Mark your calendars! This year’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (NAS) starts on Friday, July 17th. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, it’s when Nordstrom previews their brand new Autumn and Winter collections and offers them at insane prices for two weeks only (usually between 40 – 60% off). Prices are marked up again after the sale period. This is my favourite sale of the year because the merchandise is hot off the fashion press. It’s much more fun getting items at reduced prices at the start of a new retail season as opposed to waiting for end of season sales.

I was particularly interested to see what would be on offer this year in the light of our tough economic climate. After preselecting sale items last week I’m thrilled to say that this has been the best NAS that I have seen in my six years of living in the US. For the most part, the collections are a great combination of excellent tried-and-tested wardrobe basics with new design twists, AND brand new “it” fashion items. There is ample choice for both classic and trendy customers.

Navigating the sale requires some strategic planning and forethought. Here are some guidelines that might make it easier:

  • Concentrate on the good stuff: This is your time to splurge on one, or a few, high end or big ticket items. Retail sales are common in the US and you’ll be able to get more ordinary items anywhere at excellent prices as soon as the new retail season hits stores. If Nordstrom clothing is not your cup of tea, hit the handbags, footwear and accessory departments instead. You are bound to come home with treasures.
  • Do not judge the collection based on the catalogue alone: The catalogue is a small representation of what is available and you have to physically go to stores or shop online for the best assortment of product.
  • Shop in stores and online: The merchandise varies from store to store and it is possible that your Nordstrom is not as well stocked as others, so be sure to shop online as well.
  • Preselect if the opportunity arises: As a Nordstrom cardholder, you’re automatically invited to preselect merchandise a week or two before the sale is open to the masses. I thoroughly recommend this option as the best merchandise goes fast, especially in sizes 0, 2 , 12 and 14. I have known people to preselect without an official invitation, but this really depends on the specific Nordstrom (some stores are stricter than others).
  • Shop online at midnight on 17th July: Doors open at 7am on the first official day of the sale. But the online store opens seven hours before that Pacific Time. I wasn’t able to make it to presale selections last year so I shopped online at midnight which was very worthwhile.
  • You’re not married to anything: Don’t worry if you found it hard to be selective during sale time. You can return anything at any time once you’ve retried the look in the most important dressing room of all – your own.
  • Don’t give up on your size: Be sure to ask for your size if they’ve run out of it in stores or online. Nordstrom sales staff is extremely helpful and chances are high that they’ll track down your size eventually.

There was an excellent selection of leather and pleather jackets at all price points this season. Long, cropped, retro, modern, ruffled, biker, classic, sporty, you name it and I saw it in a whole slew of colours. Impeccable pencil skirts, fabulous dresses, cute cascading cardigans and cheeky jackets in beautiful and affordable fabrications were also top notch. The handbags, sunglasses, costume jewelry, watches and hosiery areas were brilliant. I’m delirious with excitement. You have to take a look!

Unfortunately, the footwear and coat areas were disappointing. Petites was a little poor too, particularly after excellent NAS selections in these areas in previous years. I guess the sale can’t be everything to everyone each year.

I really hope you score at this year’s sale. My clients and I have collected wonderful NAS treasures over the years piece by piece. The presales are loads of fun too and it’s fab to go with a friend. There has been lots of NAS excitement (and a little footwear frustration), on the YLF forum. Feel free to ask for help about the NAS by posting questions on our forum. Happy shopping everyone!