How to Shop Banana Republic

A “banana republic” refers to an unstable country. However, Banana Republic, the chain of stores owned by Gap’s parent company, is one of the most consistently dependable shopping destinations for the working woman.

Banana Republic was started as a safari-inspired collection of jetsetter-ready clothes in the late 1970s. Now, the trend-forward (and sometimes pricey) clothing and accessories are the top of the Gap brand’s fashion chain, including one trend collaborations (hello, Mad Men collection).

Here’s the 411 on Banana Republic



How to Shop Banana Republic

Choose-your-own adventure

Banana Republic Racks

Stores are set up according to vignettes from different parts of your life. In one alcove, you’ll find the jeans and all of the tees and accessories to go with them, and then you’ll find similar set-ups for wear-to-work pieces, khakis, etc. In the front of the store, there are more seasonal offerings such as a floral section for spring. Pick the visual that appeals to you or fits what you need and you’ll be able to grab everything you need to complete the look.

Banana Republic Display

The clearance sections are usually arranged according to size and easy to spot in the back of the store, but beware of early markdowns which might not be very significant. It’s best to wait a week or two after the initial markdown for significant price reductions. Extended sizes (tall and petites) are available online only, but as with all of the Gap-owned brands, shipping is free with any purchase over $50.

Special Collections
Banana Republic has a few limited edition collections, that offer a specific style point of view.. “BR monogram” features special occasion items, including mostly cocktail dresses and a few silk tops. Reaching back to its safari-roots, you’ll find the Heritage collection, which includes classic pieces, like khakis. Recently, Banana Republic launched a temporary collaboration with “Mad Men” costume designer Janie Bryant with 60s inspired dresses and suits.

Sign up for emails

Banana Republic Women's Clothes

There are so many discounts to be had at Banana Republic that sometime it’s hard to know if you’re getting the best one. A good starting point is getting on their email list. You can enroll online and you’ll instantly receive an offer for 15 percent off. That’s nothing in comparison to the deals that will land in your inbox pretty much daily, like the Wednesday deals of 30 percent off one item or 40 percent off of two. There are also “happy hour” deals and work-outfit deals.

Get a card
Your savings will go deeper if you use a Banana Republic card. For example, you can save 30 percent during a three-hour “power lunch” offer. Of course, if you don’t pay those cards off immediately, they’ll end up costing you a lot.

Special services
As if living in a big city didn’t already have perks, select stores in New York, San Francisco and Chicago offer “Style by Appointment. You’re complimentary personal stylist will offer a phone consultation and in-store sessions to help you find everything that you need. Plus, you’ll get special invites to events and sales.

Skip the Outlet
The stock at Banana Republic’s outlet store, like most Gap brand outlet stores, is mostly made up of lower quality merchandise created for the outlet store (and not found in Banana Republic stores). We’re not saying that the outlet doesn’t have a few pieces from the main mall stores, but an overwhelming majority of the items in the outlet stores isn’t the same stuff you find at your local mall-based Banana Republic.

One quick way to tell whether that shirt you love is an “outlet” item, is to look at the label. If there are three dots beneath the words “Banana Republic” then it’s an item created specifically for the outlet. Also if the letters are bronze or tan/brown and/or the tag itself feels a cheap, then most likely it’s an outlet only piece.

Banana Republic Factory Outlet and Main Comparison

Check Out These Banana Republic Shopping Tips
How to Return an Item to Banana Republic
Banana Republic’s Accessories Concept Store

 

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Comments

  1. Vicki says

    Banana Republic is one of my favorite stores. Also, it’s just been in recent days I’ve found out about mall vs. outlet items. I had always assumed outlet items were out-of-season items or overstock. I’m now wondering about the Guess top I bought at one of their outlet stores (although I’ve received a lot of compliments on it).

  2. Beth says

    This is my favorite store for buying staple items. I’ve had my classic white dress shirt from there for five years now and it looks brand new. It was almost a hundred dollars and I scooped it as fast as I spotted it at 24.99 on sale. You can get jeans on great sales there as well. Love their quality!!

  3. Christopher@ThisThatandtheMBA says

    I love getting a great deal on the sales at banana republic.  But lately their clothes are just wayy to expensive.

  4. Annie says

    Anyone has noticed that their 50% items don’t have the actual 50% off applied to it? I just looked at a dress tagged at $165 and this item is one of the selected items with 50% applied and the price tag says $98…is  this a common practice or an error?

  5. John says

    I’ve worn Banana Republic clothing for over fifteen years now. Two years ago, I visited an outlet store and was impressed with the clothing. It’s true the quality is not necessarily top of the line, but some of the clothing is still high quality in my opinion. As with most outlet shopping, you should simply exercise caution and fully inspect the quality and wear-ability of each item to decide it’s value. Outlet’s typically provide “good enough” clothing. I purchase new business attire throughout the year and Banana’s outlet clothing helps me look good without breaking the bank. I still buy Banana, but it’s nice to checkout the outlet every now and then.

  6. Deedee says

    This might be an old post, but I just wanted to say I love the Banana Republic factory store. The style offerings are different and I feel a bit younger and on trend. I find a lot more stuff at the factory store than the regular store, regardless of price.
    The only thing I have a quality problem with are wool pants. The pants I buy at the regular Banana Republic pill like crazy! This is why I only ever buy them on sale. I have a pair that now have see-through sections.

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