Off Topic: 50% off Friends & Family brings me right back into Banana Republic (plus more reviews!)

On this mannequin: Jacket // Sweater // Top // Jeans // Shoes
The top half of this outfit would easily work over a skirt — this one comes to mind.

The shopping gods are conspiring with me to deliver one heck of a Fall 2015 wardrobe. Right as I’m falling in love with a bunch of what Banana Republic has to offer along comes a special cardholder promotion: 50% off up to 5 full-price items when you use your Gap family credit card. You should have received a unique code to use in-store and online in your inbox — if you didn’t your best bet is to contact customer service.

This is where BR’s current limited color palette comes in super handy for me. A visit to the store meant I was able to pick up 5 items that will yield multiple outfits! I’m getting ever more excited about my Fall wardrobe!

I’m sharing a bunch of store inspiration that shows how to layer BR’s longer, boxy pieces. Inside, find out what I got and some quick reviews of the things I tried on, including a bunch of the Sloan Pants.

Left: Necklace // Tunic // Pants (see below for fit details) // Bag // Shoes
Center: Blazer // Top // Pants // Shoes
Right: Sweater // Top // Pants // Shoes

Note: Here are my usual sizes for Banana Republic: Tops 4/S; Sweaters S; Dresses 6; Pants 10/30; Skirts 8; Blazers/Jackets 8/M;  Shoes 9. I am 34-29-38, 34D, 5’8″. Hourglass figure with thicker thighs and calves. Unless otherwise noted, I tried and liked my usual size in everything shown in this post.

I don’t know if Banana Republic read my post about them last week or what, but either way I was delighted to see this setup in their Flatiron flagship (NYC) devoted to showcasing three ways to wear the Sloan-Fit Tux-Stripe Skinny Ankle Zip Pant ($98). I could have easily picked a combination of the items shown here for my 5 friends & family pieces, and instantly have added multiple outfits to my closet. In fact, I did choose to do something like this in the end. It’s store design like this that helps drive sales, as I went from being not-so-interested in these pants to immediately needing to try them on! (Review further down in this post.)

Likewise, seeing the Crepe High/Low Tunic ($75) on the model helped me realize that with a top that hits in the perfect spot across my hips, perhaps the Sloan Pants are doable for me. Hmm…more on this below.

Left: Jumpsuit // Top // Shoes
Right: Blazer // Top // Jeans // Shoes

I’m rejecting jumpsuits altogether, but the look on the right-hand model is brilliant. I could wear this look as-is to work (hooray young technology clients!) but it would also be easy to swap out the jeans for either a skirt or pants, or perhaps faux-leather front leggings if you’re feeling brave!

Rear Mannequin: Dress (size down, worn as topper) // Top // Necklace // Bag // Jeans

This more casual weekend look got me thinking about how much I love striped shirts! The shirt here appears three times in this post alone. Although I’m not sure that I could pull this look off, it’s yet another variation for the Trench Dress ($130) also featured in my last BR post. Do note that you’ll want to size down in the dress as it runs large!

Shoes // Pants // Top // Vest (Monogram; not online) // Necklace // Sunnies

I’m not sure if it quite translates in the photo but this outfit sent shivers down my shopping spine. The vest is a Monogram collection piece that doesn’t seem to be online, which is a total bummer because the effect was hard to capture in my semi-rush through the store. It has a drawstring waist and I expect to see tons of sleeveless toppers like this around NYC this fall…I’ve already seen a few with people who can’t wait to show off the style.

I know a sleeveless topper sounds ridiculous…alright it is ridiculous, but it’s one of the trends I’m ready to embrace for its overall silhouette lengthening and the slimming effects of it. I’d recommend giving it a try!

My favorite Sloan Pants of the day.

I’ve been to the Flatiron Banana Republic store a few times this week during my lunch break, and while I was there on this particular trip one of the store stylists I’d spoken to previously noticed me eyeing the Sloan Pants. She urged me to give them a try. At first I demurred, no no I’m a curvy gal and Sloans don’t work on me, but after chatting with another SA who came over (and has a body shape similar to mine) I decided why not, I haven’t got anything to lose.

While they’re still not quite the amazing fit the Martins used to be, Sloan’s come a long way! Here are some quick reviews of the versions I tried. (You can see them all online here.)

Sloan-Fit High-Waist Pant ($90, purchased in size 10): My favorite Sloans of the day (shown in the photo above). The darker charcoal grey and the black tuxedo stripe down the side combine for a super flattering look. There’s a very subtle ankle zipper at the bottom of each leg which is so 90s to me but I can roll with it. The best part about these pant though are the high waist. In this case ‘high waist’ means hitting across my natural waist, which is exactly where I need my work pants to hit. The overall result was awesome! These pants start out tight and stretch out about 1/4 of a size (the stylist’s term!) over the course of the day.

Sloan-Fit Charcoal Slim Ankle Pant ($98, purchased in size 10): Another winner in a lighter grey tone. These sit slightly below the waist but I did not experience any muffin-top. There is a small vent at the ankle. This style of Sloan is slightly eased through the thighs I noticed, perfect for someone like me with curvier legs.

Sloan-Fit Tux-Stripe Skinny Ankle Zip Pant ($98, tried in a size 10 and 12): Things hit the skids a bit for me here…it turns out ‘skinny ankle pant’ basically translates to legging pants (peggings?). Unfortunately this meant they were cut too small around the calves for me. This is such a weird phenomenon that I’ve experienced a few times this summer, usually it’s my thighs that are too much for pants to handle so it feels weird to not get a fit around the calves! My calves are about 16 inches around for reference. Anyway, while the pants do have some stretch to them it’s more in the upper half than the lower, so these were a no-go for me sadly. It’s too bad because the tuxedo stripe gives them a sharp look. I had similar issues with the Sloan-Fit Faux-Leather Front Skinny Ankle Pant ($110) — neither the 10 nor the 12 could clear my calves. Disappointing — I love the faux-leather front! I’m intrigued by the on-sale Sloan-Fit Faux-Leather Front Legging ($50 + an extra 30% off using the code BRSALE) but worry they will have the same issue. Slim-calved ladies, these three pants are for you!

Sloan-Fit Faux-Leather Trim Ankle Pant ($90, tried a 10): I don’t usually wear cropped pant styles but these were lovely! They have a beautiful herringbone pattern in red and black and the leather-trimmed pockets are a nice detail, though to be honest I would mostly wear these pants with longer tops so no one would see it. Luckily the detail laid flat on me — my biggest worry was that the pockets would fold out creating a weird line. People would, however, see the faux leather trim at the ankles. These sit lower on the waist which is why I’m in a 10 instead of the 8 I wear in pants at most places — my hips require the extra room. These pants have a bit of give to them. I liked these a lot and would consider buying them once fall is actually here.

This top has a weird name but is long and super flattering!

With two pairs of pants picked out to purchase with my friends & family promo discount, that left me three more full-price items to choose. My immediate thought was tops to go with the pants. The top above is called the Mixed-Media Muscle Tank ($50, purchased a S) and of course I tried it on in black (city girl!) but it also comes in a pretty blush or a steely grey. I guess it’s called a muscle tank because it has wider shoulder panels, but on me it looks like a plain tank and in real life the shoulder panels aren’t as wide as the website makes it look.

I loved, loved, loved this top on! Where Anthro keeps failing by making its boxy tops too short, this top is a rectangle — nice and long, hitting at the perfect spot across my low hips to conceal the widest spot on my thighs, making me look long and super-lean. The shirt has a split side hem which also allows it to contour to my body for a perfect fit. The v-neck is not too low for work and while the shirt looks sheer here it’s double-layered in front so it’s totally opaque. I took my usual size small and it looks great with both pairs of Sloan pants I purchased. The armholes on this top are kind of big — my black bra made it all look continuous but beware different color bras under it.

I also purchased the BR Monogram Cutout Cami ($80, purchased a L) in black; it also comes in garnet red (which keeps selling out online but was easy to find in NYC stores at least) and cocoon, an off-white. The low open back of this tops makes a cardigan or blazer necessary during the day but I don’t mind one bit. In this particular top instead of my usual small I went up to a large! It does have a slight a-line shape to it already but the small was uncomfortably tight over my hips, the medium less so but still hip-hugging and the large, while roomy, felt and looked the best of all of them. I plan to wear this with a long layering necklace (something like this probably).

Speaking of lengthening and slimming, I also tried on the Multi-Stripe Long Cardigan ($110) and fell in love. It will look great over the top/pants combinations I’ve assembled above as well as being a great fall topper for sleek dresses and such. My usual size small worked perfectly open and closed. The sweater is heavy because it’s so long, but it doesn’t weigh itself down which is nice — the bottom is considerably lighter than the top. I however did feel a bit of its heft on my shoulders. The stripes are a mohair which will shed for sure. This sweater was on special promo in my store so I bought both colors and it didn’t count towards my 5-item friends & family promo discount.

Part of my loot for the day. (The pants are at their closest fitting here, they’ll loosen up.)

With one item left for said discount, what should I get, I wondered. Bags are unfortunately nearly all excluded from the F&F promo so my top picks the Fringe Crossbody ($168) and the Double Pouch Crossbody ($150) will have to wait. Anything that says ‘BR pick’ on the website is also excluded and sadly so are all leather goods…so long dreams of this beauty at 50% off. The Damsel D’Orsay Pump ($128) I want badly in coral? Excluded.

For now, I’ve got one full-priced item left to get at 50% off. I really like the outfit topping this post and was thinking of getting either the top or the sweater with the discount; this faux-leather open cardigan is the kind of piece I love in the fall; I tried on this Monogram dress at the Rockefeller Center store a few weeks ago in black and found it soft, sexy and yet still wearable. What would you get in my shoes?

If you’re looking for more BR reviews, I tried on a bunch of great stuff in this post.

Did you receive this Banana Republic Friends & Family discount in your email? If so, what did you get or what will you get?

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