It's long been known that vintage (before they were bought by Gap and given a make-over) Banana Republic clothing and accessories are actually very well-made and in a completely different realm than what the brand has become known for in recent times. In fact, Scott Adams has gone so far as to dedicate a site to Banana Republic when they were known as a "Travel and Safari Clothing Company." Needless to say, if you walk into one of their stores today, you're probably not going to find anything that holds up very well on either of the aforementioned.
I've often talked of patience on this blog in regards to thrifting, and I've certainly tested my own while trying to hunt down a new briefcase or satchel for work use. Since last summer, I've been dragging around an older messenger bag that I received back in the era when I was cycling to work every day. It's certainly seen better days, and has several holes and wear spots that have had me in search mode for a half a year or so now. In a combination of sheer frugality and the thrill of the hunt, I passed over several decent bags in the past couple months that would have set me back a little more than a Benjamin Franklin.
My patience finally paid off this past week in the form of a new, old stock bag by the aforementioned Banana Republic. Likely made in the mid 80s or so, it's made of a light green, super heavy cotton twill, with a ton of nice detail work and very solid construction (made in the United Kingdom).
All leather trim and brass fittings, it should definitely take a beating. On the plus side, it has enough room for me to haul my lunch, my umbrella, and anything extra I need to stow in it through the course of a day.
So, after my long wait, I managed to pick up this piece for a grand total of $12 (before tax). I doubt I'll find anything better for a long while.