Trav: It’s always interesting to see a brand revamp itself and go in an entirely new direction. Banana Republic, once a brand dedicated entirely toward safari clothing, is now one of the top go-to brands for the urban professional.
Given its status as a somewhat classy clothing line, I often wondered why the company chose a name for the brand that is also used to describe unstable Third World countries dependent on agriculture. My curiosity, however, was never quite severe enough to push me to seek an answer. It was one of those frivolous questions that we sometimes ponder with no intention of taking it any further. It’s quite obvious now that it was meant to be a witty name used to describe this adventurous safari line.
Founded in 1978 by husband and wife Mel and Patricia Ziegler, Banana Republic got its start as a catalog company selling vintage military surplus items from around the world. They later made the leap to a full-fledged clothing line that was widely popularized by their quirky, fascinating catalogs. GAP bought the brand in 1983 and slowly transitioned it into the Banana Republic we know today.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on this vintage BR jacket. It’s essentially a jacket with removable sleeves. The abundance of pockets means there seems to be a place for every little item I tend to carry around. What I like most is how light-weight it is. I can easily get away with wearing this jacket on a hot day. In fact, it looks a lot like a photographer’s vest with the sleeves removed. I also came across another cool jacket that I’ll be sure to incorporate in an upcoming post.
Fit details: BR jacket and shirt. Topman pants. Polo loafers.
I mentioned that Banana Republic became widely known due to their creative catalogs. In 1986, they took that a step further when they released Banana Republic Guide To Travel & Safari Clothing. This book is fundamentally similar to the catalogs but on a larger scale. It catalogs virtually every piece of safari/military clothing with nice visuals and some insightful text that covers the history/origin of these pieces. This book is sure to hold your interest, as it explains everything with a fun, adventurous writing style.