Speaking of struggling brands, this thread over at Sartorially Inclined suggests that Banana Republic has a major image problem. Shame. Whether or not you appreciated its take on safari chic, there was a time when BR had real character. Then, for a number of years, we could count on the brand for reasonably-priced, understated basics. At one time, it was also regarded as a solid go-to for well-cut suit jackets. More recently, BR’s higher-priced Monogram collection failed to take off (admittedly in a downmarket), while its core offerings have been overshadowed by J. Crew’s fiery revival and the success of Uniqlo. Now, judging by most of the comments over at SI, when guys see the name “Banana Republic,” they think “Blah Republic.” We’re not suggesting that BR resort to gimmickry, but the operation needs a serious a shot in the arm.