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Whether you’re hoping to dress up for work or just buy an outfit that screams “I have my life together” rather than “I threw this on last minute,” Banana Republic has become many people’s go-to for professional clothing.
If you’re wondering if there’s a Banana Republic in the UK or London, it’s probably because you are hoping to find something that looks business casual or business business.
Hey, sidenote! If you’re traveling to the UK, whether for a short period of time or as an expat, why don’t you join my Facebook group where you can ask questions, get advice or just look at pretty pictures of this part of the world! Just click here to request to join and I’ll add you!
So I’m here to help answer the question..
“Is there a Banana Republic in the UK or England or London?”
There are no Banana Republics in London or the UK or England, though there used to be – which I’ll get into more in a bit.
I’ll also talk about some alternatives to Banana Republic in the UK so you can still find your workwear with ease.
Before I get too deep into where you can find the best heels and blazers, I want to let you know about some of the incredible resources I have for people who are either planning a trip to the UK short term or for those of you who may be long-term expats or thinking of starting your expat adventures.
Firstly, no matter your reason for being here, you need the best book on living in the UK for Americans ever written – the book is called “Girl Gone London: An American’s Guide to Surviving Life in the UK” and you should click here and check it out.
I also may have written it, so I’m biased.
But truly, if you’re coming to the UK as an expat, a study abroad student, or even a visitor, my guide to life in the UK contains both personal anecdotes and maybe too-honest experiences, as well as resources and advice on topics ranging from homesickness in the UK (or how not to rage book a flight to America like I did), driving in the UK, being a student in the UK, and more practical advice about bank accounts, buying houses, and more.
It’s truly a one stop shop for all of the weirdness and wonderfulness (is that a word?) that comes along with life in the UK, and also there is plenty of opportunity to laugh at me as I share all of my expat fails so there’s that.
I also want to talk about some other resources that you might find helpful, particularly for those of you coming to London during your visit.
For instance, below you’ll find my guide to some of the best tours for London – from Harry Potter to James Bond to the iconic attractions, I’ll tell you which ones to take to cover the best parts of London with engaging guides.
I’ve also got information on getting around London, including links to tips on using Oyster Cards in London and how to use London buses (the double decker red ones aren’t just for tourists, you know! Real Londoners use them!)
For the future expat, you can check out my guide to making friends as an expat or my thoughts on moving from the US to the UK.
- The Best London Tours Ever (Recommended by a Local)
- How to Get Around London with Ease: The Full Guide to London Transportation
- How to Move from the US to the UK without Going Crazy
- Making Friends as an Expat for Dummies
Okay, now that we’re all set with that, let’s chat about Banana Republic in the UK.
History of Banana Republic in the UK
Banana Republic started as an American company in 1978, founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler.
The first stores were in Northern California, and then GAP bought out the brand in 1983 and turned it into their luxury clothing brand.
Throughout the years Banana Republic has opened over 600 locations around the world and is now headquarted in California.
They have also opened in Canada, Tokyo, South Korea and more.
In fact, Banana Republic did come to the UK previously.
In 2008, it opened a giant store on Regent’s Street in London and then proceeded to open up 8 other stores across the UK.
Unfortunately, Banana Republic closed in the UK in 2016 with the last store being closed.
Bad timing, for one thing. Banana Republic came to the UK during a shift in retail patterns which meant people wanted to shop at lower cost stores, first of all.
They were also competing with stores like Zara, who gave Brits fashion-forward work options that were more in line with British style.
It couldn’t shake its old-fashioned image or deal with the fact that consumers wanted lower prices and to shop online, so the brand pulled out of the UK and currently there are no Banana Republics in the UK nor signs that they will come again.
Equivalent to Banana Republic in the UK
So you can’t go to Banana Republic in the UK, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some equivalents to Banana Republic in England that will help you get your workwear shopping done.
Here are some of my favorite alternatives to Banana Republic in the UK.
If you want something fashion-forward that keeps on the edge of British fashion, Topshop is for you.
They have both a Topshop Men’s and Topshop Kid’s sections as well, so it’s not just for workwear but rather clothes for the whole family.
You can find some nice pieces here that would be appropriate in a work environment (with a little layering!) and it is a real pillar of many British high streets.
One of Banana Republic’s biggest rivals in the UK was Zara.
Their headquarters are in Spain and they are originally a Spanish company, but they have made a huge splash in the UK are are known as a great place to go for workwear and appeal to the same kind of clients as Banana Republic.
It’s not cheap, but it’s not so overpriced that it is too luxury for many professional workers to afford it.
You can still shop online for Banana Republic outfits and have them shipped to the UK, which is always an option if you’re a big Banana Republic fan and know your size and are happy to have things sent to you without trying them on.