The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is perfectly timed because I like to shop early in the retail season. I can secure the best items in my size, my style feels refreshed when the weather changes, and I can forget about shopping for a while. I’m usually done with Spring and Summer shopping by about May, and ready to think about my Autumn and Winter style at the end of June. 

My approach to shopping the NAS is relaxed. I thoroughly enjoy the hype, hunt, and cherry picking. It’s a fun game to me. I’ve also accumulated NAS wardrobe treasures for fifteen years now, which keeps me going back for more. But I don’t let the sale boss me around, and I don’t suffer from FOMO or “fear of missing out” because there will always be other fab items around the corner.

I practise organized emotional shopping. I listen to my heart and feelings, but temper my emotions so that my choices are practical, cost-effective, and sensible.

The Emotion

I like to evolve my style every season to keep things fresh and prevent outfit boredom. That’s why I look for something DIFFERENT when I shop the NAS, and seldom purchase wardrobe essentials or tried-and-tested items. It’s a delicate balance to choose items that are signature to my style, yet take me a little out of my box.

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 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’s so very satisfying to step outside my comfort zone and find a winning item.

I went into the NAS knowing that I wanted: non-neutrals, texture, tailoring, quality, versatile formality, some trends, some classics, some sporty, glam and glitz, and lots of pretty. There are no logical reasons for these style aspirations and wants. They are simply what I’m feeling for my style this year, so I’m running with it until I feel the next change.

The Organization

I edit and review my closet monthly, so I know what I own, how it fits, and how I currently feel about it. This was especially easy since we moved recently. 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, and is a starting point for how I evolve my style.

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 2019 style goals. This is the “organization” that tempers my emotions when I shop.

I found it very useful to create two lists going into the NAS. A wish list, and a list of forbidden items that I will avoid. Here they are for 2019.

Wish List

  • A substitute for blue jeans in Winter that are not leggings and jeggings, like fun woolly pants that keep me warm and aren’t skinnies
  • Full-length pants & jeans
  • Red or turquoise coat. Won’t say no to a patterned coat, or another fun colour
  • Always in the mood for fabulous midi skirts and dresses!
  • Always in the mood for pretty shoes that work for my feet and lifestyle
  • White or cream flat boots (I keep on wearing mine into the ground)
  • Jacket in a HEAVY weight that’s like a short coat, or a refined streamlined jacket that fits under my coats
  • Cashmere wrap in a yummy colour I don’t already have

Forbidden List

  • Pricey knitwear, and cheap cashmere knitwear
  • Wardrobe basics (underwear, sleepwear, socks, loungewear)
  • Makeup
  • Gear & workout wear
  • Jewellery
  • Blouses and knit tops
  • Anything grey or black
  • Basic boots
  • Cognac footwear
  • Oxfords

I’m pretty strict about following these lists, but also keep an open mind because you can’t shop for items that aren’t there, and wild-card wardrobe purchases can be a beautiful thing.

The Process

With all this in mind I began laser focussed NAS browsing at the Flagship Nordstrom in downtown Seattle. I posted the items I brought into the dressing room in the forum: Jackets, a coat, pants and jeans. That’s it. Dresses and skirts were a disappointment. My lists were indispensable. They kept me focussed and my shop was done in ninety minutes. I bought the seven items shown in the collection below.

The most important things on the wishlist were the jeans substitute, bright coat, and heavy jacket/short coat, because they’re wardrobe holes. I found them right away and in my size, which was very lucky.

I tried on the Halogen Shawl Collar Blazer and Sam Edelman Faux Leather Aviator Jacket first, and it was instant love and happiness. Amazing fits, nice quality, my colours, ample warmth, easy to mix and match with my wardrobe, practical, and DIFFERENT to what I had at home. The former quite classic, and the latter quite trendy, so a good mix. They were definitely coming home with me because they were perfect. I bat for Team Gold, but don’t mind the gentle silver hardware on the red aviator jacket. I could tick item #7 off my wishlist, and then some.

Next I tried the red Avec Les Filles Double Breasted Wool Blend Coat, and felt like a million bucks as soon as I popped it on. Very high happiness factor. Impeccable, beautifully tailored, gorgeous fit, heavy, warm, luxurious, the right non-neutral, a practical length to wear over midi dresses, classic, and fably dressy. My only reservation was that it didn’t have side entry pockets, which is usually my preference on a coat. But the ten year old dressy red coat that it’s replacing doesn’t have side entry pockets either. Also, it’s a dressier coat that won’t come out to play as much as my other coats so I can easily wear gloves. So it followed me home too. Item #3 ticked off the list.

Veronica Beard’s Gemini Check Crop Pants were exactly what I had in mind for item #1 on my wishlist. They fit perfectly, are LINED, warm and woolly, beautifully made, and extra fab in the micro-check which is dead right for my style and in my colour palette. A versatile no-brainer addition.

I tried on a few more pairs of pants and jackets but they didn’t make me as happy as the other items. I tried on the Paige Transcend jeans, which I loved because they were full-length, a great fit and dressy. But I’d just got jeans for my birthday, so I passed on item #2 on the wishlist. I loved Madewell’s Emmett Windowpane Plaid Crop Wide Leg Pants but will struggle to stay warm in Winter, so I passed on them too.

I enjoy a peplum and on a whim tried Ted Baker’s Beffi Ribbed Peplum Sweater in ink blue because it’s different to my knitwear at home. It created a high happiness factor because it moves as I stride — fun swoosh — and worked well with the checked pants and outerwear. Bonus buy.

Next up was footwear and accessories. I didn’t see a scarf or wrap that I liked enough to earn a place in my wardrobe, so item #8 on my wishlist was a bust. But I did go to footwear and make a beeline for a pair of very trendy white Seinfeld sneakers that made me laugh out loud as soon as I saw them. I loved their ‘80s vibe and wore the hi-top version 32 years ago. I tried them on right away, and with insoles they fit really well despite their enormous chunkiness. Comfy, fun, and my wild card for the season. The wild part about this purchase is the athletic-chunky integrity, although the fact that they are white, flat and a sneaker is not a stretch. You can see me sport them in the forum.

Finally, at home that night I browsed the NAS footwear section for white boots that may not have made it to the Flagship, and purchased a pair of orange Ecco Soft 7 Sneakers instead. They will be my third pair of the same sneaker that are absolute workhorses for my urban walking lifestyle. I have a bright orange Furla to match, so they’ll look complemented and pretty. Ticked off item #5.

When I had a little time to spare at home this week, I re-tried all my NAS items to make sure that I was happy with how they fit and looked. To ensure that the quality was up to scratch, and that they worked on this leg of my style journey. I also made sure I stayed within my budget. Happy as a clam, I had a brilliant NAS, and am committed to these seven items. I’m thrilled with my start to Fall & Winter 2019.

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