Review: Banana Republic Mad Men Petite Lace Shell

I’m updating very frequently due to a huge backlog of posts – reviews, travel, cooking(?) – that have accumulated in my Blogger, so please bear with me : ) Last week I watched my first episode of Mad Men (Nick has always been a fan). I was instantly hooked by the demure styling, the impeccable hairstyles. Although the hairstyles are impossible to achieve with my crispy/piecey hair, I did feel inspired to pick up one item from BR’s Mad Men Collection.

brmadmen1Lace Shell: Banana Republic sz XXSP  Pants: Theory (old)  Shoes: Ann Taylor Perfect Pumps sz 5

I’ve been looking for a simple lace top for layering, for both work and weekend outfits. This shell comes in black or cream, from Petite XXS – L, as well as regular and tall sizes. I ended up really liking this one, but warning – it will not be flattering on every figure. The length is cut short, and the petite version is probably not suitable for someone too much taller than me (5 feet). I rarely find tops that are short enough to be worn with pants, untucked, so I’m embracing this.

The silhouette is fitted on top and flared toward the bottom. As a result, I didn’t think it would work tucked in but I was pleasantly surprised. The part at the waist is still somewhat fitted so it doesn’t poof much when tucked. Armholes are a little big, but acceptable. See this in regular sizing on Elaine and Sydney.

Skirt: Modcloth On Your Way Skirt sz S, taken in  Pumps: Louboutin Simple 100 sz 35

I paid about $37 after 25% off (unfortunately this line is excluded from many BR coupons and discounts). Will it go on further sale later on? Maybe. Probably. I’ve seen cheaper lace shells at H&M; or F21, but this one feels more elegant versus trendy. I got both black and cream to try on, and although the cream has tiny flecks of gold sparkle, it’s still the keeper color for me. I’ve worn it twice to work so far – once under a cardi, both tucked into a pencil skirt, and once with cropped pants and a swing jacket.

As for the rest of the collection, I was un-impressed. Watching the show, there was so much potential for an inspired collection, but many of the items seem low quality for the price (ie. plastic-y leopard trench at $200, itchy leopard cardigan at $80). The styling in BR’s online photos with the hair, pearls, and glam lipstick appeals to me more than the clothes, but still falls short of how the show’s characters are styled.

Readers – did anyone else pick up this lace shell?
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  1. wife of jimmyjames wrote:

    Just listed one in PXS on ebay…check it out. It'll be available to Canadians 🙂
    Search for listing – Banana republic mad men lace shell.

    Posted 10.1.11 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    I tried on this top today. It fit great except for the large arm holes. It shows my bra a little. I was hoping to order it online in petites but I can't find it. But according to your post, the large arm hole issues won't be fixed just by getting petites?


    Posted 9.2.11 Reply
  3. Thank you so much everyone for your feedback and comments. Looks like the consensus is in …BR's mad men collection is a flop! Except for this little shell (for me, anyways ; )

    @Anonymous Whoops! Thanks for pointing it out to me. Fixed!

    @Diana That 25% mad men code seemed to have just ended. Knowing BR, they'll have another one on their site soon! Just check back on their homepage (it's where I found the last one).

    @Linh Hi Linh, it's about 27" in length, a smidge long for my liking but it works.

    Posted 8.26.11 Reply
  4. Efbe wrote:

    this lace top is really cute and chic ! But I don't think it is available in France, is it ?

    Posted 8.25.11 Reply
  5. JC Rineer wrote:

    I like this better tucked in. I don't know why.

    Posted 8.25.11 Reply
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    I'm so far from being petite…lol…but I like to see how you put outfits together. Being a stay at home mom for SUCH a LONG time, I forgot how to dress myself.

    Posted 8.25.11 Reply
  7. Tarah wrote:

    I love a bargain… as do you! Your outfits look great and very professional which is a look I'm very much into right now.


    Posted 8.25.11 Reply
  8. grace wrote:

    Love the lace shell on you, particularly tucked in. I have to say, I'm disappointed in the Mad Men collection as well. One of my favorite things is to see what the women are wearing when I watch the show, and it seems the collection doesn't really convey the classic lines from that time period at all. Ah well.. I would love to see you do some old Hollywood waves =) I forget the term for that style, but I think it would look gorgeous on you!

    Posted 8.25.11 Reply
  9. Michelle wrote:

    Glad you found at least one item from the line! You styled it so nicely in both photos. Especially love it with the skirt! You make me want to go into my closet now and start planning what to wear for my first week back at school!

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  10. Linh wrote:

    Jean, what is the length of the pearl necklace you were wearing in here?

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  11. The top looks so great with the skirt! Great pairing 😀

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  12. Diana wrote:

    I really like this shell and it looks great on you! Ooh, and I love that it has flecks of gold. Where did you find the 25% off coupon that doesn't exclude this collection, though – I just need one of those! 🙂

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  13. Anonymous wrote:

    love how you styled this lace top. you look great in both trousers & skirt… demure and sophisticated. 😀

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  14. Cute top! And you can pull off the yellow skirt very well! 🙂

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  15. I love the clothes on Mad Men! You definitely have a Betty style.

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  16. espiem wrote:

    I don't like most of the lace tops I've seen in stores or on blogs… just not my style, too cheap or too dated looking. But I love this one. And it fits your style (as I see it) perfectly.

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  17. Vicky wrote:

    I absolutely love your blog! You are such an inspiration and your style is Amazing! Have been looking for a lace top that does not look cheap, thank you so much for the recommendation! I just went online and made my purchase. =)

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  18. CynthiaC wrote:

    I tried the lace shell in XS Regular at the store. They aren't selling it in petites in Canada, not even online (only three pieces are available in petites). It looked really boxy on me and as you probably saw, the cigarette pants were even worse. I actually posted the post over on Banana's Facebook page and they replied by saying that they'd forward it over to their designers (NOT!) because it's "certainly something they'll take into consideration when designing future products" (NOT! again)… I also copied Janie Bryant (the woman who does the costumes on Mad Men) w/ the link… of course, she didn't get back to me…

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  19. I bought this top in Regular in Ivory and Black. Although it is boxy, I'm going to have my tailor make a dart along the outer bust line to add some shape and address the large arm holes. Not expensive for a work horse piece that is so versatile. Glad you like it as well!

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  20. Michelle wrote:

    Very nice look. I'm loving the mustard color skirt. The pearl necklace really adds the finishing touch to this attire. 🙂

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  21. I totally agree with you re: the Mad Men collection! I saw the pics online and that was about enough for me – most of the items were OK but kind of meh-worthy, especially when you think about what it could've been!

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  22. Sunshine wrote:

    woohooo i got the same top too (not like i need anymore lace or ruffles *sigh*). you pull of this demure look flawlessly 🙂

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  23. Hnub Vaj wrote:

    I agree with you on the Mad Men collection at BR. The BR designs have been very bland lately.

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  24. HUGE sigh of relief. I thought I was the ONLY person unimpressed by the Mad Men/BR collection. Lol. I haven't seen the pieces in person, but the photos online from BR and bloggers alike don't appeal to me at all. Pretty boring, if you ask me.

    Anyway, welcome to the world of Mad Men! I was sucked in from Episode 1 and am anxiously awaiting its return.

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  25. DSK Steph wrote:

    I've been wanting to start Mad Men because my musical idol Josh Groban's gorgeous ex-girlfriend January Jones is in it! lol

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  26. Angie wrote:

    this shell fits you well minus the flare in middle picture. looks great tucked in and out!

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  27. it flares out oddly, esp that middle pic, so you're right about it probably not being ideal for someone taller than 5'. I noticed it flares on Sydney too. but if you wear it tucked, doesn't matter. Still blase abt the whole collection.

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  28. Kelly wrote:

    Loving your latest blog posts, so no worries about feeling backlogged. 🙂 Forgot to say thanks the other day for the jeans review and the LBC discount!
    p.s. – Just a heads up, but the title of your blog right now reads 'Man Men' 😉

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  29. Ping wrote:

    i rarely see you in trousers, i like it! the outfit is very classy and the lace shell is pretty on you.
    i agree that their hairstyle is so hard to micmic. it would take me hours.

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  30. Thu wrote:

    Echo everyone else. Love these frequent posts because I find your opinion and style so helpful. And most of this info I have no idea about until you post.:) Love the shell!

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  31. Wow that is a bit pricey for a shell but I think it may be worth it for you since it's quite versatile.

    I'm banned from lace according to Cee…lol

    I like it paired with the pleated skirt- super classy:-)

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  32. I loved the way you styled the lace shell and it looks great on you. Mad Men is awesome; I almost put in a spoiler and luckily prevented myself from doing so. ;). Enjoy watching the rest of the episodes!

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  33. Nelah wrote:

    Very very sophisticated especially that hairdo. You look so divine and mature. I sure don't mine frequent posts from your blog because they are always great.

    Hey Jean, I did a post on blogs that make a difference and yours is one if them. Check it out if you have a minute. Thanks for inspiration.

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  34. Anonymous wrote:

    Can you do more ootd for work and weekend outfits? I love the way how you dress.

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  35. tinymum wrote:

    I like it on you especially with that pleated skirt! You look very sophisticated!

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  36. I am completely underwhelmed with the Mad Men collection. I like how everything looks, but honestly I don't think they are worth the prices. I think some of the dresses are rather nice, but I've got a huge stash of vintage patterns and I could easily make something if I really, really wanted a vintage style dress. I think I am more drawn to the styling of the models (hair, makeup) than anything else. I was looking forward to the collection but I am not as into it as I thought I would be (given that I tend to gravitate towards vintage style dresses).

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  37. maryeb wrote:

    I would love to see how you styled this with the cropped pants and swing jacket. Your tips and reviews are so helpful.

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  38. R.L. wrote:

    I'm thoroughly enjoying the frequency of these posts 😉 You look really elegant in both of the ways you styled it. And I'm also loving the up-do on you. I'm also looking for a lace top but one that I can wear in a "rugged" manner. I'm actually considering this A&F; top, which I'm hoping would fit me as a slouchy lace tee to be worn with skinny jeans.;=10051&langId;=-1&categoryId;=12274&parentCategoryId;=12275&topCategoryId;=12203&productId;=820373

    I may look into BR's version as well:;=1&pid;=853018&scid;=853018002

    When I saw this ruffle blouse in-stores it really caught my eye:;=1&pid;=858965&scid;=858965002

    Loving mustard and polka dots. Unfortunately the PXS I saw was cut really wide and I can't imagine PXXS would be any better.

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  39. Tatiana wrote:

    You can update twice a day, in my opinion, because you always have valuable information to share with us, petite girls. ♥ Tati

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  40. hahaha just saw I spelled "nicely" wrong 😛

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  41. Ahhh so lucky you guys have petites there!!!! It fits you so nicley!

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply
  42. Elle wrote:

    This is definitely a closet staple and I think it fits you very well. I feel very meh about this collection right now (stopped by the weekend after it was released to scout out the material before ordering online) and the only thing I contemplated getting after my trip was the lace dress in the same (similar?) material.

    Keep the posts coming, I am really enjoying finding new posts when I randomly drop in to use your blogroll 😀

    Posted 8.24.11 Reply

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