Technical is out, natural is in — that’s new gospel for the performance and “performance-aligned” menswear world. Natural fibers — cotton, merino wool, cashmere — give the breathability championed by “sweat-wicking” technical fabrics, but with less smell and with significantly better handfeel (and therefore comfort on your skin). And so, with this return to the fabrics we’ve had for centuries comes a handful of clothing creators that rely on intelligent designs to create technical advantages in their clothes, while relying on nature’s own wonders for the performance.
Parker Dusseau, from San Francisco — a company catering to the active, well-dressed male — is joining the movement. They focus on leveraging design and fit for performance (including their “Powermesh Action Back” design for increasing shoulder mobility on button-up shirts) and using technical hardware (like YKK locking pull-tab performance zippers — typically found on cycling jerseys), while letting premium imported fabrics, like New Zealand merino, do the dirty work of thermoregulation, odor resistance and sweat wicking. But technical hasn’t died off completely. Fabrics like a four-way-stretch nylon give the shorts extra flexibility and faster drying times than natural fabrics can afford. So, like any calculated approach, balance is key. For Spring/Summer 2016, their offerings lay heavy on natural fabric, with a few technical tricks to help you out in the active months ahead. Our favorite picks are below.