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The Pas Normal Studios Escapism Wool Jersey is beautifully constructed with so much to offer: great warmth, wicking and looks, for a start. So it's a huge shame the torso is just so short, and overall the fit feels too snug as there's not that much stretch – all of which grates a little given the very high price.
The Escapism jersey features Pas Normal Studios' trademark minimalist, understated aesthetic. It is designed to hold up against the cold of morning rides, and the thicker-than-average material feels protective when heading out early, yet it's breathable enough it doesn't leave you overheating as the day warms up.
In accordance with the size guide I tested a size small. The cut is 'cycling fit' and intended to sit close without being restrictive, but this feels absolutely tiny on me, which is strange – the small Escapism Stow Away jacket I also tested fits me perfectly.
The upside of the super-snug fit is that it hugs my body for a protected feeling on chilly mornings; while the sleeves stop only a little way above my elbows. It's very short in the torso, though. I can't help thinking I look like I'm wearing a crop top at the cafe stop... okay, I have a long torso, but this is by far the shortest jersey I have ever worn (or seen), so be advised.
The main body's fabric is 27% 'premium' wool with 71% polyester and 2% elastane to produce a shapely, stretchy finish. The weave across the body is a visually appealing small-square pattern, which looks and feels premium.
The three back pockets are the same fabric topped with elastic webbing, and sink all my cargo nicely. I found them hard to reach into on the bike though, as the whole top is so short and high, but the silicone gripper works fine for stopping them getting any higher.
The sleeves, meanwhile, are 42% wool, and their bonded hems are silicone-free yet still secure. They were a little on the tight side for me, though, and less stretchy than most – and while the shaped-to-a-riding-position cut works well when you're in that position and riding, the tight fit and lack of stretch mean it can feel restrictive when you're off the bike.
The two-way zipper means you can zip up from the bottom if desired, and although an airy midriff is not something I have needed many on my UK rides, it might come in useful in hotter weather. On cooler days it takes a bit of fiddling for the top zip to sit neatly in its guard, but that's a minor thing.
On the bike I found that this jersey moved less well with my body than I'm used to, though it successfully kept me warmer than with the synthetic ones I usually wear and yet I didn't overheat, either. I am quite sweaty as cyclists go, and found that this jersey kept me dry longer than normal. After a while I found the fabric a little bit itchy in places, but I am quite sensitive to wool.
I'm always scared of washing wool but this washed fine 30C as directed – perhaps because it's still mostly polyester.
At £155, the Escapism Wool Jersey is at the pricey end, and only 7mesh's £200 Skyline tops it among the recent test crop. It's on par with Rapha's premium options such as the Pro Team Aero at £145, though we also got some excellent results from cheaper options like the Rapha Classic jersey at £110 and the Lusso Women's Aero at £80.
But then, you aren't getting wool with those, and natural fibres do come at a premium. If you're spending £155 you want it to stand the test of time, though, so be sure you're happy with the unusual fit of the Escapism jersey.
Great warm fabric that wicks well, but comes up quite small – and very short in the body
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Pas Normal Studios Women's Escapism Wool Jersey
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
PNS says: "The Escapism Wool Short Sleeve Jersey is designed to hold up against the cold bite of those early spring morning rides."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- Partial wool construction
- 2-way zipper
- 3 pockets + zipped pocket
- Bonded hems
Excellent wicking and warmth.
Wool is very durable, and it's a well-made item.
It's cut very short and tight.
Comes up quite small.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy despite being (partly) wool - but don't go hotter than 30 just in case!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well in terms of temperature regulation, but I found the cut restrictive.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The quality material.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's more expensive than most, but then it contains 'premium' wool, which works really nicely.
Did you enjoy using the product? No, the fit bothered me
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – if the short, tight fit would suit
Use this box to explain your overall score
The function of this fabric felt almost exceptional, the fit is below average. It sizes up small, and the very short torso really won't be for everyone. So overall it gets a 'good'.
About the tester
I usually ride: My Scott Foil My best bike is: Oldie but the goldie, CAAD 8
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Triathlon, Audax