Shana’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Try-On: Part 1


Hey, Gang! It’s that NSale time of year where the team & I spend many, many hours trying on, testing out, debating, and ultimately narrowing down to a solid selection of items worth considering from the 2023 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. As always, I (we?) have several strong opinions. 

First of all, the big takeaway from this year’s NSale is that the denim section is fire. So much so that we’re breaking my usual try-on article into two parts: Part 1 is this one, and Part 2 — available now!! — will be alllll denim.

In addition to an unbelievable denim selection, the NSale came out with some surprisingly fun athleisure too — pieces that feel really fresh and on trend — as well as [cue the applause] pants

So, if you’re looking for cute jeans, try Part 2, The Best NSale Jeans (& How To Wear Them For Fall), or if you want more NSale content, check out our guide to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (updated daily). But if you’ve been feeling like you need a break from those jeans…

On-Trend Pants, Shorts &…Skorts? For When You’re Sick Of Jeans: A Nordstorm Anniversary Sale Try-On

There's no doubt that pants — whether chinos or trousers or parachute or cargo — are going to have a major moment this fall.

top (S) | pants (27)

There’s no doubt that pants — whether chinos or trousers or parachute or cargo — are going to have a major moment this fall. While I’ve been struggling to redefine my everyday uniform in general, I’ve been flirting with the idea of pants. Ideally, I’d love to try swapping in a pair for my jeans (i.e., styling them with sneakers) for a fresh, easy look.

OK, some rules for this try-on: While there are plenty of cute sneakers in this year’s NSale…I still like my adidas sneaks better. So for most of these outfits, I’m either wearing my adidas Sambas, Gazelles or Gazelle Bolds. Frankly, they’re pretty interchangeable with each other, but these sneakers do feel fresher than all of my others — highly recommend for an easy wardrobe refresh!

Secondly, I don’t like any of the bags in the NSale. So any bag you see pictured is one I already own (NOT in the sale).

Lastly, if I’m wearing a strappy black tank, it’s not in the Nordstrom sale. (I just wear them 90% of the time, so it’s my go-to for try-ons.) The pants have gotta work with what I’ve got, ya know?

1. Move Over, Joggers: Zella Cargo Pants

These Zella cargo pants run a little long, so I had to cinch them a bit (they're adjustable).

Top (M)| Pants (S) | Bag | Flip-Flops (Not in NSale)

If you’re getting a little sick of the usual joggers, Zella’s parachute pants are a fun option. They run a little long (I’m just under 5’3″), so I had to cinch them in a bit, but they look especially cute with flip-flops and low profile sneakers.

While I don’t love the waistband of these Zella pants nearly as much as Athleta’s Trekkie Parachute Pants, I like the color of these pants far better than the darker tan of Athleta’s.

If you're getting a little sick of the usual joggers, Zella's parachute pants are a fun option.

LEFT: Sweatshirt (XS) | Pants (S) | Sneakers (not in NSale) // RIGHT: Long-Sleeve Tee (S) | Pants (S) | Purse | Flip-Flops (Not in NSale)

I love pant that go with easy cotton tops. And this Nike sweatshirt has been one of my faves for 4+ years — so happy it’s back in the sale — and that 100% cotton Free People tee is just as good as I’d hoped.

2. But If You Still Want Joggers: Zella Cargo Joggers

The Zella cargo joggers (in the prettiest green) are seriously chic, lightweight & soft.

Top (S) | Pants (S) | Flip-Flops (not in NSale)

Just when I thought I was ready to move on from this jogger shape…Zella added cargo-pocket details AND a color that’s seriously chic. There’s almost a black thread woven through this army green — it’s really, annoyingly good. And yup: These are Zella’s usual lightweight & soft fabric.

3. Surprisingly Good: Zella Utility Shorts

We're surprised by how good Zella's utility shorts are. Fashiony enough for every day, but you could hike in them.

Top (S) | Shorts (S) | Bag | Flip-Flops | Heels

Syd & our video team published a video of our NSale try-on…and they Photoshopped me into Lara Croft, Tomb Raider — ha! ‘Nuff said, I think.

In all seriousness, the entire team is surprised by how good Zella’s utility shorts are. They’re fashion-y enough to be worn every day (or date night??), but one could actually hike in them — they’re technical shorts, after all. Just really, really cool ones. I’ve found them to be a liiiiitle sheer. Not bad, but you can see a hint of black underwear if you’re really looking, so it’s best to stick with nude.

These utility shorts from Zella are a *little* sheer. Not bad, but you can see a hint of black underwear.

LEFT: Tee (S) | Shorts (S) | Flip-Flops | Bag // RIGHT: Top (S) | Shorts (S) | Boots

Ummm..don’t miss Farm Rio’s pink graphic tee. It’s my new fave. And that ivory long-sleeve tee from Zella is actually a technical tee, not a cotton one. It’s suuuuuper-soft (and a little sheer). I really like it — the line detail elevates it quite a bit. I kinda want the gray too.

4. Okaaay: Zella Tank & Skort Set

This tank-top-&-skort set from Zella is flirty, cute, & perfect to wear to the park or school drop-off.

Top (S) | Skort (S) | Sneakers

I literally cannot believe I like a freaking skort, but you guys…I LOVE IT. It’s flirty, cute, and just the thing to wear to the park with the kids, or to play tennis, or school drop-off, or WHATEVER. I couldn’t decide between the two colors, so allow me to style them up, and WE WILL SEE.

Zella’s Skort Set In Green

These On running shoes are the only sneakers I picked up in the NSale.

Jacket (S) | Skort (S) | Sneakers

Gahhhh, I mean this is cute, right? Even with legit running shoes (oh — these On shoes are the only sale sneakers I picked up) and a sweatshirt jacket — worn open OR closed. Also: Peep the cord bomber jacket below. I don’t want to overstate, but I think it’s one of the best buys of the whole sale.

The green of this Zella skort is cute, right? Esp. paired w/ the Topshop corduroy bomber jacket.

LEFT: Jacket (XS) | Top (S) | Skort (S) | Sneakers | Bag // RIGHT: Jacket (S) | Top (S) | Skort (S) | Sneakers

Zella’s Skort Set In Black

Sweatshirt (XS) | Skort (S) | Sneakers

The black is just as cute, and super-chic for a monochromatic moment. WHAT DO I DO, GUYS?

The Zella skort in black is just as cute & chic for a monochromatic outfit.

LEFT: Jacket (10) | Jacket in Plus Size | Skort (S) | Sneakers | Bag // RIGHT: Jacket (S) | Top (S) | Skort (S) | Sneakers

P.S. I love that preppy little quilted jacket from Barbour. Definitely need to play around with styling it up.

5. Old Favorites, Updated: Nike Sweatshirt & Shorts Set

I wear this Nike sweatshirt w/ the matching shorts all the time.

Sweatshirt (XS) | Shorts (S) | Top (S) | Sneakers

So, I wear this Nike sweatshirt allllll the ding-dong time. I bought it and the matching shorts 4+ years ago and have found, recently, that the old shorts don’t quite fit high enough nor are they roomy enough. I’m thrilled (thrilled!!) to see that Nike addressed those very issues with this iteration. (And we’re also not going to stress that my washed-1000-times-sweatshirt is a slightly lighter color than the shorts.)

6. The New Jeans: Veronica Beard Trousers With Sneakers

These Veronica Beard trousers run long — I had to tape up the hems a good 6 inches.

Tee (S) | Pants (6) | Sneakers

THIS. This is the uniform I want to play around with: tee, sneaks, trousers. And if you’re tall, don’t fear — I had to tape these hems up….oh gosh a good six inches? Yeah – the trousers run long.

If I were going into an office, I’d think about adding a blazer to this exact outfit. FRAME’s cropped blazer is gorgeous and would do nicely:

FRAME's cropped blazer is gorg & would do nicely w/ the Veronica Beard trousers.

Tee (S) | Pants (6) | Blazer (S) | Sneakers

Of course, in my regular life, something practical like this Rains waterproof jacket is more my speed. I’ve been wanting to try this piece for ages — it’s seriously cool and such a fun statement. The shine is pretty special (yet not over the top).

I've been wanting to try this waterproof jacket from Rains for ages — the shine is pretty special.

Coat (S) | Tee (S) | Pants (6) | Sneakers

7. On-Trend Western: Veronica Beard Trousers & Cowboy Boots?

Cowboy boots are such a huge trend right now, & I love styling them w/ non-Western pieces, like the Veronica Beard trousers.

Coat (2) – also in navy!! | Tee (S) | Pants (6) | Boots

Cowboy boots are such a huge trend right now, and I love styling them with very non-Western pieces. Which is why I love the trousers, wool coat & cowboy boots.

8. Power Pants: Veronica Beard Tie-Waist Chinos

These Veronica Beard flare chinos are such Power Pants — freaking gorg & can be worn in the office.

Top (S) | Pants (27)

Gang, if nothing else…these flare pants from Veronica Beard. They’re so freaking gorgeous and can be worn in an office setting, but they’re honestly just khaki pants. I’m debating where to hem them (hence the pooling on the ground), but I’m leaning toward hemming for sneakers. That said, they’re such Power Pants, I miiiiight need a high-heels moment. Hmmm.

P.S. This ribbed tank top is another fave from the sale — can you see the corset detail??? SO GOOD.

9. Cooler Than Khakis: Vince Wide-Leg Pants

These wide-leg Vince pants are menswear-inspired & in the best tan color.

Top (S) | Pants (6) | Shoes | Bag

These Vince pants remind me of khaki pants, but they have almost a workman-like vibe, thanks to the oddly durable material and cool back pockets. They’re very menswear-inspired and in a tan color that matches no other brown/tan/camel I own…which means they go with alllll the browns/tans/camels.

These Vince pants remind me of khaki pants, but they have almost a workman-like vibe.

Sweater (XXS – runs big) | Pants (6) | Boots

While I do love how these pants look with heels & boots, I’ll likely spend most of my time wearing them with…yup: sneakers.

While I do love how these pants look with heels & boots, I'll likely spend most of my time wearing them w/...yup: adida sneakers.

Sweatshirt (XS) | Pants (6) | Sneakers

It’s like a twist on the basic jeans-and-a-tee.

These Vince pants & long-sleeve top are a twist on the basic jeans-&-a-tee.

Long-Sleeve Tee (S) | Pants (6) | Sneakers

And since I’ve been flirting with color lately…seriously this Farm Rio tee. OMG.

And since I've been flirting with color lately...seriously this pink Farm Rio tee. OMG.

Tee (S) | Pants (6) | Coat (2) – also in navy! | Sneakers

10. Only Look Expensive: BP Parachute Pants

If you want to try some of these new silhouettes without a huge $$ commitment, these BP pants look much more expensive than they are.

Tee (S) | Pants (S) | Flip-Flops

If you want to try some of these new silhouettes without a huge $$ commitment, these BP pants look much more expensive than they are. They don’t, however, drape all that nicely, so you really want to be the right height for these pants (taller than me, haha).

I’m still looking for my perfect pair of olive cargo/parachute pants, but when I find them, I play to style them exactly like this: a sleek base layer with a cozy, longer top layer. Love the combination of tough/sophisticated.

This Vince coatigan is 1 of my very fave purchases of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Top (S) | Pants (S) | Jacket (XS) | Boots

The long-sleeve tee above is a cashmere blend that’s suuuper-soft, and this Vince cardigan-coat is one of my very favorite purchases in the sale. I was pleasantly surprised by these Marc Fisher boots too — see the contrast wood sole? Love it.

Coming up next? DENIM.



A HUGE thank you to Lori at KOP Nordstrom! We love working with you – your help is beyond appreciated!!


  1. A great try-on article, Shana! I love all the pants and shorts you featured from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. The Zella Cargo Pants look stylish and comfortable, and I appreciate your honest comparison with Athleta’s Trekkie Parachute Pants. The Zella Utility Shorts seem like a versatile option for both outdoor activities and everyday wear. Can’t wait to see your Part 2 with denim recommendations!

    • Fit runs small, but the uk sizing always throws me off. I’m wearing a uk 8 which is a us size 6. In Vince coats I’m an xs, but in most others I’m a solid small. The us 4 wasn’t roomy enough.

    • That might just be my edit – I’ve been leaning that way lately – but it looks like oversized is becoming a thing, too. At least according to the Gen Z’ers in the office. 😉

  2. Umm… I used this post as justification to buy both the back-in-stock Adidas Samba OGs and the Gazelles. I need both. Right? Right.

    • Obviously yes. 🙂

      (I also own both Sambas & Gazelles. And, uh, the Gazelle bolds AND regular Gazelles. And while I justified it by thinking, “oh hey, I can then narrow it down and make an educated recommendation to our readers”…I’ve been wearing the heck out of ALL THREE. Sigh.)

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