Why You Want
You're looking for a short sleeve baselayer for warm-weather riding that will keep you cool and stay out of your way.
One look at the Pearl Izumi Women's Transfer Lite SS Baselayer and you can tell it's more evolved than the old synthetic tank top that probably turned you off from baselayers in the first place. The multi-fabric paneling and advanced tailoring make for a super comfortable fit in an aggressive riding position - don't be concerned by how constricting it feels when you are standing straight up.
The detailed construction results in an excellent fit, with no fabric sticking out from below your jersey's arms and no bunching in the lower back area. Despite the sleek cut, this textured fabric helps avoid the shrink-wrap look that baselayers with thinner fabrics can give your midsection.
The fabric performed well, too. I got downright chilly after lingering in it post-ride. Climbing on a warm, sunny day, the layer truly seemed to help with temperature modulation - something few baselayers I've owned have seemed to accomplish. After a couple months of use, the fabric remains odor-free and only has one slight snag in it. The white shows a few dirt marks and stains, but I still prefer the look of a white baselayer over something colored or black.
For how advanced the tailoring is, the neckline is a bit high and feels a little restrictive. While I appreciate having some protection for my décolletage, a slightly lower neckline would be more comfortable.
As someone who doesn't normally wear a baselayer for warm weather riding, this design really changed my mind about the value of a base garment. Cutting-edge tailoring and fabric make for a baselayer that fits well, works well, and looks good. This isn't a hand-me-down from the guys.
More Info: Pearlizumi.com
Meet the Tester: Kate Powlison
Kate Powlison lives for the lunch ride. Invite her on a midday ride, and the answer is almost always "yes." Bicycling is her essential outlet and personal passion. It's also her solution to society's most pressing problems in her work at PeopleForBikes, the national bike nonprofit. In fact, Kate loves bikes so much that she rode all 2,161 miles of the 2012 Tour de France course with a team of five women. Whether on a lunch ride, commute, or Grand Tour adventure, Kate believes that good design can make a great ride better.