If you’ve ever needed to capture a perfect preppy look or you needed just the right pants to make a killer impression on a date, you’ve probably already shopped at Banana Republic. This brand is associated with preppy everyday style for men, women, children and even babies. Banana Republic makes both trendy and timeless pieces and they make everything you need for the perfect smart casual looks. That’s the Banana Republic brand: smart casual at its best. But are there brands similar to Banana Republic that capture the characteristics of what you like about this brand?
History of Banana Republic
Mel and Patricia Ziegler, a writer and an artist, founded Banana Republic in 1978. According to Mel in an interview he gave to Forbes, “We knew nothing about retail, catalogs, direct marketing or even the apparel business. Learning by doing is our way, so we jumped in with an idea.”
That idea was to find and sell vintage military surplus items but with an updated, modern look. This expanded to include an entire line of casual clothing made out of natural fabrics, materials like cotton. Mel wrote the catalog, Patricia drew the images for it and they stapled it together sitting at the kitchen table.
Five years later, the Banana Republic was a huge brand name with a whole lot of fashion and a lot of fans. Today, everyone has heard of this brand and everyone knows it’s a go-to source for smart casual fashion that looks amazing everywhere. Not bad for a brand that was created at a kitchen table.
Finding Brands Similar to Banana Republic
Banana Republic has a distinct look of being cool, casually stylish and smart. But there are other brands that have managed to capture some of the characteristics that make Banana Republic great. Find the brands that are similar to Banana Republic and you might end up liking them just as much. Use pieces from these other brands to create all kinds of different outfits that display multiple smart casual labels.
Alex Mill (More Expensive)
If you like the preppy look of Banana Republic, you’re going to love Alex Mill. Patterned sweaters, button-down shirts and everyday blalzers fill up the catalog here. Alex Mill isn’t afraid of color and classic styles rule at this brand. Wardrobe staples, the stuff you grab to wear for everyday looks, are the foundation of this brand.
Alex Mill carries clothing for men and women and they carry a range of classic and trendy styles, just like Banana Republic. The style here is a little less preppy and a little more casual but it still has the same polished look that many buyers love in Banana Republic.
Alex Mill is more expensive than Banana Republic. This brand uses more high-end materials, which makes the clothes more costly. Both brands appeal to a wide customer base, selling clothing for adults in their 20s to 40s.
American Eagle (Less Expensive)
If Banana Republic is everyday preppy style, Amerian Eagle is weekend casual preppy style. There’s a lot of denim and flannel and hoodies in the catalog and it all has that preppy gleam that many customers love in Banana Republic. Fleece and denim and cool, trendy clothes make the American Eagle brand stand out.
American Eagle appeals to a young buying audience. People in their teens and 20s are familiar with this brand. You can also find a big selection of swimsuits, shoes and accessories at American Eagle. The clothes here are much less expensive than similar items at Banana Republic.
If you need clothing that’s a little more casual and a little more trendy, items that are perfect for hanging out and being comfortable, you need to add American Eagle to your shopping rotation.
Buck Mason (More Expensive)
What would cool guys wear? Distressed bomber jackets, tailored leather jackets, outerwear so stylish you don’t want to take it off, amazing shirts, stylish knits…basically, all the stuff you can find in the Buck Mason catalog. This brand carries jeans, shirts and accessories to go with all of it.
The clothes here have a distinct modern flair, an edge of cool trendiness mixed with classic good looks. In other words, it’s the perfect brand to mix and match pieces with Banana Republic.
The two brands look very similar, though Buck Mason makes only men’s clothing. The brand specializes in men’s clothing that looks like the stuff the “most interesting man in the world” would wear. But you will pay for it. Buck Mason is a designer brand and the prices here are more expensive than similar items you will find at Banana Republic.
When you want to add a touch of designer flair to your outfits, get some pieces from Buck Mason to match with your Banana Republic favorites. Buck Mason appeals to men of all ages who want to look stylish.
Express (Less Expensive)
If you like sleek style with a chic edge, Express is the brand for you. This is pretty, professional style that’s also casual enough for everyday wear. It’s a lot of great denim, dresses, suits, tops, pants and all kinds of other casual items. Express carries everything from underwear to outerwear, plus shoes and accessories to dress it all up.
This is trendy fashion that’s made to go anywhere and look sophisticated and stylish everywhere. If you like Banana Republic and crave a slightly more fashionable look, Express is the perfect label. The pricing here is slightly less expensive than similar items at Banana Republic, so you can buy even more when you shop here.
This brand appeals to professional, trendy people in their 20s, 30s and 40s who have a flair for fashion.
Fisher + Baker (More Expensive)
The effortlessly stylish and comfortable casual looks at Fisher + Baker are very easy to wear ad very much capture the slightly preppy tone of the style you can find at Banana Republic. Fisher + Baker makes casual T-shirts and polos that are distinctly high-end. It’s not everywhere that you can find a cashmere T-shirt, after all. And by the way, it doesn’t get much preppier than a cashmere T-shirt.
Soft colors and simple style without a lot of flash is what you’ll get with Fisher + Baker. This is preppy, casual style for everyday wear, whether you’re being super casual and comfortable or you need to make an impression as a smart casual brunch.
The prices here are a little more expensive than what you’ll find at Banana Republic. This is because Fisher + Baker uses high-end fabrics, like cashmere for the T-shirts!
Hollister (Less Expensive)
Want to wear the latest trendy, preppy looks? Start looking around at the clothing from Hollister. This is fashion for teens and people in their 20s who are trendy, stylish and well-put-together. They’re the fashionistas and professionals of tomorrow and they’re wearing the trendy, cool preppy looks of the present.
Hollister carries a huge selection of fashion for men and women and a big line of jeans, definitely a go-to in casual, cool style. You can get fragrances and body items here, along with shoes and accessories to complement every outfit. Shop for jackets and outerwear, graphic T-shirts and hoodies, sleepwear and sweatpants. Hollister has all the casual fashion and it’s all super stylish.
Because Hollier provides trendy fast fashion that goes in and then out of style, the prices here are affordable. Items here cost less than similar products at Banana Republic, so you can buy a lot of fashion and keep right on buying it every year as trends change. Add trendy pieces from this brand to you classic preppy Banana Republic items and create looks that capture some of the best of fashion at once.
J. Crew (More Expensive)
If you love classic fashion in a more vintage look, J. Crew is going to be one of your preppy style brands of choice. J. Crew is so famously preppy, it’s been worn by royals, First Ladies and the most stylish, buttoned-up fashionistas around the world. Classic knits, great button-downs, sweatshirts that look almost too good to sweat in and all the other casual fashion you could want…this is just what you’ll find at J. Crew.
Like Banana Republic, J. Crew makes fashionable, smart casual clothing for men, women and kids. You can also find a whole line of cashmere items here, for those days when you’re feeling a little more luxurious. J. Crew has a classic, vintage-inspired look to it that helps it stand apart, even as it honors the same preppy style gods as Banana Republic.
The prices here are a little more expensive, on average, than the items you will find at Banana Republic. J. Crew was once one of the more expensive brands out there but in recent years, fashion here has become much more affordable and accessible. Style should be for everyone, after all.
JackThreads (Less Expensive)
JackThreads keeps things simple. This label makes T-shirts, hoodies and crewneck shirts, along with footwear. Specifically, they make boots and shoes. The clothes here have a lot of color and graphic designs that seem to jump right off the clothing. If you’re looking for a cool shirt and a pair of great-looking sneakers, turn to JackThreads.
When you want to add a little bit of a rock and roll edge to your preppy wardrobe and add some style that’s distinctly casual and edgy, mix your Banana Republic fashion with pieces from JackThreads. The fashion here is more affordable than the clothing you can find at Banana Republic, so you can afford to play around a little with the style here.
Lands’ End (Less Expensive)
If you look up preppy style in the dictionary, you might just be redirected to the Lands’ End catalog. This brand is all about classic fashion that would look perfect on any college campus. We’re talking rugby shirts, button-down shirts, slacks that look amazing, T-shirts and enough sweaters for any occasion that might come up.
The catalog at Lands’ End is full of soft colors and every kind of casual fashion you want to wear. You can also find tons of home items here, not to mention swimwear, outerwear, all the shoes and accessories you might want. You can seriously even buy an umbrella here, if you want.
Prices at Lands’ End are more affordable, in general, than similar items you can find at Banana Republic. Lands’ End is all about providing accessible fashion and it’s the perfect preppy brand to mix and match woth items from Banana Republic and brands similar to Banana Republic.
Michael Lauren (Less Expensive)
If you like your fashion to look super fashionable, Michael Lauren is your brand. This is fashion with high style, big-city appeal. The catalog is full of lots of basic black and dazzling white, soft gray and shocking pink, along with a whole range of patterns and color shades.
hese styles have great drape and flattering fits, they’re made with gorgeous fabrics and they look super modern. If your idea of preppy fashion is clothing with a runway twist, you’re going to like Michael Lauren.
The clothing here is less expensive than the items you can find at Banana Republic. That’s because this brand specializes in trendy looks for right now. You can buy more because you’ll be buying more often to maintain your super trendy look.
This is a great brand to mix and match with Banana Republic items, which are more timelessly pretty, when you want to infuse some super trendy style into your outfit.
Solid & Striped (More Expensive)
The Solid & Striped label focuses mainly on women’s wear, along with a big line of swimwear for men and children. The women’s clothing here is all the casual fashion you might want with classic silhouettes, great colors and amazing fabrics. Solid & Striped has a high-end, high-fashion look to it that’s also super casual and effortlessly stylish.
Lots of patterns and color combinations make the clothing here highly eye-catching. The figure-flattering designs definitely don’t hurt, either.
In other words, Solid & Striped looks great with pieces from Banana Republic. This designer label is more expensive, on average, than similar pieces from Banana Republic.
Zara (Less Expensive)
Zara, like Banana Republic, makes clothing for women, men and kids and they pretty much make it all. You can get lingerie, accessories, shoes, bags, home items, perfumes and anything else you might want to wear or carry to complete your looks. Zara makes it all, even home items.
When you want cool jeans, eye-catching shirts and trendy casual clothing that would look amazing at the hottest club, shop at Zara. The fashion here is highly affordable and less expensive, on average, than the similar items you can find at Banana Republic. This is cool, polished fashion for people who are young and trendy, or who dress young and trendy.
Wearing Brands Similar to Banana Republic
Banana Republic definitely has a distinct look but this isn’t the only brand that has developed a similar polished, pretty, smart casual fashion sense. Explore brands similar to Banana Republic to supplement and complement your style and add even more to your wardrobe to create looks that are going to stun no matter where you go and what you’re doing.
There’s a lot more to the casual style at Banana Republic than it first appears. What else should you know about this famous brand? We searched the internet for the most frequently asked questions about Banana Republic to get all the answers you need to know about this brand and similar brands.
Are Banana Republic and the Gap the same?
The Gap purchased the Banana Republic brand in 1983 and has managed the label ever since, expanding it into a globally recognized name. The Gap owns several brands in addition to Banana Republic, including Old Navy ad Athleta. All Gap brands specialize in affordable everyday fashion.
Should Banana Republic change its name? What does the name mean?
Banana Republic, as a brand name, isn’t bad at all. It sort of brings to mind a tropical climate. Maybe you’ll wear these clothes while you’re hiking or snorkeling or watching an incredible sunset. But a banana republic actually refers to something specific.
By definition, a banana republic is a relatively poor country that is reliant upon a single major export or resource. Banana republics are not democratic countries. Rather, they are controlled by an authoritarian regime. Corruption is present in a banana republic and the regular, everyday people suffer under such a system.
So, not great. Some have even gone on record to say that the brand’s name should be changed. Many companies, brands and teams have been charged to change their names to use less hurtful language in recent years. The list includes Aunt Jemima and the Washington Redskins.
So far, some voices have called for Banana Republic to change its name. If more of the public becomes upset about the name, it is possible that the brand could change its name at some point in the future.
Where are Banana Republic items made?
Banana Republic manufactures many items in the U.S. as part of a collection that honors American manufacturing. Check the label of all Banana Republic items and they should clearly indicate where they were manufactured.
Alliance for American Manufacturing – Special curated collections offer American-made jewelry and handbags.
Dictionary – banana republic
Fast Company – Will Banana Republic ever be forced to change its name?