I live in an area that gets winters with temps down into the single-digits (F), but mostly hovers around the lower 20's during the day. A big issue is that AM temperatures are far lower than mid-day/evening temps, so riding in the morning is always a test of will. I don't have a very long commute to school (1.5 miles) but of course I don't know how far my NEXT commute will be, and I'd like to eventually do long winter rides for fitness and enjoyment once I get a touring/road bicycle to complement my fixed commuter.
Right now I have some polyester short-sleeve shirts and a long-sleeve wool jersey, and want to get an outer layer that will work for the cold season between oct/nov and march/april. At the moment I wear my normal winter coat which keeps me warm, but doesn't breathe at all and is bulky.
I've read the thread on the Gore Tool jacket, which looks to be rather nice. However it's facing stiff competition in my mind with the PI Barrier and Gavia jackets. The Gavia just looks NICE, and very much my style - not flashy and classy off the bike as well as functional on it. However it does not seem to have the same wind resistance as the Barrier does. The Gore jacket, however, seems to have some ventilation in the form of pit zips that the Barrier does not, but I've read that the Barrier has superior rear ventilation along with the windproof front, so it may be the best all-around. The Sugoi Dynamo is very nice looking and looks capable as well, but I know less about it.
In my mind I want something very capable but also handsome. So I'm leaning towards the Dynamo or the Gavia, but if the Barrier or the Gore jackets are superior in functionality I am willing to sacrifice some fashion. They are all in the $100-$150 range and for a jacket that I expect to get many years of life out of I'm not too concerned with the price differences.
In addition to this, my hands get cold quickly in my thick Thinsulate gloves - I'm guessing due to the lack of wind resistance. Are there any winter gloves that are known to be very good by the community?
Any advice would be appreciated.