How A Former Shopaholic Shopped The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

July 23, 2018


Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale is happening now until August 5th. For many people, including myself, this is one of, if not the biggest, sales of the year. What sets Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale apart from the rest, is that you are able to shop for the latest styles and trends at the start of the retail season, instead of at the end when retailers are looking to unload their stock.

Between the limited time frame, and the lure of owning something new, it is easy to become overwhelmed and get caught up in the shopping frenzy of this sale. Year after year I would walk away with bags filled with clothes that I wasn’t sure I needed, wanted, or even liked. All because I “had to grab it before it’s gone.” This was followed up with one trip to the mall after another, as I returned more and more and more, until I was left with barely a fraction of what I originally purchased.

But not anymore.


Now when I shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale I have a plan and I rarely return anything. And I’m no longer on a first name basis with my UPS driver either.

Shopping Tip—Create A Shopping List, Before You Go

Many people will tell you if you are thinking about a piece, just buy it, because the sale is only available for a limited time.

I disagree.

Every single time I’ve purchased something that I didn’t plan to own at this sale, I’ve ended up returning it months later. The pressure to “buy before it’s gone” led me to make impulse decisions, instead of smart decisions.

Now when I shop this sale I create a shopping list. To create my list I review my fall wardrobe first. What do I need to replace? What items did I wish I owned last year? Those pieces go to the top of my shopping list.

Betsy Johnson ‘Forever Perfect’ Underwire Demi Bra | Nordstrom At Home Hydrocotton Bath Towel | Hanky Panky Low Rise Thong  | Nordstrom Lingerie Wash

This year my staples included the Betsy Johnson ‘Forever Perfect’ Underwire Demi Bra(2 black, 1 naked, these work well under t-shirts and I appreciate the J-hook in the back for racerback tops) and the Nordstrom At Home Hydrocotton Bath Towel (2 in almond, these take a little longer to dry but are super soft). Other items that I did not need this year but I’ve picked up in the past include the Hanky Panky Low Rise Thong  (the best thong I’ve ever worn, once you try it you don’t go back) and Nordstrom Lingerie Wash (1 bottle lasts me ~2 years).

Once my yearly staples are covered I focus on high ticket items, for me that’s anything with a regular price of ~$150 and up. I find the Anniversary Sale is the perfect time to snatch up premium denim at a low price (often the lowest price I can find for the entire year), as well as cashmere sweaters and blazers. Other categories that are good to look at are footwear (especially boots), handbags, and coats.

Paige Hoxton High Waist Ankle Skinny | Halogen Blouson Sleeve Cardigan | Blondo Lanka Waterproof Bootie in Black Suede

This year I picked up the Paige Hoxton High Waist Ankle Skinny. At 5’3″, 130lbs, and a pear shape, these jeans fit me as a full length skinny. I like the body con fit against the entire leg for tucking into both short and tall boots for fall and winter. The material is super soft and I went up one from my usual size (I took a size 28).

I don’t currently need any cashmere sweaters, blazers, or boots. But, if I had been in the market for a long cashmere cardigan, and I liked a blouson sleeve, then the Halogen Blouson Sleeve Cardigan would be have been perfect. I tried this on in the store and it is very thick, very soft, and very warm. Also the Tan Heather color is flattering on any skin tone. And if I needed replacement booties, the Blondo Lanka Waterproof Bootie in Black Suede would have followed me home. The heel height was comfortable, the foot bed squishy, and the toe box large and round enough for my bunion feet. Plus, they are waterproof.

After I’ve covered my essentials it’s time for the fun stuff. Before I shop in the store, I review the inventory online. This year I’m interested in pretty blouses that will pair well with jeans and booties but big, billowy sleeves tend to swallow me up and that was dominant at this years sale. Every single blouse and shirt I tried ended up being a complete bust.

Vince Camuto Smocked Neck Blouse | Vince Camuto Embroidered Plaid Peasant Blouse | Halogen Silk Blend Wrap Blouse

For reference, I’m 5’3″ and 130 lbs and a normal size torso. The following tops were too big in the torso, the sleeves were too long, or the neck was too high when I tried on my usual size.

With the blouse selection a bust for me, I turned to one of my staple items, cardigans. Similar to the blouses, many of the cardigans had dramatic sleeves, which were once again often too long or just overwhelmed my smaller frame.

Chelsea28 Oversize Cardigan | Hinge Lettuce Edged Ribbed Top

One cardigan that turned into a pleasant surprise was the Chelsea28 Oversize Cardigan. This cardigan has a loose, drapey fit, yet the cuffed sleeves landed at just the right spot on my wrist. The material is thin enough for me to sport now with a t-shirt, and it paired well with the Hinge Lettuce Edged Ribbed Top which I picked up in grey for the fall.

Now that I’ve shopped the Anniversary Sale, and I still have blouses on my shopping list, I’ll start browsing the fall collections as they arrive in stores.

What was your plan when shopping this year’s sale?

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