My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

As I mentioned in my last post, I definitely spent far too much time and energy on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (NAS) this year. Now that the experience is mostly behind me, save for receiving two orders and making a handful or keep vs. return decisions, I’ve been able to conduct a sort of “post-mortem” on the process. In today’s essay, I encapsulate nine key lessons that I learned from reviewing this year’s NAS experience, as well as what I plan to do differently the next time I shop NAS – or any other sale.

I know that not all of you shop NAS – or can even shop at Nordstrom if you’re not in the U.S. or Canada, but this post is not just about one store or one sale. Most of my lessons and tips can be applied to shopping any sale or at any store, so I hope you find some value in what I’ve learned and what I share below.

NAS 2021 Lessons Learned

Sales shopping can be tricky to navigate, but some advance preparation can help. 

Lesson One: Don’t Shop Just Because There’s a Sale

The first thing to consider when there’s a big sale or shopping event on the horizon is whether or not you really need to shop at all. If we look at what’s out there in the stores or online, there will always be things to want, but we should ask ourselves if there are items that we particularly need to buy. This can be a gray area because when we really get down to the nitty-gritty of things, there isn’t a whole lot that we actually need in the realm of clothing and wardrobe.

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It’s that time of year again… The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – or NAS, for short – is under way. It actually began for cardholders the week of July 12 (in a tiered approach based upon dollars spent at Nordstrom each year), but it opened up to the public this past Wednesday.

I’ve been shopping the NAS for years, with the notable exception of one year (2013), when I chose to skip it and blogged about my reasons for doing so. Since I started blogging about wardrobe and shopping issues, I’ve learned to shop smarter and make better choices in general and at NAS, but I still have a tendency to spend too much time, energy, and sometimes money on this particular sale.

In today’s post, I write about getting sucked into the NAS frenzy yet again this year and why that’s a common occurrence for so many people. I also share my track record with this sale over the past few years, as well as what I’ve purchased this year. In my next post, I highlight what I’ve learned from my NAS shopping experience and what I plan to change moving forward to avoid wasting so many of my resources on the sale in the future.

nordstrom anniversary sale 2021

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When I started Full Life Reflections in January 2018, I thought I was mostly done writing about wardrobe-related issues. I had become burnt out on that topic after four years of writing my previous blog, Recovering Shopaholic, and I was ready for a change. I saw this blog as the perfect next step on my journey, as the tagline for Recovering Shopaholic had been “Trade your full closet for a full life.” I felt ready to commit more to the “full life” part of the equation, which was why I named this blog Full Life Reflections.

While I’ve enjoyed reflecting upon and writing essays about many different topics related to “Striving for happiness, peace, and fulfillment… in a chaotic world” (the tagline for Full Life Reflections), I’ve also struggled more with writing this blog than any of my four previous ones. Since I could conceivably write about any topic under the sun, I wrestled with “the paradox of choice” because there were just too many potential subjects to muse upon. Additionally, I often found writing about some of the life-related topics quite emotionally draining.

Returning to a Familiar Zone

Consequently, I found myself veering back into the familiar territory of wardrobe management, shopping, and personal style more and more frequently. In doing so, I discovered that I wasn’t done with those topics after all. I actually still enjoy exploring wardrobe-related issues, and I still have a lot of room to learn and grow related to my clothing and style.

fork in the road

Over time, I found myself increasingly returning to an old familiar zone with my writing… 

As this blog has progressed, the proportion of posts dealing with wardrobe-related topics has gradually increased. In 2020, more than half of my essays – 12 out of 20 – addressed wardrobe management or personal style, and 14 of my 21 posts so far this year have also centered on those subjects. Clearly, I’m not finished writing about wardrobe and style just yet! It’s also apparent that readers continue to enjoy perusing these posts and weighing in on them, as they’re often more popular than my essays on alternate topics.

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As I mentioned in my last post, I returned from a trip to Lake Tahoe last week. It was my first time traveling in close to two years, so I felt quite rusty in all facets of the experience, especially the packing. Deciding what to pack for a trip is always challenging for me anyway, as I struggle to cover my clothing needs while also keeping within airline luggage weight restrictions. I frequently overpack, which ended up being a good thing this time around, as I extended my trip for an additional three days.

tahoe packing debrief - june 2021

I feel like packing to go away for a few days isn’t all that different from packing for a two-week excursion, as I include roughly the same amount of clothing, shoes, and jewelry in both instances. Of course, I throw in extra undergarments and socks for longer jaunts, but the number of tops and bottoms I pack is much the same. I tend to be a “mood dresser,” so I hate to be too limited in my selections. I like to have choices, as I never know how I’ll feel and what I might be in the mood to wear on any given day.

For most of my travels, there are usually at least a few garments that I don’t end up wearing, and my recent trip was no exception. In today’s essay, I debrief what I packed, how it well it served me, and what I wish I’d done differently.

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I recently took my first trip in almost two years. My last travel experience had been in October 2019, when I went to Lake Tahoe (Nevada) to visit my family and celebrate my brother’s fiftieth birthday. My recent trip was also to Tahoe, this time for my nephew’s high school graduation. I was originally supposed to be gone for just five days, but I ended up staying an additional three days to help my mom with a few things. Since I was out of practice with traveling, I agonized over what to pack, especially in terms of my clothing.

Before I left for the trip, I spent my final pre-travel “sit in the chair” session writing about the difficulty I always experience when deciding upon which clothes, shoes, and accessories to pack for a trip. (I’m still writing for at least an hour a day, although I take one weekend day off now and didn’t write while I was away.) I originally planned to publish that essay prior to leaving for my vacation, but I ran out of time, so I’m sharing a slightly edited and polished version now.

overstuffed suitcase

Do you struggle with what to pack – and packing too much – when you travel?

Packing – The Struggle is Real…

I know many of you can probably relate to the difficulties I encounter with packing. While there are some people out there who seem to have packing “superpowers,” that’s definitely not me! I’m notorious for overpacking and often packing the wrong things. I’ve improved over the years, but I believe that packing is a “muscle” that can atrophy when it isn’t being used. Because travel was placed on the backburner for most of 2020 and the first half of 2021 (for pretty much all of us), I’m having to rebuild that underused muscle now. And let’s face it… I wasn’t exactly using my packing muscle all that much before the pandemic anyway, so I still have lots of room to learn and grow in that arena.

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