Photojournalist’s Vest

Photojournalist’s Vest

The Photojournalist Vest was staple of Banana Republic until well-past the catalog era. What’s most surprising to me is that there were catalogs when it WASN’T included. (Spring-Fall 1986) It is ubiquitous on eBay to this day, as many were sold and they never wore out.

Version One

Version One of the vest debuted in the Holiday 1983 catalogue (above) and was discontinued in Spring 1985 when it was listed as a Safari Vest in the same catalog as Version 2 of the Photojournalist Vest (Outback). It’s distinguished by the vertical stitching on the shoulders and has fewer pockets. They appear on eBay infrequently. Notice the size tag is attached to the right side of the crest tag in this early example.

Version Two


Version 2 was only produced in 1985 and was originally called the “Outback” Photojournalist Vest (Spring 1985). It was last seen in the 1985 Holiday catalog. It is distinguished by strong horizontal stitching on the shoulders and had 15 pockets.









Version Three

Version 3 was introduced in Fall 1986 (Spring and Summer 1986 had no PJV). It is distinguished by the press credentials window pocket on the right breast as well as the split in the middle of the back and is lined with a heavy mesh. It has 22 pockets. Fittingly, the final catalog, Fall Update 88 shows the vest as SOLD OUT. It is BY FAR the most common of the three on the current after market. 


Post Catalog Era

Other versions of the vest followed after the catalog era was over. This one from the early 90s seems like a blend of versions 2 and 3 and I’ve seen it with both the Travel and Safari Tag as well as the early 90s tag. It featured interesting diagrams of the vest pockets on the inside front of the vest.

The vest was duplicated (superficially, if not to the same standards) by modern BR in the 2000s. You’ll find it with a black label and note it has three key ring hooks.

This version was worn by Terry O’Quinn as John Locke on ABC’s LOST in the fantastic first season episode “Walkabout”.

Image from the Lost Prop and Costumes Auction



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.


  • Thomas Millard on September 24, 2013

    Wow, so many memories, I use to receive this catalog on a regular basis. I still have a PJ Vest, as well as an almost identical knockoff from camera bag maker, Domke. Too bad BR could not maintain that “safari/adventurer” vibe, it was one of the few clothing stores that I actually enjoyed visiting.

    Thanks for this blog.



    • Lee E. Joscelyn on June 18, 2018

      Ditto! One of the great mysteries in life. Successful things that have been abandoned. Something that l have never understood.

  • Eric Moody on January 24, 2020

    I have a V3 vest I picked up about a year before BR was sold to the Gap.
    The plastic window deteriorated and was removed.

    Right after BR was sold Eddie Bower had exact copies but in assorted colors.
    I was also given a Field and Steam copy that I gave to a photographer friend.

  • Dale Ealey on March 11, 2020

    WOW!!! Didn’t know this site existed! My ex-wife and I started getting their catalogs in the early 80’s. After we split and they opened a store here in 1989 I started buying most of my clothes there. Their original Kansas City store on the Country Club Plaza was such a trip! Absolutely crammed with racks and 40’s music playing constantly. My pieces from those times are still my favorites, and still in great shape (although some are now too small☹️). It was a sad day indeed when their corporate decided to go “Metrosexual”. Almost never buy anything from them except basic stuff from the outlet. For some reason I never bought a “Photojournalist Vest” although I wanted one. Guess since they’d been around forever they still would be. Sad.

    • Robyn Adams on March 28, 2020

      Thanks for visiting, Dale!

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