Reader Question: How Do I Spend a $200 Nordstrom Gift Card?

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Reader Question: 

So, my last birthday I was VERY pregnant and couldn't come up with gift ideas because I was having trouble imagining life post-baby. My husband gave me a $200 Nordstom card as my present. I used to have no problem spending money there. But now after baby and with not working, I can't for the life of me decide what to spend it on. I could use some new things for spring because last year I was pregnant. Any ideas? I am comfortable spending a little more than just the card if it is on something essential or fantastic. 

– Liz


Answer: 

Happy birthday and congratulations on the new babe!  Having had two in the past 25 months, I can totally relate to not knowing where to start spending on yourself post-babe(s)–there's a lot of ground to cover when you've sat-out several seasons in elasticized pants. 

I love getting gift cards–they're always the perfect gift.  But, especially with a nice little chunk of change to spend, us moms need to exercise a lot of restraint.  What, with college funds and preschool costs looming, it's tempting to immediately hit the sale rack and go for quantity, not quality.  But if you're anything like me, those are most often the pieces you donate after wearing them a few times, so deep discounts aren't really a deal in the end. 

While I'm all for buying a few transitional cheapy pieces to get through the postpartum period, especially for your birthday gift I'd urge you to resist the impulse to go the clearance route unless you find something you really can't live without.  In other words, treat your gift card in the spirit in which it was intended–as a gift, and choose something accordingly.  By all means, buy something you can use, but make sure it's something you really want.  

Buy a splurge item, something you wouldn't necessarily purchase on a typical shopping trip, like one killer handbag, pair of shoes or an outfit that is going to make you feel like the amazing 1.) woman, and 2.) mom, that you are.  Since you've just had a baby, my top pick will always fit–handbags, which will turn up the volume on an inexpensive Gap, Forever 21, Old Navy, etc. transitional piece, and you'll still have it when you've reached your baby weight loss goals.

Crossbody Splurge Bags
A great handbag really polishes even the most mundane outfit, but if you're going to spend $200+, you should be able to use it every day.  I love the crossbody bag trend for moms and city dwellers as they free up your hands to push a stroller, carry your coffee and tote baby essentials, all while looking fabulous.  Check out these bright, spring-ey handbags that will pop a cheapy black jersey dress with flip flops, a tank and jeans with platforms and work togs, too.  I love the MARC by Marc Jacobs Totally Turnlock Natasha Crossbody ($328) in Acai Berry.  I have a Totally Turnlock satchel and now I wish I had this one, too–the leather is amazingly buttery soft yet durable and it has all the auxiliary pockets a mom could want while the bright color is on-trend for the season.  The Junior Drake "Cargo" Multizip Crosssbody ($248) in Ocean is another fav.  I have a Junior Drake convertible handbag in red, and again, the leather is soft, durable and lightweight–can't go wrong.  I'm starting to think I have a handbag problem as I write this, because I also have another version of The Sak Flap Crossbody ($199) in a cognac color.  The cream color option will go with virtually anything in your spring wardrobe.  Again, love love love.  The leather isn't as supple or lightweight as the MARC by Marc Jacobs or Junior Drake bags, but it is very durable and luxurious nonetheless.      
MARC by Marc Jacobs Natasha $328 Junior Drake Cargo Crossbody Bag - $248The Sak Flap C
rossbody Bag - $199

A Stunning Spring Jacket
To my chagrin, I found only a few really stunning spring jackets on Nordstrom.com and only one was within range of the $200 gift card limit although it's quite a bit over.  A fabulous jacket is a terrific go-to item.  Like a handbag, it's one of those things you can get away with wearing on a near-daily basis and that will polish even the most basic t-shirt and jeans ensemble. The William Rast Leather Jacket ($395) in cognac is a piece that will be exceptionally versatile and comfortable.  Wear it with a hubby-beater tank, boyfriend jeans and ballet flats or dress it up with leggings and a tunic.  The cropped length is meant to give show to whatever you have on underneath and the cognac color can go with either black-based or brown neutrals.
William Rast Leather Jacket - $395

Splurge Shoes
Are you a shoe person?  I'm a shoe person, but I don't think I've ever purchased a pair of $300 sandals, though I'm tempted now. . . and if I had a $200 gift card and considering I already have some version of each of the handbags I recommended, I think I might just purchase the most amazing platform shoes I have seen in ages.  This is shoe love, ladies.  Shoe.  Love.  For your consideration, the Tory Burch Becket Wedge Sandal ($295) in denim.
Tory Burcj Becket Wedge Sandal - $295

If You're Dying for an Outfit
Liz, are you the mom we all hate?  Is whisper-thin rayon/spandex actually forgiving on your bum and thighs?  If so, check out this adorable outfit I would rock spring thru fall if I were that mom, or if I were 24 again.  The Ella Moss Knit Jumpsuit ($132) is right on point with the year's kickiest fashion statement and will allow for freedom of movement whilst chasing toddlers and wearing babes.  Pair it with platforms like the Jingman by Guess ($89.95) for maneuverable height and a splash of color. 
Ella Moss Knit Jumpsuit - $132Guess Jingman Sandal - $89.95
Need a more forgiving option?  Try an of-the-moment boyfriend blazer, like this gorgeous, 50% off Kenna-T Pinstripe in navy ($129.90 from $262) over a detailed racerback tank like the Ruffled Racerback by Splendid ($54) in lemon, paired with your skinny jeans and a snakeskin ballet flat or a delicate gladiator, like OTBT's Libia Sandal in canary ($59.90). 

Kenna-T Pinstripe Boyfriend Blazer $129.90Splendid Ruffled Racerback Tank - $54 OTBT Libia Sandal - $59.90

Well, happy shopping and happy birthday to you, Liz!  Hope we were able to help.

– M


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7 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for the suggestions!!!! All of your picks were great . . .
    I really like the bag ideas as well as the Tory Burch sandals. I am leaning towards the Sak Flap Crossbody because I think it will look great with the military inspired jackets for spring. It will look fantastic with jeans and a jacket – but also with dresses and warmer weather outfits. Your help is much appreciated.

  2. I am – quite literally – panting over the jumpsuit. Panting. It must be mine. And the denim wedges. OMG Mol – great post!!

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