I’ve been shopping and, basically, reporting on the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale for 10-plus years now, which strikes me as…wild. An embarrassingly large section of my brain is dedicated to random NSale trivia. For example, I’m happy to discuss, in detail, the subtle evolution of FRAME tops over the last five years or the rise and fall of Kate Spade footwear. I can tell you about the specific pieces that have returned to the sale, sometimes after a multi-year absence (don’t think you’re pulling a fast one on me, Nordstrom. I REMEMBER), as well as the OG brands that have come and gone in this sale (RIP Burberry and James Perse, but I hear Topshop is back).
So. When a reader recently asked, “What are your best NSale buys EVER?” I took the question VERY seriously. And while I’ll often use the previous NSale to inform coverage for the current NSale — Which pieces were best? Which pieces did I actually end up wearing? Which brands held up after washing? — I don’t think I’ve ever looked at it from the macro perspective of the last ten years.
Pro Tips: The Best Items To Buy In The Nordstrom Sales
With 10 years of data clogging my brain, I turned to my closet. I literally pulled out everything I own purchased during any Nordstrom Anniversary Sale…ever. As one would expect, many of these pieces were from fairly recent NSales, but there was a decent amount of stuff that went back years. These pieces were good enough to survive my yearly closet clean-outs, and some even survived a move (or two). Were these just lucky purchases? Or is there a pattern?
What could I learn from looking back at the last 10 years of successful NSale purchases?
As it turns out, I have…THOUGHTS.
The video above is broken up into three main sections: The Intro, where I talk about why this sale gets so much hype (if you click over to YouTube you can easily skip this section), My Top Picks In Every NSale and, lastly, Other Recommendations (With Caveats).
Below, I’m listing links to every major category I mention in the video. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale doesn’t start until July. So for now, these links will just lead to the correct section on Nordstrom.com. Once the preview is live on June 29th (and we can see exactly what’s in the sale), I’ll update this section with specific recommendations from this year’s sale.
NSale Faves That Stand The Test of Time
1. COATS & JACKETS
I go into more detail in the video, but it turns out that the biggest winners, in almost every NSale, were coats. These are pieces I normally wouldn’t think to splurge on, but these are also the pieces that have made getting dressed SO much easier. They’re the pieces that have stood the test of time too.
The brands that I can personally recommend (that tend to be in the NSale ever year) are:
- Theory – I especially love their lightweight wool coats.
- Pendleton – Some of the warmest wool coats I’ve ever worn.
- The North Face – Super practical, I grab these for the whole family.
- Vince – These coats and jackets are dead-chic, always well-made and often timeless.
2022 NSALE UPDATE: Here are the coats in this year’s sale I’m currently eyeing up:
2. LOUNGEWEAR & WORKOUT WEAR
This is the stuff I wear the most, so it really shouldn’t surprise me that this is also the stuff I keep from the NSale. The good news, I suppose, is that the NSale usually has a pretty killer selection of lounge & workout gear. I think it sometimes gets overlooked in my quest for boots (haha), but I’ve gotta remember that workout clothes, athletic wear, and comfy sets to lounge around in are categories worth perusing.
Solid loungewear (or workout wear) buys:
- Nike Loungewear – I never would’ve looked twice at Nike loungewear if it wasn’t for the sale…now it’s some of my most-worn pieces.
- Beyond Yoga Workout Wear – This stuff sells out fast, so I usually try to snap it up quickly. Personally, I’d stick with their softest, most classic stuff, and not get distracted by the shiny prints or patterns.
- Zella – While I don’t love this line nearly as much as Beyond Yoga, Vuori or Lululemon…when they hit, they HIT. Sometimes I’ll grab extra exercise clothes and loungewear for Mike and the boys, too.
Featured in the video:
2022 NSALE UPDATE: Well, shoot. Beyond Yoga doesn’t seem to be in the sale (fingers crossed it’s a glitch to be added in later). BUT! There’s some seriously good stuff from Eberjay, Alo and the Zella section has some of my favorites (re-issued in gorg colors).
So boring, but facts are facts.
- Chantelle thong – These will stretch out a bit and become more comfortable.
- Other Chantelle underwear – In case you don’t love thongs.
- Hanky Panky underwear – Still some of the best cute underwear out there, and always in the sale. These tend to sell out pretty quickly.
2022 NSALE UPDATE: All of my old favorites are back, as well as – surprise – seriously pretty period underwear!! A welcome add.
4. BEAUTY TOOLS
Nordstrom’s beauty tools are things like hair dryers, curling irons, flat irons, makeup brushes, face microdermabrasion kits, etc. I’ve found that it’s important to check prices — sometimes the price isn’t actually lower, it just comes with a free gift. That said, there’s typically some game-changing beauty product in the sale.
Here are my favorite brands (that often show up in the sale):
- GHD Curling and flat irons
- PMD Microderm kits
- Drybar – I didn’t mention this one in the video, but this brand IS usually part of the NSale. If I didn’t already have Dyson styling tools (which I suspect will NEVER show up in the NSale), this is the line I’d try. The dry shampoo is amazing, and I’ve heard only good things about Drybar’s hair tools.
2022 NSALE UPDATE: The NSale’s beauty section is especially good this year. Here are the beauty tools that I can personally recommend (or not – one of them is a no).
The “Sometimes Wins”: Tan Boots, Silk Tops, Bags and Maybe Jeans
5. WALKABLE BOOTS (IN TAUPE OR TAN)
This likely has more to do with my personal style, but it’s interesting to note that most of the footwear that I’ve kept over the years is taupe or tan. (For the super NSale nerds who have been with me for years…I also still have those Vince sneaker boots in gray, and that pair of houndstooth Jeff Campbell booties…which basically read as gray.)
Anyway, if anyone else has a similar style, here’s a place to start looking. The links below lead to Nordstrom pages of walkable tan (or taupe) boots, that have been down-selected to show only my favorite brands.
2022 NSALE UPDATE: Oh man. The boots in this year’s sale are EXACTLY what I love to wear.
6. TOPS & SWEATERS IN 100% SILK, CASHMERE, COTTON, OR LINEN
I’ve have a sneaking suspicion that many brands in the NSale are making products just for this sale. Maybe not all of them, but I’m pretty unhappy that recent FRAME NSale tops have been offered in polyester (not silk), and that Vince NSale sweaters, which used to be 100% cashmere, are now mostly wool (and sometimes acrylic).
I’m always on the lookout for tops and sweaters made from natural fibers, 100% cotton, cashmere, linen or silk. Pieces like these:
And here are the specific brands I’ll be checking out first:
- FRAME tops (cotton, linen, silk or cashmere)
- La Ligne (cotton, linen, silk or cashmere)
- NORDSTROM Signature (I typically love the cashmere pieces in this line)
- Eileen Fisher (One of the most sustainably-produced brands, too)
2022 NSALE UPDATE: Ooo…there’s NOT a lot of cashmere in this year’s sale, Guys. Nor 100% silk. Which is a bummer. That said, I did pull together a short list of pieces I’ll be looking into….
Tops in 100% Natural Fibers
Sweaters in 100% Natural Fibers
7. CLARE V. BAGS
Once again, this is likely more about my personal style, but Clare V. bags are the bags I wear 99% of the time (when I’m not wearing my TUMI backpack…which also shows up in the sale sometimes). I suspect the NSale Clare V. bags ARE produced just for this sale (in harder-to-clean suede), but they’re still the quirky Clare V that I love, so I don’t mind. With the 40% off price tag, they’re totally worth it.
2022 NSALE UPDATE *NEW* AS OF 7/7: After seeing the Clare V. NSale bags in person, I don’t actually recommend them. Very disappointed by the quality of these particular bags. Instead, I highly recommend Black-Owned business A A K S – they have a few straw bags in the NSale, too! Super high quality, and statement-making.
8. GOOD JEANS
I’ve learned that the NSale can be relied on for really good denim in basic styles & washes. If you’re looking for something really exciting…you may be disappointed. That said, if you just need a new pair of designer jeans (rag & bone, Veronica Beard and Levi’s are my safest NSale bets), this sale can deliver.
- Jeans at Nordstrom (down-selected to just the brands I love)
2022 NSALE UPDATE: Okaay. As soon as I go on record saying something like, “the NSale doesn’t have exciting jeans”…they come out with a really solid collection of jeans. Not only are there different washes in many of my favorite styles, but the flare + bootcut game is STRONG. And basically all I want to wear this fall.
That’s it! Let me know if you guys have any questions…and I’d LOVE to hear what your NSale best-buys have been.
As I mentioned earlier, once the preview goes live, I’ll update this article to include my favorites in each category. Fingers crossed it’ll be a good one…
Oh hey, Pinners! This one’s for you…
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