Mark your calendars if you live in the US, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale starts on Friday 18th July. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the event, it’s when Nordstrom previews their new season merchandise (Autumn 2008 collections) and offers it at insane prices for two weeks only. Prices are marked up again after the sale period. This event officially kicks off the American Autumn retail season (my favourite shopping time of the year).

You’ll score if you approach the sale with a plan. It’s an ideal time to purchase high ticket statement pieces for less. Make a beeline for the following:

  • Premium denim: Get to the T.B.D. department and look for brands like Seven for all Mankind, Paige Premium, Hudson, Citizens of Humanity, Lucky and L.A.M.B.. You’ll find loads of styles at 40% off.
  • Designer pieces: Look for unusual investment pieces in the Individualist, Savvy and Via C departments. I like to look at brands like Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Nanette Lepore, ISSA London, DVB, Chloe and Theory.
  • Coats: The Narrative department stocks a fabulous assortment of coats, both casual and dressy. But coats are scattered throughout the store so be sure to look at all departments. Don’t come home with a black wool coat. The look is tired and impractical.
  • Jackets: You’ll find a variety of sensational jackets in every department. They’re the perfect Autumn layering piece over Summer knitted tops and blouses.
  • Shoes and Boots: Stuart Weitzman, Donald J Pliner, Frye, Cole Haan, Max Studio and Kate Spade suddenly became a little more affordable. Take a look at those brands first and then move onto the rest.
  • Handbags: Most handbags at Nordstrom are designer. If you covet a particular brand, now is the time to get a good deal. Don’t ignore the cheaper in-house “Nordstrom” brand either. I’ve got a cracked cream patent flat tote by “Nordstrom” that’s a favourite.
  • Scarves: I’ve learned to spend time in this accessory area. Airy, lightweight cashmere wraps that I use as scarves are usually quite expensive. There’s always a good assortment at Anniversary Sale time.

Each Nordstrom department will have a selection of sale items. From cosmetics and lingerie, to active wear, home wear, watches and petites. Basics and bridging pieces are on sale in each clothing department too, but you’ll find those everywhere throughout the season. It’s not a train smash if you bypass basics and stick to statement pieces.

The first few days of the sale are chaotic and Nordstrom stores will hold special Anniversary Sale hours on 18, 19 and 20 July. Doors open at 7am at the downtown Seattle flagship. You know where I’ll be tomorrow morning.