August 12, 2020
It’s the biggest event of the year, for bloggers. Nordstrom having a sale is kind of big news in the retail/style industries, but for bloggers it’s more than just a big sale. Nordstrom is probably the most generous retailer to bloggers – their commissions are substantial…
And that’s why you’re going to see lots of people talking about this sale in the next couple of weeks!
I always have mixed feelings about all of this; I don’t suspect that you all believe that I’m writing The Vivienne Files just for the karmic bonuses that I earn from trying to be entertaining and helpful!
But I don’t like to recommend things to you just because I make money, or just because things are on sale. Often, sale merchandise is stuff of a lesser breed, brought in at the beginning of the season to catch us all when we’re getting excited for Autumn clothes. Sadly, getting something that seems like a good buy, but that turns out to be inferior to what you expect from a particular brand, is disheartening…
But there are always things that I would consider – and things that you should know about.
First up – if you use Kiehl’s personal care products, a lot of them are marked down for the sale.
Secondly, if you’ve got a fondness for diamonds and have always wanted to treat yourself, this might be your chance! Especially if you like yellow diamonds; there are quite a few here.
This might be a good time of year to stock up on candles for the cooler months to come; lots of them are marked down. But do bear in mind that, while “travel” candles sound like a great idea, your hotel will not love you for burning a candle in your room! You could find yourself looking for a new hotel if you set off the sprinklers in the entire hotel…
Of course I saw a few things that turned my head… let’s start with the essentials for working at home! Please note that I’m a BIG opponent of wearing sweatpants all day; if I do this, I’ll suddenly find that these are the only pants that fit me…
And who among us isn’t about ready for a new cardigan to wear most days? One of my goals this autumn/winter is to keep the thermostat lower than usual, and to learn to wear some warm clothes instead! I should know that it isn’t warm enough to wear shorts and a tee shirt indoors ALL WINTER LONG…
This sale is a good opportunity to grab a top or 2 in an accent color. Long-sleeved tee shirts are an essential part of my winter wardrobe, so if I want a fresh tee shirt or two, this would be the time to grab some.
Same with cashmere crew neck sweaters – I usually buy one each year! Finding one marked down before the season is a smart move, if the sweater proves to be of decent quality. And of course perfume always needs to be replenished…
Thinking of perfume reminds me that my wee perfume spritzer is empty! And that makes me think of travel… This red duffle bag would make a wonderful weekend bag, and the black Longchamp expandable bag would be SO SMART when you’re traveling somewhere that involves shopping!
And short, waterproof boots? Tempting for someone who goes to Ireland a lot, and who prefers to travel in the Autumn and Winter…
These pre-season sales are also the time to replace things in your closet that you have loved, but that are starting to get past their “best by” date! My blazer is still in stunningly good condition; it’s very much like this one, with some texture to the fabric. The great thing about this texture is that it frees you to wear the blazer with any OTHER black fabric, without worrying about matching things!
And yes, shoe trees! Small mens’ trees will fit all but the tiniest women’s shoes. If you’re going to have nice shoes, the least you can do is take care of them. I think of using shoe trees as being akin to hanging up your clothes after you wear them. You don’t just throw your coat on the floor when you get home – similarly, you should put something into your shoes to help them regain their shape, and absorb moisture…
These are my favorite boots, and I’m thinking about getting a back-up pair. Mine are starting to near the point of no more possible repairs…
And a black ponte skirt is versatile, and packs like a dream.
It would be remiss of me not to remind us all that this is also a smart time to make sure we are well supplied with necessities – undergarments and sleep wear aren’t necessarily glamorous, but they’re useful! (these aren’t all on sale – but they’re still essential…)
Of course, I also did a bit of fantasy shopping! I wasn’t planning for this, but it turned out that things that I chose managed to come together really nicely in a dressy outfit!
If you’re looking for a bracelet with a particular semi-precious stone, this Gorjana bracelet comes in 20 colors…
So tell me, do you have a clothing budget? And if so, do you allocate part of it to spend at pre-season sales like the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?
Or do you just buy things as you see them?
I admit – I plan pretty carefully….
p.s. Six years ago, we were immersed in Four by Four Capsule Wardrobes – specifically in one for cool weather in camel, black, grey and ivory.
Thank you for the work you put into this post, especially for choosing items that are still in stock. This is in no way a negative comment towards you but I would like to point out that between obviously low buying on their part and giving premier cardholders access to the sale significantly early, Nordstrom has basically negated their own sale. Many, many things have sold out before most of us had the opportunity to shop. My entire wish list is sold out and I can’t shop until tomorrow. Their social media channels are filled with customers having similar experiences. All of my browsing and careful planning was a waste of time as I won’t be able the purchase anything I chose.
It’s too bad, especially for influencers like yourself who aren’t going to make as much income due to their poor planning.
The whole “early access” thing for cardholders irks me – they obviously make more money from the credit card people than they do from the rest of us, but that’s no reason to show us a bunch of stuff that’s going to be gone by the time we get to shop! There was an Eileen Fisher dress that I really wanted you all to see – it looked very much like my v-neck dress that I like a lot, but it’s vanished.
Not the way I would do business, for sure!
Janice, I truly appreciate how diligent you are with regards to only featuring items that are in stock. One of the many reasons this is the only fashion blog I read!!
To be clear, I have a Nordstrom card. But I don’t spend $15k a year and this didn’t have access to sale items last week when they were bought out.
Oh my – is THAT the criteria? I can’t imagine spending that much money in one store… But given the way that they’re carrying more and more expensive brands, it is possible – but not for any of us!
Beth T says
Wow! Diamond ring or New Car ?
However, looking at the bracelet you suggested in a range of colours – very pretty – it did occur to me that the same stone can look warm or cool depending on whether its matched with gold or silver. Perhaps you could do a post on Take Two Bracelets With the Same Stone and create capsules based on Warm and Cool colours.
I do find sales very hyped up generally whatever the prices. I tend to buy things when I need them and I hate crowds during sale time. There is always the pressure to buy something just to say ‘I got it in the sale’. I prefer to have a budget and shop accordingly so whether I buy something at full price or half price (or more), I know that I have bought the right thing and its value for money. If it was reduced that’s a bonus. I’m also not a stock size so usually have to try on two or three sizes before I find something that fits. I often get frustrated. My daughter, on the other hand is a stock size, keeps an eye on things and buys them only when they get to the sale.
I’ve just ordered a pair of natural linen wide leg trousers in petite length plus two snakeskin belts (one blue, one grey). Ordered two sizes in each. I needed to replace my snakeskin belt which has split and the holes are ragged. I’ve been on the lookout for linen wide leg trousers for a couple of years but need ones that are wide from the waist not the knee. I’ve paid full price but everything is within my ‘budget’, so I hope that one pair fits.
No shopping here — still no place to go ! I have plenty of Autumn clothes in bins in my garage waiting for me to go through and donate to someone else’s use .Right now, I am keeping my year round wear at home clothes in my closet with added seasonal interest garments. My need for nicer out of the house and travel clothes is very limited with the virus persisting in this part of the state .
I just love your openness and honesty. Makes me trust you even more.
I have a question: Is Nordstrom always more generous toward bloggers, or only during their sales event? I’m asking because I’m not likely to buy anything today, but after years of following you and benefiting from your wardrobe advice, I do feel some loyalty. I try to buy at least a couple of things a year, linking from your blog. If I’m particularly drawn to something you post from Nordstrom at a later date, it’ll possibly take me off the fence about buying it.
I’m a restrained shopper—too restrained: I struggle to have enough clothes to make it to laundry day. And usually my wardrobe is second hand shopping. Wardrobe money and garden money battle it out in my wallet, and the garden usually wins.
Yes, frankly, Nordstrom is the best retailer that I know of for bloggers. One would think that L.L.Bean or Lands’ End would be agreeable to place ads on The Vivienne Files, since I promote their stuff EVERY DAY, but many retailers still pretend that digital is just a wee bit of the world…
It’s just about the strangest way to make a living I’ve ever experienced! I love the work, but making it into a decent business is fascinatingly different from anything else in my life…
Beth T says
These days, we all need to be surrounded by beauty and serenity. I’m glad you’re making a beautiful and peaceful haven for yourself. As well as helping birds, insects and small mammals.
It’s a lesson to us all to pause and think whether we choose between a transitory pleasure and something that will give us joy forever.
Though perhaps you could perhaps prioritise your needs a little bit more I buy a lot of my clothes, accessories and jewellery second hand from charity shops but I still apply strict criteria over purchases.
I’m joining my daughter in only buying replacements for clothes and accessories as long I still have a place for said item in my wardrobe. I’m also allowed to fill real gaps as long the items i buy are the best fit for a reasonable price.
I certainly should prioritise my garden a bit more. I try to think of it as a wildlife haven – foxes and hedgehogs are regular visitors – but it needs a bit of taming….
Sally in St Paul says
Even with early cardholder access, I didn’t shop the sale. I am in very good shape for autumn and winter and don’t have any immediate needs. I was open to a pair of loafers or oxfords with whappage, but I didn’t see anything in the sale that I like as well as the things I already own. From a shopper’s perspective, I generally find the sale not all that great, really, and I don’t get excited about it. But now with this added context, I understand why bloggers do. Thanks for the explanation and transparency.
I do have a shopping list, but it’s short and very specific right now, focusing on buying some 4 piece sets (Cores of 4) in dark teal and taupe-grey that would be wearable across multiple seasons (that “mid-weight full-length pants, cotton pullover sweater” kind of middle ground). These colors are difficult to match across brands/collections, so I am aiming to buy them all together. (Add in the plus size aspect and it’s even more challenging.) So this is an area where I hope being especially (and, you know, uncharacteristically) picky and patient will pay off. I am quite happy to pay full price to only have to buy these items *once* and have a coherent set of mix-and-matchable pieces that can function as foundational neutrals. I don’t want to go down the road I’m on with burgundy, where this top works with this skirt but not with these pants or sweater…which don’t really work well with each other either…and I keep buying things in the hopes of coming up with a coherent set but I’m left with an ever-expanding set of accent pieces.
Beth T says
I’m supposed to be able to wear taupe-grey. However it seems that this colour is so open to interpretation that I really don’t know what I’m looking for. I’ve seen anything from beige to charcoal described as taupe. Is this a colour or a chimera?
So please, Sally, when you find your taupe-grey Core of 4, please will you share them with us, so that we can all see your interpretation of this mystical colour.
Thanks in anticipation
Sally in St Paul says
Will do, Beth T. I’ve been looking at the Pantone taupes and would love to find something in the range of: Taupe Grey 17-0808, Plaza Taupe 16-1105, or Simply Taupe 16-0906.
I also find the rosy taupe colors quite lovely but perhaps not as neutral as I’m looking for in a Core of Four…Rose Taupe 18-1612 and Desert Taupe 17-1311.
Now if only I could find a Core of Four in one of these colors in the wild!
sounds lovely! Dark teal and taupe gray are both colors that I buy and wear, and I can see how appealing it is to have them all match each other! My teals are all over the place, but some do go with each other, thank goodness. – nancyo
Im a German reader. Could not find the word
in any translator or online? Could anybody please explain?
It’s a word I made up – I’m so sorry; you won’t find it anywhere in a dictionary!
It comes from the informal slang word “whap” which means to slap or to hit. I made it into a noun showing the effects of being “hit” with attraction and appeal for something that you see that is available to purchase.
I need to make it more clear when I invent words; I apologize again!!!
Thank you Janice for your explanation below – always creative, even with words! ;-)
My brain is not quite normal….
Sally in St Paul says
OMG, Beth T, $15,000?! No wonder I, as a mere plebian cardholder, think the sale is over-hyped…I never got a crack at the good stuff.
Sara K says
I have specifically practiced mindset where I am willing to pay normal price for any item I buy. Of course, in practice I seldom do, but since adopting this mindset I have actually saved money because it has forced me to think more carefully about necessity of my purchases. I have noticed that if an item is not something I would purchase at normal price, it’s probably not all that wonderful in the first place (a notable execption, of course, being some luxury items that I could not otherwise afford at all, but those purchases are VERY few and far between…)
I have tracked my shopping, but this year was my first year with a set shopping budget. Honestly, it’s not going too well, as I’m in the process of changing jobs and looks like my wardrobe needs an update… Additionally, my favorite online shop closed a couple of months ago, and I purchased some hard to find items from final sale. Next year will be better, though, I’m sure of it…
Once again, thanks for your hard work and dedication to this blog, I’ve learned a ton and probably saved quite a bit of money over the years.
Debra Little says
I love the wardrobes and the accessories you show and after reading for a few years now, I have figured out what looks good on me and what colours work. It has been liberating. I have gotten rid of the orphans in my closet. I have moved on to now getting most of my clothes second hand and have moved to mostly natural fibers. I now have a very nice capsule that suits me and has been very inexpensive. Thanks for all that you do.
Linda P says
I shop for very specific pieces in mind, and not above a certain price point. I learned that too many of my impulse buys turned into ‘orphans.’ I look for coupons (e.g. Retail Me Not) online and really only shop when there’s a sale. (I do stay with brands that have a good track record).I tell myself to wear each article of clothing at least once for that season (fall/winter and spring/summer) before I decide it needs to be replaced. I have also adopted a policy that for each new piece of clothing that is purchased, that same amount leaves the closet and gets donated. And I follow my Mom’s advice to ‘take good care of your clothes and they’ll last you a long time.’ So I guess the clothing retailers don’t make a lot of profit from me.
Beth T says
Talking to the younger members of my family, I am learning a lot about how to stick to a budget and be a savvy shopper about everything, not just clothes.
They spend a lot of time deciding what to buy, researching all the options, read reviews, save up, and put things on wish lists and watch lists. They buy at a discount or in the sales. They use online marketplaces and would rather support a local and/or independent/specialist source to ensure they get the best value for money and to ensure that small businesses do well. They also choose companies and online marketeers that have good reviews for after sales service. They complain about poor service and blacklist marketeers who have swindled them.
For clothes shopping, they are moving away from fast fashion and choosing reliable brands with longevity in mind. They buy vintage or second-hand quality brands for sustainability.
This generation are becoming more ethically and socially conscious about the vast wastefulness of the fashion industry, the damage to the environment, habitats and ecosystems from excess water use, and the poor working conditions of workers making clothes, even high-end and designer brands.
Instagram is the social media of choice. They post pictures of themselves in recycled and upcycled clothes. Demonstrating how one item can be worn many different ways. Learning to sew is becoming more popular again – Make Do and Mend.
All the young people in my family have defined styles of dress which makes them unique. They are neither crowd followers nor crowd pleasers but dress for self-satisfaction.
I’m very proud of them all.
Cherry Robinson says
I am a Nordstrom card holder and have been watching this debate on the social media. I do think they have taken their “ looking after our customers” policy too far this year especially, when some compassion for those in difficulties would have been appreciated.
That said, I have not found much sold out in the sort of things I look at -classics in natural fibers, quality shoes and bootees, underwear restocks. I find myself in the middle tier of advance access this year, thanks to my husband who replaced a lot of his clothes using my card last year!
The way it works is that basic cardholders get a week advance access, then each tier of spenders get a few more days in front of that. However I suspect there are private access events for the media influencers, as their reviews started showing up suspiciously early.
It will be interesting to see what Nordstrom do next year, after all the negative publicity
Nina T says
This explains why everyone – everyone! – is going over the sale. After watching two run-downs, I was done. Nothing the bloggers showed was of any interest to me. I’m avoiding bloggers because that’s all they’re doing right now. If it’s not about the sale it’s about their haul of the sale. I’ll go back when the frenzy is over. I don’t need multiple walkthroughs of the same sales pitch. Yours is the only readable because it shows how to put clothes together, sale or no sale.