Review: Banana Republic's Rapid Movement Stretch Chino
As you are no doubt aware, “tech-wear” has slowly become more and more popular in the menswear space. Companies are incorporating stretch, moisture wicking, and water resistance into more and more garments by the day. Usually, and when done well, this is a welcome addition. It means higher durability, and higher comfort and movability throughout the day. Still, not all garments like this are made equal, and while the right pair of stretch chinos might be the best thing since sliced bread, the wrong pair is… well… not as good. Here is what we think of Banana Republic’s Fulton Skinny Rapid Movement Chino ($98).
Packaging & Experience
Banana Republic is a big-box retailer. So, they’re not known for they nice packaging. Expect a standard cardboard box or those famous blue plastic bags. Shipping is somewhat slow, but returns are free despite you needing to go online and print out the label yourself. B
Style & Design
These truly are the standard chino. To many, BR’s line of chinos is the epitome of a chino. Classic, simple, and loved by many guys all over. These come with a nice detail, too, namely a clasp closure as opposed to a button, and a cleaner overall appearance making them just a touch dressier than, say the washed chinos from J Crew. This means they can be worn just as easily with a polo or t-shirt, even, as they can with a blazer and dressier shoes. They also come in a whole, wide variety of colors which is nice to see, and not always the case with stretch fabrics (companies, I guess, like to test the waters with only a few options before going for broke). A
Quality & Construction
These pants are well made, in typical BR fashion. They’re not going to blow you away, but they’re solid quality chinos that will surely last many, many years. There is nothing really to nitpick here as far as quality goes. They’re well constructed, top to bottom. I have a few pairs that I have had, and worn a few times a week, for quite a few years now. They have retained their color pretty well, as well as their shape, not succumbing to any stretching despite their fabric makeup. Speaking of, the 90% cotton, 8% polyester, 2% spandex makeup of these chinos is pretty close to perfect. They are a bit stiff at times, but the stretch is surprisingly good and allows a whole lot of movement. It’s very similar (though not quite as stretchy) as BR’s beloved Rapid Movement denim. A
(Note: I am 6'1 and 165 lbs. and usually wear a size 30x32 pant in a slim or skinny fit.)
Being a tall and slim guy, I went with the Fulton fit in a 30x32. Overall, BR’s Fulton fit is quite nice. It’s extremely similar to J Crew’s 484 fit, though comes to a ever-so-slightly more tapered leg opening (despite, in my experience, having just a touch more room in the lower leg). This gives the perfect fit for taller, slimmer guys without being too skinny. If you’re not quite so slim, these pants are also available in a whole variety of other fits as well. Minor quibble: for some reason, I always find that these pants oddly bunch up and sit weirdly around the knee for me. I have seen this issue with many stretch pants, and it is surely something in the fabric, and the way that it drapes given a particular cut (some companies get this right, others don’t). This might be a deal-breaker for some people, so look out for this when you’re trying them on. A-
For more fit details, check out our full measurements chart.
Value & Conclusion
Banana Republic’s Fulton Skinny Rapid Movement Chino — $98: These days, BR has become something of the epitome of “good” clothing. Meaning, it’s dependable, reliable, solid quality, and typically a pretty good fit. Sure, they suffer form inconsistency lately as their lines of clothing become too saturated. And, sure, with things like outerwear, their fits have gotten a little bit wonky. But, when it comes to the samples like their polos or chinos, it’s a pretty good bet. At $98, these chinos are stupidly overpriced. For that money, go with something from Bonobos, or even close to two pairs from J Crew. However, as is so typical of BR, there are constantly 40% off sales that bring these chinos down to $59, which is more reasonable (though still a touch pricey). If you continue to wait for the ideal sale, you can get them even cheaper. And at anything around of below the $50, these chinos are a fantastic value. Comfortable, well-made, long-lasting, and (very likely) well-fitting. It’s everything you want in a chino, and nothing more.