Banana Republic Review: Does the Classic Still Hold
Banana Republic is part of the old guard, but are their clothes still any good? And what’s it like shopping with them online?
In our Banana Republic review, we took a trip through their digital storefront, picked up a few new pieces, and we’ve got a verdict on whether this iconic brand is worth checking out.
When I got my first real job out of college (high school teacher), I decided it was time to ditch the ratty old clothes I’d been wearing to class and upgrade.
I hit up Banana Republic with a small budget and went wild. If I remember correctly, I got three pairs of pants and three shirts. It was insane.
And I wore those pieces to death.
It’s about seven years later now, and I’ve learned so much more about men’s clothing in the interim.
So when I had a chance to review the BR, I couldn’t pass it up. It’s like a trip to the motherland.
Are they still capable of cranking out hits? Keep reading and find out with me.
Table of Contents
What Is Banana Republic?
Banana Republic is the high end brand under the GAP umbrella. While GAP is awesome for basic staples, Banana Republic is where you go if you want to tread more into a “fashion forward” wardrobe.
The history of the brand is pretty kooky, too. Originally founded by two San Francisco based reporters in the late 70s, the brand started as Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company.
The owners stocked up on pieces from their trips abroad as correspondents and eventually became known for their unique cosmopolitan style.
Today, you’ll find Banana Republic stores all over the globe, with over 500 in the US alone. I think I have three within a 50 mile radius, and you probably do, too.
If you shop with Banana Republic online, you can get free shipping and returns when you sign up for their loyalty program.
Banana Republic is going back to their roots with a re-brand, and focusing on the adventure focused clothes they became known for back in the 70s (but still modern, of course).
Banana Republic Review
The Organic Traveler Chinos are made with Italian fabric from organic cotton (98%) with just a bit of added elastane stretch for comfort and flexibility.
There’s a huge variety of sizes, from 28 to 44 with inseam lengths from 28 to 34, not including the “tall” versions as well.
That’s one of the biggest benefits of shopping with a brand like Banana Republic—they’re always stocking a massive selection of sizes that can be difficult to find with other boutique brands.
I love the feel of these chinos. And I’ve had rough luck with chinos over the past few years.
It seems like there’s been a trend toward technical performance fabrics for chinos, and while the idea is nice, they just don’t hold up.
The Traveler Chino has a nice weight to it, so the pants have sufficient thickness to them to look classy, but they’re still lightweight and flexible for comfort.
My only gripe is that the leg opening is a bit wider than I prefer. A more tapered leg below the knee would go a long way in making me taller and slimmer. As someone with larger thighs and glutes, it’s really important to have a narrow leg opening as too much room below the knee can make me look bottom heavy.
It’s an easy fix for me (a simple tailor operation), but it’s worth noting if you also have wider hips or larger legs.
Otherwise, the Traveler is my ideal chino—the flex in the hips makes them super comfortable, but the fabric also has enough thickness so I feel like I’m wearing something substantial.
As someone who regularly wears jeans, the fine organic cotton fabric is welcome.
Linen-Cotton Chore Coat
The Linen-Cotton Chore Coat is the perfect transition layer between summer and fall (but it’s also going to work throughout fall here in North Carolina because it stays pretty warm until late November).
While it looks like a pretty heavy piece online, it’s much lighter than I expected. Because it’s made with linen, it stays breathable and it’s an excellent casual piece.
The 53% flax linen and 47% cotton blend fabric feels soft and the sleeves have an effortless look to them when you roll them up. Paired with the Linen Henley (more on that below), this is a fantastic combo.
True to the chore coat style, this piece features one deep set breast pocket and two front patch pockets. There’s even a hidden pocket in the front right to keep your phone secure (which comes in handy more often than you’d think).
While I’m normally a large for tops, I picked up the chore coat in medium because these types of shirts tend to be bulkier. I’m happy with my choice, as the chore coat fits well in the shoulders and stays relatively slim through the torso.
The indigo color is deep and rich, which makes it a very versatile option. You can dress it up with chinos or crisp jeans, or play it casual with shorts or light wash jeans.
This Chore Coat has quickly risen in the ranks to become one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe. I have to fight the urge to wear it too often because it’s a fantastic piece that layers and pairs well with just about everything.
(At the time of publishing, the Linen Cotton Chore Coat is sold out. This is my second chore coat from Banana Republic, and I can vouch for all their over-shirts. Check out their selection below.)
Linen Henley T-Shirt
I also picked up two of Banana Republic’s Linen Henley Short Sleeve T-Shirts.
I love the relaxed vibe of a henley, and how it has a little more to it than a standard tee.
These henleys are made with 100% linen, so they’re super light and breathable—excellent for the end of summer and beginning of fall.
One thing to note on these—I ordered a size L (I’m 6’1” and 200lbs), and when I first tried the shirt on, it was much too large. But after a wash, it shrunk down to what I consider a perfect fit.
The seams are all flatlock, which helps keep the inside smooth and comfortable—sometimes linen shirts can catch your body hair at the seam so it feels like you’re being tugged at all day, but that’s not the case here.
These have a solid amount of structure in the shoulders and seem to drape nicely across the chest. I’m always worried about linen losing its shape, but the quality of this particular fabric is spot on, meaning it’s held up well through several washes.
Overall, I’m a fan of these henleys—the color and texture makes for an excellent summer piece that will transition into fall well.
What do Other Reviewers Say About Banana Republic?
Banana Republic has been around forever (that should tell you something right there). In general, guys who are looking to step up their wardrobe and try a variety of different clothes are pleased with Banana Republic.
A lot of reviewers mentioned hitting up BR for more upscale clothes after getting their first job (exactly what I did), so if you’re looking for a wardrobe upgrade, you’re not alone.
The linen line is all made with excellent quality materials—the shirts feel great and look rich.
The Chino slim fit leaves plenty of room for someone with larger thighs, but they still have a modern and classy look.
They offer free shipping and free 45-day returns and exchanges.
The subtle design choices in the linen chore coat make it one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe.
What I Don’t Like
The Slim Traveler Chino has a wider leg opening than I prefer—I’d like more taper below the knee.
Who is Banana Republic for?
Banana Republic is an excellent choice if you’re looking to give your wardrobe an overhaul and step up your style game with a few coordinated outfits.
They outfitted me with some of my favorite pieces back when I started my first real job as a teacher.
And after buying a few more outfits from the brand, I’m reminded why I should shop them more often.
The Linen Cotton Chore Coat is one of my new favorite pieces in my wardrobe. The Linen Henley T-Shirts are the perfect late summer/ fall transition pieces and helped me break out of the “summer plain t-shirt” rut I was in.
The Organic Cotton Slim Traveler Chino is sturdy, flexible, with a modern fit. That means they’re comfortable, I don’t have to worry about busting them open when I bend over, and they look good.
Overall, I’m happy with what I picked up from Banana Republic, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for their future styles, too.
What is Banana Republic known for?
Banana Republic is known for their higher end casual and business casual pieces. A lot of folks swear by their jeans, but I get the most compliments on their overshirts.
Is Banana Republic a good brand?
Yes, Banana Republic makes quality clothes with excellent fabrics and solid construction techniques.
Are Banana Republic jeans good?
While I only own one pair of Banana Republic jeans, I’ve had them for several years and they’re still just as structured as they were the day I bought them. I say, yes, Banana Republic jeans are good.