How to Shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

nordstrom anniversary sale shopping tipsIt’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Time! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale starts tomorrow for cardholders, the 21st for the public.  If you read more than one blog, you likely already know this. Bloggers love to promote this sale because to be honest, it brings good affiliate revenue. I love to promote this sale yes for that reason, but also because I personally LOVE this sale for my own wardrobe. Nordstrom is an amazing retailer with free shipping and returns, a broad range of pricepoints and sizes, and their anniversary sale provides incredible deals on current styles and chic looks for the upcoming season. This ain’t your mama’s clearance rack of deals, at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale you’ll find hot designers, current trends, and stylish classics. This is when I find cashmere sweaters for the price of cotton, leather jackets for the price of denim, boots for the price of sandals… you catch my drift.

I usually post a list of my picks for this sale. I plan to have one once the sale is live for Nordstrom cardholders (cardholders get early access, I’ve had an Nordstrom card for over a decade. If you pay it off each month, it’s a great way to get free tailoring, rewards coupons, early access to sales, and more. Consider applying now to get in before the rest of the public). However, it’s been a busy few weeks at the day job and I can’t be sure I’ll have time to do it. So I’m sharing my sale scouring secrets with you.  I've written about my shopping tips before, but it bears repeating for such a good sale.

Blogging has made me the mistress of online shopping. I’ve learned how to do it quickly and with precision to create and advice post or a sale roundup in the least amount of time with the most goodies. When I shop for myself, I’m even more razor sharp and quick with my searches. Here’s how narrow down and shop huge sales like the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

nordstrom anniversary sale 2017

How to Shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

  1. Click on the link for the sale
  2. Click on the gender you wish to shop
  3. Click on a category (for this one, I’ll choose clothing, though I’ll also go through this process for bags, shoes, etc.)
  4. On the left of the screen next to the merchandise, click category
  5. Under category, click all the categories you’re interested in. No point in perusing swimsuits when you’re on the hunt for blazers.
    1. For those searching a specific brand or color, you can choose those options instead
  6. Next click size and click ALL the options for sizes. For example, I choose Regular L, Regular XL-XXL, Petite L, Petite XL, Plus 0X, Plus 1X, and Petite Plus 1X.
  7. Next click price. If you know you won’t pay more than a certain dollar amount, why be tempted by items outside that range?
  8. Now, scroll back up to the top of the options now available and click the tab to the right of the screen above the merchandise that says Sort by Featured and change it to Sort by Price: Low to High. This way, if you’re exhausted at a point, you at least saw the best deals. If you’re perusing the sale on a later date, consider switching this filter to Sort by Newest First.
  9. I then scroll with the down arrow key. I move pretty quickly, looking for the specific silhouettes and colors I like. This way I don’t get distracted by a designer name for a crazy low price. True style comes from buying the right items, not the right brands.
  10. When I see something that looks appealing, I click to open it in a separate browser window, and keep going. I don’t stop to look at that one item just yet.
  11. After I’ve scrolled through one page, I click to go to the next page, and NOW I peruse those open tabs. I’ll close any that are definite NO upon review. This usually leaves 1-3 tabs. I usually leave them open, not clicking to put anything in my cart. You never know, on page 6 you may find a better version of the same item…
  12. Once I’ve gone through all the pages with this process, I then settle in and review all the open tabs. I look for:
    1. Customer reviews – Nordstrom Anniversary Sale items are often new and don’t have reviews, but for those that do have reviews, don’t judge by one review. I often narrow the reviews to just 4 and 3 stars (if they’re not blown away or ragey they usually have a more specific and detailed review) and often by age (I’ll relate more to the fit on a 45 year old than a 25 year old).
    2. The color I REALLY want in stock. So what if it’s a fabulous blouse; if it’s only in mustard and you’re a winter there’s no point in considering it. You know you’ll wear it maybe once and then retire it to the back of your closet.  Keep that money for the really good purchases.
      1. For sales like this, if unsure I’ll order in two sizes. Nordstrom has free shipping and returns so it’s easy to send back what didn’t fit. Also items move fast; if you find the piece you got is the wrong size you very well may not be able to purchase the other size at a later date.
    3. The size I REALLY need in stock. There is never a good time to sacrifice fit for price. And if you DARE say to yourself that you’ll lose weight to fit it I’ll reach through this screen and strangle you. I’d rather you size up and cut out the tag than size down and feel bad about yourself. I have yet to meet a woman who has truly lost those 5 pounds and been thrilled she scored that sale item.
    4. The laundry instructions. I’m too busy for a T-shirt that needs to be hand washed and dried flat!
    5. Whether it’s really needed. Omigoodness those purple suede over the knee boots are usually $750 and on sale for only $250 and that model wore almost the same exact ones at NYFW! That’s fine and good, but do you really need them? Can you think of three existing outfits in your closet that would benefit from them? Is there a hole in your wardrobe that will be filled with this purchase? Do you really have the life for this item? Seriously, do you hike enough for those Sorel boots? Will you have a cocktail party on the calendar in the next couple of months to warrant the purchase of that lace dress? Are you comfortable in 3” heels? You retired in the spring, do you really need that structured blazer?
  13. Once I have reviewed all the tabs and put everything in my virtual shopping cart, I then carefully scroll through the cart for a final review. Does anything stick out like a sore thumb? Do any of the prices make me shudder? Again, do I really need these things or are you just excited by the thrill of the hunt?

Once Your Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Purchase Arrives

  • Keep the box and all the packaging supplies. You likely will be making some returns, it’s far easier to keep the nice sturdy box it came in to ship back.
  • Keep track of the packing slips. Nordstrom is really good with descriptions on packing slips so you’ll know which one is for the black jumpsuit, and which one is for the black blouse. I keep them in a vintage train case so even if I believe I want to keep something but a month later I realize I’ve never worn it, it’s easy to find the slip and send it back.
  • Give it the real life experience. Try that skirt on not just with your bra or with your work sweater hiked up to your waist, but with the items currently in your closet you envisioned wearing it with. Put on the shoes you’d wear with it. Take the time to try each piece in the way you plan on wearing it. It’s crazy, but some things look far better with bare feet and a bra than with a complete ensemble. Use the at-home try on experience to your advantage.
  • Sleep on it. If you love it, hang it up and try it again the next day in different light, after a meal. If you are unsure, do the same thing. Again, use the at-home try on experience and the generous return policy (no time limit on returns to Nordstrom) to your advantage.
  • Don’t take the tags off until your first wear. See above about the item returned a month later. Sometimes you think you need an item and then as life progresses you find it’s not a good fit. It’s fun to rip off those tags, but be slow and wait until it’s really an item you’re going to wear and love.
  • Respect the return. I worked retail for many years, and I saw it all. People returned clothes with blood stains, B.O., holes, and much worse. Sure, Nordstrom has a generous return policy, but if it’s abused too often the company will suffer. There’s enough retailers out there shuttering, let’s not have Nordstrom be the next one. Only return items that are unworn or defective. When you return, have them right side-out, carefully folded, and protected in the plastic and/or tissue used to ship them to you.

I know many of you are sale hunters, and Nordstrom Anniversary Sale veterans. If you have additional shopping tips, share them in the comments. And be sure to let me know what you score during the sale!





  1. Jax
    July 16, 2017 / 11:01 pm

    I feel like a lot of your great tips would work well for shopping in general!

  2. LoriM
    July 13, 2017 / 8:26 am

    What fun to find items on my wish list, now on sale.

    But to make sure I understand, is there an advantage to using the Nordstrom card to pay for the items (beyond accumulating reward points, I mean). Do I get points if I don’t use the Nordstrom card? I do have one, just more convenient to not use it, in some ways.

    I’m so not a shopper – can you tell? 😉

  3. Lynn in RI
    July 13, 2017 / 8:05 am

    I like to support your blog – so just to be certain – when I click on the link to the sale – will you get credit for the referral – if that isn’t the way to do it can you please let me know – Of course until you I’m just stocking up on the underpinnings…lol…unless that adorable Minkoff bag falls into my online cart….

  4. Adele Miller
    July 13, 2017 / 5:42 am

    Just did a quick run-through this morning, put items in my shopping bag and then went through the shopping bag carefully to remove things I don’t really love. I always feel a little guilty adding multiples for size check, since I know I’ll be returning at least one of them, but it beats order-return-re-order in a different size, which is probably more work and overhead for Nordstrom.
    My favorite items? Eileen Fisher basic items and Marvin K Aquitalia footwear.
    Thanks, Allie!

  5. Alison French-Tubo
    July 12, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    Excellent tips and I respect that you included how to be a decent human being when returning items.

  6. Anne
    July 12, 2017 / 11:50 am

    Allie – thanks for the tips. I hope you’ll write about your hits and misses – I love those posts of yours!

    • July 12, 2017 / 1:07 pm

      I will be sure to do one with what I buy from this sale! 🙂 Glad you like them, they won’t be going away any time soon!

  7. Lee4
    July 12, 2017 / 10:53 am

    Thanks for the tips–very helpful! I have 2 Nordstrom related questions (we don’t have any in Arkansas b/c the Dillard’s are from here). If you are able to answer, thanks a bunch, but no worries if you can’t. I know you are busy.

    If I have items in my virtual shopping bag, and if those items end up on sale, will the price adjust automatically or should I empty the bag & start over?

    I bought something at a store while in another state last month but am not so sure about it now. Do you think they will take a return by mail on it even though I bought it in person?

    • July 12, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      1. Yes, they price adjust automatically. Also if you buy it and a week later you see it on sale call Nordstrom, they will do a price adjustment.

      2. Yes they will. However, I recommend emailing them first to let them know. But I have put in an item tags still attached and pinned the store receipt to it and it’s been credited to my Nordstrom account. Once they sent me a store credit instead, I can’t recall why. But they’re amazing with trying to accommodate the customer!

      • Lee4
        July 12, 2017 / 1:15 pm

        Allie, thanks so much for answering my questions! I am going to try your suggestions regarding contacting Nordstrom’s first & go from there. Thanks again! I look forward to seeing your picks soon.

  8. Lynn in RI
    July 12, 2017 / 8:03 am

    Good Morning – great tips! I’ll be coming back to your site to shop through to Nordies. I hope you get a chance to post some specific tips because I admire your style!!

    • July 12, 2017 / 10:17 am

      I plan to sit down this weekend at the latest and dig through the options. As always, I’ll separate by category and offer some styling tips with most of them. Glad you liked the post, Lynn! 🙂

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