Banana Republic Petites Review - Hits n' Misses

My Banana Republic order arrived and my feelings are lukewarm. First up is this cable shrug. It's cozy, it's warm, it's soft, it fits nicely...but for some reason that I can't put my finger on...I just don't love it. I'm going to sleep on this one. I can definitely see myself wearing it, but is deserving of $35 and coveted wardrobe space?
Sweater: Banana Republic Cable Shrug in PXXS (buy here - use BRJAN30 for another 30% off))
Jeans: Gap Legging Jeans in "faded dark" sz 00P (buy here)
Suede Booties: Adrienne Vittadini "Adam" sz 5.5 (buy here on final sale)

Trying it on with trousers (Theory "Mark B" sz 00) for biz-casual:
If you're around my height, the length of this sweater is good for leggings. The length in the back will cover up some tush, but you'd still need a longer top underneath to conceal dreaded camel toe.
I got these Adrienne Vittadini ankle boots in size 5.5 during my last order. I haven't heard of this brand before but it wasn't a bad price for suede. I love my CK ankle booties to pieces and wanted a similar pair in a different material. These run small! I wish I ordered size 6, as the 5.5's are very snug with socks on. If you look at the Piperlime reviews several of the ladies agree that these run about half to one size small. Other than that I am happy with the silhouette and quality.
The second item I got from BR (can't find it online anymore) doesn't really warrant a review. This is me saying wtf to a size XXS Petite:

I am going to end this post with some quick and dirty fitting room reviews:

1. 3/4 sleeve wrap dress in Petite XS (no PXXS in stores). This fit okay with just a little too much "wrap" fabric, but I can see one size down being perfect. The proportions were right. However I want to stop buying blacks and grays. I think that will be my goal for this season,

2. Brigitte Double-Knit Ruffle Dress (2 colors) in 00P. The ruffle detail doesn't strike me as classic or feminine. Instead it felt more like an Elizabethan collar. Fit-wise, the top was fine but hips were VERY roomy on me.

3. Maria Lace-Trimmed Sheath in sz 00P. This was my favorite out of the 3 and I still didn't really like it. For a cocktail dress, the sultry top portion is right but the bottom is much too drab and not fitted. For a work sheath, the bottom is okay but the top is much too va-va-voom. I can't imagine an occasion to wear this dress to. See it on Cher here.
Verdict on everything: Paaass - except maybe keep the first cardigan.

Readers - Do you own (or have you tried on) any of the above? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. That's funny, I just reviewed the black sheath dress on my blog tonight! It fits larger on you though. It's nice, but I can't see myself wearing it. And I had those AV boots (which I then returned) and I didn't find them small at all. They were really nice, but I had to give them up after I found the D&G booties at TJ Maxx. I think it was a fair trade.

  2. I like the gray shrug. ANything but black clothes..I dont buy anything black anymore.

  3. Oh I LOVE the gray sweater- if you don't keep it, think it'd fit me? :)

    Seriously though, if you want to avoid gray and don't love it, return. It's not worth the closet space if you won't get excited looking at it.

    The rest I totally agree with - pass. Can't believe how big that XXS dress is!

  4. The cardigan looks really good on you and amazing with jeans! I don't know about the trousers though... Did you pay the full $35? If you did, I say return it and wait for a sale because I don't think it's completely worth it. Especially if you conver it to Canadian dollars.. $40 for a cardigan! but then again, the material seems really thick and warm.

    I really like the ankle boots and lol @ your BR dress. Looks like it could be made for pregnant women.

    xx The Little Dust Princess

  5. I am meh about BR too...I did want to try their rainboots which have been discounted to the 25 dollar range with the 30% off code (which, btw, might work for you if you are in the market for plain rain boots...they apparently run a whole size to two whole sizes small and narrow). I just read and she reviewed the lace sheath dress (she pulled it off rather well). I like the color of the ruffle dress and wish they offered it in a less dramatic style. Thanks for the review!

  6. The first sweater looks good on you, but it does seem like a wardrobe basic and good to have around but not if you already have similar items. I like the fitting room black wrap dress on you, but I think it'll be a tad too low-cut on me. I also tried on the knit ruffle dress and it was loose on both top and bottom. The bust is pretty on the last dress, but I like your analysis... not sure where that would be appropriate for.

  7. LOL, I did a wtf before actually reading your comment as well. I thought it was some fancy night gown.

    I'm not really thrilled by the cardigan, and at $35, I'm not sold to be honest. I think it's cute in the front, but the back isn't as appealing.

    I love the AV booties. I think they look fabulous with your jeans.

    Good luck on the decision.

  8. I do love the gray sweater on you!! The whole outfit you put together for it...with the new booties and those cute! I cannot believe I have not gotten my hands on a pair of GAP jeans this season!

    The XXSP dress pics are too funny!! How ridiculous is that sizing?! The length, the arms, the tummy...eek!! Thanks for the heads up on that one!

  9. Love the booties! The dress is ridiculous for size Petite XXS. I think someone sew on the wrong label for that dress. Judging from the first picture, I like the BR sweater on you. The rounded hem with the longer length in the back helps create an elongation effect in the front – makes you look taller, always a plus for petite right? :-) I think this sweater is versatile and can be paired with jeans and slack like you did or even with a dress and belt. I think the $ is good for the sweater but if you don’t “love” it, I think you should return it. Save the $35 for something that you’ll love. I hope that helps with your decision. I’ve been following your blog for a while now but finally work up the courage to leave a comment. Love your detailed reviews. -TA

  10. LOL, I love your WTF size XXS Petite look!! ;) I really like the cable knit sweater, but I can see what you mean - something about it just isn't "perfect." Maybe it's the color? In any case, it looks great with your jeans and booties!

  11. I really like the grey cardigan on you, especially when ur wearing it with jeans! The front details look really interesting, and for sure it'll keep you warm!

  12. Ahhhh I love the gray cable cardi on you!! It looks so flattering and cozy! And for only $35! I'm a total sucker for cable-knit. :P

  13. The gray shrug looks really good on you in the first pic (not so good with the black wide leg trousers), but if you're not feelin' it... return it. :)

  14. Btw sorry for double post, but about the dress with the really low-cut neckline, remember you can always layer a cami underneath.

  15. Haha, Jean you are so cute ;) I really like the gray shrug, but it really depends on how much you like it - I agree with those comments.

    That WTF face is priceless. It looks like you're wearing a curtain or something.

    I saw the sale from BR today too, and was contemplating about buying some items, but I decided to forget it :P

    The 3/4 looks really good on you actually - and haha, love your comment about too much blacks. That's what I feel about my blacks.

    And you must have awesome skills! I still can't handle walking in 4 feet heels... :D those are awesome on you.

  16. @Cher Just added your link! You filled it out MUCH more nicely.

    @Erin Since you're a taller petite I'd encourage you to get the regular XS. PetiteXXS twitpiced it and it looked perfectly normal on her! If you look in the photos, the petite arms are almost short on me.

    @The Little Dust Princess I think the alleged original price of $140 for the sweater swayed my decision to buy. That's never a good idea though. Original prices don't mean a thing if it will go unworn.

    @Elle I didn't see those at all. Will have to check them out!

    @PetiteXXS If the print wrap dress you had fit, then the XXSP (one size down from what I'm wearing) may not be too low for you. I know what you mean though...I wrapped it uber tightly to keep everything in.

    @Gracie You're right...something about the back in that photo looks so lopsided! I hope it's just the photo angle and not some defect.

    @Michelle I think you'd love them! But you've been faring well with other skinny jeans this year so I guess no real need : )

    @Anonymous Hi TA! I'm so glad you decided to say hello. There's no need to be shy on here - I love hearing everyone's opinions and recommendations. And we think alike...I have photos of this with a dress, belted, but they came out too poorly to show. In the end I guess I answered my own question - $35 is too much for more clutter in the closet.

  17. @Anh The color is definitely part of it...the gray you'd think would be super versatile but I had lots of trouble finding items to pair it with!

    @hugstiem If you love cable knit, then this *double* cable knit cardi is for you! It's in stores too for $30ish...a regular XS didn't look half bad on petite little girl. Oh and yes thanks for the reminder...I read Cher's review and saw that she mentioned layering a cami.

    @Erica LOL I dusted off those trousers and tried to pair them with something. Teaches me not to stray from my beloved skinny silhouette. Back into the closet they go!

    @grace Lol! I just noticed they were 4 inches. How did I miss that when ordering? I don't walk much when I wear booties & jeans (usually from car to dinner lol) so it's do-able. Ah I don't think you missed too much by skipping ole BR today. However their in-store sales right now are pretty steep the last I checked.

  18. the gray shrug looks really great on you!! the sleeves are perfect and i really like the length. as for the other dresses, i think they were misses. i had actually just tried on the ruffle dress a couple days ago too and the hips were a definite no-go for me too. hopefully at least you'll keep the cable shrug from your recent haul. :)

  19. I think the gray shrug looks awesome...and I love, love those booties on you...and the look on your face in that one pic of the XXS dress is priceless :)

  20. Personally I love the grey shrug and how it looks on you, but I'm a sucker for that kind of thing (I just bought a cable-knit sweater myself) and if you don't love it too, I agree about sleeping on it.

    As for that first dress in XXSP... no comment!

    I might have said before how much I love those Gap legging jeans of yours. I hope Gap carries them in the UK someday, because last I saw they only had the legging jeans with the stirrup feet, in a different wash.

  21. I really like the grey cardi - it's totally something I would pick up and my husband would roll his eyes at me as ask "don't you have 10 of those already?" ;)

    Wow the XXSP dress and your WTF look - hilarious!! It wouldn't even fit us "bigger" petites!

  22. The sweater isn't that bad. I actually like it and you're right, it goes well with leggings (or anything skinny).

    The black non-wrap BR dress is a DEFINITE NO. No amount of alterations will do anything and really, this is BR vanity sizing going CRAZY. Are people really that desparate to fit into smaller sizes?

    1. Wrap dress: I'd get a different colour - two are available online (with XXSP still available). However, they're only available at full price, I believe. I have it in Concord purple and am considering the Regal teal at my next BR splurge.

    2. The Brigitte Double Ruffle is the EXACT REASON why I'm not a fan of clown ruffles, especially on petites!

    3. I LIKE the Maria dress!

  23. Like several others, I love the grey cardigan, but unlike them I actually think it looks amazing with the pants as well as the jeans. I had looked at it on BR before but been meh, now I'm reconsidering it for myself. :)

  24. Other than the gray cardigan, I don't love any of the other items on you. I like the cardigan but not sure if I want to pay $35 for it. I don't know about yours but the one I tried on in store gave me lint all over. I've had some lucks with BR outlet lately. Thanks for the review

  25. Hi Jean, I agree with you on your decision to purge everything except for the shrug,,, maybe. I got the purple one, which is an amazing color. I also sized up, because I like the warm cocoon sweater to be a little oversized. I was luke warm about the sweater as well until I put it on and took pictures. Then I fell in love with it.
    I also ordered the 3/4 sleeve wrap dress in xxsp, but didn't like the fit and it was too long.
    I did luck out on the Priscilla sweater which I absolutely adore, and a mini-skirt that fits like a glove. Post coming up soon.
    Looks like I had better luck in BR than you did.

  26. I do love the cardigan - it is one of those things that you can definitely throw on over anything to stay nice and cozy - I say keep, plus the first pic of you in it is just adorable!

    The "Elizabethean collar" made me lol - it might be a bit too...proper?

    I LOVE your boots - and the fact that you said 'they run small' was exciting for me! My feet are exactly a 5 occasionally eeking out a 5.5. Thanks for the tip!

  27. Noooooo -- boots sold out in sz 5.5. *sigh* And they were at a great price too!

  28. I have the dark purple version of that sweater too and I really love it. My workplace gets so cold that I often find myself wearing thin sweaters underneath bulkier sweaters. And I'm so jealous you snagged it for $35! I thought I was doing well getting it 40% off the original price, haha.

    For the record, I have NEVER been able to find a BR dress that fit me. I think they cut them for curvier women or something because they are guaranteed not to fit me at the bust or hips, ever. Theory on the other hand...

  29. I like the gray cardigan on you - especially the color and the cable knit detail. I picked up the same cardigan in XXS and almost loved it but mine bunched up oddly at the sides where the cable wraps around to the back. I guess I should take a picture and post it so you can see what I'm talking about. My husband also thought the neck area was a little large but I thought it fit just fine there. Oh well...I'm dreading the massive returns trip I have to make this week! Ugh.

  30. OMG- the sizing inconsistencies! I got the sweater in purple and grey and love it! Def no to everything else! :) At least it saves you money right?

  31. my favorite item are the booties actually! the sweater is nice and fits great, but there's something off about it, not quite sure what it is.

  32. i reaaally like the sweater on you w/ the skinnies. i think it'd look good belted w/ skirts, too!

    wtf to that first black dress. it fits like a nightgown. for men.

  33. I love your booties and the jeans but not so much the sweater. I like the back of it but not so much the front and side detail. I do like the black wrap dress on you, maybe a size smaller in a different color?

  34. BR has me feelings so "blah" these days. I haven't bought anything in months, and the last time I was in store, I walked right out after a quick run around the petites section. Not really feeling any of these...what happened BR? Where did you go?

  35. I really like the wrap dress, it is really cute and I think it would be perfect one size down... the gray cardi is OK but it isn't my favorite...
    By the way, I love your blog!

  36. I haven't ventured into BR in so long, so thanks for this review! I'm probably in the minority, but I REALLY like the opened cardigan with the wide-legged trousers. So chic!

  37. I say pass on the dresses, but keep the sweater. It looks warm and cozy

    Just Better Together

  38. Hey Jean! I am debating on keeping my grey shrug as well.. I did order it in the purple, so I will probably just keep one.

    I love your wtf face. hahahah Yes I don't understand how that is a XXSP!!!

    About the booites, I ordered a 6, since they were sold out of the 5.5. I am willing to trade wih you! Let me know.. btw, this is Michelle from Facebook.. I finally started a blog, I am still trying to familiar myself with it!!!

  39. I have the gray shrug and wear it belted with a wide belt. You should definitely try belting too and if you still don't love it, return it.

  40. I love the booties! I went to buy a pair and I'm torn between size 6 and size 6.5. I normally wear 5.5 in dress shoes and 6 for sneakers and boots (because of socks). How snug are the 5.5's on your when you were wearing tights? Thanks!!

  41. I like the gray sweater and the ankle boots. Going to buy one for myself.

    Where do you buy skiny jeans? I can't seem to find a perfect one. It is always either too loose or too long.

  42. I like the shrug a lot - gray will definitely come in handy. I liked how Vicky belted hers, but if you're planning to stop buying black/gray items, I probably wouldn't keep it especially since you don't love it. With the exception of the 1st dress, I felt like each dress had great potential but had little flaws. Pass on all the dresses but think about the shrug is my verdict. :)

  43. The sweater look great on you, love it! Given that you seem to be looking for a black dress, have you ever tried Susana Monaco dresses? I have one for their thick jersey-like dresses in size xs and it runs really small (the owner of the store where I bought the dress is super tiny as well and recommended me to try Susana Monaco). My dress is a "fake" wrap-dress, which I prefer because then you don't get that extra fabric around the waist and don't have to worry about the skirt opening when you sit down or walk. Susana Monaco dresses are a bit more pricey than BR, but the fabric is really nice and heavy and falls well (which I find is important for jersey-dresses because otherwise they tend to clinch to your legs and bum). Anyhow, just wanted to let you know. :-)

  44. You are so so so adorable with that WTF dress look. I like to squeeze your cheek.

    I am not feeling the grey sweater either. Too basic and common. It's definitely not closet space worthy.

    Young girls should wear vibrant color. Leave the black color to old lady like me.

  45. I love the ankle boots! I have trouble finding ankle booties that are snug like that around the ankle because my legs are pretty slim. And all the dresses look great on you! Aside from that one too-big BR dress of course :)

  46. LOL @ the fitted Maria sheath - my thoughts exactly when I saw it. Where would I wear this party on top, business on bottom number. I do love the waist detail though - another blogger, jetsetmeg, picked up a more business-y one in the outlets and made me wish I had access to an outlet...but cannot justify renting a zipcar to go to Wrentham, which can be soo hit or miss.

    That having been said, it looks really nice on you though.

    Not loving the sweater on you. Especially the color. It's blah enough here in the winters and does nothing for your skintone. Instead of thinking "pretty girl" all I see is "grey sweater." I keep thinking "I wish it was red or mustard yellow" based on other things you have worn. One of these years, BR will release it in a more lively color. For now, if you don't love it, spend that $35 elsewhere.

    I do like the wrap dress but agree you need one size down. If the 3/4 sleeve faux wrap goes on sale, consider it. It might even be worth breaking your no-black no-buy.

  47. I love the cable knit sweater on you. Do they have that sweater in another colour? I think a bronze or mustard yellow would also give you more of a colour punch.

    And LOL at the expression from the black XXSP dress. You are adorable!

  48. Whoa, that XXSP is massive! I wonder if that dress is supposed to shrink a LOT in the wash...haha, doubt it.

  49. I actually really like the cardigan. Chunky knits are perfect for winter and $35 is a good price. I would keep it, but if you aren't loving it, then don't bother. It looks great with the skinny jeans and booties! As for the rest, I agree with you everything is just so-so. I can't believe the wrap dress in xxs petite is so huge! Stores really need to work on their sizing! I like the 3/4 sleeve wrap dress but it's nothing special and I like the top of the third dress but the bottom is too loose. The last few times I've been to Banana, I haven't found anything that I really liked. Have you tried their jeans though? I have a pair of dark skinny jeans from them in size 0 regular and they fit me really well! I'm actually wearing them right now:) I think they're on sale now too. I vote yes to the cardigan and no to everything else!
    xo Liza

  50. Thank you guys for sharing your opinions. I do like the cardigan but decided to return it. When I went, though, the store was closed due to a snow storm! Was it an omen? Lol!

    @kileen I just saw it on PetiteXXS too and am not sure why the hips are so roomy. I understand the tulip silhouette but this was just too much.

    @Frankincensy What is the Gap UK website? I really hope they get it too. The US site got a new shipment and restocked on all sizes last month...did you check recently? : )

    @CynthiaC Yes of course the lively colors are still at retail price and only black is discounted. You should try on the Maria dress if you like it! It looks a LOT better on Cher because she filled it out.

    @Irene Aw darn! Small footed women must've gotten to those size 5's and 5.5's last week.

    @Monkey For something that you love and have been wearing a lot, 40% off the original price is totally worth it. It just doesn't fit that well into my personal wardrobe. Oh, have you been to the BR outlet? I don't have any dresses from regular BR that fit right, but two of my all time favorite sheath dresses are from the BR outlet!

    @Petite Mom Me too.. the return pile is getting burdensome. You should post so we can see!

    @Really Petite That's how it always is...with every shopping disappointment comes savings in $

    @Ping I agree!

    @Midori Lol! Nightgown for men. And yes the cardi does look cute belted w/ skirts and dresses. A few other bloggers got it and styled it as such.

  51. @Alterations Needed BR has been gone for over 1 year! I'm keeping my strike going strong. The outlet however offers more hopefuls.

    @Michelle Thanks Michelle!

    @Cee Haha yes you are in the minority..I think most readers are grossed out by the wide pants with this cardi look. But that's because trousers are more your style - I can totally see such a combo on you.

    @PetiteMom Michelle, I can't find your blog!! I'm so curious to see it. Oh and I already wore my booties...trying to stretch it out with my big feet. I wouldn't want to send you worn shoes so I hope the 6 fits you with socks on!

    @Anonymous Do you read Vicky's Daily Fashion? She showed it with a wide belt. I prefer my cardigans open and swinging so I guess this one is going back. Thank you for sharing your thoughts though : )

    @Anonymous Another blogger mentioned she didn't find that these ran small at all. I usually wear a 6 in boots so I would say order your usual size - 6! I hope it works out! I'm actually considering ordering the brown pair now too to be worn with bare legs in the Spring.

    @A.Li Hi A.Li! My skinny jeans are either the Gap legging ones (as shown) or H&M super sqin style. Give them both a shot! And ankle boots are the best...for year round wear! They add such an edge to skinny jeans.

  52. @SewPetiteGal Well said...great potential but little flaws! I bet you never go dress shopping can sew items yourself to fit perfectly.

    @Anonymous Thank you for the recommendation - I personally have not tried Susana Monaco but I'm curious if you're the same reader who recommended it about one year back? That's the only other time I've ever heard of the brand and that reader talked about how S.M. items are a worthy investment and fit small.

    @Anonymous Hahaha thank you for sharing your thoughts. The sweater is cozy but you're right - too basic and common and I'd rather have it in a vibrant shade.

    @Rinny I know what you mean! It makes it hard for slim-ankled girls like us to wear ankle boots with bare legs or tights because the space/gap is made obvious. I stick to jeans and thicker tights/leggings to conceal the space.

    @Annapurna You don't have a car here? I think there is a bus that goes to Wrentham though, but a Zipcar is so much easier. Before I got my car I primarily had a Zipcar account to go to Wrentham - is that sad? I did see that dress on Meg and liked it a lot on her. I don't need another plain black sheath myself though. And yes I'll be keeping a keen eye on the 3/4 one...if it goes down to $25 or something : )

    @fabulouslyfrugirl Sadly, just in purple and gray which I think are now sold out. Banana Republic RARELY goes the bold color route : )

    @fashionforteens Ah yes I have tried their jeans many times and they never fit on me. But I am happy to hear that you had luck in a 0 regular! That's pretty awesome : )

  53. I love the sweater on you, but I love the "wtf" face even more lol. You're so funny. I went to the BR when you tweeted about the JCrew nail polishes in copley but I didn't even try on anything :( JCrew was okay tho :P

  54. Adrienne Vittadini is an old school classic brand...Good quality. $35 is too much for that sweater at this point in the season. It took some searching but I just got a cashmere XS Vince sweater from TJ Maxx for $35 it was $245...gotta love end of the season clearance!

  55. @Petite Asian Girl - I hadn't thought to check the site (, but I just did and they are in stock - thank you! I'll have a look for them in my local store.



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