It takes considerable chutzpah—and one hell of a product—to take on the sports drink industry and turn it on its head. And chutzpah is panache spelled backwards. Well, sort of. Okay, not even close, but it is a known fact that snappy dressing tempers one’s chutzpah factor.
I first met Allen Lim when we were seated next to one another on a flight. I had heard about him from a pro cyclist friend who, like so many racers, sought out Lim for his sage training advice. A true joy to speak with, Lim was reading a men’s fashion magazine and, based on his sharp attire, I could tell he cared about his appearance.
And so “Dr. Skratch Labs” is the perfect model for this fall fashion exposé. The clothing in it, like the subject, blends fashion with function, chic with performance, edgy with classic. The pieces are made of the best of fabrics and constructed with the greatest of attention to detail, most with a nod to commuting to work and then looking sharp while on the job.
This ensemble features Howler Brothers’ new Merlin Vest ($135; Howler Brothers), stuffed with Primaloft One to keep its warmth even when damp. Al is wearing it over Swrve’s cotton/Modal, made from beechwood trees, Polo ($40; Swrve), cut svelte enough to make cyclists appear to have guns. The slim-fit pants are Club Ride Ray Jean Raven Denim 31 ($90; Club Ride Apparel) made of breathable, quick-drying and abrasion-resistant fabric. For riding-compatibility, they are pre-shrunk and have a seamless crotch gusset.
Al — who insists he isn’t a Polo shirt kind of guy — is sporting Panache’s Button-Up Shirt ($99; Panache Cycle Wear), which is remarkably stretchy and weather resistant. The wool Ibex Shak City Roller ($185; Ibex) boasts a bike-messenger/hipster ‘tude with its reflective sleeve detail while the Club Ride Pin Rack Knicker ($90) is almost snarky with its 17-inch inseam and seamless crotch gusset, articulated knees, reflectivity and wicking stretch fabric. Al’s hat is a Swrve 4-panel Wool Cap ($32), which is hand-sewn in the company’s L.A. workshop.
Here’s ashmei’s Long Sleeve Merino Jersey ($160; ashmei), constructed with anti-stink, thermo-regulating Merino Carbon, that works when wet (or sweaty). Keeping the thermal story going, Al’s wearing the Brooks PureProject Thermal Hoodie ($160; Brooks Running), which is all about the details, such as an off-center zip, herringbone fabric and thumbholes. The pants are Makers & Riders 4-Season Modular Wool Pant ($149; Makers & Riders), made with wool and recycled polyester.
Bringing performance to flannel, Dr. Lim sports the Club Ride Jack Harvest LS ($90) with its built-in vents, wicking fabric, secure pockets and reflective accents. The Icebreaker Legacy Coat ($449; Icebreaker) is an eye-catching, boiled merino wool piece with a windproof laminate and conjures up images of a naval peacoat. The durable pants are Swrve’s black Indigo Cordura Skinny Fit Jeans ($100), complete with bike-friendly lower front, reflective rear belt loops and right-side cuff underbelly.
Al is on an aluminum-framed Dahon Mariner D7 ($599; Dahon), which takes folding bikes to a new level thanks to its deluxe component package. He’s flashing more than a smile, wearing a wool/nylon blended Kitsbow Henley Base Layer ($85; Kitsbow) for natural antimicrobial stench-proofing and a tailored fit under a sleek and futuristic ashmei Soft Shell Running Gilet ($215). He’s also wearing the Kitsbow Softshell A/M Short ($269), decked out with a quilted and articulated waistband, ergonomic tailoring and taped seams.
No slacker, Lim is wearing a Makers & Riders Vintage Cycling Pocket T-Shirt ($35), a poly-cotton-blended top that uses vintage jerseys for the pocket material. Over that is a Smartwool PhD SmartLoft Divide Jacket ($200; smartwool.com), a merino-lined jacket that boasts an incredible heat-to-warmth ratio. To finish off the ensemble, Al’s got on a pair of Arc’Teryx A2B Commuter Long ($129; Arc’Teryx), equally impressive for their water-repellant, quick-drying denim-esque material as they are for their detailed stitching.