For me, the NAS is perfectly timed. I like to shop early in the retail season so that I can forget about shopping for a while and simply wear the heck out of my clothes. This means that I’m usually done with Spring and Summer shopping by about the middle of May, and ready to think about my Autumn and Winter style in the first week of July.

I practice what I call organized emotional shopping. I’m a very emotional shopper who listens to her heart and feelings. But I temper my emotions so that my purchases are sufficiently practical and sensible choices. It works for me.

The Emotion

I like to evolve my style every season to keep things fresh. Otherwise I get bored with my style. So unless I’m replenishing wardrobe essentials, I’m looking for something different when I go into the NAS.

But I don’t go into the NAS knowing exactly how I want to evolve my style. I enjoy this uncertainty, and I trust that my emotions will help me solve the puzzle as I select, try on, and assess items in the NAS dressing room. Apart from shopping with hubby Greg for my birthday, the NAS is my most enjoyable shopping experience of the year because the element of surprise is an adrenaline rush and it is so very satisfying to step outside my comfort zone and find a winning item.

The Organization 

edit and review my closet monthly, so I know what I own, how it fits, and how I currently feel about it. This prevents me from duplicating items when I shop, and gives me an accurate mental picture of the types of outfits I was wearing last Autumn and Winter. It provides the frame of reference for the items that I bring into the NAS dressing room.

I also keep a running list in my head of wardrobe holes, items that need replenishing, the factors that affect my style, my budget, and my 2017 style goals. This is the “organization” that tempers my emotions when I shop.

The Process

With all this in mind I began focussed NAS browsing at the Flagship Nordstrom in downtown Seattle. You can see what I brought into the dressing room in this forum thread. Footwear, knitwear, jeans, trousers, shirts, scarves, jackets, a dress, and a coat. 

A few more points:

  • I tend to shop higher price points at the NAS, which eats into my budget faster than lower price points. I therefore come home with fewer items. 
  • I don’t shop for wardrobe basics like undies, hosiery, socks, loungewear, yoga wear and sleepwear at this sale. 
  • I prioritized footwear this year, because I need to replace a number of shoes. 
  • I’m always on the lookout for interesting, warm knitwear, toppers and boots because that’s what I live in from October to April. 

I started browsing the sale in the footwear department because shoes were the priority. I was instantly drawn to Aquatalia’s Genna Weatherproof Tall Boots because they had pointy toes. Favouring booties, I haven’t worn tall black riding boots tucked into jeans in years, but was once again feeling the vibe. The boots fit and felt like a dream, and that was that. It was right then and there that I knew how I wanted to evolve my style: Casual Equestrian. If you’ve been on YLF for a while, you’ll know that my love for horses runs very deep. 

Casual Equestrian led me to Sam Edelman’s Faux Fur Collar A-Line Anorak and a pair of Rag & Bone Dre Slim Fit Boyfriend Jeans in dark olive. I was drawn to the clean dark olive as a break from the faded denim distressing that continues to flood the retail market. And I knew Greg would like them! The newness for my style here is manifold. Casual Equestrian instead of Dressy Equestrian. Multiple shades of olive. An anorak. Knee-high boots. And full-length jeans that are relaxed when tucked into tall boots. 

The full-length jeans feel fresh amidst my cropped jeans and pants. With the longer length on the jeans, I could entertain booties with a shorter shaft. As a Paul Green fan, I headed straight to what the brand had to offer. The Paul Green Logan Bootie in grey suede worked well with the olive jeans, felt heavenly on my feet, and looked a little equestrian. Grey is my least favourite neutral, but the grey is lighter and more textured in person, and works well with my pearl grey Furla satchel.

I went back to the dressing room having fully committed to the two pairs of boots. After that, a chunk of my budget was gone, so I had to be careful about what I chose next. 

As lovely as the blouses and shirts were, I don’t wear them from October onwards, especially since I just got new blouses for my birthday last week. Off they went onto the “no thank you” pile in the dressing room. The J.Crew tweed blazer was fabulous, but I have two Smythe riding jackets. No thank you. The scarves weren’t the right colours, and the trousers were not a good fit. 

At that stage, I felt I needed to inject some Pretty into the mix. I loved Rebecca Taylor’s Merino Wool Blend Pullover with embroidery, but the fluff of the wool irritated my nose, so no go. Then I fitted on Classiques Entier’s Bell Sleeve Silk & Cashmere Sweater, and it was a slam dunk. Fitted, very pretty, comfortable, and perfect with my pearls. The sleeves do not overwhelm my slight frame. It looked fab with the olive jeans, riding boots and anorak. 

And last, I needed a pair of essential jeans because one of my workhorse pairs that I like to travel in bit the dust (holes on the crotch point are not a good look). I was smitten with the Frame’s Le Nouveau Split Hem Jeans, which were a perfect fit. But they are Summer jeans for me because I don’t want to wear them with socks. So back they went. More sensible were the Citizen’s of Humanity Emerson Boyfriend Jeans, which are ideal to wear on ten hour flights to see my Dad in the Netherlands.  

And last, I loved Fuzzi’s Print Tulle Sheath Dress. It fit and draped like a dream, was an elegant length, and the textured embroideries are sublime. So, so, so pretty. It would be a great holiday dress, and I could wear it with low heels. Alas, my budget was gone. For a while, I debated getting the two pairs of boots and dress to stay within my budget. But I’ll absolutely get more use out of the jeans, anorak and pullover, so the dress joined the “no thank you” pile. It doesn’t help that almost every client I shopped with at the NAS asked if I’d bought the frock because they perceive it as “an Angie dress”. Fun to hear, but I must be practical about my purchases and I can’t have everything.

Built through trial and error, my NAS shopping strategy works well for me. These are the NAS items that made the final cut and followed me home. I did very well, and am thrilled with my start to Fall and Winter 2017: