Saturday 25th October 2014
You know who you are.
Subscribe in Email

Banana Republic, again

banana in the 90s

It’s Banana in the 90s, y’all

As someone who recalls Banana Republic’s glory days with particular affection, I was intrigued by the following note, which I received recently from a reader named Aubrey: “My days shopping at Banana Republic ended a few years ago, but I had some time to kill, and stopped into their store earlier today. Lots of great pieces. Would be interested to get your take.” My initial take is that it would take a lot to revive Banana—the brand has felt so same for so long, and when a lot of customers jumped ship, it was because the quality just wasn’t there either—but with new creative directors anything is possible, and they have one of those. The website looked promising, but that doesn’t always mean much, so off I went to the Soho outpost to kick the tires.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 3.58.59 PM

And here is what I discovered: progress. Nice pieces here and there that I would totally wear. The best of them by far—a near-perfect leather A-line midi skirt—isn’t on the site for some perplexing reason, but it should be. This very 1970s YSL military blouse, which I liked the looks of online, was just as nice in real life.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 4.14.18 PM

If I worked in an office, I would be all over this boucle skirt with the zipper detail, because it is professional-looking but also just a tiny bit badass. Also, it’s not as short as it looks: on a person of non-model height such as myself (I’m 5’6”) it hits at the knee.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 4.23.21 PM

I thought this jacket was pretty fun, and very much the type of item one could throw on and know looked good and not have to worry about. And it’s boucle—which I know, again with the boucle—but it’s such a fun, luxe fabric for everyday items.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 4.58.14 PM

And this wool trench in the grey is straight out of the Lauren Hutton playbook.

On what do you receive the most compliments?

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 3.23.17 PM

Clothing or accessory-wise, that is. I’d guess for me it’s my rings—if for no other reason than that I wear so many of them.



Monday links

painting of the city

  • I’m rather transfixed by these photo-like paintings of the city at night by Brooklyn artist Alexandra Pacula. (Laughing Squid)
  • What fresh hell is Brandy Melville? (Slate)
  • This map—which details the one job that is most unique to each state of the union—definitely raises more questions than it answers. (Mental Floss)
  • A Houston radio station has just changed its format to classic rap, possibly creating a new genre. I am way into this, which is just so predictable. (Kottke)
  • The Simpsons, in SAT form. (Vulture)

And yet again more Friends and Family excitement


Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 12.08.24 PM

I couldn’t send you into your weekend without letting you know about the big sale event at Saks, but I must offer this one large caveat: there are a ridiciculous number of designer exclusions—like pretty much everyone fancy. If you’re interested in shopping contemporary brands, you’ll have more luck. I, as might be expected, found no shortage of things to like. These boots from 10 Crosby Derek Lam are at once totally cute and completely sophisticated.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 12.33.13 PM

I’ve had my eye on this plaid jacket from ALC all season—that leather detail at the waist just makes it.

Screen Shot 2014-10-17 at 12.49.30 PM

And it’s always nice to be able to grab a nice little Iro something marked down, since their sweater jackets are so cute but so tragically overpriced: this moto-shape is light enough to layer under another coat or jacket—a look that gets me every time.

Pastel coats are a thing

cocoon rebecca

I don’t have even one pastel item in my closet—they are so infinitely far from up my alley—but I keep seeing these and being intrigued. And I think part of the reason is that while the colors are on the lady side, the silhouettes and details are anything but.  Like for instance: the chain-lined collar of this cocoon-style coat from Rebecca Taylor toughens things up nicely. (Also nice: it—and everything else on the Rebecca Taylor site—is currently 25% off with the code RTFRIENDS14.)

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 7.06.00 PM

splurgetastic option that’s so much fun—and probably crazy warm—with the shearling.



Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 8.14.54 PM

This has got a classic car coat shape, but with just a little more polish than usual, which is never a bad thing.


Friday links

tunnel print

  • I picked my five favorite prints from the selection at everyone’s favorite art-for-the-people site 20×200 this week. (20×200)
  • Watch this 50s housewife describe her LSD trip—while tripping. (Wifey)
  • It pleases me that the charming young Neil Patrick Harris will host the Oscars. (Vulture)
  • A really harrowing first-person account of what it’s like to develop acute schizophrenia. (Vice via Flavorwire)
  • Another year, another Vortex. (Time)

I love these pants

news trouser

I did not think it was possible, but these are the first big, slouchy trousers to actually flatter my not-insubstantial hips. It’s nice how life still has the capacity to pleasantly surprise.

Top 5 of the day: Fair isle sweaters, slightly subverted

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 4.36.57 PM

I love that designers continue to reinterpret this preppy standard, and the mix right now is especially inspired. There is no particular reason why space-dye and fair isle should work together, but they do here, brilliantly.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 5.12.09 PM

Bold and happy red white and blue, with fluffy (and humanely sourced) angora.

topshop fair isle

good mood in a sweater.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 4.30.43 PM

I’ve been obsessing in a minor key over this Band of Outsiders horse-print fair isle for weeks now—it is at once classic and totally 70s to me.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 4.35.59 PM

Inside-out stitch, flourescent—and still somehow not too much.

Wednesday links

Yoga Joe

  • Meet GI Joe’s chill cousin, Yoga Joe. (Visual News)
  • And yet again: Take that, Texas. (Daily Intelligencer)
  • Do we think it is a good thing or a slightly pernicious thing that both Apple and Facebook will now pay for their employees’ egg freezing? (The Cut)
  • A Bill Murray Christmas special is a Christmas special I would watch. (A.V. Club)
  • 50 of the greatest debut novels since 1950. (Flavorwire)

Cheap and chic of the week

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 11.12.29 PM

These excellent old-school Onitsuka Tigers—which I discovered recently at Emerson Fry —get pretty much everything right: the black laces, the cool grey-on-black palette, and most of all, the price: a mere $75.