Product Review: Kerrits Cross Diagonal Vest

Welcome to EN’s Product Review series! Who doesn’t love shopping, especially when the object of your search is new gear for yourself or your horse? As an enthusiast of all products equine, I LOVE trying out new gear. Please join me as I narrate my personal journey of trying out all of the products featured. While I will make no recommendations, I hope you have fun reading about my many adventures of trying new products, and that hearing about my personal experiences helps you on your own quest for new gear. Go Shopping.

A constant struggle that I face is that of keeping warm. I really don’t know why, but I always seem to be completely freezing. Even in the heat of the summer – when you stick me inside an air-conditioned office building all day, it’s just hopeless. Suffice to say that I’m always trying to layer up to help keep warm.

So when I head out to the barn, I bundle on up in the face of cold weather. The flip side of the coin though, is that once I start milling around to get some barn work done, or tack up and go for a ride, things start to shift.

Once I start moving around a bit I start to feel warner, which in turn means that I tend to start shedding my outer clothing layers. Which I’ve got to be careful about – because if I take off the wrong layer to drop in the tack room, I can end up with a hoodie that is absolutely covered with hay.

I tend to favor layers that are light (but warm), and are functional enough to allow adequate mobility for working and riding. And it doesn’t hurt when the material allows hay to be brushed right off. Because I am not entirely thrilled at the prospect of having pieces of hay end up at the bottom of my washing machine.

By unzipping the vest part-way, and folding down the collar, I can give myself additional ventilation on slightly warmer days and rock a completely different style with the Cross Diagonal Vest - Photo by Lorraine Peachey

By unzipping the vest part-way, and folding down the collar, I can give myself additional ventilation on slightly warmer days and rock a completely different style with the Cross Diagonal Vest – Photo by Lorraine Peachey

Over the years, I’ve discovered that vests are a great go-to for my layering “system”. I consider them to be quite versatile, as I find that I can wear them in a wide range of temperatures. While they do a nice job at keeping my core warm even on colder days, they allow my arms to have full mobility. And when I start working or riding, I feel like wearing a vest layered over a long sleeve thermal can help keep me from overheating.

One of the pieces that caught my eye this fall season was the Cross Diagonal Vest from Kerrits. It’s unique look definitely captured my interest; and in fact, my first impression was that I was looking at a totally original piece of outerwear. And I (really) liked that. From the first time that I saw pictures, I had to urge to get my hands on a vest so that I could try it on and be able to see for myself how it fit and felt on.

When I had the opportunity to try the Cross Diagonal Vest for myself, I was pretty excited – and intrigued to check out the design in person. While the vest does zip up the front, the zipper actually curves across the neckline in a diagonal fashion as it comes up to the top. And when fully zipped up, the neckline does have a stylish cowl neck–or funnel-like–appearance.

But what I’ve found to be especially neat is that there are also hidden magnets incorporated into the neckline. So when I zip up the Cross Diagonal Vest, the neckline stays in place just so. That way, it has a lovely, polished look while staying put so that it can help to keep my neck warm and sheltered from wind.

Everywhere that I go wearing the Cross Diagonal Vest, I feel like I'm going looking put together and comfortable - Photo by Lorraine Peachey

Everywhere that I go wearing the Cross Diagonal Vest, I feel like I’m going looking put together and comfortable – Photo by Lorraine Peachey

As much as I like the look of the vest when it is fully zipped up though, I have also found that I can make a quick adjustment in order to craft a completely different look. By unzipping the vest part-way, and folding down the collar, I can give myself additional ventilation on slightly warmer days and rock a completely different style with the Cross Diagonal Vest. Same vest. Plus two styles. Equals super versatile. I’d say that’s a win in my book.

While it’s easy to get a little caught up on the Cross Diagonal Vest’s neckline, I definitely appreciated the other features that it had to offer as well. One of the other styling aspects that I found to be especially flattering were the two stretchy side panels of the vest. These black panels contrast nicely to the plaid of the vest, and also allow it to have that ‘just right’ fit for me.

It’s not a huge surprise that I’ve found myself using the Cross Diagonal Vest as a go to layering piece so far this season. I’ve found that I do trend towards layering it over a simple long sleeve thermal shirt – on slightly warmer days, I like to leave the zip halfway done and fold down the neckline. But on days that are a little more chilly, I just finish pulling the zipper up and let the magnets in the neckline fasten together.

What is surprising is how much of a difference I feel warmth wise from when the neckline is folded down versus when I pull it up and finish zipping up the Cross Diagonal Vest. I personally find the vest to be a lightweight layer like I prefer, and still provide a really nice amount of warmth.

One of the other styling aspects that I found to be especially flattering were the two stretchy side panels of the vest - Photo by Lorraine Peachey

One of the other styling aspects that I found to be especially flattering were the two stretchy side panels of the vest – Photo by Lorraine Peachey

The Cross Diagonal Vest is made out of Hydrotek fabric – which is a 100% polyester fabric that is waterproof & windproof, yet still breathable. It is also designed to be durable, and is filled with a high tech poly loft that provides up to 15% more bulk free warmth than down fill. Plus, it is machine washable – and Kerrits recommends the use of Nikwax or a similar technical fabric detergent – and the vest should be hung to dry.

So I’ve worn the Cross Diagonal Vest around the barn. And I’ve worn it some more. And I’ve still kept on wearing it. To muck stalls and fill water buckets. To throw down hay and empty the muck carts. To go out riding and to even wear in to the office. And you know what? Everywhere I wear it, I feel like I’m going looking put together and comfortable.

Even after the abuse that it’s taken around the barn, the fabric looks great, and I can’t find signs of wear. And the two zipper pockets are very handy (and are even generously sized enough to fit my large smartphone). I also like that the vest is really comfortable to wear while I’m working or riding, and it keeps me feeling warm but NOT overheated.

The Cross Diagonal Vest from Kerrits is available in three colors–Twilight Plaid, Otter Plaid (what you see me wearing!), and a solid Black. And the retail price for any of the three colors is $89.00.

Go Stylish AND Functional Layers.  Go Kerrits.  Go Eventing.

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