A Profile of Olivia Palermo + My Review of Her Banana Republic Capsule Collection

As you may have noticed by the number of advertisements appearing online and in magazines, Banana Republic recently debuted a collection with Olivia Palermo. Unlike previous collaborations, Olivia Palermo is someone that still might not be totally known by the general public – though, in all honesty, she’s someone that you should definitely be aware of. I thought for today’s blog post, I would not only give you a brief background on who Olivia Palermo is but also review her capsule collection for Banana Republic.

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Fans of “The City” (MTV’s New York City spinoff for “The Hills”) will likely recognize Olivia Palermo, as she was a cast member on the show for its brief two-season run. Prior to being cast on the show, Olivia was best known as a socialite that was well-known in the New York fashion circles. While MTV may have introduced her to the masses, her formal introduction was a little more controversial: Olivia was involved in a scandal as a gossip website proclaimed she sent a letter to her rivals on the socialite scene begging for friendship (read this article from New York Magazine for more info, it’s rather fascinating). Perhaps in an attempt to attract some positive press following this incident, she agreed to join the MTV reality series.

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For society figures, attempting to start an entertainment career is a very risky move. While “The City” was a logical platform for someone like Olivia, reality television isn’t always the kindest forum. MTV jumped on the opportunity to have someone with credibility in the fashion world on the series but definitely did not give her the best edit: Olivia was frequently projected as the rival to Whitney Port (the protagonist of the series) and often displayed as cold and bitchy.

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Fortunately, audiences seemed to ignore MTV’s edit. Olivia’s celebrity rose with her appearance on “The City” and led to collaborations with various designers. She quickly surpassed her previous socialite rivals’ influence in fashion. By the end of “The City” in 2010, she had signed a contract with Wilhemina Models, served as a guest judge on “Project Runway” and designed a shoe benefitting charity for Stuart Weitzman. By 2012, she was named the “Best Dressed New Yorker” by Page Six.

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In the past few years, Olivia has continued partnerships with a number of brands and companies – but most notably, with Banana Republic. In late 2016, Banana Republic announced that Olivia would serve as their first global women’s style ambassador.

Since that announcement, Olivia was contributed to Banana Republic by appearing in ad campaigns and providing style tips on the brand’s website. She finally took her partnership with Banana Republic to the next level this past Saturday when her first capsule collection was finally released in stores and online.

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I tried to shelter myself from reviews of this collection until I saw it for myself. Fortunately, my opinion seems to agree with the general consensus: the pieces are gorgeous. That being said, I was looking at the items online and was worried that while they looked beautiful in the stock images and on the models – would they actually flatter my body type? I’m not a size 2 – I definitely have some curves (and I’m happy to add that at 27, I feel way more comfortable and happy with these qualities that I did in my early twenties). There was only one way to find out: I headed out to my local Banana Republic to try them on myself.

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My local store only had a small selection available when I went in but I was happy to see a variety of sizes. The saleswoman was also extremely helpful in suggesting how different items fit and what seemed to be the most popular pieces over the last few days (shout out to the Bayshore Banana Republic here for awesome customer service!). I did manage to try on five items from the collection.

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The first was this dress. It comes in both blush pink and a slate gray – my store only had the blush one available. I’m actually pretty glad this was the case since I tend to gravitate towards neutrals rather than pinks… and I absolutely love the color here.

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Looking at the photos online, I’m pretty sure that I’m not wearing this totally correctly (oops). I will say that putting it on was a little confusing as there are a lot of pieces + the pleating. That being said, it’s seriously beautiful. It was a little hard to photograph completely (in hindsight, I wish I had asked someone to take a short video so you could see the movement of the fabric when you walk).

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I am totally considering buying this dress as I’ll be attending a wedding for one of my close friends/sorority sisters next month. The material feels amazing and you can tell this is an extremely well-made garment. The only notes I would have is if you are busty like myself, consider sizing up. Also, this dress is very long… plan on wearing heels with it or you’ll likely have to get it hemmed (I’m 5’7″ and there were several inches of material dragging on the floor).

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The next piece I tried on was this dress. I totally thought I was going to hate it (my immediate reaction seeing it on the hanger was “This looks like a costume from ‘Little House on the Prairie'”) but it actually looked really nice on.

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Again, like the previous dress, this one is a little hard to photograph (I think it’s because of the paisley pattern and colors). I didn’t really do anything with the neckties – I prefer the open neckline look. Despite having long sleeves, it is a much lighter fabric than the previous one. And while it might appear to be a riskier fashion-choice, the bohemian trend has been huge for a while and shows no sign of slowing down.

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The next two items that I tried on were this blouse and these pants (note: pants are already showing up as discounted in price online!). I definitely didn’t realize the level of flare on these bell sleeves but this was another item that I loved. The pants actually were navy blue with a black stripe on the side and had a lace-up detail in front (I think this was just decorative as there was a side-zipper) – they do also come in black with a white stripe, which I think I probably would have preferred. Like everything before these items, the materials and craftsmanship were very high-quality.

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Okay, seriously, I may have had way too much playing with the sleeves on this blouse. Out of all the items that I tried on, both of these were the most “true to size” in terms of typical Banana Republic sizing.

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While I’m not sure I’d personally purchase the pants – the blouse is something I’m strongly considering purchasing. This does seem to be a nice fall color and c’mon, these sleeves are too fun. It does also come in white and a blush pink as well.

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Finally, I tried on this trench coat – because, let’s face it: I have a weakness for a good trench. And this jacket did not disappoint at all. I do think I could have sized down (I typically go up one size than my usual with jackets – this actually was very true-to-size) on this one. It’s a very classic style trench with many buttons, both interior and exterior, along with the belt. In terms of material, I was very impressed. This felt exactly like my two Burberry trenches – it definitely wasn’t cheaply made. I would recommend this as something that would likely last several years.

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If you are in the market for a classic trench this fall, I highly suggest checking this one out. It is very comfortable and flattering!

In reviewing the rest of the collection online, there are a few more pieces that I really like. While I wasn’t able to try them on, I’m going to keep my eye out for them next time I’m at a Banana Republic store – unless I cave and go on a mini online shopping spree with this collection (which is totally possible).

 

pjimage (68)Strappy burgundy tunic (link)  + bias-cut burgundy skirt (link)

These two pieces actually look amazing paired together. Both pieces also come in black.

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Knit turtleneck with lace detail (link)

Also available in white.

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Snakeskin-print skirt (link) + metallic brocade military skirt (link)

Because I am completely powerless when it comes to resisting a printed skirt. Especially is said skirt is snakeskin or has metallic elements.

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Freelance writer. Equestrian. Fueled by coffee. Lover of luxury fashion, college football and used bookstores.

One thought on “A Profile of Olivia Palermo + My Review of Her Banana Republic Capsule Collection

  1. How do you find the Olivia Palermo collection’s sizing? l find it they run small, compared to the usual Banana Republic classic collection.

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