Biking to work no longer means looking like a triathlete in training. From casual and functional collections like Levi's Commuter Series and Giro's New Road to cyclist specific bags of all styles, cycling apparel has improved drastically in recent years, but few—if any—have approached the suit quite like San Francisco-based Parker Dusseau. The brand's highly anticipated Commuter Suit has been a long time coming for cycling desk jockeys and anyone trying to look dapper on two wheels. The suit is designed to wick away moisture as well as allow for an uninhibited range of motion while riding, with bike-friendly features packed into every detail. With one of the first samples in hand, CH put the suit to the test.
Any noteworthy suit starts with premium fabric and the Commuter Suit is no different. The design team at Parker Dusseau—named for the founder's late uncle—researched materials that would provide both a classic look and feel while performing in conditions that would send other suits straight to the dry cleaners. The suit's jacket and pants are made of a premium Australian merino 135 Performance Superwool that's laced with just enough spandex to allow for easy movement while regulating body temperature. Luckily, there is an added moisture resistant finish that keeps you dry from rain (or, as of late in NYC, snow) while allowing sweat to escape.
A mesh spandex blend liner further allows for the wool to work its magic by adding a breathable layer between the wool and the skin. If you're pushing the pedals especially hard, there are two subtle zippered vents to avoid overheating. The Parker Dusseau dress shirt is an essential component of the suit to function as intended, as its articulated shoulders allow for comfort even in an aggressive riding position and breathable, stretch fabric allows moisture to be pulled from the skin. For winter sport enthusiasts this is Layering 101, so it's great to see it applied to formal urban wear now too.
For cyclists, your bottoms are either your best friend or worst enemy. While riding can be a great way to break in raw denim, it's never a comfortable experience and eventually results in crotch blowouts (which, for those unaware, is exactly what it sounds like). Using the same moisture wicking material as the jacket, the Commuting Suit pants pay special attention to riding needs. The crotch of the pants is gusseted with a special diagonal cut, allowing for easier movement and higher durability. While unabashedly slim fitting, the pant still manage to move along with the leg, making for a comfortable ride even at moderate speeds. And to keep the leg of the pant from getting caught in the chain, a button cuff that is only visible when rolled-up provides just the right amount protection—best of all, it's hidden when not in use.
Safety is a key concern for any cyclist and being visible on the road is a must. The crew at Parker Dusseau took great care in adding reflective elements that are functional on the bike, but don't make you look like a traffic cone after you dismount and lock up. In a jacket, a vibrant reflective trim is sewn into the collar and cuffs—stowing away easily off the bike. Meanwhile, the right rear pant pocket offers reflective piping on the seam that can be easily tucked in as well as reflective elements on the chain-protector cuff. While these elements add some reflectivity, in our experience they aren't sufficient to ensure visibility and should be paired with other high-visibility gear as well as lights.
Overall, we found the jacket to fit nicely, while the slim cut of the suit pants was a bit to trim at times. Personal tastes aside, the suit was surprisingly functional on the bike. By using high quality wool and subtly integrating bike-centric features, the Commuter Suit is functional without being overly technical in appearance. Available in both charcoal and navy, the limited run Commuter Suit can be found from Parker Dusseau online where jackets start at $485, pants $245 and the moisture wicking dress shirt goes for $145.
Photos by Lauren Espeseth