Fit reviews: work pants, pleated maxi + chunky knits

A couple of you requested more try-ons from Banana Republic (since the brand is a good bridge between business & casual wear) and I’m happy to oblige! I’ve left out the less-than-stellar pieces I tried on and wanted to highlight some top recommendations amongst items #1 – 4. For those not looking to shop, this post still has some basic outfit pairing formulas that you can apply to pieces in your own closet! 

Banana Republic eco-friendly wrap top
Banana Republic petite workwear try on
Left: BR threadsoft wrap top xs petite, wide-legged crop pant 00P, leopard pumps (similar)  
Right: BR merino-blend sweater xs, wide-legged crop pant 00P, Karl by KL booties (similar)

1. Slim wide-legged crop pant: I was impressed by these! Click over to the regular sizing tab for many positive reviews. This fabric has a good quality feel to it, and is unlined but medium in weight so it doesn’t show panty lines or lumps. The more subtle wide leg cut was very flattering, and the length was just right on me for this style. These won’t drag on the floor with flats, and you can stay warm in the winter by wearing booties (and layering tights underneath if you get extra cold). With this type of pant I always recommend “sock” style booties which have a snug fitting ankle and higher shaft. I actually don’t own a pair (they’ve been on my wishlist forever!), but these boots can help you visualize. Fit-wise, my waist size has been fluctuating so please refer to measurements: 00 Petite is 13″ across the waist, 10″ rise, 23″ inseam.

2. Merino-blend turtleneck sweater: See in cream in my recent post. As mentioned there, this is one of the softer sweaters I’ve tried on recently in a versatile weight (not too thick for spring, not too thin for winter) and good quality overall. This runs a little shorter, so regular sizing fits me like a normal sweater and wasn’t too long. 

Banana Republic petite maxi dress

3. Pleated maxi dress (comes in petite, regular, tall) – Every spring I get requests for wedding guest attire, and this is a piece that can be dressed up for a special occasion or dressed down for everyday wear (pair with flat sandals or wedges + a denim jacket). It’s a simple, pleated silhouette in a beautiful, true kelly green color and is machine washable. Other features include: adjustable shoulder straps, short leg slit, and a straighter cut throughout the torso, so use a skinny belt or the string tie to add waist definition. I’m 5′ tall and the length of BR maxi dresses in petite sizing always work well on me even with lower or flat shoes. If you are in between sizes, I read older reviews on this dress to size down. 

snake skin skirt outfits

 Left: BR cropped wrap sweater xxs P, H&M pleated skirt (similar here & here), Karl by KL boots (similar
Right: threadsoft wrap top xs P, Marc Fisher pumps 5

The next few crossover-style tops are all nursing-friendly!

4. Threadsoft crossover top (top right): I mentioned this top in a recent post and also tried it on in white (see below). Preferred the black because it’s sleek, not sheer, and I can see it paired with a lot of different outfits. Scroll down to see it tucked into a pleated skirt.

5. Aire wool-blend cropped sweater (top left): In the above photos these two tops look very similar, but the cream one is a lightweight wool blend sweater, while the black top is more like a tee. See the bottom right photo for the full length of this sweater when untucked. I tried it on because of all the 5-star reviews under the regular sizing tab, and typically anything soft and wrap style is right up my alley. In person, the fit is good (and definitely cropped) however I thought the knit felt a little flimsy for the price point with a fuzzier finish. 

Banana Republic petite outfits

In addition to the black Threadsoft crossover top above, below are a few other pieces I tried on in the same soft & stretchy lightweight material. Their Threadsoft line incorporates a more eco-friendly Lenzing modal fabric (not entirely…but small steps). 

6. Threadsoft puff-sleeve striped tee (top left) – A basic striped tee elevated by a slightly puffed shoulder. “Black” looks dark blue to me in person, and is also cute with white denim. Click on over to the Regular sizing tab to read a lot more reviews!

7. Threadsoft wrap-front bodysuit (bottom right) – Bodysuits are the solution for keeping tops tucked in seamlessly, so I’d love to see more petite bodysuits in general since that’s a tough piece to fit on different heights! This one in my usual size fit well, but the white felt flimsy and slightly sheer, not polished enough for work wear. If you like the silhouette, I’d try one of the darker colors.

BR threadsoft top and work trouser outfits

Left: BR Threadsoft crossover top xs petite (also in regular sizing), high rise pant 00P  
Right: Threadsoft bodysuit xs petite in white, flare pant 00P, leopard pumps (old, similar)

8. Collarless tweed blazer: Beautiful jacket dampened by a partial lining. The material is a medium to thicker weight tweed with a classic mix of blues, cream, and just a hint of metallic grey. The cut is flattering and clean cut with a nipped in waistline, and real pockets (after purchasing you just need to snip the stitching that seals the pockets). The sleeves are fully lined but only the upper half of the back is lined, which makes no sense to me especially at this price point!


Left: Tweed blazer 00P, crossover top xsp, straight-fit ankle jean 24P, Ann Taylor pumps 5
Right: High-rise flare pant 00P (12.5″ across waist, 9″ rise, 31″ inseam), Madison pumps (old color)

9. High-rise straight-fit ankle jeans: A flattering alternative to skinny and boyfriend jeans. Compared to my Everlane high rise cheeky straight jeans (pictured above with the navy striped tee) in size 24 Ankle, these BR jeans in size 00 petite fit similarly at the waist, but are slimmer throughout the thigh and the length is shorter with a frayed hem.

10. High-rise flare pant: see my recent blog post for my review. 00 petite measures 12.5″ across the waist, 9″ rise, 31″ inseam.

BR Petite leopard print midi dress
petite sweater dress try on
Left: BR Leopard print sheer midi dress 00 petite, AT heels
Right: BR Puff-sleeve sweater dress xxs petite

11. Leopard print sheer midi dress: I have an older leopard print midi/maxi dress from BR that I really love and wore much more than expected. Their current version has two layers, with a cami dress-style lining inside and a semi sheer overlay. Fit is TTS and I’d change up the belt for a black leather one.

12. Puff-sleeve sweater dress: This dress comes in a beautiful cream and olive for regular sizing, but only this chocolate brown for petites which I was less than excited about. True to the reviews, though, this felt good quality in a medium to thicker weight knit with a smooth finish.

Casual Friday outfits for petites
Banana Republic petite knit sweater review

13. Double-Breasted Blazer: Beautiful quality blazer (also comes in black in regular) with great reviews and a preppy-nautical feel. This style could be worn casually with jeans and a white tee, or for work with ankle pants. I don’t know if this was a one-off issue, though, but the jacket I tried on nipped in at the waist then flared out a little too much below the waist. 

14. Modern sloan skinny-fit washable pants – I used to be a devoted Sloan pant advocate but fell out of love in recent years with the ever changing fit and fabrics. I gave the latest version a try, and found the legs to be a little slimmer but still with a waist gap. Also, I’m personally retired from wearing lower rise bottoms!

15. Supersoft cotton crew neck sweater: I was excited to potentially find a petite crewneck in a staple camel color, but closer up, this material felt prone to pilling so I’d pass on this. The two sweaters that I’ve recommended (the merino blend turtleneck above and the balloon sleeve one below) felt much higher quality to me.  

BR petites review
Banana Republic petite try on

16. Cotton-blend balloon-sleeved sweater: Nice quality, medium to thicker weight sweater that doesn’t feel pilling prone. Nice mix of textures from the sleeves down to the wide ribbing. I found this sweater to run short – as you can see, the hem hits at the waistline of high rise jeans. 

17. Sweater blazer (clearance item): This is reminiscent of the popular J.Crew sweater blazer, but shorter thus feels a little boxier. The fabric also feels similar to the J.Crew one, but with a smooth finish and seemingly a little less pilling-prone. 

Leave a Comment

12 Comments

  1. Marisa wrote:

    Thank you for the great style inspiration. And love the styling tips! I love the way you style BR pieces and combinations in ways I would not think to do on my own. Keep up the great work!

    Posted 2.23.20 Reply
  2. Elizabeth wrote:

    That pleated maxi is gorgeous <3 🙂 I'm in love with the color too!

    XO, Elizabeth T.

    Posted 2.1.20 Reply
  3. Ashley wrote:

    Oh gosh, it annoys me too when there are fewer colors on the petite version! I always have this hopeful moment when I click the button to switch from Regular to Petite.. Sometimes the story ends happily and sometimes not 😉

    Posted 2.1.20 Reply
  4. Margaret Miller wrote:

    I really appreciate the quality of your posts. I shop BR a lot and had all but given up on purchasing any pants from them for work due to the low waisted styles. So happy to see the high waisted flared trousers -they look amazing on you. I purchased the plaid pair, fingers crossed! I also purchased a similar pair you recommended from Ann Taylor and was pleasantly surprised with the fit and quality.

    Posted 2.1.20 Reply
  5. Lola wrote:

    As a fan of the blog for many years (but first time commenter), my FAVORITE aspect is when you’ve posted actual everyday work appropriate clothing. In my opinion, it’s the area where you most excel and I love seeing that you’re getting back to it more regularly. Thank you for the many beautiful combinations you post. You have truly inspired my wardrobe.

    Posted 1.31.20 Reply
  6. Mireia wrote:

    So many cute items!

    Mireia from TGL

    Posted 1.31.20 Reply
  7. Tiffany wrote:

    Love the sweater blazer along with the timeless white blouse/tan trouser combo. I’d top with a dainty diamond pendant necklace for an extra sweet touch! 😇

    Thanks for the classic combo ideas and for taking the time to try on and put these looks together!

    Posted 1.31.20 Reply
  8. Rena wrote:

    You selected beautiful pieces!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    Posted 1.31.20 Reply
  9. Nari wrote:

    Thanks for this post! I love BR, and have been wanting to give my closet a more age-appropriate feel lately. I have a question though. Have you done a post about matching shoes to outfits? I feel like I’m always wearing the wrong shoes with my outfits, or the whole outfit just looks off when I bring in the shoes.

    Posted 1.31.20 Reply
  10. I totally agree about quality/pilling, even on higher priced name brand clothing. And while I’m grateful to have to the shaver, one shouldn’t have to do that within the first month – or even year! So disappointing. Any suggestions on quality sweaters appreciated!!

    Posted 1.31.20 Reply
  11. Kathy wrote:

    Thanks for another informative post Jean. I truly appreciate the detail you put into each post. I struggle to find good fitting sweaters -I’m 00P/XXSP and cannot seem to carry off the oversized look. I’m also finding that a lot of the stores I shop at (JCrew, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic) seem to be skimping on quality because even higher priced sweaters still seem to pill very easily. I have purchased the sweater shaver you recommend from Amazon. It still doesn’t seem right that a sweater pills after wearing it once or twice. While the BR merino wool sweaters don’t pill as much as their other sweaters they are so thin that most colours are see through. I also find that a lot of BR petite sweaters fit well in the body but run too short. I think retailers really need to look at the prototypes they are using when it cones to petite sizing. Like you I have been on the search for classic camel sweater and coat in petite sizing but seems that this season there really wasn’t a good selection.

    Posted 1.31.20 Reply
    • Jen wrote:

      Try washing the sweater on the wrong side to prevent lint and piling. I actually turn all my clothing on the wrong side before I place in the hamper to wash in the machine or by hand. Washing clothing on the wrong side will sometimes prevent lint, piling and some fading.

      Posted 2.11.20 Reply

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