The weather is getting a bit chilly early mornings when I ride. I have recently bought a Gore Bike Wear Phantom 2 soft shell for this kind of weather, but I was cold even with a base layer of merino wool. It is also tight around the arms (and I have the largest size, XXL). I had a similar experience with an Izumi shell.
My question is: how essential is bike-specific winter gear? Does any of you use regular, non-bike-specific, wind breaker while cycling? For example, LL Bean sells windbreaker fleece (http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/56539...-fleece-jacket). I can get one of those, and put a reflective vest on top for visibility.
Would that work? or is there something unique about bike clothing? Thanks.