Expedition Shirts

The Cotton Canvas Expedition shirt was introduced early, in fall 1984, and was sold for most of the catalogue run until late 1987. It was preceded by the Cotton Canvas Shirt of the same design minus the epaulets and the catalog copy would be partially recycled for the first iteration of Expedition Shirt: “Amedeo Modigliani never had this to paint on, or he might have endowed his subjects with much shorter necks and saved the extra canvas for his shirtmaker.”.

Usually sold in natural tones, it was later sold in a variety of colors as in the 1986 Holiday catalogue. As the catalogue copy notes, Expedition cloth was widely used in the BR product line.

The catalogue copy changed over time, this is from the Holiday 1986 catalogue: “This shirt is the proud paterfamilias of our Expedition Cloth clan, which has grown to include shorts, pants, flightsuits, and jackets. Obviously we’ve been impressed by the performance and travel-worthiness of this fabric: tough, comfortable, unbelievably long-wearing cotton canvas. A more gutsy and reliable shirt we can’t conceive of–pre-washed for suppleness, with such civilizing details as button-flap pockets and epaulets. For expeditions remote or routine.”

Keeping track of the various shirts BR made can be tricky. At first glance they often look the same. The key feature in the Expedition Shirt is the angled pocket flaps. The Expedition shirt was very popular and is seen frequently on the vintage market.



Olive Drab

An earlier version of the Expedition shirt with the Hong Kong origin tag sewn into the collar.




An XLL long size option was available Fall and Holiday 1986 (See top catalogue image). This is Manila.

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.


  • Judd shank on January 20, 2020

    I just found this site. Thank you for all of this, though I am not sure when the last posting was. So I feel like I’m a little late to the party. I still have my Israeli Paratroopers Briefcase, which is still in great condition. And an old leather belt which is, well, not in such great condition. This brings back some amazing memories. I wish this level of originality was still around. What I’d give for one of those expedition shirts. Or just to stand in a store once more, taking in that vibe, surrounded by the sounds of the jungle. Thank you!!

    Judd Shank

  • bernard j rizzo on June 11, 2021

    That shirt in the dark khaki was an absolute favorite of mine. To be frank… I still haver it though I have not worn it in over 35 years. I have to ask if your dates on this are correct. I had this shirt before I went to college and that was 1980. The shirt in my hands right now has the angles pockets, epaulets and the same RN # and the same Made in Hong Kong tag. I know I had that shirt before 1982… Buuuuut… that was a very long time ago and I COULD be wrong. The funny thing is that I graduated in 1985 and I know I had that shirt before my “super senior” year. Then again, I was living in NYC at the time and my father was living in Concord CA. I remember going out to visit him around the time my schooling ended but I am puzzled at this. I bought this myself and I am pretty sure I was in the original Mill Valley store. Questions, questions.

    Well, I hear that BR is brining back some of it’s “vintage” clothing on 6/17/21. I hope that some of this is in there and with the same quality.

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