B.R. Vegan Suede Bomber Jacket – $89.50 w/ BRFAMILY ($179)
About the Author: Ryan N. is a professional web developer for (and alum from) the University of Delaware, who keeps a close shave as to not be confused with his strongly-bearded twin brother. He plays guitar and drums, loves going to concerts with his wife, and loves being a dad.
Vegan suede has apparently come a long way in a pretty short amount of time. If you’re a regular reader, you know that imitation leather shoes are easy to spot, but imitation suede (or, inexpensive real suede) shoes are much more likely to be a shoo-in (heh) for the real deal, and getting better every year. Now, the question is.. does that hold up when you move up to something iconic and larger-scale, like a suede jacket?
Size Small on 5’9″ / 155.
Full disclosure, I don’t actually own a real suede jacket. Or even suede shoes, come to think of it. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I pulled this jacket on for the first time in front of my wife. Her reaction?
“Whoa! I.. I love that. That’s.. that’s my new favorite. It’s my favorite.” – My Wife
Well, THAT’S a ringing endorsement! And my reaction? I honestly realized that I’ve never owned a jacket this nice. The attention to detail, the fabric quality, the fit and finish, it’s all a bit of a new experience to me. The “suede” material is buttery soft, pliable, and wears honestly more like a track jacket.
Faux suede, but the quality is there and it doesn’t look or feel cheap. Quite the opposite.
The raglan sleeves and colorblocking work really, really well here. The tones are both muted and rich at the same time; they’re neutral without being too desaturated. The BR website photos don’t really do it justice. (Editor’s note: Suede can be difficult to photograph. It’s the nap that does it. Messes with the camera a bit. Ryan did a great job here though.)
Raglan sleeves. Elastic cuffs & waist that doesn’t “lock you in” like others can.
At 92% polyester, 8% spandex, there is ample stretch to the material, and 100% cotton lining means it should breathe a little, but probably not much given the poly outer. The cuffs and collar are rib-knit and draped really nicely for me. The cuffs stretch plenty and I don’t feel “locked in” like some cuffs can do. Flatlock stitching means a smooth feel all around, and there’s some quality hardware on here.
Solid hardware and fall-ready colors.
Banana Republic’s website states dry-clean only, noting, “Should your vegan suede get wet, let it air-dry.” Sounds a bit damning, but certainly a curious claim, since the tag on the jacket says, “Wash and dry with like colors / Dry clean only.” So, um.. which one is it?
Confusing though, isn’t it?
I reached out to Banana Republic for more clarity. The rep I spoke to on the phone said that you do have the option to dry clean, or machine wash. She recommended cold water only, and hang drying. I asked specifically if machine washing would affect the nap of the suede, and she said no, it’s perfectly fine. I don’t know though. I’ve already come to like this jacket quite a bit. And if I destroy it in the washer, I mean, I’d wreck my wife’s favorite jacket on me. Priorities people. Priorities.
Simply put, this is a darn fine jacket, and will definitely be a fall staple for me. The soft faux-suede, easy wearability, plus the wife-approved looks, means this will be seeing a lot of rotation in my wardrobe when the weather turns chilly.