Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's Bananas

I'm on this savings kick. You know, fiscal prudence. But the combination of a couple of wardrobe holes (and I do say this with my feet firmly in the first-world, it's not like I'd go naked without them) and a great sale propelled me to take a bit of a detour.

Specifically, what with my life being in the fancy-briefing realm more and more frequently, suits are increasingly de rigeur. I currently have 3 that fit. Two of those work in all kinds of weather. Yeah, I have a bunch of effective sartorial work arounds that do the trick, but I'm SO sick of those 2 suits. One of them is 12 years old.

My goal, for a year, has been to make a new suit. I have all of the bits and materials but I don't have the time. Mind you, I also don't have 800 bucks lying around. What's a girl to do?

(Ahem): Go to Banana Republic. Yeah, this place holds no appeal for me but, every time I walk in there, I find 20 things by which I could enhance my wardrobe. I am always surprised by the good quality. Finishings are lovely. For context, that 12 year old suit I wear is from Banana and everyone still tells me how great it is (perhaps the cut's a bit vintage now?). So these garments stand the test of time.

(FYI, just so we're on the same page, you know you must never buy full-price at this store. Any day of the week you can save at least 30 per cent, and often more.)

Another silhouette I've found myself wearing ALL the time lately is the tunic-length, slim-knit sweater, something with an interesting neckline that's small in the shoulders. It facilitates the semi-constant wearing of legging-like pants. Time was, I could wear those leggings with a torso-fitted top. I sense, these days, a bit of cover in the midsection is more flattering.

And finally, I've been looking for the perfect pair of denim trousers (NOT jeans) for 5 years. No, I'm not joking. Every time I walk into a store, I seek them out. No dice. I've made a couple of versions and they're fine but they're not fly-front and they're fairly casual. I've been looking for the right (very blue, but not dark) wash, the right fabric-tension (very snug-fitting with great recovery, thick-weight) and the right cut (slender through the hips, ass and legs).

Well, yesterday, I found all of those things at BR, on my lunch, for 45% off. Actually, the pants (originally 95 bucks) were on sale for 41 bucks and I had a 42.00 credit. So they were free. The other items, as a result, ended up being more than 50% off. To put it in context, I bought a new light-wool (three season) suit, a slim, fine merino tunic sweater and a pair of perfect work pants for 297.00 all in (including tax). It would have cost me 650.00 without the sale. At another store, the same combo of garments of this quality would have cost well over 1000 bucks. I really don't know how this store facilitates these prices - and really, I don't think I want to.

But onto some stock pics...

Alas, my sweater does not exist in photos, but here's a similar BR style...

Here's the suit (note: it fits me a lot better than it does the model - I went with the jacket in petites which works well with my proportions):

The skirt is particularly flattering:

And here are the pants - alas, sold out in almost every size...

It happens that there's one of those mega sales online today (though the discount applies to specific items).

Today's questions: Whatcha think these? Have you owned a BR suit (really, who hasn't?)? Do you wear it weekly? What's the last wardrobe staple you bought? Let's talk!


  1. I used Banana Republic to fill some wardrobe gaps when I first started working. For all the complaining about RTW and how it sucks so much I always thought their clothes were well made and nicely finished. And I loved how they were available in tall sizes! I also like their shoes...the leather is softer than many other brands that are at the same price point.

    The last wardrobe staple I bought was a down coat from Land's End. Warm, fits well (again, they sell tall sizes!), a beautiful bright pink color, and not something I would ever want to sew. Cleaning up after ordinary wovens and knits is bad enough, could you imagine trying to clean up bits of down and feathers?

  2. For me, BR is hit and miss.I've had better luck at the outlet store and until recently, we didn't have one in town. I used to buy all my wardrobe staples at a high-end consignment store in my neighbourhood, but it closed down a couple of years ago. I now shop at a couple of near-by boutiques - I can handle paying regular price to support local and get great service. Last staples I bought were a fitted jacket in a bamboo knit in a grey tweed and a bluish green pencil skirt with zipper detail on the pocket and vent. I tend to avoid pencil skirts but this one fits me perfectly and goes with lots of existing pieces. I would not have picked it out on my own - another advantage of shopping in a store where they really do know your name (and taste).

  3. Cindy Crawford often wears denim trousers :-). I have a dress from BR, but not a suit. I make adjustments, such as a different belt, to make it more "me" . . .

  4. I've found it uneven over the last few years, but I hear good things lately. I have a wonderful grey 100% cashmere (!!!) coat, classic tailored menswear-look, that I bought on sale (down to 699, I think 40-50% reduction, I can't remember) after Christmas 7 years ago. It's part of their Heritage line, and it's a fine testament to its quality. There was something weird, I have to say, about the buttoning system, that led to odd gaping, but I had a tailor seam it into place quite nicely.

  5. LOL - I haven't. I don't. A sweater.

  6. I used to wear BR when I first started working 9-5's and pre-sewing of course. But I always did like their sale room and the quality of the clothes has always held up.

    Glad you were able to get your dream jeans! That's so awesome! I'm still waiting to find/make my perfect pair so I fully sympathize at how hard these are to find just right.