BR Factory Vegan Suede Bomber ‘ $64 ($95ish)
NOTE: Banana Republic Factory is running their Friends and Family event right now. It’s 50% off and an additional 20% off that discounted price at checkout. That drops the price on this BRF Vegan Suede Bomber (BRF VSB?) to sixty four bucks. But the BRF F&F event is scheduled to end
today, 9/19/23. UPDATE: They extended it through Wednesday 9/20. Know that mainline BR runs their friends and family event through this weekend (picks here.)
BRB, time for the BRFF&FVSB brought to you by BSB!
Okay, not really on the BSB. They’re not endorsing this thing. Instead, they’re probably dancing their hearts out on a cruise ship somewhere.
Straightaway — this jacket is fantastic for the current, $64 price, which is almost a full $100 off the “retail” $160. Even if MSRP for Outlet/step-down lines like Banana Republic Factory (and their competitors) are almost always inflated.
But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It’s good value during this Friends and Family event. But it has some real issues.
Let’s do this.
Very, very good for the price.
A lot of Vegan Suede and Leather can be trash. This ain’t that.
Having reviewed the mainline BR Vegan Suede Bomber a few years back, and more recently the BR Factory version as part of the 2022 BR Factory Roundup, I’ve seen my share of faux-suede bombers. It’s not easy to pull off, and Banana Republic has been solidly known for extremely high quality vegan suede. (Yes, “extremely high quality vegan suede” can be a thing.)
So does this year’s offering hold up? It definitely looks and feels great in hand, especially for the price. Not quite as buttery as the mainline, but the rich color depth remains, and the sand color is super easy to match. Lines up pretty perfectly with the BR Factory vegan suede jacket from last year. Unfortunately, that means that some of the caveats remain, including the concerns about the materials and the restriction of no stretch.
Up close with the “Moody Blue” color
As you can see below, the classic ribbed hem and cuffs are fantastic, BUT… the hemline itself, plagued with having no stretch, it’s just super tight. It’s a dang shame. Hit us with 1% stretch, guys. Anything. Because this is SO close to being a great jacket. If you are in between sizes, I would probably recommend sizing up for more movement in the waist, unless you’re never going to zip the jacket up or are cool with standing still all the time?
Classic ribbed hem, but having no stretch in the attached hemline
makes the ribbed hem.. more or less useless.
All in all, most of the details in this jacket are really well executed. The nap, the ribbed cuffs, the color, the stitching, it’s all great. But the concessions may be too much for some, even at the excellent price point — the poly liner feels cheap, as do the pocket liners, along with the aforementioned lack of stretch.
Classic ribbed cuffs and to the visual appeal of this jacket.
The jacket does slide on easily, but it’s a bit on the light side and.. I really can’t say it enough, the jacket doesn’t move very well at all. I usually wear a size S, but the body on the XS fits me a bit better, but at the expense of movement. You may have to try multiple sizes. And for a lot of people, that’s just a hassle.
The all poly, fully lined interior means it’s easy to slide this jacket on and off,
but it also means more constriction when it comes to moving around in it.
The Banana Republic Factory Vegan Suede bomber sports a fully lined interior, but being 100% polyester, it suffers the fate of most cheap-ish jackets — any mobility in the shell is rendered moot because the lining doesn’t give. Arms straight out in front causes the jacket to pull, as does the “hug” motion.
Size shown: XS on 5’9″ / 160.
The back yoke with center back seam is certainly nice looking, but it sure doesn’t seem to contribute to any mobility. The front slash pockets are the perfect height, and the collar stands up nice and straight. The zippers feel a little on the dinky side, but it’s to be expected from the Factory line to cut some corners somewhere. Thankfully, it wasn’t on looks and visual appeal.
The ribbed collar stands straight up, which’ll keep your neck warm on cool fall days.
Unfortunately, at post time, mainline BR no longer offers a vegan suede jacket — otherwise I’d recommend spending up a bit for that if it too were on sale. But all in all, you’re getting a heck of a jacket from BRF at the sale price of $64. Just be prepared for an unyielding, shell-style jacket, rather than the flexible comfort more expensive suede and vegan suede jackets normally provide.
About the Author: Ryan N. is a professional web developer 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.