I’m fascinated by the evolution of Banana Republic. It’s like the girl who definitely didn’t peak in high school and now is looking at the rest of us down from her golden tower of cashmere.
To debrief you: Banana started as this little retailer with the vibe of a safari traveler in all white with luggage trunks and scarves. Then, it became Ann Taylor’s cheaper sister who works as a temp at Ann’s office. And now? Lord. Not only are we in another ball field, that ball field is in Aspen, and you can only get there via private jet.
OK, I promise to speak in fewer metaphors going forward.
I went in with this question: Is the recent price increase (and it’s a big one) worth it? I’m talking $500 skirts, $600 jackets and $300 pillows (??). I’ve always known Banana Republic as that store in the Gap family that’s basically giving away cheap sweaters for 40% off, plus a Friends and Family Code, plus an extra 15% off, just for being you.
I was fully prepared to come back and be like, “Guys, this is a big money-stealing joke.” Spoiler: It’s not. It’s really good, and I hate it. But I love it.
Is Banana Republic’s New Style Worth The Price? A Try-On & Review
My last in-store try-on sesh was with Everlane, and they were all, “Go to the back and find a room and good luck.” This store? I was a CELEBRITY, and it’s all I ever wanted in all of my dreams. They assigned me a personal atelier named Eric, who is beyond all of the things. This post is essentially a love letter to Eric.
I put together most of these outfits, but Eric has his touch here and there as you’ll see. You can also make an appointment with Eric, but he wanted me to make it clear that you only call him if you’re ready to SPEND money. LOL. Bless him.
A Little About Me: 5’2’’ | 115 lbs. | Long torso, shorter legs | Sparkling personality | Top size: 2/XS, usually | Bottom size: 4/27/S
The New Banana Republic: Best Of The Best
Let’s jump in. Starting with the, “Yes, Please, I Will Take It All” category. These are the pieces that I LOVED.
1. Dreamer Silk Maxi Skirt & Morocco Leather Belt Bag
skirt (S) | turtleneck (XS) | bag | boots (my own)
I do own this silk maxi skirt in real life. But I wanted to show it to you all because it’s phenomenal. The flow of it, the slit, the ease, the color…it’s PERFECTION. And the fabric is heaven. I wanted to dress it down for you to show its versatility.
This turtleneck is also really great. The fit’s tight but not too tight and won’t stretch out. And we must discuss this belt bag. Oh, my, it’s this deep chocolate-brown leather and just so cool.
1. Captain’s Blazer
skirt (S) | turtleneck (XS) | blazer (2) | boots (my own)
This blazer is really cool. I loved it with the vibe of the boots and the silk skirt. Sort of a high-low thing. The buttons on this are really good. Sometimes gold buttons can feel plastic or cheap and ruin a blazer, but these don’t disappoint.
I will say that for me, almost everything in BR runs a full size big.
3. Merino + Suede Bomber & Tapered Cargo Pants
bomber jacket (men’s M) | T-shirt (XS) | pants (2) | scarf | bag | boots (my own)
I get that this reads a little costumey, but hear me out. Each of these pieces individually are unbelievable. Again, Banana Republic shining in the outwear department. This bomber jacket killed it. It’s from the men’s section, and it was so soft, so chill, so everything.
And the tapered cargo pants are amazing. I love them sort of tucked, but they’re a full-length (on me) taper. I would maybe tie the scarf to the bag and use a different tee. But all good things here.
4. Stella Blanket Skirt + Franca Cashmere Top
sweater (S) | skirt (XS) | boots | bag
I’m D Y I N G over this blanket skirt. This is such a cool piece. The inside has two buttons for sizing, and the leather buckles are functional, so you can make it fit high or low on your waist. I’m not sure if anything is more perfect in this world than edible cookie dough and this skirt. Apparently, Banana Republic carried this exact skirt back in the ’70s.
I also really love the flow and vibe of this cashmere top. The cashmere is definitely on the thinner side, so it’s not too warm. It has strong padded shoulders but is otherwise flowy. AND this bag. It’s in the men’s section, and Eric knew I would dig it. He isn’t wrong.
5. Cortazar Herringbone Coat
dress (XS) | coat (XS) | bag | boots
(I’m running out of ways to describe the amazingness of things.) THIS COAT. HOLY MEATBALLS ON THE WALL. This feels like a vintage men’s coat but the nicest, heaviest quality you can imagine. I wanted to stop everything, shove it in my bag and run. I did not do this, though, because…laws and manners.
6. Leather Bomber Jacket + Barrel Jeans
tank (S) | jacket (S) | jeans (26) | bag
This leather bomber jacket was another Eric surprise — and this jacket is for sure the star. However, I think Eric almost fell over dead when I told him that I wanted to put my maroon socks with open-toed heels. But by the end he said he didn’t MIND it. WIN for me!
I actually love this look of the barrel jeans bunching a bit at the ankle and the surprise pop at the shoe. I think it’s cool and interesting.
7. Sunday Coat
shirt (M) | coat (XS) | tote | belt | boots
This picture is not my life. I’m not this girl. But if I were, I would wear this. The coat, the leather skirt, the belt…all of it is just so beautiful and put-together. All of these have no business being on my body, but I relished it while it was on me.
Now, Actual Amanda would probably take this coat and wear it with pajamas and Crocs to the bus stop and be all, “I’m so chic.” Eric was sad that my life was so uneventful. I felt like I let him down. Sorry, Eric.
The New Banana Republic: Maaaaaaybe…Just Maybe
The pieces from Banana Republic that I like but are only just maybe worth the cost…
1. Oversized Balmacaan Jacket
shirt (XS) | jacket (XS) | jeans (26) | belt
Are you catching a theme with the outerwear? I think it’s really where Banana Republic is shining right now. This oversized jacket is a luxurious flannel-ish tweed (I made that up), and the collar can actually button to make it more of a turtleneck vibe. This jacket is perfectly boxy and so cool.
We’ll talk about the jeans later.
2. Ceres Merino-Cashmere Sweater + Rivoli Relaxed Corduroy Pants
I really liked this merino-cashmere sweater, but to me, I have a million sweaters, and it’s not worth the cost. However, I LOVE a unique cut, and this is definitely giving it.
I’m not really a corduroy gal, but if I were, it would be these high-waisted, pleated, cranberry jammers. They’re awesome. With a higher heel or hemming, I might’ve changed my mind. FYI, I’m a standard size 4, and the 0 fit.
3. Muse Silk Shirtdress
Eric was medium horrified that I took the belt OFF of this dress. He really wanted a waist-cinch moment, but I told him that I wanted a chill, laid-back moment. He nodded, and we understood each other.
This silk shirtdress is really stunning. It’s the same silk as the green skirt, and it’s just soft and flowy and lovely. I would maybe do a higher-shaft boot if I were actually going to wear this. Or sneakers. Always sneakers. Eric would faint.
Have I mentioned Eric?
4. Rivina Leather Midi Skirt + Boxy Cropped Shirt
shirt (M) | skirt (2) | belt | boots
I’ve had my eye on this leather midi skirt since it first hit the scene a month or so ago. It’s real-deal leather, and the quality is beyond. Like, I can’t believe this is from Banana Republic.
The shirt is a cropped style and very cute. But while I love this outfit together, but this one wasn’t worth the price for me. Vegan leather has come so far and is so much more affordable right now.
Now the belt on the other hand, swoon.
The New Banana Republic: Oh, No, No, No, No, No…
While so much of Banana Republic’s new lineup is stunning, admittedly, there are a few pieces that are just…nope.
1. Cropped Sherpa Coat
OK, I’ll wait. All done laughing? K.
This jacket is Eric’s top pick, and in theory, I get it. It feels AMAZING. It was at least 79 pounds, and it’s a statement. But on me? Oh, lord. I look like that 70-year-old sheep that no one has cut (…shorn…sheared?) in ages. It’s not good.
If you’re tall and a rockstar, get it. Send me a pic. Sorry, Eric, I feel like I let you down — again.
2. Sherpa Officer Coat
tank (S) | coat (S) | jeans (26)
THIS sherpa coat was actually 97 pounds. I could barely put it on. It’s a STATEMENT. For 5’2’’ me, it’s not a good statement — the collar alone could eat my head. But I feel like it’s me not doing the coat justice. Sorry, coat, I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller…
3. Leopard Bomber Jacket
tank (S) | jacket (XS) | jeans (26)
Maybe you’re getting a sense of the Eric + Amanda story now. Eric LOVES this. I mean, again, in theory, I get it. It’s an unexpected bomber jacket in a really unexpected print. But no. It’s a no for me.
4. Sheer Expedition Shirt + Côte Wide-Leg Jeans
shirt (XS) | jeans (26) | scarf | belt
Eric did that thing with the scarf. He knows ALL about scarves. OK, let’s chat about these jeans. I thought they would be amazing: I love the dark wash, the pleats, the wide leg. But for me, it’s the rise that doesn’t work. They’re low to mid, and for this cut to work on me, it needs to be a high rise. Maybe a petite would have worked better? But secret: Banana Republic is phasing out petites (!!!!!).
5. Essential Leather Jacket + Belay Silk Pants
turtleneck (XS) | jacket (XS) | pants (2) | belt
I’m not a white-leather-jacket girl. This was a no for me. And these poor pants deserve better than my little stick legs. They’re gorgeous silk — I do them no justice. (This is WITH a heel, by the way.)
However, this leather belt is super-cool. Look through the pics to see it better, but it has purposeful horizontal metal pieces for wrapping the belt.
A Peek At Banana Republic Home
Banana Republic is starting to add a home line, and it’s NOT for the faint of heart. That pillow I’m holding? Yes, it’s a gorgeous haircalf leather, but the price almost made me fall over dead. They also told me that they will be carrying furniture in the future!
leather pillow | printed pillow | cashmere pillow | blanket
There are a few takeaways from this sesh:
- Banana is no longer for the common man — it’s now an investment. But believe it or not, it’s a good one. I’m talking, like, right up there with a Vince sweater or a STAUD dress or MOTHER jeans.
- If you are so inclined, use the atelier service (not all stores have this just yet). And if you’re near KOP, obviously call Eric.
- Focus in on outerwear. I think it’s the best bang for your buck.
- Put a sock with a sandal, and let me know if the world implodes.
- And last (the one B is waiting for): What did I buy?
I didn’t buy a single thing. This isn’t because I didn’t WANT to. I wanted like 100 things. But this is the sort of price point that is probably pricing me out unless I become a friend or family member to someone (cough, cough, Eric…).
Also, as you know, I’m trying to be conscious about purchases and shopping new only when necessary or something extremely special.
Let me know what your faves are. Have you invested in the new BR yet? Do you think you’ll make the jump?