Nils Andersson looks looks like a skier, and it is obvious that skiing is he loves cold weather, and snow. After High school, Nils enrolled at the German Textile Academy in Munich, but on a visit to the United States, he met and married a woman who was working at a local ski shop. Nils moved with his new love to Newport Beach CA, and some time later, started the high quality, fashion-driven women’s skiwear line, NILS Skiwear .
Nils clothing is, first and foremost, a line of innovative and high performance products, but these are also quite luxurious and beautiful. NILS claims that it is the first fashion company to incorporate Gore-Tex into their collections. Over , with an extensive, active sportswear layering system featuring waterproof, breathable outerwear.
When I think of Ski wear. the first thing I visualize is the outer and usually colorful, ski jacket. For 33 years, the company has provided high quality, high performance, stylish, functional women’s ski jackets. While these are not bargain priced, they are worth the extra in style, function, durability, and pleasure. NILS even backs up the products with a generous warranty (not covered is general wear and tear or abuse of the fabric or other materials): NILS products are fully warranted to the original owner against any defects in materials or workmanship. If a product ever fails due to a manufacturing defect they will repair the product without charge or replace it with a similar product.
Another nice thing about the NILS web site (although you can purchase these in person in some stores, too) is that they have an extensive sizing guide on the web site. Not every piece will fit each woman in a generic XS to XL, so the web sites shows you how the different sizes fit different parts of your body, bust, waist and so forth. It also demnstrates how different types of NILS clothing translate into sizes. When you are buying high performance sports wear it must fit correctly, so knowing the fit before you buy, is essential. Interestingly, the NILS Andrea Geo Print jacket (from the NS20 collection) I tried fit snugly in a Medium (size *-ish) but I normally wear a large. If I hadn’t been sent this gorgeous sample, I would have gone up a size, but the fit of the medium shows me that NILS jackets are generously cut for movement. They also offer pants in three sizes: SHORT / Under 5’4″, REGULAR / 5’4″ – 5’7″ and LONG / 5’8″ – 6’0, but some styles also have self-adjustable hems. For someone who is short like I am, but not quite a petite, that is a real bonus, because the not-quite-petites are always paying to have pants altered.
Before I say anything about this NILS Andrea Geo Print #20 Jacket #2102 srp. $390 I think the photo is word a thousand words. Isn’t this just an amazing jacket?! If you are lucky enough to snag one, it will be your go to for the rest of the season and every cold Winter day, to come. Whether on the slopes or in the City, this jacket will turn heads. The Andrea Geo Print is a 4-Way stretch, hip length jacket with a custom designed fresh geometric watercolor print. The 4-way stretch fabric provides excellent comfort and flexibility, and you’ll stay toasty but won’t look puffy, thanks to the slimming silhouette. The waterproof and breathable jacket will keep you warm and dry. If you’re a size 2-16 this jacket is just right for you. NILS doesn’t feature plus sizes, but some of the styles do go up to size 18.
This jacket comes like a luxury sports car, fully loaded with must-have features: 2-Way Zipper; 12″ UVS (Underarm Ventilation System); Critically Seam Sealed; Internal 9″ Pocket w/ Media Center w/ Opening for Headphones; Mesh Goggle Pkt and Sunglass Pocket; Powder Skirt; Adjustable Cuffs; Lycra Thumb Thong; Stretch Lining; Removable Hood that Fits Over a ski helmet; Fleece Cuffs; Fleece Lined Chin Guard.
What does it feel like to wear such a special jacket? Great of course. The brightly printed fabric (NILS has plenty of other styles and prints) feels so smooth it is almost silky, unusual for a ski jacket. The inner lining of the Andrea jacket is lime green satin, not some cheap nylon. Inside, as soft as a kitten is a, grey fleece collar that looks sporty when the top of the jacket is open a bit, but when you zip the jacket all the way up, this fleece inside the funnel collar keeps your neck warm. That collar is also adjustable with an elasticized toggle at the back, and one on either side of the hood. The hood is detachable thanks to snaps, and a zipper. Each pocket lies flat so you don’t look bulky, and the zippers have easy access, but their slim and sturdy design is a plus. This jacket is the queen of snaps, there are at least two dozen to adjust the openings or keep a part of the jacket closed. The front zipper is hidden under a flap with 7 additional snaps, so you don’t see it and the flat helps keep water out. The stitching is perfect—one sign of a truly well made garment. Inside the jacket, there are mesh pockets that have elasticized tops, to hold things you don’t want to stuff in an outer pocket. The armholes, all the way down the sleeves, have a strip of breathable mesh. At the bottom of each sleeve there is an adjustable, two-snap band, to ward off the snow or accommodate a large ski glove. Also at the bottom of the jacket you’ll find an elasticized nylon “curtain that fits snufly under the jacket to keep out wind and wet, and you can snap that shut, too, with four white plastic snaps. I have never seen any ski jacket with this much detail and adjustable options.
The jacket gives you the immediate impression that the wearer has class, style and perhaps a bit of a trust fund. But it is only the outer-most layer in a three-system layering routine that NILS suggests for skiers and others who are going to be spending time in the cold.
NILS system to layer high performance clothing is simple: The first layer, closest to the skin, is the body zone layer. This layer insulates and wicks away moisture.
The second layer, the mid-layer, is one that NILS suggests should be made of micro-fleece and sweaters. These help the performance of outer wear by maintaining body temperature. Obviously fleece and sweaters can also be used as your outer-layer as well, if the weather is fairly warm.
The third layer is the one in which the Andrea Geo Print Jacket, is a member. This is the outermost layer and it is also protective. The shell fabric is the last layer that protects you from the elements, such as wind and snow, while still offering breathability. The Andrea Jacket is definitely a cold weather outer layer. It is highly insulated, yet amazingly light.
No one really likes to be cold, except for Polar Bears and Penguins. Ready to layer? Here are a few active lifestyle pieces in layers one and two that I selected from the NILS web site that are as impressive as the Andrea jacket. But you’ll find many more things to covet, on the website:
Layer two is the mid layer and sometimes that is the most difficult layer to figure out. Should you wear a cotton camisole, a tee, or a turtleneck and then what thickness of sweater or jacket do you layer on top? The Ciaran / #6402 $148.00 from the NILS Paramount collection, is one that works for the slopes or the City. It is a hybrid of a turtleneck, hoody and dress sweater, with a romantic, ruffled edge tee-neck and an asymmetrical lace-up collar, finished off with a chic, metal eyelet trim. The textured ribbing of the body and kangaroo hand warmer pocket makes the Ciaran functional and fashionable. Fabric content is 53% Cotton, 34% Acrylic, 13% Stretch Nylon and it is available in sizes small to XL. The sizing seems fairly true, but generous, and the ribbing on this soft sweater makes it stretchy. So if you want a more relaxed fit, get the size you normally would and if you want something to fit closer to your body, try a size smaller (check the size chart to get an exact fit). There are plenty of colors: Black, Dark Ale (khaki-ish), Underground Red (wine/(maroon), Graffiti Blue (soft mid blue), and Royal Rebellion, a gorgeous, bright, clear, deep (but not navy) blue. The overall look is edgy with the metal grommets and lacing, but the ruffled edges on the collar, and slightly bell shaped cuffs, makes it feminine. The kangaroo pocket on the front accessed with two black zippers, adds a casual touch. Wear this now as layer number two, or simply as an indoor sweater, but you can also use it in the Spring and early Fall as an outer layer, when all you need is a chill chaser over a tee. It looks more expensive than it really is, but you’ll find it a priceless addition to your cool weather wardrobe.
Layer No 1, the inner layer, is the one that sits next to your skin. In my opinion, this is the layer where fit is most critical. If it doesn’t fit correctly and it pulls or binds, or makes you uncomfortable, you may not be able to fix what’s bothering you, with two other layers on top, or when you’re on the slopes or doing something outdoors, where you can’t be worrying about pulling up your underthings, or pulling down a piece that binds, digs, bunches or rides up. Also, if the fabric is cheap or the stitching uneven and bunchy, you may feel it digging into your skin. If it’s itchy, you will be unable to think of anything else but scratching or removing the offending garment. But while fit and fabric are essential, fashion is important, too. There is plenty of Winter under-things that will keep you warm, but some of the NILS first layer pieces are so good looking, you can wear them out, as well. One design that I fell in love with from NILS Body Zone O collection, is a striking black lace print over white, lightweight V-neck top: Gillian Lace Print / #8012L $67.00 (sizes XS-XL) and there is a matching bottom piece: Elvia Lace Print / #8082L $57.00 (sizes XS-XL) . These both look feminine and (dare I say it), sort of sexy, but they are high performance garments that will help you stay warm and dry whether you’re skiing, lounging, or just hoping to stay warm on a cold blustery day outside. The bottoms hug the body as should any good quality, full length legging. But these leggings are Winter inner-wear, with a flattering wide lace trim at the hem and waist and natural wicking anti-microbial properties. The hydrophilic , eco-friendly Tencel fabric moves moisture away from the body, keeping you cool when the temperature is hot, and warm when it’s cold. The Gillian top also has natural wicking anti-microbial properties, thanks to the eco-friendly, hydrophilic Tencel fabric. The lace trim makes it feminine and fun to wear. In fact, I wore the top over black pants out to dinner! You can get these pieces in similar styles without the lace, or in white, black or blue. The fabric is super soft and stretchy, generously sized. The Elvia legging has lace trim not just at the top, but at the ankles, so you can wear these as leggings over a longer top, or even sleep in them. The Gillian top has decorative stitching down both side and the hem, for flair and to help you look trim. There is lace at the neck, and also on both cuffs, I wore my top out to dinner with black pants, some jewelry and a dressy cardigan, and it looked really fabulous. You can also use these pieces as sleepwear, They look so nice, you might forget that you bought them as a base layer! At least one set is a must have for a winter holiday vacation. Get two sets, and you can use one for sleeping, lounging or whatever else you want, when you’re not chasing the chill on the slopes!
Three layers can help you feel comfortable when the Winter wind, howls. If Santa didn’t bring you the things you really wanted this holiday season, go out and treat yourself by getting some NILS for the Winter. You’ll look great, and feel great, too!
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