• 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!