Whether you can believe it or not, ’tis the season! And no, it’s not quite Christmas yet. But it kinda feels like it because the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (Early Access) has begun and its all the buzz. If you follow fashion bloggers, you’re likely to be well aware of this! As I scrolled through Instagram yesterday, I saw post after post about the sale. Though I wasn’t surprised, I also was a little overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe how many bloggers of all sizes of followings were posting about the sale, and I really didn’t think I needed to be one more blogger to add to the mix.
Not only did I think I wouldn’t blog about the topic because I didn’t want add to the excess, but I also have a few reasons why I’m not quite as interested in this sale this year. But I had a little gut feeling that y’all as followers may want to know more about those reasons, so I decided to reach out about the topic on Instagram Stories. Well, y’all wanted to know my thoughts! And I’m so honored and grateful that you trust me enough to want to listen to my honest feedback! So I hustled to scour the Nordstrom site and get this post live for y’all before you approach shopping this annual sale!
In the spirit of transparency, I just want to clarify and confirm a few things before I dive in. 1) I will link products in this post that are affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and purchase, I will make a small commission. I always disclose this on the bottom of my site, but just wanted to reiterate. Because though I may be steering you away from things, I’ll also be encouraging you on others! And if I’m ever linking to a specific product in this post or any other, it means I genuinely believe in it enough to recommend it to you as if I were shopping with you in person! 2) All of this is just my personal opinion. I may be frugal in some shopping areas and more spendy in others which will differ from yours and so many other women! We’re all going to have different needs and wants and we’re all going to be comfortable with different price points in our shopping. And that’s more than okay! So if I recommend you not spending money in one area vs. another and you disagree, take my feedback with a grain of salt. 3) I do not work with Nordstrom and this post is in no way affiliated with them. It is not a post bashing them and the sale, but it’s truly just my honest thoughts on the sale as a whole and what I recommend to focus your shopping on.
Okay, let’s dive in and start with a story on my experience shopping last year!
Last year was my first year as a Nordstrom card holder. My husband Sam and I had signed up for one earlier that year, not for the sale but for perks in alterations when we bought Sam a suit. However, you know I was in full support of this decision because in my head I was thinking about the Anniversary Sale down the road and how I’d finally be able to shop it early! So, July came and this girl was READY. I had shopped the sale years and years past, but THIS was going to be the year I was going to finally purchase THE Tory Burch riding boots, since they normally sell out during early access. Sam couldn’t understand why I was using my entire budget on a pair of boots that you don’t actually ride horses in, but I told him they were worth it since they are normally $500 and I’d wear them all the time. I also ordered a few of the accessories that bloggers had plugged that weren’t necessities in the slightest but somehow I felt like I had to have. I also bought my usual staples (which I’ll share more about below). Well, the riding boots finally arrived and I ripped open the package like it was Christmas morning.
The shoebox smelled like plastic, and not like leather. Not a good sign for leather riding boots. I ignored this – these were THE boots. Then, I put them on. I had ordered the wide calf sizing because… well, I have wide calves. My right calf fit just fine. My left calf? Like a stuffed sausage. HOW COULD THIS BE? Are my calves uneven?! What is wrong with me?! I got out my cloth tape measure and went to town. Thank heavens, my calves are the same size. The boots were made unevenly! This had to just be a weird mistake, right?! I just got the lemon pair. I’d go back and exchange. Next pair I received? Same. Thing. I tried ONE more time but at this point they were sold out so I had to hunt a pair down with the help of customer service. Got the boots (because their customer service is incredible) aaaaaand the boot calf sizes didn’t match. And yes, they still had a strong plastic smell.
Needless to say, I not only gave up on the boots… but was totally disappointed in general. Those boots may have been discounted, but they should have not been made that poorly! After all, Nordstrom promises that this sale is different because it’s all new product for fall that will go to full price after the sale. But these boots did not feel like full-price boots. They felt like boots that were made at a lower quality, for a lower price point, and specifically made for a sale.
And then I started to look at some of the other miscellaneous items I ordered. I started to really inspect the quality and compare it to items already in my closet. I realized that I wasn’t all that impressed! The scarves felt no different from my Target scarves, and the sweaters didn’t have any different texture or quality standards than ones I’ve picked out at TJMaxx. All of that waiting and saving and then splurging had totally felt like a wash! So I wrote to Nordstrom and told them about my experience and they apologized and assured me that my feedback would be taken to heart.
SO, here we are. It’s sale time. I still love Nordstrom. It’s the only department store I shop, I’m still a card holder, I still think their customer service is outstanding, and I believe there are still deals to be had in the Anniversary Sale. But you can best believe I’m proceeding with caution. I’ve scoured the site and the early access and I’m going to break it down for you below – some categories being more detailed than others. What I’m recommending is nothing very fun or glamorous, but it’s just my brutally honest and frugal truth. Drum roll, please…
PASS: ANYTHING OVERLY TRENDY & BASIC TEES
May as well start off with the most brutal category to say pass on… but I don’t recommend investing in anything overly trendy (meaning something you’d only see yourself wearing for a season). It may feel totally tempting to get the fall trends by high-end designers at lower prices, but I just firmly believe you’re going to be able to find something just like it at a discounted rate come the actual fall months when you actually wear it. Stores like Target, TJ Maxx, Marshals will have very similar trendy product available from late summer through fall.
In terms of basic tee’s everyone always says this is the time to stock up. I disagree. All t-shirts get stains, pit out, and wear out eventually. I buy all of my basic tees and tanks and Target, Gap, and Old Navy. They last really well and I don’t feel like it’s hard to pull the trigger to replace them when needed since they’re usually under $10.
PROCEED WITH CATUTION: JEANS & SWEATERS
I don’t buy designer jeans, because I don’t personally see a difference. But some women swear by them, so if that’s you… go ahead and snag a pair and make sure you feel the quality is in line with the brand name you’re paying for. Sweaters are a gamble to me. Some look so lovely, but again… the quality feels like a mixed bag. Order what would look like a staple in your wardrobe for years to come. If it arrives and it’s not up to snuff… return.
WORTH IT: COATS & JACKETS
I’d still advise you steer clear of anything overly trendy in this category as well. However, investing in the classics are worth it! My Northern California girl is going to massively show with this, but the Patagonia that goes on sale here is definitely a DEAL. This Patagonia Nano Puff Hooded Jacket is one that is amazing (I own the non-hooded version) and never goes on sale, especially in those colors. If you’re in a cold weather climate for winter, look into this version. This Patagonia Fleece Vest would be another something to consider and I think the color selection is a thumbs up! Pendleton is another brand I trust, so I love this classic rain jacket. In terms of nicer outerwear (as in fancy coats), I’m a J.Crew girl and wait until their sales in the fall. But if you have ever coveted a classic piece for years to come, this Burberry Quilted Jacket is really so stunning and timeless. It’s certainly a huge investment and one that you better absolutely love and think is worth it until you’re a Grandma! If my budget allowed (and it currently does not), I’d seriously consider it.
PASS: LOWER PRICE POINT PAJAMAS
Don’t buy the cheaper options. I did 2 years ago. They’re scratchy and Target pjs are nicer!
PROCEED WITH CAUTION: ROBES
Some of the robes look really cozy! I’ve heard wonderful things about this robe, but don’t personally own it. If I didn’t already have a robe I loved, I’d definitely order this and decide if it was a cozy keeper in person!
WORTH IT: LINGERIE, BRAS, & HANKY PANKYS
THIS is the category that I’ve personally shopped the most the past decade and been a FIRM believer in the savings! I only buy my bras and panties at Nordies once a year during this sale. I go in store, have them measure me (because this is really important to keep up with bras that actually fit!) and invest. THIS is the bra I wear every single day. I can’t say enough good things about it! For undies, I only wear Hanky Pankys. For years, I bought Target undies (even though they consistently unraveled) and couldn’t understand how women were swearing by a $20 piece of lace that covered near to nothing. And then I purchased 2 pairs before we got married. Bingo! So comfy. I’m hooked. I’ve replaced my entire panty stash (I own maybe about 10-12 pairs total) with them the past two NSales, and I don’t need to buy any this year because they truly LAST. 100% worth it in my book.
And finally, lingerie. I purchased some during the NSale before our wedding – worth it for beautiful and classic pieces. I’ve also purchased my bride besties pieces during the NSale which they’ve loved. Since weddings season aligns with the NSale, the timing is right!
HANDBAGS & ACCESSORIES
Here’s where I really think they’re steering towards creating product specifically for the sale. I’m not finding anything on the site that looks truly amazing and splurge worthy, but I’m also biased because I really just want a Louis Vuitton Neverfull someday so I have to keep my eyes on the prize and steer clear of all other handbags right now. And scarves and jewelry? Eh. I just purged our whole home when we moved, so I can’t even think about accumulating more right now!
Again, I’m kinda underwhelmed with the selection this year. Some caught my eye, but I didn’t love the color selection. I watch things go on sale on Zappos throughout the year, so none of the prices felt extra special to me. And anything trendy I buy at Target. I do think these booties are adorable, and I’d consider them if I didn’t already own something similar.
I just wrote this post all about my recent shift in perspective with beauty, so if you read that you probably can tell I won’t be purchasing much from Nordstrom beauty from here on out. However, I do think the ‘tools’ category is always the best in this sale anyways! If you don’t own a Clarisonic, I think they’re fabulous and use mine 1-2 times a week to keep my skin exfoliated. Mine pooped out a few years ago, and Nordstrom replaced it with no questions asked. YAS. This is why I love Nordstrom!
I’m not going to dive into mens fashion on this blog anytime soon, but wanted to note that these are the dress shirts Sam wears every single day. He switches back and forth from solids to prints. Both are at a great price during the sale, but they do frequently go on sale throughout the year and I snag them up for him periodically.
In terms of Patagonia sale gems, I think the men really won this year! THIS Patagonia jacket is on MY personal wish list and I’m so bummed they didn’t include the women’s version in the sale! I’m highly debating ordering a small for myself, but Sam is wanting one in his size… so we may be fighting over the same item! Haha! #marriedlife They have a few other men’s Patagonia items as well, like the Nano Puff, vest and this pullover that Sam wears nearly every day around the house.
This may feel funny for me to write about seeing as how I’m not a mother, but I’ve been a nanny for years and use some of the products on sale on a daily basis! These sippy cups are true gems and truly do not spill and can be thrown in the dishwasher for easy washing. I’ve used so many sippy cups and these are hands down my favorite! These baby blankets have a high price tag, but are truly the softest things I’ve ever felt. And they last wash after wash! These make a great ‘blankie’ gift that would last a sweet baby for years to come. There also seem to be some really great deals on strollers and car seats, so if you’re in the market I would definitely recommend looking into it because I know how expensive it all is!
Home decor is my number one shopping weakness and I would prioritize it over clothes and shoes any day. This year the NSale is exploding with home decor finds (more so than I think I’ve ever seen) and it’s all very cute. However, I don’t think it’s anything that you wouldn’t be able to hunt down via Home Goods. I am tempted by these Dash & Albert rugs because I love their style and I’ve read home decor bloggers rave about them, but they’re still pricey and the sale price didn’t seem unreal to me. How’s that for some brutal honesty? Insert awkward smiling emoji.
Aaaaand that’s the sale. That felt like so much to write (and probably read) but it was a whole bunch of honest review truth! Before I wrap this thing up, I did just want to share some other very practical and honest personal reasons why I’m not splurging this year:
- We just moved. Moving is expensive, and we just moved to an area that is although lovely, incredibly saturated in terms of cost of living. So, our new budget doesn’t include lots of shopping.
- After packing up our life, I’m on a total minimalist kick. I gave away so much that we didn’t use or need while moving that I can’t comprehend re-purchasing more stuff unless we truly need it!
- I don’t wear that many fall clothes! I adore fall fashion and always dream about wool hats and blanket scarves, and then come September through late October I’m still in shorts because that’s when California gets their indian summer weather and its hot tamales! I’m trying to face the reality this year that investing in fall fashion just isn’t going to be worth it for me.
I hope that provides more insight to my thought process behind this blog post and why I’m writing it! I really can’t stress it enough, I truly love Nordstrom and think they’re a great company. I do hope they improve quality on some items, and I have faith that they will in order to keep a regular and loyal customer base that they’ve strived for year after year.
And hear me out on this, too… if you’re really in the market to stock up on some fall things, I say ‘go for it girl!’ Maybe you need new clothes for a new job, you hate shopping cheap stores because they’re so disorganized and overwhelming, or you just love the confidence you have knowing that if something didn’t work out, you can always return with Nordstrom. I’m all about ALL of those reasons! And if my sale picks were so beyond basic and boring, let me steer you in the direction of a fashion blogger who is going to cover this sale SO well. My dear friend, Katey McFarlan, is an incredible fashion blogger, has impeccable style, the sweetest baby girl you’ve ever laid eyes on… and knows her Nordstrom. Many bloggers cover this sale without even technically working with Nordstrom, but Katey is the real deal and has an excellent record with the brands she selectively chooses to work with. She is not only a great resource for all the fun stuff in the sale, but she’s also an awesome resource for baby gear! She’s got tons of informative posts, so use the search bar on her site to navigate anything you’re curious about or interested in!
So in conclusion, I’m all about the Nordstrom Sale. I’m all about shopping it! But I’m also just extremely selective and have really specific standards for what I’m willing to purchase during this season of my life. And that’s OKAY! Just like it’s okay for all of us to shop in our own way, with our own budgets, and with our own needs! Let’s cheer each other on in that instead of either judge or be envious at what we’re purchasing or not purchasing. This goes for not just this sale, but for every darn day! YES?! Where’s my amen?!
I truly hope this post helped and please let me know if you have any questions at all! I absolutely love hearing from each and every one of you!
Happy Shopping! Or not. You do you!!!