Convenient, one-stop shopping for those who want pieces with long shelf lives.. In Short Epitomizing office casual wear, Banana Republic started out as a small vendor of safari-inspired clothing before it was purchased by the Gap in 1983. Since then, it has grown into a brand-name behemoth that one-ups the Gap in quality, status and price--but not necessarily creativity. The core of the collection is constant: versatile staples such as khakis, button-down shirts, denim, T-shirts and jackets in solid, organic colors. Lengths and fabrics change slightly according to the season. Some stores have expanded into bedding, fragrance, bath and beauty, and home-furnishing lines.