One Guy Recommends: This Year’s Banana Republic Fall Line

The last few years have seen most of the “cool, well made and yet affordable” kudos being given to J. Crew, and for good reason.  However, this year I can’t say enough positive things about J. Crew’s closest rival, Banana Republic.  In particular, there are two pieces from the fall collection that are pitch perfect.  One, a corduroy blazer with peak lapels,  is more on trend (while remaining something that you can wear, without fear of reproach, for life), while the other, a chesterfield overcoat, is timelessly elegant and something that I’ve always wanted to add to my closet.

Corduroy suiting (and blazers) are one of the predominant trends for fall this year, as you can note from the large spread featured in the current issue of GQ.  I enjoy GQ, but they have a habit of featuring articles of clothing that fail the “affordability” test, even if they’ve been getting a lot better in this regard since the recession hit.  And while I’ve been known to splurge on an article of clothing on occasion, I generally only do this on something that is timeless and will never go out of style, such as a navy suit.  The GQ spread features corduroy suits (which aren’t likely to last long in the fashion spotlight), but a corduroy blazer is something that is far more timeless.  Banana Republic’s example features their excellent new “Tailored Fit” and also the more modern peak lapels, which add an elegance to an otherwise casual blazer.  It’s available in two colours, beige and black and I would suggest going with black, which is more in line with the formality of the peak-lapels and is perfect for going out for dinner.

The other piece that stands out for me is the Chesterfield-style overcoat.  Chesterfield overcoats are of a knee length, have concealed buttons and, most famously, feature black velvet on the back part of the collar. They’re named after the famously stylish 6th Earl of Chesterfield and have also been worn by such stylistic icons as the Duke of Windsor, James Bond in “Live and Let Die” and Van William’s “Green Hornet”.  The Chesterfield has also been said to be one of the classic overcoat styles in Bernhard Roetzel’s seminal book, “Gentleman’s Guide to Grooming and Style”.  Traditionally, it is available in either grey or navy (and perhaps beige or brown), and either single breasted or double breasted.  Chesterfields are one of the most formal styles of overcoat and there is no better option that can be worn over a suit.  Banana Republic’s example is in grey, features slanted pockets in the Saville Row style and is a nice trim fit (keep in mind that you can and ought to take it to a tailor to really have it fit perfectly).

The best part of Banana Republic is the price you can obtain both of these staples for.  The corduroy blazer is available for the very affordable sum of $198US ($240CDN), while the overcoat is an even better bargain at $275US ($345CDN ), which is especially notable given that chesterfield coats, being such classic and timeless pieces, are very difficult to find at an affordable price.  For more information, and to purchase these two pieces or others from Banana Republic, check out: http://www.bananarepublic.com in the U.S., or http://www.bananarepublic.ca in Canada (which now offers online shopping – although, as you can see from the price disparity, it may be worth a road trip to see our friendly southern neighbours).

2 Responses to “One Guy Recommends: This Year’s Banana Republic Fall Line”

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