My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

For the past decade-plus, I’ve shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (NAS) each summer. I deliberately sat out the sale in 2013 (you can read my reasons why HERE), but I’ve otherwise shopped it every single year. I’ve written multiple posts about my experiences with the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale on both this blog and Recovering Shopaholic. I wasn’t going to blog about NAS this year because I thought there wasn’t too much new to share, but then I decided to explore it from a different angle.

nordstrom anniversary sale 2021

Instead of writing about shopping the 2022 NAS specifically, I’m going to review my overall experience with the sale and look at my successes and failures. I only started tracking my NAS shopping in 2017 (with folders of what I purchased, what I kept, and what I returned), but six solid years of data can still tell us a lot. That said, this isn’t going to be a statistics-heavy post. Rather, I’m going to cover in more general terms what has and hasn’t worked for me when shopping what many bloggers and influencers call “the sale of all sales.” Of course, your mileage will vary in terms of what your NAS successes and failures might be (as well as your experiences at other sales), but hopefully you’ll gain some insights through reading my realizations.

On the Positive Side…

Let’s begin with the positives, what I’ve done well with buying at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale since I started shopping it. I’ll share a little bit about each category and show some pictures of pieces in that classification that I’ve purchased at the sale over the years (the pictured items were NOT all bought this year!). These are the types of items that I would do well prioritizing at future NAS events.

1) Bras

As we all know, bras can be very expensive, but good foundation pieces help to make all our outfits look better. Although I’ve often purchased my bras at full price, I’d prefer to buy them on sale whenever possible. I can count on the fact that my favorite bra brand, Natori, will discount many of their most popular styles each year at NAS. Not every single color will be marked down, but I’ve been able to acquire both neutral and “fun” shades of bras at the sale, all for about 40% off the regular price.

NAS Successes - Bras

2) Basic Tees

I’ve also purchased many basic t-shirts at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. These tees have been worn for lounging, sleep, and as layering pieces. While some of the tees haven’t lasted as long as I’d hoped (as I wrote about in this post), I did manage to get a good cost-of-wear out of a lot of them. The Caslon rounded V-neck tees (now full price) have been hit or miss in terms of quality and longevity, but I decided to try a few of them again this year and size down to help mitigate the stretching-out issue.

We’ll see how that goes, but I also discovered some crewneck tees that have multiple rave reviews on the Nordstrom website. I purchased those in both black and white (which is more of a soft white rather than a harsh shade), as the fit and feel are both excellent. The tees I’ve bought at NAS were all very low-priced and play a large and important role in my at-home wardrobe.

NAS Successes - Basic Tees

3) Cardigans and Dusters

Cardigans and dusters are my favorite toppers to wear, both for their comfort factor and because they tend to fit me well. The longer cardigan silhouette also pairs well with my height and is a good match for my personal style aesthetic. I’ve purchased several cozy cardigans from the brand Barefoot Dreams, which work well as robes for the mild temperatures where I live. They could also easily be worn for out-and-about purposes, but I only wear mine at home. I’ve also bought a few lightweight duster cardigans that I can wear for most of the year in my temperate climate.

NAS Successes - Cardigans and Dusters

This year, I was able to acquire a long black knit coat (bottom left – the image doesn’t do it justice), that’s a bit heavier weight than many of my toppers. It’s a nice variation on the duster cardigan silhouette, as it has a collar and shoulder and cuff details . This was a very popular item that sold out rapidly, so I had to “stalk” it when I needed to size down, but I was happy to be able to receive the right size for me. I likely won’t wear this knit coat for a few months because it’s the middle of summer, but this piece is so in line with my style that I don’t feel it was a risky purchase.

4) Black Shoes

As I’ve shared previously, most of my shoes are either black or metallic. Because the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is geared toward fall fashions and darker items overall, there’s usually a lot of black footwear to choose from. Fortunately, it’s not all closed-toe shoes at the sale and there are still quite a few sandal options in the mix. Consequently, I’ve been able to wear many of the shoes I’ve bought at NAS right away. But I’ve also purchased black booties that have served me well in the fall/winter season, including from brands that are often too expensive for me at regular prices. The booties pictured below are from Eileen Fisher and are normally out of my usual shoe price range, but the NAS price made them more accessible to me this year.

NAS Successes - Black Shoes

5) Cosmetics, Skincare, and Hair Care

I’ve done very well with buying makeup and skincare items at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Many of the items I’ve purchased are things that I use regularly, but I’ve also taken advantage of the sale to try some new products, too. I’ve bought Anastasia brow products, Benefit mascara, Beautyblender makeup sponges, and Aveda hair products on a regular basis at NAS.

NAS Successes - Cosmetics, Skincare, and Hair Care

This year, I took advantage of the sale to purchase Aquis rapid-dry hair wraps, Kate Somerville anti-aging cream, and Kiehl’s hand salve. Like most other NAS offerings, the cosmetics items in the sale are typically thirty to forty percent off, which is a great deal for things we’re going to buy anyway, and it also makes it easier for us to try out new products.

6) Clothing for My Husband

Some of my most successful NAS purchases have been clothing items for my husband. Although the women’s clothing and accessories are usually hyped more vigorously leading up to the sale, Nordstrom also discounts a lot of men’s, children’s, and home items (more on the latter below). What’s more, there doesn’t seem to be as much of a buying frenzy for such items, so one doesn’t have to be a Nordstrom “high roller” (those cardholders who spend $5,000 or more at Nordstrom every year – no, I’m NOT in that group!) to be able to buy them before they sell out, as is the case for many women’s offerings.

NAS Successes - Men's Clothing

I’ve had great luck with buying jeans, business casual shirts, and casual tees for my husband at NAS. The jeans he likes are fairly expensive at full price, but there are always at least a few styles offered at the sale. In terms of the work shirts, Nordstrom offers quite a few “slim fit” options, which fit my husband much better than most standard men’s shirts (he’s tall and thin). I was even able to find a great Patagonia sweater jacket for my husband at NAS one year, which coordinates with his eyes and has served him well.

7) “Wild Card” Items

While the majority of my NAS success purchases have been in the categories outlined above, I’ve also lucked out with some unexpected items at the sale. In the realm of clothing, I purchased a lovely printed dress this year (bottom right below) that I never would have considered had I not seen it hanging among the NAS offerings at the store. I don’t typically wear high-necked styles, but when I tried on the olive-and-black-print Halogen dress, it was both flattering and comfortable. I probably won’t wear it super often because it’s on the dressier side, but because the price was low (under $50), I don’t mind that so much. The style is classic and I can have it around for years to come.

NAS Successes - "Wildcard" Items

At last year’s NAS, I purchased two lovely black-and-white-print tops that fit in nicely with my fall/winter wardrobe. Luckily, the sleeves were long enough on both pieces, as that’s often a challenging area for me. I love the prints on these tops, and they pair well with both jeans and black pants. Another wildcard item that I found this year was a hip-length, ruched-sleeve blazer that offers a fun but still relaxed alternative to the cardigans that I frequently wear. A few years back, I was happy to purchase the large silver earrings shown above at NAS. They’re dramatic while still being lightweight enough for me to wear comfortably.

As mentioned earlier in this post, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale has a lot of home offerings in addition to women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing. In 2020, I purchased two plush throw blankets that are still going strong. They’ve been used more by my cats than by my husband and me, but only the best for my wonderful felines! Speaking of pets, I was happy to find a Barefoot Dreams dog sweater for my stepson’s dog last year, which has been a big winner for her. All Barefoot Dreams items are very soft and cozy, but they’re also pricey, so it’s nice to take advantage of NAS for significant discounts.

What Hasn’t Worked for Me at NAS

It was nice to reflect upon the many successful purchases I’ve made at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but I’ve also struck out many times when buying things at the sale. Some of these “failures” probably couldn’t have been avoided because there are always risks when buying things online (a lot of my NAS shopping is done online since the in-store offerings have become increasingly limited). Sizing seems to be all over the map these days, so it’s tough to know which sizes to order, even when there’s a size chart to consult. There’s also the issue of not being able to accurately gauge colors and fabrication for garments online, which has led to many of my returns.

However, a lot of my NAS “losers” have resulted from factors besides sizing, color, and fabric inconsistency. I’ve all too often fallen prey to being influenced by “influencers” to buy what they purported to be the hottest items at the sale. Sometimes items looked great on those people, which made me want to try them for myself, even if the pieces weren’t exactly in line with my personal style, lifestyle, and proportions. The limited availability of many sale offerings led me to experience FOMO, which in turn propelled me to order items against my better judgment.

Most of the NAS failures shown below were quickly returned for a refund after I realized they weren’t going to work for me (remember, the pieces shown were purchased across the past six years), but I still spent far too much time and energy on the buying and returning process. Part of why I wanted to do this post was to increase my awareness of what hasn’t worked for me, so I can save myself the trouble of ordering such pieces again.

Of course, when I’m able to try things on in person, it’s often worth taking some risks because we never know what might potentially work for us (as was the case with the olive-and-black-print dress shown in the “wildcards” section above). But when I’ve learned that certain types of items have been failures time and time again, I’m better off saving myself the effort of having to make extensive returns.

Below are the categories of items that have not worked out for me at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (and many of them don’t work for me in general, either).

1) Blouses

I remember years ago when I worked with a wardrobe consultant to help me clean out my closet, she asked me where my blouses were. At the time, I didn’t have any blouses in my wardrobe, and I still don’t have many. This is because woven items usually don’t fit me well, so I stick almost exclusively to knits. All the tops shown below are sleeveless, but they still fit me horribly despite my not having to worry about sleeves. The armholes are almost always cut too low for me and the tops overall are typically too roomy for my personal taste (and when I size down, they’re usually too tight in the bust).

NAS Failures - Blouses

Despite my poor track record with blouses, I still find myself wanting to try to find blouses that will work for my body type. I like the look of blouses on others, so I keep hoping I’ll be able to find ones that will look good on me. I’m not necessarily going to give up on this effort, but I am going to stop ordering blouses online, at NAS and otherwise. If I see ones I like when shopping in person, I’ll try them on, but I’m not going to keep wasting my time with online orders in this category because it’s been an ongoing disappointment.

2) Non-Cardigan Sweaters

While many of the cardigans I’ve purchased at NAS have been winners, I haven’t done as well with other types of sweaters. Part of that may have to do with cardigans being easier to fit, especially the longer and open styles that I gravitate toward. Sweaters such as the styles below tend to be too roomy for me under the sleeves because I have broad shoulders. I commonly need to have my tops taken in at the sides, but that’s a tougher alteration to do with sweaters.

NAS Failures - Non-Cardigan Sweaters

The sweaters that I’ve purchased at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale have often been from Nordstrom’s in-house brands, such as Caslon and Halogen, so it’s possible that other brands may fit me better. However, as with blouses, I would do better to try on sweaters in person rather than ordering them online since I’m looking to minimize returns. Additionally, because I live in a temperate climate, I usually prefer to wear lighter-weight tops and layer a cardigan or jacket over them. That way, if I get too warm, I can easily peel off the top layer and remain comfortable.

3) Short Jackets

I love the look of short jackets like the ones pictured below, all of which I returned in previous years. These styles all look great in the stock images, and they also look nice on many women who I see out and about. Unfortunately, however, since I’m tall, the proportions are often all wrong on me. The length tends to end at an unflattering point on my body, and the sleeves are frequently too short. I really need to find tall versions of these types of jackets if I want them to work on me, but Nordstrom doesn’t carry tall sizes (I really wonder why not, though, as they do carry petite and plus sizes, although to a lesser degree than in previous years).

NAS Failures - Short Jackets

In addition, moto-style jackets rarely fit me well because I have broad shoulders, a narrow torso, and larger hips. I love this style of jacket, but when one fits me well in the shoulders and hips, there’s often a lot of extra fabric at the sides. Conversely, if I fit a jacket to my torso area, it will generally be too snug at the bottom. I think I just need to accept that this isn’t the right jacket style for me, and instead appreciate moto jackets on other women who wear them well.

4) Draped and Asymmetrical Sweaters and Jackets

Sometimes certain styles appeal to us visually but don’t work in actual practice. Sweaters and jackets with draped or asymmetrical fronts fit into that category for me. Toppers with asymmetrical closures don’t usually look good when worn open, and I like to have the versatility of being able to wear my toppers either open or closed (this is the same reason why I eschew double-breasted jackets and coats).

NAS Failures - Draped and Asymmetrical Sweaters and Jackets

Toppers with draped collars often don’t stay in place well, creating the need to “fuss” with them frequently throughout the day. It would be great if they would remain the way they appear in the pictures above, but that just doesn’t happen. That may be fine for some women, but I’m very particular about the way my clothes look, so it bothers me when pieces don’t stay in place well. As such, I need to leave the draped-front items in the store and only purchase asymmetrical-closure pieces if I’m okay with needing to wear them zipped up all the time.

5) Jeans

There are usually hundreds of jean styles on sale at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale each year. The full-length styles are almost never long enough for me, so I don’t even try to buy those anymore (I only buy my full-length jeans from retailers who offer tall sizes). However, there are lots of cropped and boyfriend-style jeans at the sale, too, so I’ve given those a try many times. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve kept even one pair of jeans that I’ve bought at NAS. The cropped jeans are almost always too short, plus many of them are distressed, which doesn’t fit my style aesthetic.

NAS Failures - Jeans

As with many of the items I’ve bought at NAS, most of the jeans were from Nordstrom’s in-house brands. While Caslon and Halogen knit tops and cardigans often work well for me, their jeans do not, nor do the ones from Wit and Wisdom (another Nordstrom brand). I need to refrain from ordering jeans from any of these brands at NAS (and otherwise) because they’re just not going to work for me. Jeans are very difficult for me to fit anyway, so I need to just stick with the few brands that have worked for me in the past (sadly, Lucky Brand stopped carrying longer lengths, so I have even fewer options now) and stay away from trying to buy them at Nordstrom.

6) Skirts

Skirts are also a tricky item for me to fit, especially in recent years with style changes. Pretty much all bottoms are challenging for me given my height and my curvier lower body proportions. Not only are many skirts that fit me in the waist too snug in the hips, but the length often hits me in “no-man’s land.” I’ve been trying to find a good black midi skirt for several months now, but I’ve struck out time and time again. Almost all the skirts below (except for the maxi-length one) were ordered this year, but they all went back. I had high hopes for the printed skirt, but no dice…

NAS Failures - Skirts

My black skirt search continues… I won’t completely rule out buying skirts at NAS in the future, as it has sometimes worked out for me. But I would prefer to try skirts on in person, if possible, as the images on the website can be deceiving. Many skirts are more voluminous than they appear on the models (such as the printed one above), which has a widening effect, plus the fabric is often denser, flimsier, rougher, or shinier than anticipated as well.

7) Workout or Lounge Pants

I spend a large percentage of my days wearing workout or lounge pants, both for comfort reasons and because my lifestyle is predominantly casual. There are lots of these types of pants at NAS, especially from Nordstrom athleisure brand Zella, but they’re almost never long enough for me. If the pants were a couple of inches longer (or if I were that much shorter), I think I would have had some winners, but no such luck. The quality of Zella pieces seems to be in line with both Lululemon and Athleta, but since I need tall sizes in bottoms, I’m going to stick with Athleta for these items from now on and give up on buying such pants at NAS.

NAS Failures - Workout and Lounge Pants

8) Underwear, Shapewear, and Bralettes

As I mentioned in the “successes” section, I always take advantage of NAS to replenish my bra collection. I haven’t had as much luck with other types of undergarments, though. I like the idea of bralettes because sometimes I want some support without the potential discomfort of hooks and underwires. However, all the bralettes I’ve tried have been so completely devoid of support that I didn’t even want to wear them at home. I like the “shaping” and lift that my standard bras provide, so maybe bralettes just aren’t for me. If you have any recommendations for bralettes or “comfort bras” that still provide an attractive silhouette, please share them.

NAS Failures - Underwear, Shapewear, and Bralettes

I’ve tried a few types of underwear at NAS, too, but I haven’t been happy with them. Many of them have been “one size fits all” items that didn’t seem to fit me well at all. To date, I haven’t found any underwear that I like better than Jockey No Panty Line Promise bikinis, so I’ll stick with ordering some of those a couple of times per year when they’re on sale (Amazon also carries them, and hipster and brief styles are also available). These underwear don’t last a very long time (the elastic wears out despite my “babying” them), but I like the way they fit and the fact that they don’t show underneath my clothing.

I’ve periodically tried to buy shapewear at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but I’ve concluded that none of it is what I’d call comfortable (not only at NAS, but anywhere). I’ve decided to only purchase clothing that looks good when I’m wearing standard undergarments. If Spanx or something similar is required in order for a garment to glide over my body nicely, it’s not the right garment for me! Your mileage may vary, of course, so if you like shapewear, you can definitely find great deals on these styles at NAS.

9) Pale Colors

As with many sales, sometimes only certain colors are available for discounted prices at NAS. I typically like to wear darker and more saturated colors, but I’ve periodically tried lighter-colored pieces at NAS because those were what was on sale. In some instances, I’ve already owned the black version of a piece (such as the Barefoot Dreams Cozy Chic cardigan), but I wanted another one, so I tried one of the other colors that was part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Ultimately, however, I’ve just confirmed the colors that I feel my best wearing.

Below are some of the pale-colored garments that I ordered and returned:

NAS Failures - Pale Colors

Since I transitioned to my natural salt-and-pepper hair color, I can wear some pastels well now, whereas they previously all washed me out. I could probably wear the pink tee at the bottom left today, but I returned it back when I was still growing out my dyed hair. The other colors above still don’t suit me, though. Even with white, I usually prefer to only wear it as a layering piece or as part of a pattern. Some white shades are better than others on my complexion, though, so never say never. In general, however, I’m going to steer away from most very muted tones, as they tend to make me look paler and older than I am. If an item I like at NAS (or at any other time) is only offered in colors that don’t suit me, I will refrain from buying it.

Some Decisions about NAS and Nordstrom

Now that I’ve done this extensive analysis, it’s clear to me that I’ve had more failures than successes at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. The sale has been great for several specific types of items, but I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy on buying other pieces at NAS. That combined with the focus of the sale on fall items at the beginning of summer weather where I live means that the sale isn’t the best use of my time and money.

Moving forward, I’ve made a few decisions regarding the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and my patronage of Nordstrom in general. I’ve decided to close my Nordstrom credit card account. I will remain a member of their “Nordy Club,” in which I can receive points and rewards for my purchases (membership is free), but my primary reason for having the credit card was to be able to shop NAS early. A big disadvantage of the card is that I must manually enter all my Nordstrom transactions into my accounting software (Quickbooks), whereas my bank card transactions are uploaded automatically. Because I traditionally buy and return so many items at NAS, this process occupies a tremendous amount of time. Additionally, I accumulate better rewards via my bank card than I do with the Nordstrom card.

Another reason for closing out my Nordstrom credit card is to avoid getting caught up in all the hoopla and frenzy surrounding the sale. If I wait to shop the sale until it’s open to the general public, I should still be able to purchase most of the items outlined in the “successes” section of this post, and I can then just place one order and be done with it. If anything I might have wanted to buy is sold out by the time I can shop the sale, oh well. It’s just not worth dealing with the FOMO, the buying and returning, and the wasted time of shopping during the cardholder period. I’ll take my chances with the general sale and leave it at that.

I don’t even shop at Nordstrom all that much for most of the year. It’s only during NAS that I spend a lot of time browsing the Nordstrom website and shopping in the store. I buy a few things at Nordstrom on and off throughout the year, but I can just use my standard credit card (bank card) during those times. I won’t receive the Nordstrom alterations benefit without their credit card, but their alterations are much more expensive than the independent tailor that I use. They also changed their policy such that cardholders must pay for their alterations upfront and are later reimbursed via Nordstrom Notes. Those notes are nice to receive, but they usually just lead to more shopping because they rarely cover the full cost of an item I want to buy.

I look forward to paying my last Nordstrom bill soon and closing out my account. I know that I will be free from most of the hype and FOMO surrounding NAS next year, and I can use the recaptured time on much more valuable and productive pursuits. I’ll still be happy to get a few bras, basic tees, cosmetic items, clothes for my husband, and maybe a “wildcard” or two at the sale, but my days of stalking sold out items and placing multiple orders are behind me. Good riddance, I say!

Your Thoughts?

I hope you found this analysis interesting, even if you’ve never shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale yourself. Most of us have fallen prey to the allure of sales from time to time, but NAS has a particular hold over a lot of people (Amazon Prime Day is another such sale, as are the Black Friday sales).

If you’d like to share your successes and failures with sales shopping (either at NAS or in general), I invite you to do so, but feel free to weigh in however you’d like about the topics of this post (being kind and respectful, of course, but fortunately almost all commenters here are).

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17 thoughts on “Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Successes and Failures

  1. Katrina B says:

    I occasionally browse the Nordstrom website but never feel inspired enough to buy anything. When I lived in CA my wardrobe was more formal with elegant and good quality pieces, and Nordstrom really fit my style and budget. I had some amazing suits and separates from Nordstrom, and even resort wear back when my life included such activities as resorts. When I moved to AZ (25 years ago!!!) my wardrobe slowly became more casual through attrition of the older nice pieces and changes in my lifestyle – from business to student to retired to work at home. I made some attempts at in-store shopping at Nordstroms for old time’s sake but found that the pretty, expensive things I bought rarely got worn. I miss those years of fitted, nicely detailed clothing made of good materials, but these days no matter what I put on it’s usually covered with dog hair, grass, and dirt by breakfast time, and will get either a grease spot or a bleach spill by the end of the day. Just not worth investing a lot.

    I do get drawn in by all the Amazon Prime Day excitement, but usually there is just too much stuff for me to get interested in buying something. Who has time to go through thousands of deals? However I do keep a wish list and this year I carefully checked each wishlist item to see if any of them were on sale, and I got a few things at 50% (dog bed, sump pump, vacuum filters; yes my life is so exciting :D). For some reason none of the books I wanted were on special (Hello, Amazon? Remember BOOKS?)

    It’s good to know other people have the same problem with Jockey’s NPLP line. I can’t give them up so I’ve made peace with replacing them every 12 months or so. I guess we have to give up long-lasting elastic in order to get “No Panty Line”.

    It’s pretty exciting that you’re closing your Nordstom account, and I think you will feel relief from it. FOMO is pretty stressful and just reducing the exposure to “new” and “deals” and “last chance” will make life easier. Enjoy the freedom!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I understand how a change in lifestyle can affect where we shop and what types of items we’re drawn to. My big mistake for years was buying for a lifestyle that I didn’t have, as I DID feel (and often still feel…) drawn to dressier items. But it’s silly to have a bunch of dressy pieces when one has a super casual lifestyle. A FEW such pieces is fine, but I’ve really learned to temper that (the pandemic helped a lot with that, but of course we would all much rather the pandemic had NOT happened, for many important reasons!). I have mostly found that the clothes I bought and kept at NAS were the types of casual items I could usually find year-round anyway. If I’m able to get them on sale at NAS, great, but I don’t need the store credit card for that, as my “staples” don’t tend to sell out.

      I feel the same as you about Amazon Prime Day – it’s SO overwhelming with the sheer number of items to peruse for the sale. But great idea to create a wishlist and then check it when the sale is on. I will use that tip!

      It’s good to see that I’m not alone with my Jockey NPLP experience, although it’s NOT good that we both have to replace these panties so often. Hmmm, maybe they’ll be part of the next Amazon Prime Day… In any event, I like these underwear the best of what I’ve tried, so I’ve also made peace with needing to replace them every year or so.

      I think I’ll find relief from closing my Nordstrom account, too. My September bill will be my last! For years, I didn’t have any store credit cards, and that’s probably the way to go. I actually have THREE others, but I rarely use two of them. The third is my Athleta card, which I do feel is worth having, at least for now. Their rewards program is far superior than Nordstrom’s in my opinion, and their clothes are a better match for my lifestyle (and they have Talls!).

  2. Terra Trevor says:

    Congratulations on closing your account. My guess is that you won’t miss having an account.

    When our Nordstrom store closed in Santa Barbara, I thought I’d miss it a lot. But instead it just didn’t matter all that much. I continued to order bras and jeans and basic items when needed online. Then when I moved to Santa Cruz, although we don’t have a Nordstrom in town, there is one in San Jose, about a 45 minute drive. So now I continue to order online very selectively, and go to the store in person maybe about 2 or 3 times a year.

    If I still had to dress for work every day and had a busy social life, I’d probably still be into shopping and collecting clothes. But I’d like to believe that I’d be far more mindful and minimal than I was back then. As things are now, my life is super casual and I’m pretty happy with a smaller collection of nice but very, very casual wear clothes, and only a few pieces of dressy or nicer wear clothes for those occasional events that seem to come up only a few times a year.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Sorry this comment was stuck in limbo for two days, Terra, but I’m glad I saw it (and Krissie’s, too) and was able to rescue it. I agree that I likely won’t miss having my Nordstrom credit card. It will probably be a relief to me, as it’s less to manage and deal with. When I lived in Tahoe, the nearest Nordstrom was about two hours away (that’s still the case), so I never shopped there. I didn’t really miss it, either. We adapt to what we have, and online shopping was much less of a “thing” back then.

      As for clothes, you have a great attitude and approach to them. I have been coming around to a similar approach, but it took a pandemic for me to finally get it! I still have too many clothes, but at least they are more in line with the way I actually live now. Like you, I only need a very small capsule of dressy items. I do like to wear dresses (and I’m embracing skirts again with some of the newer styles), but the ones I have are casual enough to be worn for my day-to-day life.

  3. Murphy says:

    Good for you for closing your Nordstrom credit account! I have never had an account with them even though I like the store – the Nordy Notes are enough for me. I was able to check out the NAS at one of the Chicago locations this year, but I didn’t buy anything mostly because the sale items from some of my favorite brands seemed to be items made specifically for the sale, and they weren’t as high quality. So that definitely made the sale less attractive to me! Next year I think I will follow your lead, though, and shop for some Natori bras – they’re my favorite too and 40% off would be great !

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      You raise a good point, Murphy. I do think that many of the NAS items are made specifically for the sale and may be of lesser quality. It doesn’t seem like that’s true for the Natori bras, though, as the ones I’ve bought at NAS have held up well. I hope that continues to be the case. I definitely think that some of the Nordstrom brand pieces are made just for the sale, and I’ve seen evidence of lower quality sometimes. Sometimes we really do get what we pay for…

  4. Maggie says:

    Hi Debbie, Very interesting post. I wonder why Nordstrom doesn’t carry Tall sizes – at least online? Maybe they have never considered it. I understand your difficulty buying sweaters online without seeing them. I have probably had as many failures as successes. It did occur to me last year just to try a more boxy style of sweater and make sure the chest and length measurements are good for me – this does seem to work fairly well for me on Ebay which I know you don’t generally use. (I also just tend to wear 100% cashmere since I can control the thickness by the number of ply in the yarn although the width of sleeves can vary quite a bit style to style.)

    I have been trying out the makeup sponges at the dollar store. However when I last washed my pink one, it bled pink dye into my sink so beware.

    I do like the opportunity to try things on in person that I normally would not try on.

    I went to pull-on bras. Currently, I am wearing Rhonda Shear Invisible body bra with lift and removable pads. Unfortunately, this specific style has been discontinued but the “True & Co Women’s True Body Lift Triangle Bra with Soft Form Band” on Amazon looks similar. (I haven’t bought it yet but I will soon and let everyone know how it works out.) I have tried on the “Bali Comfort Revolution Wireless T-Shirt Bra, Wireless Full-Coverage Bra, Pullover Wirefree T-Shirt Bra” at Kohls but I used to be between sizes. I may have to try it again.

    I recently tried “Breezies diamond high cut briefs” from QVC and I like them a lot. I ordered the boy short style to see how that works out.

    Warm Regards,

    1. Maggie says:

      Hi Debbie, I am trying out some “True & Co” bras on Amazon using the “Try before you buy” option where you have a 7 day trial period before payment is due. I remember looking at maxi dresses on Amazon as an option before a recent wedding.

    2. Debbie Roes says:

      Nordstrom has VERY few tall sizes available even online, Maggie. There are some jeans with longer inseams, but that’s about it. I guess some of the dress pants (for women and men) have unfinished hems that could be hemmed for someone with a longer inseam, but they don’t have much of a tall presence for other types of items. It’s both unfortunate and surprising. I’ve found that most department stores do poorly with tall sizing, actually, so when I need pants, I have to go to some of the smaller stores. The Gap brands have a lot of tall options, as do Ann Taylor/Loft and WHBM.

      It’s great that you’ve discovered what types of sweaters work best for you. I wish I could buy clothes on Ebay, but the fragrance issue makes it a no-go for me, unfortunately. Thanks for the bra suggestions! I tried one True & Co. style at NAS, but I don’t think it’s the one you mentioned. The t-shirt bras would probably be good options for me because I wear a lot of t-shirts. I have a lot of Gap t-shirt bras, but they’re getting worn out (those are the bras I wear at home – I save the Natori bras for out and about wear). I forget about QVC as an ordering option, but I’ll keep the Breezies line in mind.

      I bought t-shirts recently using Amazon’s “try before you buy” option and it came in very handy. So much easier! I hope they start to include more styles in this program, and I hope other retailers will also start to do it. Buying clothes online is challenging, so it’s nice to be able to order multiple sizes and not have to pay until I decide what to keep.

      1. Maggie says:

        Hi Debbie, Thanks for sharing! FYI – I love the Breezies boyshorts – very comfortable although the rise isn’t as high as the briefs. I am going to try the seamless long leg panties next. I did want to mention that I hung my pants by fabric weight – as in jeans together, rayon wide leg pants together and polyester blend joggers together. I pick the pants weight according to the temperature and then the top. After I wear the pants (and wash them if needed) I move them to the back of the line. This way I am rotating through my pants. If they come up for wear and I hesitate to wear them, I take a mental note. This way, I feel like I am wearing my clothes enough not to get bored and I can tell if I have tops to mix/match with them.

        As for blouses, the only ones I have are from NYDJ and Loft. I used to buy a blouse every fall from Loft when I was working part-time since t-shirts were not allowed. I would go in and try on all the blouses and then wait for a sale but boy the petite sizes go fast! (I think they do price adjustments though.)

        Warm Regards,

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          That’s great that the Breezies boy shorts worked out for you, Maggie. I hope the other panties also work. It sounds like you have a lot more pants than I do. I only hung up my out-and-about pants that aren’t jeans (those are still folded), so it’s not that large of a collection. Most of them are cropped/ankle pants, but I can wear them much of the year here. Good idea to rotate through all of the pants. I do that with my at-home pants (which are folded and on shelves), but not as specifically with the out-and-about pants. But I should do that more so I can increase my awareness like what you’re doing.

          I love the look of blouses, but they don’t work for me very often. I think I need to find a brand that carries talls. Maybe it’s just a “season” of blouses not fitting me well. Fingers crossed that will change, but I’m mostly sticking with knit tops for now. A lot of stores do price adjustments, but they have shortened the window. For Nordstrom, it’s now just 10 days from the date of purchase (if in store) or the date of shipment (if ordered online).

  5. Krissie says:

    Really interesting post Debbie. Since I dont live in the USA, obviously cant shop at nord. But interestingly enough, my local shop… one of my faves had a mini sale. I looked and looked and absolutely nothing jumped out at me. This is me in the actual shop…not online. The prices in general had gone up so much i was actually aghast and although that didnt really put me off, the styles and quality of merchandise did. I feel as though I’ve lost interest in buying anything recently. So good for uou closing your account, im sure apart from the odd bargain, you won’t be buying sale stuff from there either.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Sorry your post got stuck in limbo, Krissie. I’m not sure why that happens sometime, but it’s a WordPress thing that I don’t really have control over. I just need to check the back-end more often, though, so I can rescue comments that accidentally go into Spam (like yours and Terra’s).

      It sounds like you’re being a lot more selective about what you’re buying, which is a good thing! Sometimes sales can lure us into buying things that we wouldn’t consider otherwise, so it’s good that you didn’t fall into that trap. Yes, the prices of pretty much everything have been going up while quality is NOT moving in the same direction. Sigh… This seems like a good time to enjoy what we have instead of looking to buy new things. This can be challenging for me, but not having the Nordstrom credit card will help me with that goal next summer when NAS rolls around again.

  6. Great post, Debbie. It’s interesting to see that your “didn’t work” categories include several that are probably just not going to work for your body/style (e.g., short jackets) as well as some that you do wear but Nordstrom hasn’t been a good source for (e.g., lounge pants). This analysis has really shown the importance of understanding both what items/colors/silhouettes work for you AND what brands/stores carry the particular cuts of those items that work for you…and of course, by work for you, I mean work for you *right now* as your body/preferences, brand offerings, and styles change.

    I am actually really happy to see you embrace the particulars of your style, including your exacting preferences regarding cut and proportion in your outfits and unwillingness to buy items that need a lot of futzing around with to style. I think the minimalist ideal as we often encounter it online can put a lot of pressure on us to get too caught up on the number of items we own and the ability to mix-and-match our wardrobe to create “99 Outfits from 9 Pieces from Our Favorite Sustainable ($$$) Brands!” and that’s flat not going to work for a lot of people. And of course there’s a ton of pressure on us to buy and wear trends that don’t suit us or we don’t even like as well as the “Every Woman Must Own These 10 Items” idea that keeps staggering its way across the Internet like a zombie that will not die.

    It seems to me that from everything you’ve been writing lately, you really have your personal style dialed in, and once you have a wardrobe that allows you to make 25 Great Outfits (or whatever number makes sense), that’s the composition and size of wardrobe that works for you! If that means 6 black t-shirts, then you have 6 black t-shirts (or whatever)!

    I am curious whether your Great Outfits idea is solely for your out-and-about outfits or if you also think it would help to put together stay-at-home Great Outfits as well. I can imagine SAH outfits being more casual and simple, but I wonder whether even there you have certain top + pants combinations that you prefer to others, for example. If so, knowing what those best combinations are might increase outfit satisfaction.

    Does it seem to anyone else that the idea of focusing on outfits has really taken a nosedive in popularity? I get it…having pieces that can worn multiple ways does make a lot of sense, but sometimes I wonder if we’ve gone too far in the other direction…emphasizing wardrobes over outfits. Unless a person likes to stand in their closet and just look at their wardrobe, our wardrobes exist so we can make and wear outfits. The most aesthetically pleasing wardrobe is a failure if you can’t make outfits you’re happy with from it.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      As usual, you raised a lot of interesting points, Sally. I found myself nodding along with a lot of what you had to say. I especially liked your bit about the “must have” lists that just won’t die. I mean, I get that a lot of women love their white button-down shirts, but those are never going to be a must have for me! I agree that there is more of a focus on PIECES rather than OUTFITS these days. Some women love to do a lot of mixing and matching and experimenting, but there is really something to be said for “tried and true” outfits that we just feel great in. Sometimes when I DON’T love what I’m wearing, it’s because I felt the need to try to do something different. I do like to do some experimentation, but when I don’t have a lot of time to put something together, it sure is nice to have some great go-to outfits to fall back on.

      In answer to your question, my “great outfits” concept also applies to my at-home ensembles. When I made my lists last year, I did it for BOTH out-and-about and at-home outfits. Yes, the at-home outfits are usually much simpler, as they’re generally just two pieces (top and pants) worn with either my Hoka slides or my slippers that I wear around the house (slides in warm weather, slippers with socks in cold weather). I don’t wear accessories at home, either, except for my Fitbit. But I do find that not all tops work with all pants based on the length of the top and the silhouette of both the top and pants. I want to feel good in what I wear at home AND I want to be ready to step out for a walk around the neighborhood without having to get changed (except to put on a hat and my walking shoes if it’s not just a very short stroll). I need to update my outfit lists for THIS year and I haven’t done it yet, but it’s on my list to do very soon.

      I don’t need everything I own to be ultra versatile (i.e., every top can be worn with every or almost every pair of pants). If one has a very small wardrobe, they may want that, but I’m guessing that even those people have their preferences and don’t mix and match everything. The most important thing is that we’re HAPPY in what we’re wearing, even if that means that we repeat outfits often. Why not re-wear looks that we love?

  7. RoseAG says:

    Maybe I didn’t read your prior posts/comments about dissapointment with Nordstrom/Caslon t-shirts closely enough, but I am surprised you would order any more of those from them. How many chances are you willing to take on a ‘hit or miss’ item that’s not extremely inexpensive and basic enough you could get something similar with better quality elsewhere?

    It’s one thing for a favorite retailer to change the fit/cut of a beloved item, take a chance on it and have it not work out. When it’s not the design but the quality I think it’s time to look elsewhere. I have found, particularly in the past several years, that the quality of materials going into knitwear has taken a plunge.

    With that said, I’m not a NAS shopper. Some of it is the timeframe. I’m usually on or going on vacation when the sale comes out, and not in the mood to spend on clothing I won’t wear for several months.

    For the most part I’ve had good experiences with Nordstrom. Like you I have been dissapointed in their Caslon/Halogon t-shirts made with modal. But, I’ve got other things, dresses, shorts, sweaters from those brands and if I like them enough to buy them I’m happy with them.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      It’s actually very difficult for me to find basic tees that fit me well, Rose, which is why I gave a few of the Caslon tees another chance. My hope is that getting them in a smaller size (XS vs. S) will make a difference because if they stretch out, they should still fit me well enough. I could end up being wrong about that, but I won’t lose out on that much money if that’s the case. I continue to look for good basic tees and I like those other crew-neck tees that I got at NAS, but they were only offered in three colors (black, white, and gray). It seems like the Caslon tees vary from year to year. In past years, they lasted longer, but the 2020 and 2021 ones were awful. The 2022 ones seem better, but I may be wrong and regret buying them. Time will tell…

      You’re very right about the quality of knitwear going down. I continue to look out for knitwear that works well. It seems like short-sleeved tees are the worst in terms of quality, as I’ve done better with tank tops and long sleeves. I’m definitely open to suggestions and I will also share when I have “wins.”

      The NAS time frame is difficult for me, too, but it’s more about the weather patterns where I live. We often don’t even get the summer weather until July here, and the sale starts in July. I tend to wear my summer clothes into November, so I try to only buy things at NAS that I can wear right away (they do have sleeveless and short-sleeved tops at the sale, as well as some sandals) unless they’re tried and true items that I know I will want to wear. I feel that same way as you do about the Nordstrom brands. I’m cautious about them now, but I still have enough successes with them to keep giving them a try.

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