Shopping the chains, part 2: Banana Republic

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I used to really love Banana Republic—around 2003 or so, I thought the brand could do no wrong. They were always on trend, and turned out cool, often bright pieces with good prints at a decent price. But they lost their way some time ago, and I can’t recall the last time I was in one of their stores. So I was pleased to find a number of pretty good pieces on their site the other day, including this short-sleeved  sweater, which is so preppy/French girl.

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A simple t-shirt dress with a strategically placed twist keeps things flattering.

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This navy V-neck sweater is made from a combination of silk and cashmere, which means it’s probably a nice, lightweight choice for spring.

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I like that the tie on this tank top is off to the side, which is just a bit cooler than if it were front and center.

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This cami has just the shadow of a print, which is kind of lovely.

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This striped shirt would look so chic with a pair of skinny black trousers.

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Just a simple top with slightly flared sleeves to throw on whenever.

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A pink blazer is a fun and unexpected choice, and would look great with graphic tees.

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The wash on this denim jacket is so satisfyingly dark.

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I’d wear this shirt with white jeans and a bright belt like this one.

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This pink-and-white striped shirt has a nice, slouchy cut.

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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Comments

17 Thoughts on Shopping the chains, part 2: Banana Republic
    Lesley
    18 Apr 2018
    7:08am

    I feel entirely the same way about BR over the years, so it’s good to see some fun pieces here! Their fit was always great so the only thing missing was fun.

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      Mamavalveeta03
      18 Apr 2018
      8:49pm

      I just remembered a line from “Northern Exposure” that seems apropos ….”Like Cleveland without all the glitter.”

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    Candy
    18 Apr 2018
    8:22am

    Seeing these choices in a store I was just in a few days ago and didn’t buy anything was eye-opening. Like having a personal shopper pull stuff I never considered. Thanks so much! Guess I need to make a return visit.

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    Lisa
    18 Apr 2018
    11:14am

    I like all of these. Especially the knotted dress and tank Good to know – I used to love them back when too and then they started putting out absolute nothingness.

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      Kathi
      18 Apr 2018
      1:09pm

      I also like the knotted dress. It is nice to see BR has extended its sizes a bit.

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    Mary Alice
    18 Apr 2018
    11:16am

    Your experience mirrors mine – at one point it seems half my closet was BR, and then suddenly there was nothing of interest in their stores. I happened to take a male friend into a local BR last week (he was looking for a shirt) and as he shopped I wandered through the women’s section – before I knew it I had an armful and was headed to the dressing room. Have they had a change in management, or design team?

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    Sharon
    18 Apr 2018
    12:45pm

    I have that silk cashmere V-neck and love it. I’m sorely tempted to ignore my rule of not purchasing multiples so I can have a back up. I fear I’m going to wear it until its threadbare.

    BR, J. Crew, Ann Taylor – all places I used to shop a lot and now only buy from when there is a great piece like that sweater. They’ve all become too much polyester, too much off the shoulder, too many ruffles.

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      Alex
      18 Apr 2018
      3:06pm

      Ugh, there’s really a surfeit of polyester in some of the chain stores I used to love to shop in. It’s the worst!

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        Mamavalveeta03
        18 Apr 2018
        8:47pm

        And polyester is so damned sweat-inducing!

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      Francine
      18 Apr 2018
      3:40pm

      GAH! The ruffles! I don’t shop at any of those stores anymore. Still have PTSD from the ruffle/bell sleeve/sequin explosion of 2015.

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        Susanna
        19 Apr 2018
        8:57am

        Ruffle PTSD lol. And bell sleeves–those seem to still be exploding. I’ll often pull a seemingly promising top or dress off the rack and then I see it has a bell sleeve and I shriek in horror. Like, viscerally recoil. (And also, just curious–how can one eat while wearing these? The fabric would be grazing your food with every bite.)

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    EW
    18 Apr 2018
    12:59pm

    ditto on the BR shoppabilty over the years and also on the current offerings..I have recently snagged a few really good things – at 40% off – a cashmere hoodie, double breasted 100% worsted wool blazer and a silk and cotton pullover. I was impressed – maybe they are getting back to good!

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    c.w.
    18 Apr 2018
    3:31pm

    Love the silk/cashmere sweater (might do the mint color for summer w/white jeans) and the cami looks super useful because the fit doesn’t seem to be too tight. I’d sleep in it paired with a pair of loose boxers.

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    Martina
    18 Apr 2018
    8:11pm

    I bought the striped sweater in black and white, and I love it. I’ve been finding a fair number of things I like at BR lately, but I missed the striped shirt, so back to the store to figure out the right size!

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    Achariya
    19 Apr 2018
    9:17am

    I still heartily appreciate that BR fits us Asian ladies’ proportions, especially the shorter torso.

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    Kate K
    19 Apr 2018
    8:36pm

    Ditto for me! My closet was filled with Banana Republic about 10 years ago, and then I just stopped. I ventured into the store last month, and I found just the most perfect date night top: a drapey v-neck striped wrapish top. And it’s like the floods gate opened–I think I’ve bought 3 other things from them?

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    moi
    19 Apr 2018
    9:20pm

    I’ll ditto all the dittos on having the exact same experience. Seems like they took a deep dive into the bizarre cuts and weird fabrics typical of fast fashion.

    I did stop in this past fall and was impressed enough with their slim black wool blazer, the one with the striped lining, to buy it. And several weeks ago I went in looking for a trench coat for my niece, and found her a lovely drapey one in a dusky grey/navy that looks great on her.

    And wouldn’t you know, a card for 40% off hit my mailbox soon after that. so maybe I’ll spring for that sweater and utility button-down.

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