The Little Black Dress & Banana Republic’s Embark

My friend Betty is funny, smart, and creative.  Here she shares about her closet and her latest recommendations to find a deal…


I have this problem.  It’s actually become more of an illness.

My obsession with shopping has resulted in a closet full of little black dresses that have never seen the light of the day – the poor things are crying out to be taken out on the town.  Good news is that I will have the perfect LBD for just about every special occasion.  Mind you, I’m a homebody who hardly ever goes out.  But a girl can dream.

Part of the illness is that I can’t pass up a good deal.  If it’s on clearance, I have to have it.  And then, there’s the thrill of the hunt and the score.  Like getting a dress that was originally $130 for under $20.  Yes, I’m that good.

So this “illness” of mine extends beyond clothing to home goods.  I may actually love home goods more than my stock-pile of LBDs.  Lamps shades, throw pillows, blankets, frames – one for every season, holiday, and just because.  It’s out of control.

Since my closet and my home are busting at the seams, but I can’t stop shopping and can’t stand the idea of letting a good deal slip away – this blog is my retail therapy.  If I can’t buy it – at least someone else out there can benefit from my finds.  So please help me help you!


So my closet of LBDs is thanks to my favorite store – Banana Republic.  It’s my go-to place for achieving a simple, polished look.  When I was in my 20s and just starting out in my career, I would often skip lunch just to go shopping at Banana.  I still remember when I first became a “Luxe” member over a decade ago.  All those lunch-time shopping excursions quickly added up and soon I had earned enough points to become a “Luxe” member with added privileges like free basic alterations and free shipping.  And when I stopped working after my first child was born, I remember lamenting to my husband that I no longer had an excuse to go shopping now that I was going to be a stay-at-home mom.  “What if I lose my Luxe status?” I whined.  My husband just shook his head, appalled that we were starting a family and all I could think about was losing my Luxe status.  Fast forward over a decade later and I am happy to say that I never did lose my precious Luxe status.  Apparently once you earn it – it’s never taken away.  Thanks Banana!  And I’ve drifted in and out of being a stay-at-home and working mom, and Banana has remained my favorite go-to store for both casual and business attire.

For years now, I have prided myself on mastering the art of shopping for discounts at Banana – hitting their 40% percent or additional 60% off clearance sales.  But I’ve recently discovered an even better way to score additional discounts.  Not too long ago, Banana started this “Embark” program.  So essentially by becoming an Embark member, you just enter your phone number every time you make a purchase and Banana will credit money back to your account if someone else ends up buying the same item for less within 7 days.  You will be credited back the difference in savings and you can use that credit towards a future purchase during designated “Embark Days.”

But what’s even better than earning those credits back is actually when you get to choose an “Embark Pass” which are additional perks that you get to select.  You get to choose from 3 rewards – like my most recent one was 1) 30% off woman’s dresses, 2) Extra 5% off sale’s item, and 3) Free 2-day express shipping.  Naturally I selected the 30% off woman’s dresses so I can stock my closet with more LBDs.

And here’s the secret – the trick to maximizing your discounts is to make the purchase on-line because the site will allow you to combine promos.   I’ve tried using my “30% off woman’s dresses” embark pass at the store during one of Banana’s take an additional 40% off promos and the store wouldn’t allow me to combine discounts.  But I tried it on-line and it totally worked!  So I got this cute little quilted shift dress (yes, I know  – it’s another LBD.   But I don’t have a “quilted” dress in my collection so it’s totally justifiable, right?).  It was originally $130, but after all my discounts I got it for under $12!  Seriously – I kid you not.   I’ve got the invoice to prove it.

Receipt petite finds style double

So become an Embark member, combine those discounts, and happy shopping!