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Banana Republic Guide to Travel & Safari Clothing

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29 review for Banana Republic Guide to Travel & Safari Clothing

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    I was in my early 20s in the 1980s... which is to say that I had a strong desire to establish a unique "look" for myself, an identity, but no money with which to do so. I fell in love with the merchandise at the Banana Republic store in my local mall the first time I walked in; but even more in love with the setting, the props, the evocation that the store gave: Hemingway in Spain, safaris in Africa, Richard Halliburton in Tahiti, American travellers breezing through Cairo and Hong Kong and Lima I was in my early 20s in the 1980s... which is to say that I had a strong desire to establish a unique "look" for myself, an identity, but no money with which to do so. I fell in love with the merchandise at the Banana Republic store in my local mall the first time I walked in; but even more in love with the setting, the props, the evocation that the store gave: Hemingway in Spain, safaris in Africa, Richard Halliburton in Tahiti, American travellers breezing through Cairo and Hong Kong and Lima with no fear, because America was respected for its strength. To say that this feeling reinforced my affection for Ronald Reagan, who was making America strong again after the malaise of the Carter years, would be an understatement but also a non-sequitur. I only was ever able to afford a few items from Banana Republic's offerings: three Yukon shirts, a pair of Gurkha shorts, and an Israeli paratrooper's briefcase. But I wanted at least one of everything they sold, and I still do. Sadly, after being bought by the Gap, B.R. is nothing like the way they started out, and their inventory of cool, retro clothes and accessories is long gone, scattered to the winds I guess. The closest I can come now is reading this book, which is a compilation of the best entries of the exquisite Banana Republic catalog, which I used to pick up at the local store. I wish I had kept all those issues of the catalog, but at least I have this book to evoke those great old days when Indiana Jones and Alan Quartermain were fashion icons. Very entertaining reading with a mix of travelogues and clothing descriptions. Prepare to be wistful and sad as you ponder where you might be able to buy a Photojournalist's Vest or pair of Memsahib Shorts in the 21st Century.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    I have no idea how to classify this book. Is it travel writing? Is it satire? Is it a clothing catalog? All I know is that it is highly entertaining. I found it years (a decade?) ago at a thrift store and had rifled through it before, always coming out amused--but recently I decided to read the whole thing. Evey page is a delightful rhapsody on the qualities of a certain fabric, or an exposition on the history of a kind of clothing, or just musing on travel. I desperately want a ventile poplin s I have no idea how to classify this book. Is it travel writing? Is it satire? Is it a clothing catalog? All I know is that it is highly entertaining. I found it years (a decade?) ago at a thrift store and had rifled through it before, always coming out amused--but recently I decided to read the whole thing. Evey page is a delightful rhapsody on the qualities of a certain fabric, or an exposition on the history of a kind of clothing, or just musing on travel. I desperately want a ventile poplin shirt that breathes in the heat but when hit with rain becomes waterproof, and Belgian linen luggage that would take 390 gorillas to tear it apart. The Zieglers have the same feelings about clothes that I do: synthetics are a sad substitute for natural fibers, and the weave of a fabric matters. It's interesting to think that this was published in 1986, pre-H&M, back when decent-quality clothing was still available to the mainstream consumer. Now, it is next to impossible to find cotton clothing that doesn't fray within a few washings, and wool that doesn't pill on first wear. Almost all cotton is jersey, and "cashmere" is as poor an indicator of wool quality as "free-range" is of chicken freedom. Reading this is an education in fabric weaves and what advantages each confers. Really, though, the writing makes this book. It is exuberent and joyful and very tongue in cheek. On pockets: The point is that the world abounds in tragic instances of great thoughts never followed up on. Nor is the fact of human mortality solely to blame for this. Even Mother Nature seems to have left some of her best ideas only very partially exploited. Consider marsupials. Now here was a fabulous concept: a creature with a pocket. On such a promising theme, one might expect an almost infinite number of variations, in keeping with the initially random mutations by which evolution works its wonders. Critters with ventral pockets, dorsal pockets, hip pockets, leg pockets, pockets with flesh flaps sealable by means of some mucus, organic Velcro. One might have expected creatures with pockets not only for toting young, but for food, water, nesting materials, maybe even tools. But no--nature designed the basic one-pocket marsupial, and inexplicably stuck the concept on a shelf. Not only did She decline to refine the initial model, She seemed to lose interest in the notion altogether and relegated marsupials to one of those branches of the tree of life that end abruptly in a twigless, infertile stump. On the Bersaglieri shorts: Never mind that the last successful campaign waged by an Italian army was Julius Caesar's butchering of Vercingetorix in 52 B.C. Never mind the hoary riddles about how you sync an Italian battleship* or why Italian tanks have rearview mirrors**. The simple fact is this: no matter how egregiously the armed forces of Italy have screwed up through the ages, they have long set the world standard in rakish military attire. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sleekly Bersaglieri shorts worn by oxymoronic Italian sharpshooters during World War II. A sort of updated, putt-putt cavalry, the Bersaglieri were trained to fire high-powered rifles while speeding by on motorcycles. Even for non-Italian marksman this is virtually impossible, but let's not quibble. The Bersaglieri looked terrific in khaki, and their shorts are still a casa on the streets of Rome or hiking the hills around Siena. While in Italy, however, we suggest you chill out on the military humor. *Put it in water. **So they can watch the war.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anita

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Sowers

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lynn C-H

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aura

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rengeko

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bettina Rosenqvist

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ben

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chris Lowry

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jim Cork

  14. 5 out of 5

    Glen

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sheryl

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chandler Smith

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kajal Jain

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ray

  19. 5 out of 5

    K

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Schmidt

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Sherrod

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paul Belmore

  23. 4 out of 5

    Berat Cevik

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anne

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vlaimir

  26. 5 out of 5

    Léo Taillefer

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mukes Rajak

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rizky Fallour

  29. 4 out of 5

    Randy

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