The LOOK Excellence jacket is warm, comfortable, and stylish, with a close cut that offers a professional appearance.
With temperatures in recent weeks dropping like a stone, we’ve tested the Excellence jacket over nothing more than a merino base layer, and with a Roubaix-lined mid-layer, too. We’d recommend it with a base layer in temperatures from about 12 degrees and above, and with base and mid-layer for single digit temperatures.
The fabric, one with a carbon weave and known to LOOK as Resistex, had a firm, rather than stretchable quality, and for this reason we’d recommend (as ever) a policy of trying before you buy. The cut is close, too, and where a certain amount of ‘give’ in other materials might allow you to squeeze inside a certain size, the firmness of the fabric here places a further emphasis on selection.
While we’re discussing the cut, its worth noting the shortness of the body: our size small sample terminated at the front just above the belt line, and didn’t go much further at the rear (the drop tail doesn’t drop that far). Your opinion of such a ‘pro’ fit will depend largely on personal preference. We loved it. Smaller riders, who often end up swamped in optimistically labeled garments, will find much to like here. Despite loading the rear pockets (more of which below), the jacket didn’t sag: a result of the close fit, the firm fabric, and a robust hem.
The Excellence jacket did an excellent job in keeping out the wind, but its greatest quality was the ability to keep the heat inside. This is a warm jacket, and, as mentioned above, warm enough to wear with only a base layer, even on cool days. Worn in this configuration, you’ll also feel the benefit of the soft, brushed lining, which continues into the collar. The elasticated, 4cm cuff did an excellent job of preventing the sleeve from riding up. LOOK make the usual claims for breathability, but frankly in the sort of temperatures in which you’re likely to reach for a jacket of this nature, sweating is likely to be the least of your concerns.
The pockets were plentiful, but small. The chest pocket wasn’t deep enough to accommodate much more than a bank card. Similarly, the rear pockets could best be described as tall and deep, where broad and shallow might have been preferable. This was an advantage for the centre pocket, which provided a secure home for a mini-pump and energy bar, but rescuing inner tubes or a mini tool from the 19.5mm depth of the pockets either side was unnecessarily fiddly. The zipped and waterproof valuables pocket on the outside of the centre pocket proved useful for keys, and a pocket on the left forearm – a first for us – we used for coins.
The finish was excellent: the coloured zips and subtle logos in LOOK’s signature Mondrian-esque styling created a garment at once subtle and striking, in our opinion, and, of course, an excellent match for the previously reviewed, Excellence Long Bib Shorts, and Winterfall gloves.
The LOOK Excellence Jacket occupies a place at the sharp end of the cycle clothing market, both in terms of design and cost. It’s warm and stylish, with excellent fit and fabric, and certain to be a hit with those who like a ‘pro’ cut. We’d like to have seen slightly larger pockets, but this is a minor concern. If you’re seeking a soft shell jacket for the cold months ahead, and your budget accommodates an investment of more than £200, you’re unlikely to be disappointed by this offering from LOOK.
Size: XS to XXL
Colour: Black with ‘Mondrian accents’
Website: LOOK Cycles