Review: Petite Suiting Under $200 - Banana Republic 00P

For my second suiting review, I wavered between Ann Taylor and Banana Republic. Both retailers offer suiting in 00P, at similar price points with similar coupons and sales. BR ended up winning because they continue to offer 00P in-store, whereas Ann Taylor stopped doing that last year (boo AT).

A summary of their lightweight wool suiting options, available in black and charcoal gray:

1. Suit jacket - retails for $198
2. Martin trouser pants - retail for $98.
3. High-waisted pencil skirt - retails for $80

Shoppers should never pay retail for BR suiting because they have such frequent sales. Just make sure you sign up for their e-mail updates! The best is their 40% off a single full-priced item on certain Wednesdays (in-store only), which brings the price of a full suit well below $200. They usually hand out those coupons for a future week when you make a purchase, but if you ask really nicely, they usually won't mind just giving you one!
First up, the Lightweight Wool Jacket with Martin Pants in 00P (click pics to enlarge):
 
And the back:
Stock photos:

The waist and hips of the pants:
I think most female professionals have tried on a BR suit at one point or another, so I'll keep the pantsuit review short.

Pros: 00P fits well at the shoulders, waist, and hips on me (5 ft, 94-95 lbs), especially when compared to the Express suit I tried on in Womens 00. Frequent promos = deals to be had. Easy to try on and purchase in-store.

Cons: The cut isn't bad, but it leaves something to be desired. I can see myself donning these pants for "everyday biz casual wear," but I don't feel like a million bucks in the full suit. My profession doesn't require me to wear a suit that often, so when I do, I want it to look great. Also, the pants could still use a little tailoring on me (take up hem and take in thigh bagginess), the jacket is a tad long on me, and the material (96% wool, 4% elastane) shows wrinkles.

Skirt on me in 00P:

Closer look at the skirt:
This is why I never wear traditional skirt suits. A slightly too-long jacket + a slightly too-long skirt = unflattering on shorty me. Imagine how bad this looked with flats. To give the suit credit, however, I can see someone 2 inches taller looking much better in this. Refer to this post on how I like my skirt suits (skirt that hits right at the knee, paired w/ jacket that hits above the hips)

Aside from length, another issue lies in the silhouette of the skirt - it is more straight instead of a high-waisted "pencil" as promised. And lastly, the wide waistband is too wide for a petite my size. I initially thought the band would be figure-enhancing, but instead it seems to have an opposite effect. Return.

**Addendum**
After I tried on these items and drafted this post, BR came out with a new line of "Sleek Suiting" that supposedly runs really small (refer to online reviews and this thread in AN's forum).

The price points are lower as well: the Sleek Suit Jacket is $129-$150, the Sleek Skirt is $50 to $59, and the 718 Sleek Straight Pant is $79. All three separates come in the following colors:
I tried the jacket on in-store the other day and agree that it fits smaller than usual. However, the material (cotton, modal, and lycra blend) had a little bit of sheen and seemed more like a summer-suiting material to me than a classic one. I was also surprised that the "sleek" skirt wasn't sleek at all - instead the silhouette was short and practically flared.

Nevertheless, I am pleased to see BR expanding its petite suiting offerings with lower prices and smaller cuts. Anyone who has had positive or neg. experiences with BR suiting, please feel free to share!

33 comments:

  1. Hmmm, short and flared is "sleek"!? Then I really don't know a thing about style...

    Why such a huge waistband?! I'm not saying I want it to be thin, but somewhere in between slightly leaning towards the thin side.

    Since I'm more of a 0P with thunder thighs (but no butt...argh), most of BR fits pretty well on me, hems would be all I normally need tailored.

    To be honest, I had no idea about the 40% coupon on Weds'! My coworker worked there for like 9 years and never told me about that!

    My favorite pants of all time for work are Victoria Secret's Christie Fit in 0P (I'm 5 ft and I've gained a few pounds, so I'm at 110lbs), I probably own them in every color (sadly, I don't think they come in 00P, however, I haven't checked the website in over a year...the pants have so far lasted me 6 years and I wear them practically every day, throw em in the wash and I'm good!). They do fit ever so slightly loose on the waist, nothing a skinny belt can't fix!

    As always, amazing post!! Thanks :)

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  2. That's exactly how I look in my one skirt suit (from BR) that I wear to interviews. And I agree with you that it's not exactly a flattering silhouette on us petites. But it gets the job done (actually my older suit that it replaced from Petite Sophisticate fit even worse) and I only don a suit once every few years so I never bothered with alterations.

    I love that top btw :)

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  3. bah! haven't hit paydirt yet! wherefore art thou, o perfect suit of mine???

    these are cute, but i can definitely see the flaws you mentioned. I'm particularly interested in the grey suits you review - black is nice as well, the color just seems a little boring to me at times so yay for other colors!

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  4. Fantastic post!

    I really hate the length of these BR suiting jackets recently. I always see ones in nice fabrics, try them on...and the length is awful. Gotta agree with you, above the hip length is best.

    You look a lot like I do in BR suiting. It's a close fit, but there's just always something off. Either way, I never end up buying any of it.

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  5. Great review! I did a review on the same Gray BR suit with the skirt in March. It's nice to see it on another fellow petite :)

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  6. I just purged my closet of a few pairs of BR suiting pants - they fit me at one time and are now giant.

    My biggest complaint is the extra fabric allotted for hips - which on me looks like I'm a member of the Canadian mounted police [see here: http://www.talismancoins.com/catalog/RCMP_Red_Serge.jpg]

    I have an Ann Taylor Loft suit; I found the jacket in a 2P that fits rather well, as it's a short sleeve swing style, then later found the skirt in a 0. I wish it was petite, as I'm now hiking it up with a belt in order to look polished. That said, the material is great; doesn't attract hair, doesn't wrinkle, not shiny.

    I don't own any long sleeve jackets because they all look ridiculous on me!

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  7. This is a great post. Thank you for the useful information, especially regarding the discounts.

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  8. Yeah, the suit looks just a tad bit big on you. :)
    I've actually never tried on that BR suit before, but longer jackets don't suit me as well as shorter style jackets.

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  9. I never knew about the 40% off! Thanks for the tip. I need to get on the BR mailing list. :)

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  10. @J-Ezzy, 22 Flamboyant, and Diary of a Shopper - Before I get myself in trouble, the 40% off is only on certain Wednesdays (but they do have it rather frequently). For example, I was shopping at Gap last month and they handed me a booklet of coupons for a whopping 45% off a single full priced item for every Wednesday of April!

    @ Petite XXS - pls post about this "petite sophisticate" suit, lol! I'm so curious to see.

    @ Sonic - I understand the frustrations of the quest for a perfect suit. My perfect one will be my third post of the series. Unfortunately it's black so you may find it a little mundane : )

    @ AN - yup, fit is always "okay" but I never end up buying. In fact, I've been on a Banana ban for the past months.

    @ RP - that's right. I didn't even realize it was the same suit. We must have different proportions because the skirt looks shorter on ya. Here's the link: http://www.reallypetite.com/2010/03/00petite-review-banana-republic-peite.html.

    @ Megan - Darn...that link didn't work! I was ready for a good laugh. You have the taller and slimmer build, which is probably why there's extra fabric in the hips. I rarely have that problem : )

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  11. The one skirt suit I have that I really like is a mix and match skirt/jacket from H&M in sz 2. They don't have petite sizes (at least not that I know of...) but the skirt hits right above the knee, and jacket hits just about the hip bones. I'm about 5'1.5" and ~98#... shaped like a 12 yo boy... the suit makes me look rather professional... :-)

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  12. Yay I'm finally getting your blog updates! And omg I didn't realize there are so many bloggers with the word "petite" in their name haha!

    What are clip on ponies? Is this like a weave? "Wear the pony" hahahaha that made me laugh so hard! And I'm going to guess it's not like a toy pony on her head....

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  13. I bought my first suit in first year for co-op interviews. I don't think it fits quite well, but it's the only suit I had. I think that it's time I start looking for a "grown up" suit.

    Thanks for the tip about the sales! I love your posts!

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  14. Good to know about the Sleek pants! I'm looking for work pants and Express' are HUGE on me. Debating on checking these or Ann Taylor's out now :)

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  15. Hi! I gave you a blog award. Check my blog for more info.

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  16. As far as I know Petite Sophisticate went out of business and I already threw that dreaded suit away a long time ago!

    @Diary: BR has been emailing out 40% off coupons for use online (better size selection I think) not infrequently... and if you set up Bing cashback (pretty easy to do), you get 25% off on top of that. That makes for some really good deals!

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  17. Wow im so glad I came across this blog because I simply love it. great post and even better blog, i'll be sure to check on by again, hope you have a lovely week!
    xoxo

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  18. I really like the pants. It's so hard to find a nice pair of pants for an affordable price. Once i bought a pair of pants from BR for 9.99 in a P0. Sadly, it doesn't fit anymore! :p

    The skirt looks slightly too big on you. I think it would be better if it was a bit shorter because you're so tiny :p The colors really flatter you though. :)

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  19. Sadly, the 00P sizes run out quick in NYC. I wanted to try on this exact suit, but they ran out of the jacket in 00P in all the stores. Ended up buying it online for full retail price even though I've got the 40% off coupons sitting at home!

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  20. BR always makes the nicest suits even for Asian fit. Very sharp suit you got on.

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  21. Anon - I popped into two BR's in NYC and they both "recently got rid of" their petites department. What the heck? I see petites tinier than me every few minutes in the city, so I don't understand why stores don't keep 00P's better stocked.

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  22. @PAG: Which NYC BR stores got rid of petites?

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  23. Soho and World Financial Center

    And PS - went to buy a giftcard at BR yesterday and they handed out the 40% off coupons for SATURDAY! And here I am propelling news about the Wednesdays...

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  24. OOOHH! About the lashes! Just remember to use the $5 off coupon in the coupon book!

    <33 Rena

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  25. You know what, though, I just got the coupons for 40% off Wednesdays! That's a total pain that it's all in-store, though, because I always work late and hate going shopping after work. I'd looove a set of Saturday coupons.

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  26. I'm a petite girl! FOLLOWING!

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  27. Aw your blog is such a lovely find!

    Great outfit! your gorgeous :)

    Cheers, Jesa

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  28. Banana Republic Petite is amazing! I love their pants, but have a hard time fitting into their shirts. (I have the strangest body ever. I have to wear medium to large regular women's shirts, but petite pants and dresses. Oy vay!)

    That suit looks great on you! I love the way the pants hang. I actually like them a little baggy! But it's your suit; you've got to do what makes you feel like a million bucks! :)

    Ugh... I have a body dilemma going on right now... I'm going to post about it soon!

    Anyway, <3 the outfits, girlie!

    xoxo

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  29. Hi! Your blog is fantastic!

    I'm 5'3'' 100lbs, and I bought the gray jacket in 0P and pants in 00P. I also got the pencil skirt in black in 00P. You are right about the skirt looking different on a taller person. It comes above my knee and it is very fitting. I'll wear them as separates since I don't need to wear a suit for work.

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  30. Love love your blog! I think the logan pant in 00P is much flattering cut for petites. I have one from a long time ago, now they've come out to go with their suiting. The Martin is much too full in the thighs.

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  31. I totally bought this suit (all three pieces) when I got a semi-serious job one summer! I didn't even know you did a piece on it in your blog. I'm glad you've confirmed that I made a good choice!

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  32. I just bought my first BR suit this past weekend (40% sale) for optometry school interviews. I'm about the same sizing as you... 5'1" & 95lbs. I had a really good fit with the BR Sloan Straight Fit Pants 00P. Check it out next time, the cut fits much better than the Martin for petite women. It would be a touch too long if I wore flats, but it sits just right with professional type 2" pumps.

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  33. Hi Jean!

    My friend introduced to your site, and I absolutely love your style! I read your "about section" and found out we're practically the same size (5'0" 93-95 lbs depending on the previous meal. )... which makes me adore your blog even more! It's so hard to find good looking, affordable clothes that fit right... especially professional pantsuits. So it's refreshing and enlightening to read what you've done!! Please keep posting =)

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