Work Wardrobe: 6 Strategies to Win the Nordstrom Sale

Jul 8, 2019

I wasn’t always a super confident, put together lawyer bae with a master plan. Much the opposite. In fact, for the vast majority of my career to date, I was an extra nervous, super anxious, poorly dressed, frumpy mess of a junior attorney. When I decided it was time to make a change, I unfortunately had no idea how to combat the nerves or the anxiety, but I def knew I had full control of my subpar wardrobe. So, a few years ago, I made the conscious decision to stop waiting until I lost those last XX lbs to fit into the high end fashion houses my co-workers strutted on the daily, and decided that I was going to immediately start investing in an all new, high quality, fashion forward, professional power wardrobe (regardless of what size was printed on any of the tags).

As the universe would have it, the following week was the start of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I had heard about the department store mega-sale in passing, but had never participated. I figured, “What better sign from the Gods do I need to revamp my closet than a super sale?!” so I went for it.

And y’all. I really went for it. I bought dozens of outfits for work that I ADORED, that fit me perfectly (or could be tailored to fit perfectly) and made me feel like a million bucks. And you wanna know what happened? Not only did my wardrobe improve, but much like the quality of my fits, my confidence consistently started to rise too. The more often I showed up looking like I ran the place, the more often people treated me like I knew what the eff was going on and the more I started to lean into the reality that maybe I actually did know what the eff was going on…

What is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Once a year during the summer, Nordstrom showcases an amazing sale event: the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Although Nordstrom participates in a number of sales throughout the year, the anniversary sale is a special beast. During the anniversary sale, brand new, never before sold clothing, beauty and accessory items are introduced at EXTREME sale prices (usually around 40% off) fresh out the gate! No waiting for your favorite items to go on sale and hoping your size is still available. This is an amazing opportunity to load up on wardrobe fixes and save a ton of money, honey.

When Does This Sale Go Down

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is broken up into two major categories: Early Access and the Public Sale. Early Access is available exclusively for Nordstrom cardholders and runs a week prior to the start of the Public Sale. During the Early Access sale, cardholders get first dips on all items available for purchase. This is a HUGE benefit to folks who wear high demand sizes that normally run out first. This year’s Early Access sale begins July 12th, and the Public Sale begins July 19th.

Strategies for Success During the Nordstrom Sale

1. Get the Nordstrom Card for Early Access.

Early Access truly is all it’s cracked up to be. ALL ITEMS in the sale are in super high demand. And every year, like clockwork, the Nordstrom computer systems crash at the start of the Pubic Sale as folks crowd the poor Nordy server in order to snag their discount sweaters (special tip to avoid this chaos below). You can avoid fighting the masses and shop in peace+quiet during the Early Access period, provided you have a Nordstrom card.

Opting into a Nordstrom card actually has tremendous benefits outside of just the Nordy sale, in my opinion. You get 3 points for every dollar you spend at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, HauteLook and Trunk Club, and when you’ve earned 2000 points, you get a $20 gift card to use. Maybe more exciting, if you sign up for a Nordstrom card before July 10th, you’ll get $60 to spend towards this year’s Anniversary Sale purchases. If you’re interested in signing up for a Nordstrom card, you can do that here.

One point to note: simply having a Nordstrom card will not gain you Early Access to the sale. Instead, you must USE said card during the Early Access period. All purchases during Early Access need to be made on your Nordstrom card, so make sure you’ve got room, boo boo!

2. Come correct!!

One of the worst financial decisions I’ve ever made (after opening a credit card when I was 16 to buy concert tickets for me and my friends and having the bill mailed to my parents’ house), was to enter the Early Access period of the Nordstrom sale blindly with no thought of what I needed and what I already had. I ended up with a bunch of items that look exactly like all the items already in my closet. Instead, it’s best to have three lists ready to go by the time the sale opens:

  • What you need/want
  • What you definitely don’t need
  • What gifts you’d like to snag

First, assess your closet and confirm what you may need or want for the year. This is an amazing opportunity to think about your style (both in the sense of where it currently stands and where you’d like it to be). A few years ago, I decided to use the Nordstrom Sale to redefine my style. I chose a color palette and set some rules for myself (no patterns, nothing outside the color palette and nothing that I didn’t LOVE), and I wasn’t allowed to buy anything outside those parameters.

Second, confirm things you should probably not get no matter how great of a steal. For me, this year, that list is black/blue/hunter green/burgundy work professional dresses and grey sweaters.

Lastly, stop being a selfish biotch! Kidding. BUT on a serious note, the Nordstrom Sale is an AWESOME time to think about any gifts you’d like to get other folks for the year. I love to grab a little something for Bae from the men’s department and hold onto it for the every swiftly approaching holiday season.

3. Set your alarm.

Okay, now for the practical stuff. As a seasoned veteran, I can give you the skinny that no one ever mentions. Every year, the system jams when folks get to their desks. Every. Year. Like clockwork, the women in my office walk up and down the halls asking, “Is your internet working? Can you check out at Nordstrom?” and the truth is: I’m never pressed. I’m never worried about my basket getting wiped or my sale not going through. And you wanna know why? Because I woke up and did all my shopping from my phone in bed before work.

I might be outing myself as a die-hard Nordy stan, but I am who I am.

Unfortunately, unlike years past, this year’s Early Access sale will be starting at 12:30PM rather than midnight. Although you won’t be able to shop from bed in your jammies, I’d still recommend setting an alarm so you remember to log in, but I’d give the server an hour or two to let the crazy Nordstrom-heads crash and destroy the system before you head on over to shop in peace. Provided you’re getting into the sale during the first day or two of the Early Access sale, don’t worry at all about your sizes or styles selling out. But by waiting a few hours, you’ll skip the masses logging on for the start and crashing the system but still get a really good first pass at all available items.

4. Put all items for consideration into your cart as you go through the pages.

You might have noticed I said “first pass” in the previous section. My strategy is to break down the sale items by clothing category (depending on my needs that year, it’s usually dresses, then tops, then coats, then shoes, then accessories) and take two looks through. In my first pass through all the clothes, I add anything that I would seriously consider purchasing to my cart. After I’ve gone through all the sections, then I go through just the cart and narrow down/confirm that I really want everything in there. Putting all my interested items in the cart helps me confirm that I’m not only buying one color of clothing that season or sweaters with the same front tie or sleeve embellishments.

5. Order multiple sizes, my friend. That’s the beauty of online shopping.

Believe me when I tell you: EVERYTHING AT THE NORDSTROM SALE SELLS OUT. FAST. If you think you’re interested in something, order it, and order it in two or three sizes to confirm you’ll be able to keep the one that works best. Nordstrom has one of the best and easiest return policies around, particularly in their online store. Their return policy is unparalleled, so don’t run the risk that you order something, love it and it doesn’t fit because there is a HUGE chance that the size you need won’t be available when you head back over to exchange that bad boy.

6. Use a Personal Double Points Day!

Personal Double Points Days are a gift from the heavens. On any day that you elect, you can have the points that would be applied towards your Nordstrom Notes tally DOUBLED. For no reason but for the fact that Nordstrom love us all. But I always forget. Literally. Every year, I forget to opt into the Personal Double Points Day option at check out because I’m so freaking excited to save all this money, so I have to call customer service and get their help applying the Personal Double Points Day. Don’t be me. Be a better version of me, and remember to make your purchase a double points day.

After a few years of intense devotion to building a solid work wardrobe, for me, this year’s Nordy sale is all about bulking the casual half of my closet. If you’re looking for a little shopping inspo, be sure to head over to the Shop My Style page next week to see all of my Anniversary Sale finds. What’s on your Nordstrom Anniversary Sale wish list? Let me know if the comments below or over on IG – and happy shopping, friends!


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