Banana Republic Memories
Fishing buddy’s wife, she likes the big brand, Banana Republic.
For Xmas, while I’ve still got some cash left, I need to get her a gift card. How I found myself in a “Banana Republic” mall-esque store. So much has changed, and yet, the idea behind retail stays the same.
While I wandered in and amongst $60 flannel shirts, or $100 sweaters, I was looking for a touchstone, a familiar item I’d seen before. This goes way before Banana Republic was a multi-national brand. Early in my undergraduate career, the second time around, I bought two pair of Banana Republic cargo shorts. Long before cargo shorts were cool, keen, and everywhere. Made sense for the desert southwest, light khaki cloth, copious pockets, and I tended to wear my shorts cuffed, as the baggy shorts stretched to my knees. Just a sensible preference, along with sandals.
I bought two pair of those shorts, identical. Eventually, the thin cotton cloth frayed at the point where I wore that cuff, making for an interesting pattern. Also, the shorts eventually gave out at the seams along the edge of the pockets, still, it all held together for most of that five years of study.
I checked, and I recall paying a princely sum at the time, but believing that the shorts were durable, which they were, and thinking it was high quality, of which I’m less sure.
In that mall-like store, I examined a pair of the same, or very similar, khaki shorts. The sale price was about $25, reduced, over time, from an asking retail price of $54.95, I think. If I read the label correctly. I might not, it was a passing interest, no more.
The company was no longer a rag-tag assortment of just a few products assembled and sold out of warehouse, on the south side of a San Francisco warehouse, or wherever the corporate culture was, at the time. It’s no longer a small store-front operation, not much more than a mom-and-pop store served by a singular catalog.
That one woman, dedicated to the product line, loves the stuff, says it fits well, and serves her purposes, but no longer does the label mean it looks like a British version of an African safari-expedition, or a third-world armed revolutionary.
When I examined the clothing closely, I had a different impression, as some details were attended to to, but the material felt flimsy, not like a heavy cotton duck that would stand up over years.
There are times, when writing only serves me one purpose, to excise the memories.