Mon-Sat, 10am-8pm; Sun, 11am-7pm
B, D, F, M at Broadway-Lafayette St.; N, R at Prince St.; 6 at Spring St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
From its humble, home-spun debut in 1978 as a safari-inspired brand of casual wear, Banana Republic's distinct design aesthetic (and solid corporate backing) has made it one of the country's largest clothing retailers. Occupying an affordable-luxury niche between its mega-successful parent company, The Gap, and Club Monaco, this first stop for recent college grads supplies a mix of office-casual wear and modern wardrobe basics. Of the roughly 20 New York area stores, some cater solely to men or women; others offer a great selection for petites, shoes, home décor and accessories. Staples like jeans, T-shirts and suiting are in stock all year long; stylish seasonal pieces, like chic printed silk dresses, date-appropriate skirts and tops, and crisp linen shirts for men in retro prints are evidence of the brand's increasingly refined appeal. In the cooler months, browse through chunky sweaters and streamlined outerwear.