Friday, July 21, 2017

If I Were Shopping, What'd I'd Buy at the Nordstrom Sale...

I tried. Yesterday I went into the Nordstrom store on Michigan Avenue here in Chicago. The store is 4 floors, so I have to believe that it's not one of their smaller stores...

And I struggled. First up, so MANY of the things that they have online are NOT in stores. That's a bit maddening when you walk in looking for something specific, only to find that it's not there...

Of course the store is arranged in a way to make your browsing as inefficient as possible; it's in their best interest to have you wander as much as possible, for as long as possible. I'm okay with that, if I can figure out a way to still make certain that I've seen everything in a certain category. In fashion jewelry, for example, I'm not at all sure that I saw everything.

I'm sure that this is a different feeling for those of you who don't live in a city, but I found that the store felt a lot like being in a mall - "here's the J.Crew section (I just walked past a J.Crew store...), here's the Tory Burch section (ditto), here's the Kate Spade section (ditto)"... Rinse and repeat. I don't need a department store to bring me the same offerings that I can find in other places that are literally within a 10-minute walk. Maybe this works well for them in other locations?

But the capper? They don't have a Petite department anymore... Instead, they've got a rack of Petite garments mixed into most of the various departments. So, for example, I very much wanted to look at Eileen Fisher Petite garments - I had to first find the Misses Eileen Fisher, and then look for the ONE, SINGLE, SMALL rack that had their entire offering of Eileen Fisher petites... This is irritatingly inefficient, and I trust will be a failed experiment.

Bottom line? Shop this sale online, unless your Nordstrom store is a whole lot easier to shop than mine is!

Personal notes - I don't include anything that's got big visible logos. I've avoided a couple of big accessory trends - tassels, and choker necklaces, because I see SO MANY WOMEN struggling with both of these. The tassels, especially, seem to be made to stick to the side of your neck when you're sweaty. I've seen earrings streaked with makeup, matted with sunscreen... Fiber jewelry is a tough move; if you're crazy about the tassel idea, look for metal tassels....

And the chokers? Nobody can seem to keep the where they want them on their neck; everybody seems to fidget with them endlessly. Never attractive, fidgeting...

There are a lot of tops available right now that tie at the hem, and then have ties hanging down on your thigh. I'm not sure what area of the body this is designed to flatter, but I passed on all of them. If you feel that this would be attractive for you, you're going to find quite a bit from which to choose!

The tops with the open shoulders? I don't think that this is a trend with "legs," so I skipped all of those too! Generally speaking, I seldom meet a trend that I love enough to give it closet-space. (or wallet space!)

That lovely dark red we call claret, or burgundy, or merlot? Quite a few cardigans and tee shirts - this is a good time to add this as an accent if you're in the mood!

So without further ado, these are things that caught my eye. I lean heavily toward accessories because I think that this is where the bulk of a wardrobe should be, and also these are pieces that are easier to mail order - fewer fit issues!

Up first are pieces that tempt me...

items from the Nordstrom Autumn Sale 2017

bag – Longchamp; rings – Freida Rothman; cashmere wrap – Halogen; gold bag – Rebecca Minkoff; earrings – Nadri; boots – Blondo

There are quite a few cashmere items in the sale - you'll want to get them home and in hand to make sure that they're worth the price. You're ahead to wear good-quality merino wool rather than cheap cashmere...

And then there are things that I would buy if I didn't already have something terribly similar already in hand:

items from the Nordstrom Autumn Sale 2017

suitcase – Tumi; watch – Skagen; scarf – Missoni; black bracelet – Chan Luu; gold bracelet – Gorjana; duffle bag – Sole Society; boots – Vince Camuto

Yes, things sell out. I'll be shocked if they don't restock things, if they can. It would only be sensible... The whole "members-only early access" and prospect of items selling out should NOT compel you to get a credit card, unless you want one. Items always, eventually, run out, and new things appear. There's nothing in any store that will change your life...

There are also quite a few pieces of Tumi luggage included in the sale right now (and others that are just plain and simple marked down!). If you're ready to invest in a good piece of luggage, this is a good way to do it.

items from the Nordstrom Autumn Sale 2017

bag – Brahmin; raincoat – The North Face; striped tunic tee – Halogen (similar here); rain boots – Hunter; athletic shoes – Nike

While I don't wear these colors, I can see the appeal in all of these pieces...

items from the Nordstrom Autumn Sale 2017

bag – Pixie Mood; brown bag – Brahmin; earrings – Gorjana; scarf – Max Mara; watch – Ted Baker; boots – BP.

The earrings feel just a little bit like Mickey Mouse, to me... but I would still wear them!

For younger people, there are a lot of appealing pieces on sale right now. I do see quite a few garments that are... over-designed? They have a just-right garment, and then they pile on some holes in the shoulders, or an errant ruffle, scallop, embroidery or other such gimcrackery that doesn't need to be there, and contributes nothing. Stop, already!

But these? Velvet is my favorite fabric, no question... The tee shirt.... maybe...

items from the Nordstrom Autumn Sale 2017

velvet kimono – Hinge; velvet ball cap – Hinge; crushed velvet tee – BP.

The velvet tee also comes in a delicious navy/violet color, and a warm mauve pink...

items from the Nordstrom Autumn Sale 2017

wine cashmere cardigan – Halogen (similar here); wine long-sleeved tee – Halogen; claret silk tee – Eileen Fisher; blue cardigan – Halogen; jersey dress – Eileen Fisher

Note that the blue cardigan comes in bright red and a clear yellow, as well as spruce and burgundy...

That gorgeous spruce that Pantone told us would be big is indeed easy to find! Woo hoo - it's pretty, it's flattering, it goes with most any neutral, and it's available in a range of sizes. What a miracle!

items from the Nordstrom Autumn Sale 2017

green wool tee – Eileen Fisher; tunic tee – Halogen (similar here); cardigan – Halogen; dress – Eileen Fisher

So after all of this, what will I/might I purchase? Velvet jeans are at about a 75% probability - I just got rid of my black jeans because they had SO MUCH Lycra in them that they were starting to pucker in weird places. Weird puckering is common enough on the bottom half of my body, without adding to it with my clothes!

And I try to wean myself away from the Evian spray bottles; they're madly bad for the environment, so I suspect that they won't make it to my apartment. For what it's worth, there are a TON of cosmetic and beauty items on sale, but you of course won't buy until you've checked Beautypedia to be certain that you're getting your money's worth, right?

items from the Nordstrom Autumn Sale 2017

dress – Eileen Fisher; onyx necklace – Gorjana; silver bag – Vince Camuto; travel water mister – Evian; velvet top – Eileen Fisher; velvet jeans – Eileen Fisher

There is a lot of lingerie available - it's always reasonable to stock-up when these pieces are on sale, as well as plenty of different leggings, hosiery of various ilk, and the always-necessary socks... Pajamas are worth a look too! And some Nike that would be appealing if I needed running shoes right now....

The bottom line? If you need something, take a look (but be warned that their search functionality is appallingly poor for such a major retailer). If you have everything you need, read a good book, go for a walk, cook something amazing, or take a nap!

love,
Janice
If I Were Shopping, What'd I'd Buy at the Nordstrom Sale...
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22 comments:

  1. Didn't look and didn't buy one thing!
    Karen

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  2. I looked, but didn't buy. Nothing appealled. Thank you, Janice, for finding that state of peace of having enough.

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  3. "ruffle, scallop, embroidery or other such gimcrackery"

    LOL those are my favorite parts.. the feminine details. And I'm always lamenting that I can't find more in well fitting items (not those items that are 4 yards of fabric each). So hard to find.

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  4. I looked but was disappointed that the in-store selection seemed to be much less than in years past. They're almost forcing people to shop on-line if they continue this trend. Some of the items I did see in the store were far more impressive in person than what they looked like on the website, and would have otherwise been overlooked.

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  5. I have to agree with your assessment of Nordstrom. For a retailer who was known for hitting the mark their physical stores are becoming more and more disappointing. And the addition of J Crew, Madewell, etc. seems to be close to giving up. I go in with money to spend and leave feeling that the store is filled with the lowest common denominator. I looked at the sale for shoes,but then on a whim went to Stuart Weitzman's own site. The same show that was 30% off at Nordstrom's was 50% off there.

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  6. Endorsing the velvet jeans. I have a pair of black velvet jeans that have survived many closet purges (and will continue to do so). I live a casual lifestyle, so holiday dressing is difficult. It feels artificial to wear fancy clothes, but yet I want to feel festive. Velvet jeans do it. For all sorts of occasions they hit that sweet spot between dressy and casual.

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  7. I read an article on the history of department stores a while back, and the one thing I remember is that vendors typically require a certain amount of space exclusive to their line(s). The article discussed how difficult it was for shoppers to select and compare jeans, or black slacks, or whatever item you're looking for. I think it really goes against the concept of a department store, but nobody asked me!

    Hope you're feeling better, dear Janice.

    On another note, am nearing the end of month 10 of my year without (clothes) shopping. I was intrigued by Macy's Black Friday (in July) sale, and put a couple of things in my cart. Basics, that I will need to replace sooner rather than later, but when push came to shove, I walked away. So close! I will remain strong for two more months ...

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  8. Thank you for braving the N. Michigan Ave. Nordies for "us"! xoxox

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  9. I no longer live near a Nordstrom, but I was disappointed with the online selection. Will be shopping a real store this weekend, but I, too, find the layout to be frustrating. I am looking for something to fill my need for a Ted Baker item, maybe a flower watch or a scarf. Janice, I hope you are feeling better.

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    1. My Nordstrom had zero NAS Ted Baker watches or scarves in the store. And I got there when the doors opened on the first day of early access. I was disappointed because I like Ted Baker items a lot. Hope you have better luck!

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    2. Kimm, no luck with scarves, and I ran out of time to look at watches. (I was with a teenager with limited patience.) I may try the website if anything is left. The saving grace is the return policy!

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  10. I've spent some time browsing online, admiring their fall offerings, but I live in a warm climate 8 months out of the year. I already have a surfeit of cool-weather items that I really love, and honestly, not enough time to wear all of them, from year to year.

    There are maybe 14 days out of the year that I'm in temperatures below freezing, and my capsule for that is almost completed, mostly from consignment and thrift. I am looking for the perfect flat or low-heeled leather boots that are very fitted to my leg, to wear with skirts, and so far, I have not seen those. Everything is suede, which is useless to me - the place I live, and the places I usually travel to, have regular rain or snow.

    Also, as a tawny spring (David Zyla), I find most of the fall colors are entirely wrong for my coloring.

    But I definitely have my eye on that velvet cap, because I regularly wear hats, and caps are my style.

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  11. RE: Petites. I read years ago that 40% - read that again, 40% - of American women are 5'4" or shorter, i.e., petite. And, yet we are very lucky if a store gives us 5% of their space,, and heaven forbid that they give us much of the variety that they routinely give our taller sisters. We need to speak up. I have even asked to speak to the buyer or store manager about this. So far, it hasn't really helped, but if all of us would speak up ... we could be a movement!

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    1. The best store for petites in my view is Talbots, but I know their classic/preppy look is not everyone's cup of tea. Both stores in my city have separate areas for the petite collection, and most items come in both misses and petites.

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  12. "I lean heavily toward accessories because I think that this is where the bulk of a wardrobe should be". I think I need to frame this sentence. This is definitely a wardrobe goal for me, but I'm not quite there yet.

    Sara K.

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    1. I just got dressed to meet a friend for lunch: 1 dress, SIX accessories (earrings, 2 bracelets, watch, sandals, handbag).

      It's just reality, sometimes!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  13. The velvet kimono could be worn at any age, I think. I'm no spring chicken, and I would totally wear it, just not with ripped jeans. With the right top and pants, or even dress, it would be great for going out at night--to a jazz club or the opera, or a casual holiday party.

    But: I need nothing at the moment, so will neither go near Nordstrom (and I agree about the Michigan Ave. store) nor their website.

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  14. Enjoyed this post - as a long time Nordstrom shopper (I live in Seattle - the start of it all), I have a love/hate relationship with the Anniversary Sale. Didn't buy anything last year but this year my shopping list matched yours in several respects: (1) bought the Hunter boots for my daughter - she has wanted a pair for a long time; (2) bought the Missoni scarf in a different color; (3) bought several Eileen Fisher tees/sweaters (great basics - but did not like the "spruce" color); and (4) bought the cashmere wrap (blue) for upcoming travel - very good quality, in my opinion. Like you, I no longer enjoy hopping in the store, so I purchase "for pick-up" or free shipping - returns are easy/free.

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  15. I love my black velvet jeans, and wear them regularly from November through February (does anyone follow those old school rules anymore?). I have another pair of velvet jeans in hot pink(!) and love wearing them with charcoal gray or black. - nancyo

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  16. Thanks for the recommendations, for sure. I bought the EF dress - can't beat my cost per wearing on her pieces. It is a time of change and challenge for retailing since online shopping has become so successful. Retail companies are scrambling to survive/re-invent rather than making deliberate decisions to frustrate the fewer and fewer people who actually turn up in person. It's sad for people who have known in-store shopping (like me). I do appreciate the all-around good service Nordstrom offers, and their generous free shipping and returns. I wonder if people will miss "in-person shopping" and how its social gathering aspect will be replaced. Plus brick and mortar stores have employed A LOT (scientific term there - HA) of people. Maybe more than any other industry...:/

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  17. I purchased the Jacend Zip Bootie in Oxblood which is a basic suede bootie with the right heel height for me to wear all day at work. I was on the lookout for a wine colored boot last year but never found the right style or heel height or price! that worked. I did check out the fashions but mainly because I like to sew and wanted to get ideas for that. Love the Eileen Fisher dress in the Balsam! Thanks for sharing the Beautypedia site too!

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