Yes…Aquatalia, AllSaints and Veronica Beard have some fantastic pieces in this year’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but there are some solid budget-friendlier finds as well! Some of my favorite outfits end up being a mix of fancy + budget pieces (and if interested, you can check out my selfies of high-end cardigans, designer jeans and fancy boots here).
There were a few categories in my budget-friendly shopping search that were tricky. I tried on MANY sweaters (under $100) that were way too rough or itchy, jeans where the fit was terrible, boots that I didn’t like the colors of at ALL in person, and jackets that looked (and felt) very low quality.
But…the exciting news is, in addition to several tried-and-true, budget-friendly closet staples that many of us here at TME have worn for years (my fave joggers, the coziest wrap jacket, closet-staple cashmere and the under-$12 tee), there are a few exciting new finds in the mix.
I’m looking at you, super-cool top that looks like curtains (in the best way possible)!
Trendy + Budget-Friendly — Best Fall Closet Staples Under $100: A Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2022 Try-On
Below you’ll find eight outfits (from me and Shana) that are made up entirely of under $100 pieces and some variations of these outfits as well. Actually…Shana likes to break all my rules. Ugh! She snuck in a fancy bag and some nicer shoes…with her budget-friendly “hero finds.” I see that, Shana!
I’ll give her a pass. I guess we could say you can keep your eyes out for her bag or those sneakers on eBay for when they pop up for under $100. There you go, Shana…I saved you.
Let’s get started!
1. Bootcut Jeans + Cool Girl Sneaks
Difficult to go wrong with the bootcut jeans and cool sneakers combination…especially when the super-soft and stretchy denim is under $50 and the sneakers are in the most amazing colorway! Also hard to go wrong when you’re adding the coziest wrap jacket. Check out my previous post on the gray Zella Amazing Cozy Wrap Jacket (yep…that’s the actual name) if you want to see how soft and cozy it is inside.
And if you wanted a close-up of my new Hoff sneaks (by a company founded in Spain)…look below! Four fresh colorways all under $100 as part of the sale, but this gray/brown/navy is my favorite. They fit me TTS and are MUCH more lightweight than my Madewells, which have a similar vibe.
Now, let’s talk about this under-$50 denim from Wit & Wisdom. Soft, stretchy, comfortable and an easy-to-wear standard medium blue wash. I think they look great from the front. The back? Is…fine. It’s no MOTHER denim tush, but then again they’re literally a fifth of the price…so there’s that! I hacked them off after these photos, so you can see how they look cropped in photos further down in the post.
2. Slouchy Tee + Vans Forever
Hey, guys — S here. I’ve had this long-sleeve Zella tee for years, and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s long enough to wear with leggings or tiny biker shorts yet tucks nicely into jeans. Plus, the curved hem means it looks cute untucked too. And did I mention the thumbholes?
My jeans are old Levi 501s from last year’s sale (always under $100, so there’s that), and this bag — an NSale find — is gorgeous. Herschel backpacks are always a little scratchy, though, so they’re something I’d only use when I’m not wearing a tank top.
3. Levi’s Ribcage Jeans + Cute Top (That Looks Like Curtains)
If I’m going for a budget-friendly “base” top, I love a good sleeveless Ponte that looks like curtains. Seriously…I think curtain-esque tops are fabulous. They usually have an interesting geometric or floral design and look great under all.the.things. Although for this one…I like it just as well on its own as I do under cardigans and jackets. Especially with these Levi’s straight-leg ribcage jeans. I’m usually a 28 to 29 in most denim brands, but I’m wearing a 28 in these Levis Ribcages, and there’s plenty of room, surprisingly. Previously I’ve had to size up in Levis Ribcages, but not these.
The only budget-friendly boots I like (after many fails) are these Vince Camutos booties. They have a similar vibe to the gorgeous and comfortable Aquatalias I wore in my cardigan post, but are third of the price. They seem comfortable enough…hard to know yet if I could truly walk in them all day, but I was standing, going up and down stairs, and taking selifes in them for hours, and my feet were just fine. Felt a significant amount of my weight on the nice, thick stacked block heel, so that’s usually a good sign. Note: The zipper isn’t super-smooth, but I’m hoping it will break in with wear.
And if “curtain-material tops” aren’t your thing, I liked both of these tops as well. The yellow satin blouse by 1.State was an especially fun surprise… This specific shade of yellow is REALLY pretty and vibrant, and mixed with the little ruffle and subtle floral print..it works really well. The black-and-white top by Cece isn’t quite as interesting, but I liked it, and it would be a great easy-to-wear with everything work top as well.
If you like to throw on a cardigan over your interesting tops (like I do), I did find some options in the sale. The budget-friendly cardigan search was HARD this year, you guys! I tried on a TON of itchy cardigans. The French Connection camel cardigan on the left was soft and not at all itchy (finally I found one!!), and it had a nice drape and shape as well. The longer-line cardigan on the right is VERY thin and lightweight (if that’s what you’re looking for), but it was soft and met my non-itchiness standards. Comes in lots of colors, and although it feels a little flimsy for me (I like a more substantial cardigan), it’s under $50 and a nice option if you want something very light.
4. Zella Tee + BlankNYC Bootcut Jeans
BlankNYC sent over some sale goodies, and these jeans were a happy surprise. Love the 2022 twist on bootcut: a sky-high rise and split hem. Note that I hacked off many inches with scissors (so they’ll work for taller gals), but I’m happy with how much of the split hem is left — even with flat shoes. My only issue with BlankNYC jeans is that I have to size wayyyy up (two sizes).
And this Zella tee has quickly become my favorite. Look at the back. It’s drapey and delicious, and works equally well for workin’ out or hangin’ out.
5. Tried-&-True Zella Joggers With Any Comfy Top
Here we are! It’s time to talk Zella Joggers. For those of you new here, I own these silly joggers in three sizes: The XS fits me more like leggings; I wear the S for a fitted jogger look and the M for a slouchier look. Or…I wear whichever ones are the cleanest in my laundry pile. At under $50, I’m quite happy to have multiples. They look great wash after wash, hold their shape, and I wear them year-round in hot, cool and cold weather. So good!
While I don’t love the navy color in my favorite Zella joggers (below right)…I adore the new blue in Zella’s Restore lightweight joggers! I also love the ultra-soft feel. Think: If Vuori and Zella had a baby, you’d get Vuori’s ultra-softness but just a tad more substantial thickness.
6. Nordstrom Cashmere Sweater + Comfy Clogs
Nordstrom cashmere goes on and off sale throughout the year, but if you’re picky about colors, it’s usually better to get these sweaters earlier in the year. Colors and sizing do often sell out as we move through to winter.
This crew-neck cashmere sweater does not have the softness of Jenni Kayne or Nadaam cashmere, but for under $100, it’s soft enough for me. Plus, I like the simplicity of the style and color options. It’s on the thinner side for cashmere, but I like the way it drapes when tucked in just a bit.
These Free People clogs were MUCH more comfortable than I thought they’d be. I definitely prefer a clog with a back strap, but so far (just a day of wearing), they’ve stayed on my feet just fine, and the footbed feels comfortable. You can kind of see from the close-up, the suede is not going to have the same quality look and feel as a clog like Veronica Beard, so if you’re picky about that, you might want to go with the taupe leather instead. Or often black suede looks higher-end to me than the browns.
And if cashmere is too hot for you, I threw in this under-$12 Caslon V-neck tee. It’s a good one many of us have worn for years and comes in a bazillion colors, but I like the white and black ones best. You can see it’s on the thinner side, which may not be for everyone, but it isn’t SUPER-see-through like some other thin tees, and it feels nice on hot days.
7. Cropped Plaid Shacket + Frank & Eileen Rugby Shirt
Another piece BlankNYC sent over was this cropped, plaid shacket. It is not a forever piece. It’s ever-so-slightly bulky. It’s a colorway I wouldn’t normally reach for. And yet: it manages to work over and over again. There’s something very nonchalant cool-girl about this jacket, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. But it’s a fun surprise find that I’m going to have fun wearing this fall.
*not under $100
For a better look at that Frank & Eileen rugby shirt…this photo below. Frank & Eileen pieces are sustainably made in the US, so getting one for under $100 is a true steal.
8. Quilted Floral Jacket + Shorts + Sunnies
Aaaand finally, we have the BlankNYC quilted jacket! (I swear, I’m under no obligation to talk about any of these pieces — I just genuinely loved them.) This bananas thing literally feels like wearing a soft comforter, and I love it as an unexpected topper on cool summer nights. And while my shorts and sandals are NOT part of the NSale, they ARE under $100.
Suck it, Linzi. 😉
Was this helpful, you guys? For future big sales, let us know if there are specific under-$100 pieces you guys have been searching for or would like us to review. We try to provide a balance for all of our readers because we know there’s quite a wide range of shopping budgets and preferences in this crew. Thank you so much again for reading and following and supporting TME. We appreciate our readers so VERY much. Happy shopping!
PLEASE shout out in the comments any other budget-friendly gems you guys are finding in the sale as you’re shopping and things are coming in from orders! Would love to hear from you!
And don’t forget! Our 2022 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale cheat sheet is updated daily. It’s your one-stop shopping guide with all our best recs, so check it out or head over to our more in-depth Ultimate Guide To The NSale.
-Linzi (with Shana piping in here and there)