The 2021 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: How to Shop Smart!

by | Jul 11, 2021 | Shopping Tips | 0 comments

Are you ready for the Anniversary Sale or are does it overwhelm you? There has been a lot more hype around it the last five years especially with Fashion Bloggers and Instagram Influencers. Everyone in the fashion industry has an opinion on the Nordstrom Sale! Keep reading for some of my best advice which honestly is a little different than most things you will read. I’m all about planning, evaluating and prioritizing before you buy! I’m an Ambassador so I can shop on Wednesday, but I’m going to the store during Icon Day to scope things out. Check the graphic below and then log into your account to find out when you can shop.

I have shopped the sale since 1989. Even though I grew up just two hours north of Seattle, home to numerous Nordstrom stores, shopping the sale during those years was not a priority simply because my mother was NOT a shopper. So I really didn’t know that much about the sale until we settled near Portland, Oregon 32 years ago! It’s fair to say I have completely made up for lost time. I became very proficient at shopping the sale; I went to every local store (at one time there were 5!) during the month long event. That experience is what helped me be a better employee when I joined those ranks in 2011 and worked through 2016.

FUN FACT: In retail July is known as the “dog days of summer” and typically very slow. Years ago Nordstrom decided to market the store’s Anniversary and bring in NEW Fall and Winter merchandise (instead of clearance) and discount it 25-40% I’d say it’s worked out quite nicely for them! It rivals holiday volume. While other retailers have tried to follow suit, no one does it quite like Nordstrom. And of course it has grown immensely over the years.

The Anniversary sale has become such a tradition for me. I looked forward to it every year. Did I make mistakes with my purchases? YES! Did I overspend. Sometimes YES! Did I get caught up in what someone else told me to buy rather than make good judgments based on my personal style, my style persona and lifestyle? Again, sometimes YES!

It’s why I was adamant about evaluation and planning before you shop. It has become one of my mantras as a stylist. In the past, my Nordstrom customers would look at me like I was crazy when I asked: “Ok, did you go through your closet, find your gaps and make a list?” As the years went on, I realized many women did not have a clue to what I was referring to AND/OR didn’t have time. So my advice changed a little to focus on different categories which were more investment pieces: leather jackets, wool coats, shoes, denim, leather totes, fine jewelry etc. Over the years, I taught my clients how to organize their closets so they could quickly thumb through their categories and not overbuy or repeat. I teach how to use the “dead space” in your closet and put heavily seasonal items there or an extra closet so you can still access them when doing a quick inventory. All of these tactics avoid shopping mistakes and overbuying.

Every single blogger or influencer will have their top items. Just wait! You’ll see many patterns develop among them, and you’ll see me talk about some of my favorites througout the week here, on my IG stories and in my private FB group. I try to make general recommendations instead of saying “EVERYONE needs this black blazer or this white shirt.” Those of you that know me and how I work with women individually know that this “blanket statement” is one of my pet peeves! There are way too many personal factors that make up what is a good purchase for YOU. Stay true to your style and the plan you make.

This year I developed a 5 page planning guide with Insider Tips available to my clients who book appointments and Style Society members. Interested in knowing more? Send me a message HERE.

These next tips are written for those of you that have NEVER shopped the sale or ALWAYS shop it. I’ve tried to cover common questions as well as some things you may not know. I always welcome your comments which will help all readers to learn more too!

  • Sign up for a Nordstrom Card so you can shop early. You will also receive a $60 Nordstrom Note (Notes are the rewards for the points you accumulate when you shop with a card)

  • Make sure to schedule your points day –one of the benefits of the card.

  • Shop in categories starting with what you consider a priority and then work you way through. For example, I start with what I most want to capitalize on. I often place multiple orders. Perhaps I start with boots if that is top on my list, and then work my way through adding gifts like Voluspa candles or other items from the home department.

  • There are WAY more items online then in the store, yet the online ordering delays are real! I mean I love the FREE shipping, but the delays can be discouraging during this event. If you are close to a store, try curbside pick-up or pay for expedited shipping. I would never recommend to do multiple orders of expedited shipping, but I may do one order this way. The items I’m not as concerned about getting right away (gifts and stock up items I know the size) I would never expedite. Going in spurts like this keeps me from overspending and allows me to evaluate a little more as I go.

  • They started the preview format last year. As a card holder you can log into your account now before your shopping day. My sources tell me not EVERYTHING is in the preview presently, and more will be added as the sale starts.

  • There is a difference between the WISH LIST and the SHOPPING BAG. If you put things in your wish list now, you will need to move it to the shopping bag to purchase. And neither will guarantee any availability.

  • Log into your account and check your purchases. This is way easier to me than keeping track of all the emails. It’s a record of what I purchased and shows the tracking in ONE PLACE. I love this feature and it keeps track of in-store and online. You can access order numbers here in case you can’t find receipts. You can initiate returns and print labels. You will access it by scrolling down to the bottom of the home page and look for ORDER STATUS. (see photo below)

  • Certain items WILL sell out. There is no way to predict it every year. For some items the buy is very deep (like Hanky Panky underwear or Spanx) Every year certain brands/items are minimal buys. Many items come back in stock due to returns, and some do not. It’s just part of this game unfortunately. Contrary to popular belief, or in days past, Nordstrom held back inventory. This has not been the case in recent years.

  • Clearance! Nordstrom always has a Clearance section and there is a lot to choose from this time of year. You may find it easier to shop this category! Sometimes last year’s style of bag might even be less than this year’s style at Anniversary price.

I’ll be blogging all week and will make recommendations by category. I will start with things I think may sell out more quickly (no guarantees on my predictions however!) As the week proceeds, I’ll delve more into the categories like Lingerie, Makeup sets/Tools and the Home department.

Everyone always wants to know what’s on my list. I definitely shop much more carefully and intentionally. Here is a layout of my wish list. Good luck! As always, send any questions my way!

Sweater Dress//Denim// Coat// Derma flash // T shirt Dress // Handbag // Jacket// Red top // Pajamas // Mule // Sneakers // Hair Dryer//

*** This post contains affiliate links. When you click on a shoppable link in my posts, it provides me a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps offset the expenses of my website and I’m always so grateful for this support. THANK YOU!