vest is much shorter. I'm less bothered by this since it's designed solely as a mid-layer. Even the product description states that it's “cut intentionally shorter for layering”.
There are different ways you can wear this vest. Leave it open or zip it halfway up, zip it all the way up and button the top, or button the top and unzip from the bottom.
In my opinion, zipping it all the way up to warm the neck warmer looks best and is probably the intended styling. The bunching of fabrics at the neck is the key point of the design and wraps around your neck, loosely, beautifully.
The vest is made of a 120gsm Polartec Alpha sandwiched between two layers of Gostwykt Single Origin Merino.
I've covered Gostwykt Single Origin Merino before when I reviewed the Outlier Gostwykt Single Origin T-Shirt and this stuff is one of, if not the best merino consumers can get their hands on. This material is also probably what warrants the $350 price tag.
This merino wool comes exclusively from Gostwyck in New South Wales, Australia, home to some of the world’s most premium sheep herds in the world for over two centuries.
It was only in the past two decades that they committed to producing healthy and well-cared for sheep, which requires a deep commitment to the environment of the land they graze on.
It seems that Gostwyck produces three types of merino, a Superfine, Ultrafine, and Ultimate, with the difference being the micron. The micron counts are 15.6 to 17.3, 14.5 to 15.5 and 14.5 and lower respectively. Like the t-shirt, the vest uses the Ultrafine, which is capped at 15.5 microns.
In case you aren't familiar with what a micron is, a micron is a measurement used to describe the diameter of a wool fiber. The smaller the micron, the finer and softer the wool. For comparison, the average human hair is around 100 microns. Most merino t-shirts use an average of 18.5-micron wool, so 15.5 is really quite something.
I designed a thing.
I found a 100 year old company that would create these heirloom quality canisters for me. They are handmade and will keep your tea leaves, coffee beans or anything that you need dry for years to come.
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If you are wondering why they didn't use the highest-tier Gostwykt Ultimate, it's because that fabric accounts for less than 5% of the specially selected Gostwyck Merino and about 0.001% of the worlds total apparel fiber, which means it's extremely rare and extremely pricey. If you know of any t-shirt using Gostwyck Ultimate merino, do let me know in the comments below.
Even for the Ultrafine, there is only a very limited amount of this stuff available every year and half of this supply was purchased by the excellent Diyang Merino Textile group in eastern China, which is where Outlier gets this spectacular 15.5 micron, 205gsm jersey from.
While Gostwykt merino offers unbeatable comfort and skin feel, the Polartec Alpha is what gives the insulation it needs to be a vest. The key feature of Polartec Alpha is that it disperses cool air, water vapor and body heat. In fact, it was developed specifically for the special forces to breath more freely.
Given Outlier's history and the price tag, it's not surprising that these are premium materials which are best in class.
The vest comes with two handwarmer pockets. These are positioned at the perfect height, providing the ideal angle that you just want to slip your hands in every time.
The ultra soft feel of the Gostwykt merino wool is really accentuated by the signature deep Outlier pockets. These pockets go almost all the way to the middle where the zipper is and covers my hands well to keep it warm and then some more.
The pocket also goes slightly downwards so that you can have some security when putting things in there, although I would only use it to place stuff temporarily as the angle of the pocket opening will make your stuff susceptible to fall out.
At first, I thought that the neck flaps on the top would hinder the zippers from closing in one smooth zip. But surprisingly, if you pull it the right way, it'll go all the way up in one fell swoop.
The snap buttons, however, isn't the magnetic type and given that they are a little small as well, you will need to use two hands to close it. The “receiving end” of the top snap button is actually located pretty far towards the back of the neck. Your left arm have to yoga-stretch quite a bit to the other side to snap the button in place.
The vest provides adequate warmth to your torso, but frankly, I can't tell if it's warmer than other vests since this is the only one I own. However, I can say that it is way more comfortable then I had imagined, largely due to the luxurious Gostwykt merino.
For those that want the most luxurious mid-layer there is, the Outlier Gostwyck Alphacore Vest comes with the signature Outlier avant garde flair without going overboard.
It matches almost any outfit well, if you zip it up all the way. This is, without a doubt, an excessive piece well suited for excessive people like me.