Let’s Discuss: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Jul 8, 2019

On Friday, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale pre-sale event will be coming to a blog near you.  Truthfully, I’ve loved the Anniversary Sale since I was a kid, but it’s gotten a bit out of control in blog land the past few years.  Even the mention of #NSale is triggering for me.

To be fair, there aren’t many big shopping events anymore.  Sales happen every weekend now, and even holiday sales have lost their luster.  Yet, the Anniversary Sale is still a big deal, so it’s understandable that bloggers push it hard.

My standard practice has been this: One post on pre-sale launch day featuring my favorite things the sale.  This typically goes up at 6:00AM ET, so the best deals are still available.  And then, another post when the public (re: non-cardholder sale) launches rounding up the best of what remains.

Beyond that, I try not to overdo the Anniversary Sale coverage.  It’s a great event, but it’s not the only thing worth talking about.

So I wanted to ask before Friday: Do you shop the pre-sale or main sale?  If so, what do you want to see?  Or are you sick of the Anniversary Sale?

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. Amy says:

    I shop the pre-sale. Like you, this sale has been a part of my life since I was a child (I still remember women piling strollers high with clothes in the baby department). I don’t buy much for myself anymore; I mainly go now because it’s the one time of the year my husband buys clothes.

  2. Ruchita says:

    I’ve never shopped the Anniversary Sale and don’t plan to this year. I’m pretty happy with my wardrobe and don’t really want to buy more stuff just for the sake of it being a good deal.

    I like your approach to the sale! Two posts is completely reasonable.

  3. kk says:

    It’s major blogger overload for me. I just dont need all that stuff- the consumerism in blogging is already a doozy, and the language that many fashion bloggers use is emotionally manipulative, as in “you MUST buy this” and “you clearly havent lived til you’ve worn this” and “These will make your entire life better and cure cancer and fix world hunger and you’ll be committing social suicide if you dont have these” (ok that last one is hyperbole but you get the point).

    On another point, I’ve been really frustrated in recent years by sub-par items that are clearly manufactured just for the sale.

    • Kim says:

      I totally agree with your last point – sub-par items manufactured just for the sale. And not only that, lot of those pieces end up on sale again anyway just a couple of months later.

      It pains me a bit to say this because I also have fond memories of shopping the N-sale with my mom growing up, but I am massively over it and don’t plan on buying anything this year.

      • Amy says:

        Yes! I tried buy a pair of sunglasses during the presale last year only to receive an email saying they were sold out and my order was cancelled. I found the exact same sunglasses on Nordstrom Rack website in October for far less than they were on the anniversary sale.

    • Melanie says:

      Completely agree with all of this. I used to really love the sale and looked forward to it every year. But now, with the endless #nsale blog hysteria and the fact that the items just don’t feel very special anymore, I’m completely over it. Honestly, I don’t fault the bloggers. I’m putting it on Nordstrom. I think they’ve over-marketed this thing to the point that it’s complete overkill.

  4. cait says:

    I shop the main sale. As a rule, I don’t do store cards (no matter how many bloggers tell me how great the Nordstrom card is) so I can’t get access to the presale.
    I like to use the sale for upgraded basics that are otherwise out of my price range. Nice jeans. Blazers. Work skirts and pants. A coat, if I need one that year (this year isn’t a coat year). Leather goods. Classic shoes. Sweaters.
    I’ll buy trendier items on impulse throughout the year. Buying these things at the N-Sale won’t stop my impulse buying, it’ll just increase the overall amount I buy, so I don’t bother with the super trendy things at the sale.

  5. Marisa says:

    I also don’t use store credit cards, so am just interested in the main sale – I have used your “best of what is left” posts in the past, and am glad you will continue to do that! I would love to see some beauty and home related items. I feel like clothes/shoes are on sale (in some form) at all times, so beauty items tend to excite me more.

    • SC says:

      Yes to all this, especially beauty items! I hope some Charlotte Tilbury makeup goes on sale this year, but that’s probably a reach. 🙂

    • HH says:

      This! Especially the “best of what’s left post” since I, too, don’t do store cards.

  6. Lauren says:

    I shop pre-sale and look for shoes (like boots!) and clothes to carry me through fall and winter. Even winter accessories or good xmas gifts down the line. Also looking for beauty recomendations.

  7. claudia says:

    I like looking at the trends and I like buying the expandable Longchamp bags as gifts. Other than that, I like to shop for my husband and especially like to check the men’s shoes.

  8. Rebecca says:

    I shop the pre-sale specifically to stock up on beauty supplies for the coming year. They have so many gift sets and GWP. I’d love your input on what is worth the purchase and what to pass over. Also, shoes and accessories!

  9. Kayla says:

    Thank you for your approach. I actually went through and preemptively unfollowed some folks on Instagram to avoid the excess of Anniversary Sale content that I know is about to drop.
    I shop presale but typically use it to replenish my favorite neutral bras and undies. I’ll take a peak at work wear and shoes but try to only buy if it’s something I was already planning to add to my wardrobe and don’t want to risk it selling out. If it’s a nice to have, I’ll usually wait. For example this year I am looking to replace my tan leather booties, if I find a pair, I’ll buy them then, but if it’s just a random pair of cute shoes, I’ll wait.

  10. Diane says:

    I don’t have store cards either, and frankly most online retailers offer so many different items that I get bored and stop scrolling before I’ve seen everything. So I like it when other people find the worthwhile buys for me and I like workwear suggestions.

  11. Cat says:

    I’m kind of over it for women’s clothing.
    – The fake urgency is annoying.
    – Bloggers pushing credit cards on people is even more annoying.
    – Last year’s selection felt almost indistinguishable from 2017’s. No one needs THAT MANY Barefoot Dreams sweaters.
    – The products themselves are frequently lower-quality items produced just for the sale (I used to think the Nordstrom house brands were worse than other brands on this point, but I fear the approach has spread based on last year’s experience).

    What I would actually be MORE interested in is a guide to men’s. The entire men’s shopping experience is so much less obnoxious, but it’s still a ton of stuff to filter through the ‘urban hipster sweatpants’ in favor of classic-but-not-stodgy menswear.

    • Christine says:

      dying over “No one needs THAT MANY Barefoot Dreams sweaters.” preach it, girl. I don’t care how soft that sweater is, I don’t need one every year.

    • Belle says:

      I got pressure hard to push the card last year. No way. If someone wants a card, they can make that decision. I don’t need to get involved in that.

      • Catherine says:

        Related to store cards (and loyalty programs), do you have a clear sense of the new Loft loyalty program?

        I got the store card a few years ago because I get so many staples from Loft and wanted to accumulate some rewards. Now I’m not sure if the regular loyalty program will offer the same rewards as being a cardholder, or if the cardholder perks are still significant.

  12. Clara says:

    Main sale. I’m not a cardholder but I love the deals!

  13. J says:

    Since I don’t read many fashion blogs, I really enjoy your coverage of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I think 2 posts are great since it allows you to cover your readers that have a card and those who don’t. I also like the idea of having more menswear choices. Maybe have one or two men’s items in the posts? Or buy his and her giant bottles of Kiehl’s Creme de Corps?

  14. Claire says:

    I shop pre-sale and typically do 2 passes: 1 is for refreshing basics that are otherwise unlikely to go on sale (typically bras and underwear, maybe makeup) that I want to snap up when all sizes and colors are available. 2 is for things that catch my eye from bloggers or browsing with no real urgency. Historically I return about 75% of the second run, probably because my brain is just not going to make smart fall clothing choices in July. I agree that the influencer strategy has gotten really excessive, but I appreciate the work you do to curate the selection!

  15. Coco says:

    I shop the Pre-Sale for the best deals/availability. I only buy what I can immediately pay off (as is generally my approach with my Nordstrom’s card). I mostly use the Anniversary Sale to stock up on staples, including bras and underwear, and the occasional fun item that I wouldn’t buy at normal price.

    I also agree with one of the comments above re sub-par quality. I’ve had good experiences with the Halogen house brand but last year I bought a purple Gibson sweater during the Anniversary Sale, and it pilled and faded horribly on the very first wash. Even at $30 or whatever it was a total waste of money.

    My best purchase last year, on your recommendation, Belle, was the Foreo Luna brush. I absolutely love that thing.

  16. Carrie says:

    I don’t use store credit cards, so I only shop the main sale. I’ll probably end up buying some new underwear and maybe some favorite beauty products if they’re available. I often times feel like I’m just shopping to shop when it comes to the anniversary sale, so I end up adding a lot to my cart, thinking it over, and realizing that I don’t really want any of those items. I try hard not to impulse buy, and that’s not really compatible with major sales like this one. So this year, I’ll probably spend an excessive amount of time looking through the sale only to end up not buying anything.

  17. Laura says:

    I shop the pre-sale because I happen to have a card. Usually I get some beauty items and basics for fall like a pair of jeans and some casual tops, but this year I’ll be on maternity leave until January and have no idea what my body is going to look feel like. I am definitely still planning to do some stocking up on beauty and refreshing my towels while I’m at it to use up a personal triple points day. If you happen to have some recommendations based on what you absolutely could not pass up buying for your nephew, I’m open to baby selections!

  18. Laura says:

    I, like, you, have always looked forward to the Anniversary Sale way before “influencers” were a thing. I think I side eye most of the posts now because I wonder what they’re getting out of the push in my face. Is Nordstrom paying them? Is it just the normal click = purchase = profit for them? Are you allowed to tell us that?

    To answer your question, I would like to see your picks (I am a cardholder so I shop pre-sale) and I’d love to see work picks, in general your favorites, and maybe weekend picks or something along those lines.

  19. Megan says:

    I love the Nordstrom sale, but found last year’s blogosphere coverage overwhelming and the products underwhelming. That said, it will not stop me from getting up in the wee hours of the morning on Friday to shop the pre-sale online. I use the sale to stock up on nice bras and underwear, basic workout wear (tanks and leggings), and to keep an eye out for elevated work basics that are usually on the high end of my price range (Boss, Theory, Equipment, Lewit, etc.). I think your planned approach to coverage sounds just right, and I look forward to seeing your picks, particularly in the home goods arena as that is something I tend to forget about. Thanks!

  20. PW says:

    FYI to those interested in the pre-sale you can open up a Nordstrom debit card that just links to another bank account. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t need a credit check or anything.

    Abra, sounds like you’ve got lots of support for your plan 🙂

  21. Tara says:

    I always shop the regular sale and mainly look for good basics I can wear all fall/winter. I’d love to be able to find some reasonably “trendy” things to carry through but otherwise look for good deals on good quality–something that’s been harder to find as echoed above.

  22. KatEL says:

    Another person who grew up with Nordstrom and has been underwhelmed by the sale the last few years. Would love to see your beauty and household picks. You have a great eye for things that could be saved for a hostess gift, present closet …

  23. anna c says:

    I don’t have a card and I’ll occasionally shop the main sale if I need something specific or someone is recommending something I like, but I’m definitely over the blog hype about it. I usually look at shoes, sometimes beauty products. I’m trying to limit my “fast fashion” purchases and only replace items as they either age beyond use or no longer fit.

    I really enjoyed your “best of what’s left” post last year – that was fun!

  24. Emma says:

    I shop the pre-sale on the first day. I don’t follow many bloggers so I don’t have Anniversary Sale fatigue. Most years I stock up on bras, underwear, athletic clothes, and beauty products. I also check out higher end designers that would typically be out of my price range. This year I am looking for a pair of knee high, heeled boots. I loved the Celine fall collection and want to try boots with midi dresses. I am enjoying a more minimalist wardrobe and find there is little else I want.

  25. Pam says:

    I have a card and would shop the presale. I don’t follow any other fashion bloggers except one, so I don’t get overload. I like your approach. Love the foreo I got last year. I like to select items that might have been out of my price point at regular prices.

  26. Christine says:

    I shop the presage. Looking for date night ideas and weekend errand looks.

  27. s-p-c says:

    Every year, I am excited about the opportunities presented and scour the presale, only to find a handful of items at best that I want to order, and perhaps one that I’ll decide to keep. Then I’m ready for the sale to be over and for Nordstrom to go back to normally stocking merchandise. . . but here, I am, optimistic and looking forward to the possibilities again this year!

  28. Nancy says:

    I am happy to see I am not the only one who has been disappointed by the quality of many of the Nordstrom Anniv. sale items. Could we please have both your review/recommendations but also from your blog community, sharing items that seem to be of a brand’s normal quality? For example, if you are a regular wearer of Mephisto or Blondo boots and find a pair during the sale that seem to be of the same quality as the non sale boots, share you thoughts and link to the sale item? For many of us who do not live near a Nordstrom store, it would be so helpful. I am very tired of the buy/return cycle.

  29. ShelleY says:

    I shop the PreSale and use it as the main purchasing event for all my fall clothes. I do feel the quality as well as the shopping experience was awful last year. Hopefully Nordstrom heard that loud and clear and this year is better. I appreciate all the different ladies posting their favorites as usually they are different and allow me to best shop the sale since I can’t go to a store.

    I don’t see anyone posting about professional menswear though. I need traditional clothing for my husband!

  30. Marie says:

    I have a card, so I do have access to pre-sale. I usually browse it, and tend to pop over and look at the main sale once or twice as well.

    However, I don’t follow many (any??) other blogs, so I actually really rely on your posts here! I think two fairly comprehensive posts are probably sufficient. But personally, I love having someone else sort through all the chaff and point out things that are actually worth it. I get overwhelmed with the number of options, and often will browse but just give up and end up buying nothing.

  31. NMR says:

    I shop the regular sale and keep an eye out for bras that rarely go on sale, nice denim, good shoes, and I’ll peruse the handbag offerings. Good dresses for work are nice, too, but good deals can be had on those other times of year. I didn’t grow up going to Nordstrom (JC Penney was fancy) so I don’t have memories to be spoiled and I don’t really care about what other bloggers do/don’t do. You do you!

  32. Anna says:

    Yours is the only fashion blog I follow, so I appreciate your posts. I also don’t have access to the pre-sale, but I do like the exceptionally good deals and the reduced prices on staples you highlight.

  33. Lisa says:

    I always appreciate when you review the items you’ve purchased through the sale indicating what you are keeping and what you are returning. I’ve made some of my purchases based on feedback you had about specific items. Pre-sale/main sale posts: I’d happily read both!

  34. Elisse says:

    Last year, I fell for the hype of the NSale & ended up spending a lot more than I’d planned (despite the fact I returned about 80% of what I ordered). I live 5 minutes from a Nordstrom Rack & a few months after the sale I found a lot of the items I got for a whole lot less than what they went for during the NSale. Therefore, this year, I’m skipping it. I’m just going to wait until it all comes down the pipe to Nordstrom Rack. I do have a Nordstrom card and have early access so the only 2 items I plan to purchase on the first day of early access are the Nordstrom Exclusive Charlotte Tilbury lipstick kit and eye palette. Although I agree that some of the clothing quality is subpar my experience with exclusive NSale makeup items has been positive. One of my favorite purchases last year was a Nars Lip Kit that was exclusive to the Nordstrom sale. I found the quality to be as excellent as the Nars lip products I get at Sephora or any major department store. So this year, I’m on a mission to purchase those two Charlotte Tilbury products and nothing else.

  35. Tara says:

    I’ve never shopped it—but do shop at Nordstrom. The hype overwhelms me, and I appreciate your healthy approach to it. Not overdoing it and calling out the blogging world when it’s a lil too extreme 🙂

  36. Denise says:

    I shop the main sale (as the daughter of a career retail worker, I can’t bring myself to hold a store card), mainly for work shoes (heels, flats) and sometimes jeans. I don’t go overboard because most of the ‘deals’ are boots and sweaters and it is 110 degrees in the shade in Texas in July. I just can’t buy boots right now!

  37. Caitlin says:

    I did end up dropping about $1000 last year through the sale – but returned $875 worth of it. Which I expected! Trying on things in store is stressful and weird! The couple of items I kept, I really love – a Madewell necklace, a super soft flannel from Treasure & Bond, Voluspa candles, and a Leith wrap sweater that makes my boobs look amazing. In previous years I’ve gotten jeans and Zella leggings.

    To each their own, but most of the year Nordstrom is out of my price range, and I don’t live close enough to a Rack to pop in frequently. I’m gonna be honest, I kind of love the hype – this is a very slow month at work so it’s nice to daydream and make spreadsheets. Keeping things organized makes me consider the cost-benefit of items really thoroughly, since you can see exactly how much you’ve spent…

    Insofar as coverage, I trust your judgement, Belle. I like Halogen for work clothes, Blondo for booties, Sole Society for bags, and Kendra Scott for jewelry. Last year I got into the pre-sale through a loophole, but I think they’re making you use your Nordstrom card to check out this year, and I refuse to sign up for a retailer card, sooo I would definitely be interested in a “Best of what’s left” post.

  38. Amy says:

    I try not to let sales convince me to purchase something I wouldn’t otherwise buy. I do keep a running list of wardrobe basics that I need to purchase, replace or upgrade each season. I’d much rather see a blog post about everyday basics that are actually a good deal during the sale.

    • Serena says:

      Totally agree. I want to see things that I would buy anyway and are actually good deals. I would like fewer items if it meant limiting to things that meet those criteria. Good quality basics that will get tons of wear for a good price.

      I’m a mom of 3 so I shop for my basics (things like waterproof booties, heels that I will wear for years, weekend coats that will take a beating, nice & cute loungewear, undergarments), kids coats and shoes for the upcoming school year, beauty basics, and for my husband sometimes.

      • Carrie says:

        Totally agree on the basics. This year I’m looking for casual weekend shirts, a new raincoat and/or light jacket, kids things, and maybe a home thing or two. Main sale only

  39. Betsy says:

    Due to blog overload and too much sub-par stuff, I avoid the sale now. Maybe I’ll order some beauty items (usually something you have highlighted), but for the most part it’s now something I actively miss.

  40. LAUREN says:

    Your coverage has been excellent in the past. I shop main sale. I try to upgrade basics that are out of my price range normally.

  41. Jill says:

    It does seem that the big Nordstrom sales have moved away from nice quality basics to trendier, less well-made items. I used to like shopping for a good pair of boots that I’d wear a long time, etc. The sales hold less interest for me now. I also get slightly irritated that Nordstrom carries J. Crew and other brands that I can get at J. Crew. I always looked to Nordstrom for brands I didn’t see elsewhere. Still like the house brands for reliable basics.

  42. firstgirl says:

    Definitely interested in main sale coverage. (I also don’t do store cards.) Nordstroms has become my favorite retailer over the years (yay for free shipping & returns) and I still look forward to it as a chance to stock up on basics. This year, I’m looking for bras, tops to wear under blazers, and work pants.

  43. Tess says:

    Main sale please!

  44. Holly says:

    To be honest, the bloggers and instagramers have ruined this sale for me. I feel like they just buy everything up(just to return later) and rave about how awesome it is just so I will click on it and give them the credit. It feels so fake to me! Who is really buying 15 pairs of shoes? Give me a break!

  45. Elise says:

    I attempted to shop the presale a few times and I was underwhelmed with everything. I just thought the selection was very small this year and so many items were sold out at the very beginning. I didn’t even find anything I liked enough to post a ‘my faves’ blog post. Thumbs down this year.

    xx, Elise

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