Vintage Banana Republic Wildlife Engraving T-Shirts

T-shirts don’t get a ton of play around these parts, as the only time they seem to get any wear are in very casual situations.  I’m a collar guy, as are most of my counterparts – especially in public.  For me, the t-shirt quartile measurement is a body of water, gym equipment, yardwork, and/or an afternoon on the couch.  Today, besides the updated Fraternity-style t-shirts, most t-shirts today are some sort of graphic, v-neck, ‘fashion forward’ design that isn’t my style.  At all.

There are some t-shirts that I miss dearly.  I don’t know what made me think of it, but near the top of the list are the old Banana Republic Wildlife Engraving t-shirts.  These were extremely popular in the late 80’s and 90’s when Banana Republic rated a ZERO on the metro-sexual scale.  They were actually a mall-based safari company, and made some GREAT stuff.  Side note: if you find any of the old labeled Banana Republic safari gear at Goodwill, it is 100% legit.  Totally worth it.  A catalog from 1984:

The old Banana Republic storefronts…at the mall:

Obviously you can’t find these t-shirts anymore, so this is a bit of a nostalgic post.  Here is the rundown from an old catalog:

Here’s some customer feedback for Banana Republic:  Why not do a line of your vintage safari wear for Fall?  I could see it being a huge hit: heavy duty khakis in an updated fit, a cool military-esque jacket, some Earthy bold plaid shirts with double pockets, some four button sweaters, and these t-shirts.  Boom.  Call it the Red Clay Soul Capsule.

Who remembers these?

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14 Comments

  1. Brad
    05/13/2016 / 9:03 AM

    Love it.

  2. Nem Howard
    05/13/2016 / 9:26 AM

    Banana Republic of the 1980’s cannot be topped! I was in my teens then and remember those small catalogs with great illustrations and gear inside. Bought a Flying Tiger leather bomber jacket to take with me to college in fall of 1986 along with the elephant and giraffe t-shirts.

  3. Trip
    05/13/2016 / 10:30 AM

    Man, I miss these. And I don’t even wear t-shirts anymore.

  4. MRS
    05/13/2016 / 11:08 AM

    I worked in leadership at a BR store nine years ago, and we were closing out the last remaining of these. I snagged a few but they don’t fit and I ended up giving them away. Would love to see them return – talk about about a company with no direction. It’s not even worth walking through the men’s section anymore, though the wife can always find a few nice things. The men’s division needs a serious overhaul but I wouldn’t expect much. Shame.

  5. Thomas
    05/15/2016 / 12:37 AM

    Where do y’all find xl or xxl fit golf hats? Does anyone else have this problem?

  6. jp
    11/16/2017 / 7:36 PM

    duuuude!! I loved these shirts – i think i must have went over 15-20 pairs from 1985 – 1991, correct me if i’m wrong don’t they have a cigarette pocket in the front left side?

  7. Harlan W.
    07/14/2018 / 9:29 PM

    I remember one  t-shirt in 89-91 time frame I had. It had an iguana on the back.  Loved that shirt. Wish they would bring them back.  

    • Adam K
      04/19/2021 / 2:53 AM

      I had that t shirt in high school, during the 90s. You’e talking about the one with the Oceanica map and the Iguana across the corner of the map, right? I actually found one on poshmark last summer. Someone had one that was unworn and still had the tags attached. I get so many compliments on it whenever I wear it. Love those old map t shirts. Banana seriously needs to reintroduce some of their safari inspired gear that put them on the radar in the first place. It’s fine for a brand to modernize with the times, but they can’t just let the classics that they were most known for, go into thin air.

  8. Joyce
    01/11/2019 / 6:28 PM

    YESSSS!  Banana Republic BRING THESE T-SHIRTS BACK!  They would sell hundreds of thousands of them!

  9. Kay kosanke
    07/08/2019 / 10:09 AM

    I wish they would come back again!!!  I would get them so. I sooo wish I had all my old ones   Saved away!

  10. PR
    10/26/2019 / 8:02 AM

    Hey! I miss BR as well. I still have my tee with the iguana on the back. I still wear it sometimes. The cotton is soooo soft.

  11. michael morris
    09/11/2020 / 9:20 PM

    where can i buy one catalog

  12. Dave Eikelberg
    03/04/2021 / 9:45 AM

    I would love to buy these wildlife graphics t-shirts, especially if a portion of the purchase price went to wildlife and environmental rescue efforts. These days I am lucky to find the occasional one on eBay that is worth buying. I had these t-shirts with the amazing unparalleled wildlife graphics years ago and loved reading the catalogs and shopping their amazingly decorated stores. At the old Banana Republic stores we bought EVERYTHING including surplus military jackets, dresses for my wife, wildlife graphics t shirts, hats, photography vest, and more. It was the only clothing store I ever went to that wa actually FUN to shop in. They played recordings of jungle animals and it just lit up our faces with laughs and smiles. Why can’t anyone figure out that this is a great time to reintroduce what the two original owners made into such a success?

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