I don't remember the exact moment at which Banana Republic and I fell out of love. We used to be so close and now we are just passing acquaintances who occasionally like each other's Instagram posts. Back in the late nineties and noughties Banana Republic was always my first stop on any transatlantic trip. I used to savour the moment I would first walk into the gleaming wood and white marble stores as to me it represented a polished American preppi-ness that you just couldn't get back home. There is no doubting that Britain has the best High Street in the world but it always used to lack what Banana Republic had in spades: the perfect working wardrobe pieces. And therein may lie the problem. Given I no longer require a corporate working wardrobe as I did in my investment banking days, I feel I no longer relate to BR as I used to. Having said that the corporate world is a very different place from 6 years ago and the traditional working uniform of a black suit with a TM Lewin shirt and funky cufflinks has had its day. The casual/working wardrobe line is becoming blurred and this opens up a whole new chapter in our closets. BR may have found its place in my heart once again....
So far I seem to want most of the new season BR pieces but I have forced myself to make some difficult choices (tough job but someone's got to do it, etc, etc.) and here is my edited list.
The utility trend is a force to be reckoned with this autumn and this jacket will provide your perfect military musthave. The pockets at the waist will help to create some shape but steer clear if you are broad of shoulder as the epaulettes will do you no favours.
Heritage military blazer - £110
Patterened tops are a wardrobe staple for me as they hide a multitude of sins. They are more flattering than a solid colour as the pattern helps to break up the upper body. This blush pink shirt will go splendidly with the military jacket and will help to smarten up your denim wardrobe. It will also slot happily into your working wardrobe with tailored cropped trousers (see previous post for help conquering your fear of The Wrong Trousers) or a pencil skirt.
No wardrobe is complete without (faux) leather leggings. Whether full or half leather they have made the transition from nice-to-have to must-have as they are a useful alternative to jeans. The half leather versions are often the better option as it's easier to find a perfect fit. Wear them with everything from shirts to blazers to chunky knits.
BR branched out into accessories a while back and they do some deliciously soft leather bags. These three are a great addition to any wardrobe. One is a bit of fun, one has a touch of the Miu-Mius about it and the other is a bit cool. Take your pick.
I'm also on countdown waiting for these delightful shoes to arrive. By my reckoning they are going to be available in at least four colourways.....choices, choices.
There are a whole host of other pieces in the new collection and I have a feeling there will be many equally covetable pieces to come. My love affair with BR has been re-kindled and the bonus is I no longer need to fly to New York to get my fix.....a long weekend away would be nice though.....