**EDIT: I’ve had three items cancelled eight hours after I bought them. Needless to say, I’m not high on Nordstrom currently.
Unless you’re been in a remote area of Tibet for the last two weeks, you know the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is upon us. You can’t swing a weave without hitting an Instagram Story chock full of multiple bags and rolling garment racks heading to a shiny new car.
I love getting ideas from the big influencers, don’t get me wrong, but for gals on a budget, it can be disheartening to see someone drop $10K on a bag of trendy, one-season “must-have” items. I’m not super inclined, even at a deep discount, to spend $200 on something that’s extra trendy and may not withstand the test of time (both style and quality-wise).
Also, there are some items being marketed in this sale that you can pretty regularly get at Nordstrom Rack (if you aren’t extra picky about print or color), and a good number of items in the sale will go back on sale for Labor Day. I try to keep all of this in mind when I’m staring at a leopard print anything, trying to convince myself that it truly is a “classic staple piece,” or when you’re being urged to “buy quickly before it sells out!”
So I thought to myself, how can I enjoy the Nordstrom Sale excitement while (1) doing something different than the fashion influencers, and (2) not spending eleventy billion dollars and defaulting on my law school loans? Well, you figure out what you need, you set your budget, and you figure out how to make it work. The sale pieces are a great jumping off point, but don’t get it twisted, you can still find similar stuff elsewhere, and sometimes cheaper. I tried to find some comparable (and affordable) subs for the “super popular” items, like the Vince Camuto snake booties and the BP leopard cardigan that may sell out quickly.
**Also: I’m an ethical vegan, so I tend to shy away from leather, wool, silk, etc. You’ll see that throughout this post. Just letting you know!
If You Want to Spend ~$100
Barefoot Dreams Blanket. I’ll get one of these, but I’m not sure which. I originally balked at spending $100 on a blanket, but from what I’ve heard, they’re worth the money, and at this point in my life (and pregnancy, whatev), I’ll invest some money if it makes me happy and comfortable. Plus, if it’s good enough for the Kardashians and Rachel Parcell, it’s good enough for me.
Barefoot Dreams In the Wild Throw $119.90 (orig. $180)
Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Throw $97.90 (orig. $147)
HOWEVER. They also have this Barefoot Dreams throw at Nordstrom Rack for $49.97, and I believe the CozyChic Throws turn up on Rack around Thanksgiving-ish. So that’s something to consider, especially if you want to give one as a holiday gift. I’d most likely buy the In The Wild one now, if that’s the style you want. They pop up sporadically on QVC around the holidays, but not for this low.
edit: I bought the cream In The Wild blanket, and then my order was cancelled.
Spanx Leggings. It sounds dramatic — I’m aware of this — but Spanx leggings are a life-changer. You put them on, the clouds part, the sun shines down, the angels sing, and every little dimple you got instantly becomes smooth. I have a plain black pair (7/8 length, I believe) and the faux leather ones (#rockstar), and they really are worth the buy. Only some “athletic” pairs and the faux leather are included in the sale. If I were only getting one item from the sale, it would be these.
NOTE: There are 26 (!!) different pairs of Spanx leggings on Nordstrom Rack, including plus size and leather paneled! Some (maternity, heyyyooo) are as low as $9.97. Saywhatnow.
Adidas sneaks. I bought a pair of Adidas during the Sale last year and it’s undoubtedly the item I’ve used most. It’s also what I’m asked about most. Say what you will about all the cutesy fall gear, but these shoes have been my #1 most asked about item. I love the color of these, and they’re $65.
edit: I bought these, and then my order was cancelled.
Note: sizes 6.0 – 10 in the gray color shown below are already sold out. They may restock, but it is also offered in black. I ordered them, then got a notification a few hours later that the order was cancelled. This is where Nordstrom sucks. Keep an eye out on them, though; there will be a lot of returns in the next few weeks.
Adidas Run Swift Sneaker $63.90 (orig. $85)
A cozy (+ trendy) coat. Here’s where I’d take a little bit of a risk — with outerwear. As an ethical vegan, I don’t buy fur, but I also don’t buy wool or anything that is down-filled, so finding a good coat can be a challenge. Because I can’t really find a coat that’s a “classic,” like a wool pea coat, I’m a little more inclined to take a trendy chance on outerwear.
BB Dakota Teddy Faux Shearling Coat $89.90 (orig. $138)
BB Dakota What a Girl Wants Faux Fur Coat $89.90 (orig. $138) (only available in pink)
Cute purse. I love this Sole Society crossbody. It comes in both black and brown, and it’s under $40. I bought both earlier (one is for my mom).
It isn’t huge, but isn’t too tiny to carry everything you need.
edit: I bought them both, and then my order was cancelled for the black one.
Work outfit for under $150
I wanted to put together a work outfit. I lamented this on Stories — that too often, influencers have forgotten what going in to a corporate office is like (and by extension, what one wears into an office). I wanted to put together something professional, but cute. This is for a business casual sort of look.
These pants. I love these plaid pants for $58.90. They are lightweight material and give you something with a little more pizazz than basic black pants. I love these because with a similarly-professional shirt tucked in, you’re office ready, but with a band tee and leopard sneaks, you’re also a badass for happy hour. And who doesn’t like to be a badass at happy hour?
With this top. I love this ribbed sweater from Halogen, and for under $30 ($29.60, to be exact), you could get a neutral color as well as a more festive color. Work appropriate and great for layering into the fall season — add a cardigan or plaid with rolled sleeves and you cute and casual too.
And these shoes. I own approximately one zillion Jessica Simpson heels that I wear to work, and this style (the Parthenia) comes in matte black (my selection for this outfit), matte brown, matte leopard, patent nude, and patent red, andddd they are on sale for $49.90 (originally $89.95). I’ll be picking up a pair of these, I believe.
After those three, you got $11.60 leftover for tax!
Okay. So. Some general thoughts.
If I were buying one thing, I’d get the faux leather Spanx leggings. They’re worth it and they’re at a great price.
I’d stay away from the studded Steve Madden flats. They’re cute, but Target will have cute flats later in the next month or two, and they’ll drop in price for Labor Day.
I bought this thermal last year and I’ve worn it probably forty times. No joke. It’s super soft and I’ll most likely pick up another. It’s $25 and I love it.
For neutral booties, get these from Nordstrom Rack. They were huge in the Anniversary Sale last year (if memory serves, they sold out before public access), they go with everything, and they’re under $50.
Notes on the Barefoot Dreams cardigans. If you can’t get the Circle Cardigan, try this one instead. It’s really cute and it’s on sale at Nordstrom for $67, even though it isn’t in the anniversary sale. There are also a few with more of a drapey front opening on Nordstrom Rack for under $50.
Pajamas. I know bloggers love the Moonlight Short pajamas. They are included in the sale for $35.90. You can get an almost identical pair from Target for $21.99. I’ve never touched the Nordstrom pair, but I’ve laid hands on the Target set, and they feel like angels. And see? Pretty much identical —
Basically, if they are bigger name brands for lower prices, it’s worth looking at. If you’re getting any of Nordstrom’s private labels (like BP), I’d check around other places for a better deal before pulling the trigger. For instance, for basic v-neck tees (like the ones from BP), it’s hard to top Old Navy and they’re regularly $10 a pop. I wouldn’t worry too much if they sell out. Unless you’re a BP tee loyalist, I wouldn’t spend too much time trying to swoop them up.
Other than that, I’ll give you the advice I give myself: Tyler, do you really want snake print booties for $100, or do you just want them because the marketing has you wrapped up in excitement and everyone else wants them? I swear, one day the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale marketing plan with be a B-school case study in how to get a bunch of women to claw each others’ eyes out over $50 flats.
Here’s the bottom line: if you don’t need something, even if it’s on sale, you aren’t saving when you buy it.
Be smart, little kitties. Now go forth and accessorize.