Banana Republic Catalog No. 34 Holiday 1987: Gift Workbook

Banana Republic Catalog 34 Holiday 1987 Cover by Rob Stein

The 1987 Holiday Catalog (No. 34) and it’s update was the last holiday catalog Banana Republic did. The cover illustration by Rob Stein (at this point a freelancer for BR) is a marvelous Trompe-l’œil  painting of the “Giftbook” with a handwritten shopping list and a pencil refracted through the shopper’s eyeglasses.


The 87 Giftbook issue is whimsical and fun, with a game/quiz motif to help shoppers identify the perfect gift for a variety of colorful personality types. The trompe-loeil theme is carried through nicely.


I don’t think I’d actually feel like a true Banana Republican in these tweedy winter clothes. But the takeaway from the quiz that B is the best anwser to all the questions makes sense to me. That coupon is still good, by the way, but you’ll have to redeem it on eBay.


This leather travel organizer and it’s 2 dozen optional inserts was the best way to stay organized until they invented the Blackberry. Meanwhile…here comes Trips!


It’s Patricia’s world, we just live in it. The long, lean, and classic look still seems timeless, but I guess this is a pretty 80’s style.


Are you kidding? I think this is the first Hunter S. Thompson BR piece. “Skinner never asks for favors. He makes trades.” Interesting that waxed cotton is still the go-to material on these new jackets.


Check out the job listing in the bottom right corner…I could use a holiday job, actually…Nobody’d sell more Yukon shirts than I would…


The Exploration Quiz is pretty clever.


At first I thought this spread was out of place in a Christmas catalog, but spending the holidays in Bermuda and places like that is a pretty common thing. Where else but BR can you gear up for a tropical vacation in December?


The Travel and Bookstore catalog had been out for awhile, but this 1987 Holiday Giftbook Selector is a great idea to include in the regular catalog. It’s a fold out center spread that continues the theme of targeted books to specific types of gift recipients.


It’s definitely cool that even in 1987 BR is still offering genuine surplus. That cape is magnificent. Why don’t we all wear capes?


The last page of this 68 page catalog brings the old reliable Photojournalist vest and some cute (and profitable) gift combo suggestions.Note that suggestion 3 recommends the Biplane/Rhino/Jeep gift boxes but they are not actually sold in this catalog. They might still have been available in stores, but this might be an error.


About The Author

Robyn Adams
Robyn's fascination with Banana Republic began in 1984 when her Alaskan adventurer father began buying the clothing and giving her the catalogs. She loved the clothes and as an artist she was drawn to the illustrations. She went on to study illustration at art college in BR's hometown of San Francisco and worked for years as a background artist for animation. She is now based in Oakland, CA as a graphic designer and illustrator with Secret Fan Base . She's been collecting and archiving at Abandoned Republic since 2011.


  • Chris on August 12, 2013

    I wish I had bought that magnificent cape. Sigh…

    • Ellen on July 29, 2016

      I had that cape. I wish I still did, it wasn’t very warm though. I did always feel a little like a spy when I wore it. Oh to be 18 again.

    • Jay A Clark on September 12, 2018

      That cape turns up on eBay from time to time. I’ve bought a couple only to resell them at a profit. May keep one yet.

Leave a Reply