I recently cleaned out my closet and realized I had a lot of pieces that were just a little bit…dated. I wanted to use the NSale as a way to update and modernize my wardrobe. Both by investing in some classic pieces that will be worth their cost-per-wear, and by sprinkling in a few trendier pieces. Frankly, I’ve been struggling a little with the transition away from skinny jeans, and have always had trouble wearing sneakers (but want to love them, since they’re practical and on-trend).
So my Mom and I drove down to the Nordstrom in Milwaukee (the closest one to Marquette – a mere 5 hours away) with the intention of finding answers to that pesky question: what to wear now?
A Fresh Take On Styling Must-Have Classics + Tricky Modern Trends: An NSale 2022 Try-On
I think this was the most fun I’ve had during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – ever. Mayyybe it’s because I wasn’t going into brain surgery immediately following the sale this year, or maybe it was just the company (my mom and Walli – a seriously helpful and fun stylist at the Nordstrom in Milkwaukee), or maybe it was that I finally had some kid-free time to focus…but I mean, I genuinely found some LOVES that I’m really excited about.
Even better? Those trends that have proven tricky – white sneakers, baggy jeans, wide-leg trousers – I now have formula for that I actually want to wear. And I even found a few twists on classic pieces that take my existing uniforms in a fresh, modern direction (maxi cardigan, anyone?).
1. Faux-Leather Pants For Work & Play
I’ve been wearing faux-leather leggings for years, but wanted a fresher look. Enter these cropped, straight-leg, faux-leather trousers from BlankNYC. I especially love how this silhouette can easily be dressed up for work, but is still badass enough for a date-night outfit.
The key with these pants is to size down — I tried on four different sizes, and the 27s (one size down from my regular 28s) were the best. They have a high rise (13”) and show off curves a bit without being too tight (no Grease-lightning vibes here). The inside is super soft and I love the pocket placement. (They also come in a pretty camel color.)
The tops are both from Open Edit and while they aren’t crazy soft like some more expensive options, I was seriously impressed with the fit of both of them. (More detail below!)
2. Swap Your Leggings For Yoga Pants
Remember yoga pants? They’re back. And such a fun, comfy upgrade for 2022. I’m going to wear mine like leggings…with oversized hoodies and graphic tees.
This pair of Free People yoga pants are wildly comfy and not super thick. They also come in a crop version – 25” inseam – if you don’t like the longer length here. They have a slightly lower rise (9.5”) than most of the leggings I own, but the banded waistband prevents any muffin-top from happening and still covers the booty entirely. (And if you’re looking for a thicker, more substantial pair, my mom came home with these Zella flares that are super cute – with pockets that fit a phone!)
Btw, this Nike sweatshirt is SO good. I love the oversized fit. A lot of sweatshirts I try tend to be super tight along the waistband at the bottom (especially with my bootie), but this one hangs perfectly with an ever-so-slightly longer length in the back. The heavyweight fleece is brushed and incredibly soft. (It’s also available in black, white or a fun neon green.)
3. Wearing White Sneakers In 2022
White sneakers were totally out of my comfort zone, you guys, but I 100% needed to be pushed out of it. They’re ultimately a must-have if I wanted to modernize my look, and they’re actually not as hard to style as I thought they’d be. Basically, anything I’d typically wear black booties with can be worn with white sneakers: cropped leather pants, straight-leg jeans, flares, dresses even. And, let’s be honest, I’m not mad about wearing insanely comfortable shoes instead of heels all the time.
First all…which white sneaker?
So I originally bought the Nike Court Sneakers (in the NSale), but I agree with the reviewers that they’re a bit stiff and not as comfortable as the classic Nike Air Force 1s (not in the sale). Classic Air Force 1’s have cushioning that “absorbs impact and distributes weight for consistent, buoyant comfort under each step.” Side-by-side they look almost identical, but if I’m going to be wearing them a ton, it’s worth spending more for extra comfort.
But the Platform Converse?? LOVE. Comfy from the get-go (the footbed is cushy!) and I like the high-top style.
I’m keeping both the Converse and the Air Force 1.
A. White Sneakers + Cropped Faux-Leather Pants
While I’m always inclined to wear my predictable black boots with faux-leather pants, swapping them for sneakers is the ultimate cool-girl move in 2022. There’s something about the crispness of the bright-white sneaker against the faux-leather that works.
I also found that the type of sneaker matters. To stand up to the faux-leather pant, it’s best to find a white sneaker with a chunkier sole, or even a platform. These types of sneakers won’t get lost, and the whole look is then intentional.
B. White Sneakers + Full-Length Jeans
The key here is to be OK with a little slouch. I kind of love that these jeans scrunch a little over top of the sneakers, giving this outfit a modern look. To offset, I like pairing this combo with a fitted top.
(PS. this cashmere cardigan is everything…size down for a closer fit or stick tts for an oversized look.)
C. White Sneakers + Dresses
I can’t believe that white sneakers even work with dresses! Such an easy look I can walk all day long in.
4. Try A Long Cardigan
I’ve been wearing oversized cardigans for years, but there’s something about this longer length that just seems fresher. I think it has to do with the fact that the longer length adds a bit of drama, and makes the overall look intentional, rather than an afterthought (an issue that happens with other cardigans). Whether I tried this longline cardigan over long jeans or dresses (from mini to maxi dresses), it elevated every look.
A. Maxi Cardigan + Full-Length Jeans
When paired with full length jeans, the floor-sweeping nature of this cardigan is reinforced by the denim silhouette. Pairing with a bodysuit keeps the focus on that fact. This styling trick works with both straight or wide leg jeans.
This styling trick works with a looser bodysuit, too (or even a tucked-in top). To make the look crisper, pointy-toe boots and an elegant bag were my solution.
ps. This cardigan looked blah on the hanger (and didn’t catch my eye online either), but it’s surprisingly sexy on. The side slits let it drape without pulling across the backside, and it’s super soft and cozy.
B. Maxi Cardigan + Plaid Shirt
I keep looking for a way to make my plaid button-ups feel fresh again, and this is it!
(Btw, I just bought my first Rails shirt last month and OMG, they’re so soft and comfy! I’ve been wearing it with my denim shorts all summer and had to get one from the sale after wearing that one so much – talked my mom into getting one, too. They’re perfect year-round shirts!)
C. Maxi Cardigan + Mini Dress
Trying to figure out how to warm up with a great dress without ruining the look? A floor-sweeping longline cardigan is my answer. This piece has enough drama to dress it up.
ps. This dress runs about one size small. (I’m wearing an 8 here, and although the size 6 zipped, it was really tight.)
D. Maxi Cardigan + Office-Appropriate Midi Dress
While I love the drama this maxi cardigan brings to my date-night dresses…it can work in office environments, too.
ps. This dress drapes nicely and can be buttoned up or left unbuttoned depending on where you’re wearing it.
5. How To Wear Wide-Leg Jeans Now
Jeans have been getting looser & looser, as evidenced by the ‘Dad Jean’ trend or the ’90’s jean’ trend, and I feel like Wide-Leg Jeans are just part of that baggy jean train. They’re just…infinitely more flattering & easier to wear. I will forever be pairing my wide-leg jeans with heeled booties (especially pointed toe) or heeled sandals. A little bit of a heel – now that is my comfort zone.
A. Wide-Leg Jeans + Fitted Bodysuit
Pairing these wide-leg jeans with a fitted top makes a serious leg moment. Legs for days.
B. Wide-Leg Jeans + Tucked-In Top
A tucked-in top (this one is a bodysuit) helps to define the waist, and shows off my shape. (ps. This bodysuit has a hook-and-eye closure that can be left unbuttoned in the front for a deeper neckline, and also comes in white.)
C. Wide-Leg Jeans + Poncho
And I’m loving the ’70s vibe of pairing the wide legs jeans with a poncho! The poncho leans into the wide-leg jeans, reinforcing the silhouette.
D. Wide-Leg Jeans + Classic White Button-Up
This forever classic pairing gets a 2022 twist with wide-leg jeans.
This particular white button up from Open Edit is awesome. It’s 100% cotton and because it’s such a crisp fabric, it looks good hanging out (see the first look with faux leather pants) or tucked in, sleeves left down or folded up. I can tuck in the front and leave the back out – folded under – and it keeps its shape without it falling down. It’s an awesome layering piece (like under the poncho!) but also looks good on its own.
6. Get A Pair Of Straight-Leg Jeans
The best part about this type of jean is that you can so easily dress them up or down depending on what shoes or tops you wear with them. They work just as well with a pair of white sneakers as they do with a pair of sexy heels…which now makes them the most-versatile pair of jeans I own.
These rag & bone jeans remind me of the AGOLDE ‘90s jeans, but aren’t as rigid (although they’re still non-stretch) and a lot comfier – no break-in time required. I typically don’t like button-flys either, but this one lays flatter and isn’t uncomfortably stiff. The best part is that I can wear them with high, mid and flat heels and they look good with all three. These are definitely new favorites.
As I mentioned above, it’s ok that they scrunch a bit around the bottom!
7. Dopamine Dressing: Add A Coat (Because It’s Still 2022)
I bought my first colorful coat last year (you guys convinced me via Facebook!) and it makes such a difference in my mood when I put it on…so I thought I’d keep that theme going this year. Colorful coats go with the majority of the neutrals in my closet, yet add a bit of much-needed fun to my wardrobe. These are definitely much easier to wear (and more useful) than they seem!
The magenta coat is 95% wool, super warm, soft and snuggly. The fabric feels almost fuzzy to the touch, and the belt helps to define my waist.
The green coat below is also soft & snuggly (not at all stiff), and can be worn open or closed. Like the pink coat it looks great on curvy bodies. I also appreciated that it doesn’t add bulk, like some double-breasted coats can.
So there it is – what I’ll be wearing the second the temps dip (which shouldn’t be too long up here in the U.P!). I’m seriously impressed with this year’s sale.
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.