How to shop at Nordstrom (and why)
If you are not a regular Nordstrom shopper, you may be under the impression that it doesn’t work with a frugal budget. Or everything is overpriced. Or “Why in the world would I shop there when I can get something similar at Target for half the price?”
I used to be a bargain shopper and still am on occasion when I am just looking for something to take on vacation or need something this minute and don’t have time to wait for shipping. But the bulk of my closet are quality pieces from Nordstrom that have stood the test of time and wash and wear well. You know, they actually fit and flatter.
By shopping strategically at Nordstrom and spending a few extra dollars up front, you could end up spending less and love your closet even more than if you shopped the clearance racks at the mall for clothes you sort of like.
I know some of you will quit reading this post right now because you have your shopping style and your routine and that’s fine. But I would imagine most of us would agree that quality almost exclusively beats bottom of the barrel prices or sheer quantity. I would rather have five great tops that fit well and LAST than 20 shirts that kind of fit if I tug them down all day or don’t raise my arms over my head, right?
Basic Nordstrom shopping tips
- Everything always ships free and returns are free (and EASY). Online returns can also be done in a store.
- If something isn’t available in your size in the store or online, they will do their best to track it down and ship it to you for free! The generous help is the most incredible part.
- Nordstrom is amazing about price adjustments and make them super easy. Within two weeks of your purchase (although this has changed in the past), if they reduce the price of the item you purchased, call their 800 number and they will do a one-time price adjustment to your credit card.
- Because of their generous and amazing return policy, this is the only place to buy shoes. If they hurt your feet a month after you buy them, return them. If they break a year after you buy them, they’ll fix them. They will also clean scuffed boots and teach you how to do it at home. If you have feet that are two different sizes, they will fit you in two different sizes and honor returns/exchanges as if they were a fully-matched pair.
- They have a new focus on Nordstrom Rack stores. This means there are now Racks in more locations then they had in the past. The selection is good, the prices are similar to what you would see at their sales, and it’s available all-year round. You’ll see brands discounted that you won’t see discounted anywhere else. If you need a men’s suit, this is the ONLY place to go! Click here for Nordstrom Rack locations.
Nordstrom Yearly Sales
Nordstrom sales are predictable (they typically happen at the same time of year) and easy to navigate. They even post the dates up to a year in advance. You can go to the FAQ page for current sale date information.
The Half-Yearly sales are typically run in May and December and are basically discounted merchandise on more seasonal items. For example, you will see summer/fall type items on the sale starting in November.
Throughout the year, Nordstrom has items marked down in each department (usually always on one or two racks, not spread through the department) but during the Half-Yearly they pull it all out! Insider Tip: They usually actually put it out the few days before the sales starts. If you want the best pick of selection and sizes go early (or shop online as soon as the sale goes live).
We also generally see about three additional seasonal sales throughout the year. For example, in April, we have seen a huge Spring sale, with TONS of dresses, skirts, light cardigans and sweaters, sandals and more.
The Anniversary Sale runs from the end of July to beginning of August and consists of preseason items that aren’t being clearanced but are the fall/winter items available in summer at AMAZING prices. Generally, the same brands are featured every year so you can predict what’s coming.
The prices at the Anniversary Sale are typically the lowest we will see on select items from Natori, Zella, Nike, tons of denim brands and so much more. Once these items sell out, they are generally gone as they only stock a limited amount.
Nordstrom credit card holders will receive early access to these Anniversary Sale items and will get first pick of colors and sizes. There is generally more than enough for those that don’t hold a Nordstrom card, but it is so worth it for those items that sell out super quickly.
Join our Nordstrom Fashion Deals Facebook Group that will start ramping up just a bit before the Anniversary Sale every year. We share up to the minute deals, top price drops, tried and tested favorites, even pictures from the dressing room during the Sale.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales
These have been fairly new over the last few years and are AMAZING. We tend to see similar items as in the Anniversary Sale, but at an even steeper discount.
I caution against waiting on all items, as most things that sell out in the Anniversary Sale don’t come back in the BF/CM sales. My hunch is that the items we see in the later sales are things that didn’t sell as well in the Anniversary Sale. What you can do during the Anniversary Sale is order and try on everything you think you might like, keep the items you absolutely LOVE and watch for lower prices on the items you are on the fence about.
Several times throughout the year, Nordstrom will quietly price match sale items from other major retailers. We generally see the higher-end brands go on sale like Clarins, Estee Lauder, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Clinique and more.
If you find an item you purchase at a similar retailer for a lower price, they will also offer a price match adjustment to your credit card. They won’t match items from discount stores or auction-type sites, but other retailers like Macy’s, Bloomingdales or other similar stores.
Nordstrom Rewards (or The Nordy Club) allows you to earn points on your purchases and it’s free to sign up! Earn 1 point for every dollar spent and 2,000 points will earn you a $20 Nordstrom Note (like a gift card to be spent in-store or online). The more points you earn, the more bonuses and exclusive offers you unlock. They even run double and triple reward points events, which will get you to your Nordstrom Notes even faster!
Nordstrom credit card holders can earn THREE points for every dollar spend! There are two Visa options, one will earn you points just at Nordstrom and one will earn points on all purchases (3x points at Nordstrom, 2x points on dining, entertainment and travel, 1x points with all other purchases).
Nordstrom Brands to Love
A few of the many brands we love (for the quality, price, style and fit) from Nordstrom:
- Vigoss Denim
- Zella – THE BEST LEGGINGS IN ALL OF THE LAND
- Hanky Panky
- Brass Plum Shoes
- kate spade
Other things to love about Nordstrom besides the customer service, which is honestly INCREDIBLE:
- Free inserts for your shoes and they’ll stretch them if they are too tight
- Kids get free balloons every time you go in the kids department
- The Nordstrom Cafe! Great food, quick service and good prices.
- Free gift with purchase of select cosmetic brands throughout the year (Clinique, Lancome, Clarins, Estee Lauder + more)
- And as always, the unbeatable customer service!
Do you have any tips on shopping at Nordstrom and still getting good deals? Please share!
Don’t forget to join our Nordstrom Fashion Deals Facebook Group! We start ramping up just a bit before the Anniversary Sale every year and during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. We share up to the minute deals, top price drops, tried and tested favorites, even pictures from the dressing room during the Sale.
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