Bush Hat

From the 1989 post-Safari catalog.

Another staple item in the Banana Republic arsenal, the French Army Bush hat was a relatively inexpensive and popular item. Nothing quite topped off a Hooded Bush Vest better. Introduced in 1983 and sold until 1988 and then even beyond the Safari era. It was sold in three colors, Khaki, Khaki Tan and Stone. I’ve seen some that look Ivory but I don’t know if that’s from fading or what.

From the Fall 1983 catalogue: “We first spotted this gem at a Parisian flea market several years ago. Although we traced its origin to the heyday of French adventurism in Africa, we never could track down the hats themselves. A tip sent us to Jerusalem, where indeed, we learned the Israeli Army had bought up the whole lot of them. But our tenaciousness did not enamor the Israelis. “Not for sale” they told us, until finally we threw up our arms and said “Okay, already.” We then flew off to Hong Kong with our single hat, and had one of the best factories in the Crown Colony reproduce it stitch for stitch. The result: our premier bush hat. 100% water repellent cotton, four grommets for ventilation, with no less that 70 (seventy!) rows of stitching. The hat can be snapped up on the side, and a chinstrap secures it while you’re in a jeep or on a camel. We frankly think ours came out even better than the original.” 

Three variations of color of the French Army Bush Hat.
Khaki Tan
Possibly a stone colored Bush Hat, it’s always hard to tell color from photos.

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.


  • Juliet on December 25, 2020

    I was very pleased to find this web page, but not surprised because I love BR and just knew I wasn’t alone. I just acquired this hat, lucky me!

    • Robyn Adams on December 26, 2020

      Thanks for finding us! Enjoy your hat!

      • Debbie on June 17, 2023

        My husband has one of these French Army Bush Hats, probably purchased in the 1990s. We can not figure out how the strap works. The only way both sides seem to slide is if you push one folded strap through the knot,but you end up with a big bow which doesn’t seem very French Army.
        We’d love help with figuring this out.
        Thank you in advance.

  • John L Daniel on June 4, 2021

    I want this hat, where can I buy.

    • Robyn Adams on June 6, 2021

      Very easy to find on ebay!

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