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I Said I Wouldn’t Do It…

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Last year I deleted my Nordstrom card from my online account. I cut up the card. And by the end of the year, I paid off the entire balance. Nordstrom was my weakness, they had my size, they shipped quickly. I’d get a box, pour a glass of wine, try on, take my time with returns.

Well, it’s the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and I decided I didn’t really need anything. But then I got a random perfume sample in the mail with a Sephora offer – Black Orchid by Tom Ford. I received several samples, of course the one I fell in love with and even my family fell in love with was the crazy expensive one. And of course, I looked around to find the lowest price and found a Black Orchid set part of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

I can’t pull up my account number. My online banking only shares a few numbers. I thought I had saved it in my Safari browser but nope, it’s not there. I tried logging in online but come to find out I never created a username or password to manage my account online. I searched my file cabinet, no old statement. Receipts don’t have card numbers.

If I want my Nordstrom card number, I need to call.

I spent 40 minutes clicking around my email, my browsers, two different computers, and digging through files but I won’t call them. Calling them somehow is admitting that I am doing what I shouldn’t do. I am stating aloud that I broke a contract with myself. I might as well go to the grocery that sells wine on Sundays and buy one of those big bottles of Sav Blanc and with it a bag of Tostitos and a jar of Doritos queso and while I’m in line read US or OK and pretend to feel better by judging others while chewing my cuticles and then go home and consume all of it while ordering $600 worth of things swearing I WILL return most of it but then it arrives and I justify to myself 80% of it and wear it all only once.

I don’t write a lot about my “life change” because it wasn’t turning on a light switch and changing. I have days where I hit snooze and spend those eight minutes trying to think of a good lie to text my trainer to get out of going to the gym that day. I take a longer way home from the hair salon after an appointment because my old ritual was getting a Slurpee and nachos from 7-Eleven and enjoying them on the ride home. I’d stop at the bus stop as soon as you enter my neighborhood and toss the remains in that trashcan, using a Wet One wipe to remove any traces from my licked fingers and sticky mouth. I don’t allow pasta in the house, and the only wine that has been in the house lately has been for a paid campaign (both I still consume but keep for special occasions and dinners out). I threw out my face wipes to force myself to properly wash and moisturize my face before bedtime. I have bought 10 different water bottles in the past two years so I never have an excuse to not stay hydrated. I’ve blocked certain URLs and Instagram profiles from my apps and browsers that make me judgy and snarky and I get powder dip nails every 2-3 weeks so I can’t nibble on my hands.

Some of this has been a true life change. If I miss the gym more than two days I feel achy and disgusting. Since I work out, I have different cravings. Since I’ve had the time to find out, I’ve learned many issues regarding stress, sleep, health, and creativity can be solved with the right amount of water and sleep. That taking vitamins and supplements and eating whole foods can do all kinds of good for my skin, hair, digestion, back, brain, and more. But gosh, let one drop and I’m looking for an excuse to go run errands so I can get a venti Frappuccino and wander around Target trying to heal myself with a cart full of things I don’t need.

When I reminded myself I don’t need this and getting my account number would be a slippery slope into 2016 Alison, I decided to scroll through the Nordstrom sale for the first time and see if I’m missing out on anything. I found that a good percentage of the sale is junk – cheap brands, items made just for the sale, mediocre things at a sweet spot pricepoint to make you think you’re getting a deal. The rest are the same damn things in every single Nordstrom sale. I said I wouldn’t do a sale post but I had to share my thoughts on what everyone swears you should buy, and the few things I actually think are worth it for this sale.

But there is NOTHING, I mean NOTHING in this sale that is such a good deal you should open up a Nordstrom credit card. No roof repairs, no cars to get to work, no appliances with 12 months interest-free so it’s like layaway while still being able to cook dinner or heat your home. You know what smells better than Black Orchid by Tom Ford? The sweet smell of not having Nordstrom debt.

What Everyone (Except Me) Says You Should Buy

  • Spanx Faux Leather Leggings – sure they’re cute on many, but they are there EVERY YEAR and they often have them on sale at the end of the season. It’s a deal if you already love them, but honestly are you wanting them because they go with your wardrobe or yours wore out or because every blogger is saying how versatile they are?  If you truly love them, I support you and I have a guide on how to style them.
  • Stuart Weitzman Suede Over the Knee Boots – Same as the Spanx leggings. Not a bad buy, but if you don’t already own a pair are you doing it because you need them or because you feel you should have them?
  • Hunter boots – Same.
  • Barbour coats – Unless you live somewhere where the climate requires such a coat and you make enough money that you can afford it, there’s no need for this coat in your life. You can find cheaper. Check Lands’ End, check LL Bean, check Bernardo.
  • Barefoot Dreams cardigan – I have one.  It's navy, it's at least three years old. My first year I wore it a lot, even out of the house with faux leather-front leggings and a white t-shirt. I saw pictures, and I always looked a bit… comfortable. You know what I mean, like that guy in the ad on TV with the v-neck that became a u-neck. So I decided to keep it as home fashion. Then I got the flu and wore it straight for a week. Now it has become my Sick Day cardigan because each time I see it I think of when I was last lying on the couch with a Kleenex stuffed in each nostril watching Wendy Williams. I know a lot of you love this cardigan but I just don’t think it’s streetwear.
  • Beachwaver – You’re saving $63. That’s a good deal if for months you’ve wanted one but it’s just a bit too expensive. But if you’re getting by with your current hair routine and appliances, keep in mind it's still $133.  If it was always $133 would you buy it, or are you buying it because it seems like such a good deal?  Not going to stop you, but I want you to realize the price. 
  • Chantelle Rive Gauche and Natori Feathers bras – Both of these bras are in the sale every year. You can find them cheaper on Amazon all year round, and usually you can also find matching undies on sale.  Don't buy them during this sale unless you're already a fan of the style and they have a color or size you can't find elsewhere.
  • Rebecca Minkoff bags – Rebecca Minkoff is a Scientologist. I know, it upsets me as well. Use that information as you wish. If you don’t believe me Google it.
  • The Kendra Scott jewelry in this sale – This trend ship has sailed for grown-ass women. Unless you personally love this brand and have wanted it forever and saved up, pass on these pieces. Kendra Scott’s pieces like this are going to be this decade’s equivalent of the bubble necklace.  This isn't all Kendra Scott, just the “signature” pieces that are part of this sale.  I still like her more unique items.
  • Electronic facial devices – Will you really use it? Be real with yourself. Sure it’s cheaper than going to get a facial or getting a procedure done. But will you truly use it on a regular basis? Will you still be using it in a year, or will it be collecting dust in the cabinet under your sink? I see purchasing facial devices like buying treadmills and exercise bikes. Best intentions but less than half of the people who buy them use them enough to justify their price and the space they take up in the home. As for the NuFACE, I bought it twice. Here's my review, spoiler alert it's possessed.

What I Think Is Worth It

Yes, there are affiliate links in this post; click here to learn how blogs make money. No there are no graphics or pictures or shopping widgets because that takes hours to pull together. Yes, I likely will buy Black Orchid when the sale opens up to those without a Nordstrom card. And if there still are Smartwool socks, I may snag some of those too.  If I do I'll let you know and hopefully, my family doesn't decide suddenly that this perfume makes me smell like hay.

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I haven’t shopped the sale in 5 years because I could never find anything I liked in store. Yeah I could shop online but I still liked trying things in store and instant gratification. I haven’t had a Nordstrom card in even more years, maybe 25 years because department store cards have such high interest rates and I was in debt at the time.

    Well, I’ve shopped the sale 3 times in the last week because of YouTube and those “articles” that seem to pop up in Google passing off as news . “Our favorite leggings” I got sucked into twice. So yes, I bought that Barefoot Dreams cardigan. I’m 51 years old. I am definitely okay with wearing it out in public and I’ll even wear it to work. Dress for the job I want? At this point, retirement LOL. And my workplace is SoCal business casual, so it’s pretty casual. I also got Zella leggings. I only own one other pair that I didn’t get on sale and it was worth it. And I also got a pair of Vince Camuto black leggings that I will also wear to work. I might even wear the Zella ones.

    It’s been a while since I’ve read your blog. I wanted to see what your up to. I should probably start reading your older posts. I was surprised about your initial thoughts on the sale. But then I wasn’t. You’re older Allie and in a different place.

    Now that I’m out of debt (it took a long time), I try to make better choices about what I purchase. Does suit my lifestyle? Or am I trying to be aspirational? Being aspirational was how I got into debt in the first place. There’s nothing wrong with aspirational, it’s just not me. Comfort is my aesthetic. Would I but it if it wasn’t on sale? Too many times I buy things because it’s “such a deal” and then never wear them. And will I go into debt for it? While I pay for almost everything using a credit card (NOT my debit card) I pay everything off weekly and bottom line, if I even think I’m going to wince at that credit card balance I won’t buy.

    Oh my three purchases? First bought online and shipped to store. Picked up yesterday. Second bought online yesterday and picked up at a different store on the way home from running club. And third bought online and picking up at yet another store this evening on my way out for a friend date. My first two purchases (sweater and Zella leggings) worked out. I’m pretty sure my third purchase will too.

  2. I’m really disappointed. You spent all this time two weeks ago saying that you were taking a break from this sort of thing for the summer. I get being tempted and wanting too see what’s there, and even the story of digging around to find your account number is relatable. But then putting affiliate links for the items you just told you thought were overpriced or poor quality? So you have issues with Minkoff being a Scientologist but will gladly take the income if a reader buys a bag from the link? I’m sorry, that’s just not something I can get behind.

  3. Thank goodness I’m not the only one who feels this way! I would shop there often because I could ship directly to family in California. Last few years have found nothing. Went specifically for shoes, and was extremely disappointed. Every salesperson I talked to in multiple departments did not seem happy or thrilled with the merchandise, and was not in a hurry to help me.

  4. Loved this post! The sale this year is a total yawn. I bought what I’ve bought every year since I used to go with my mom in middle and high school: underwear. Nordstrom Anniversary Sale backlash seems to be a *thing* this year, but your post was the most helpful and clearest I’ve seen about it. And thank you SO MUCH for the info about Rebecca Minkoff! I had no idea and I was eyeing one of those bags. You continue to actually provide actually helpful content, Allie.

  5. LOVED this post and am so excited to what other refreshing takes you have for us during your blogging “vacation”. I will say I’ve avoided all NAS posts and prime day, but am SO glad I was compelled to read yours. What a refreshing breath of honesty and relate-ability.

    Thank you!

  6. THANK YOU for dissecting the NSale for us from the perspective of a normal person! You discussed two things that I always go, “oooh, I want that” when I read the hype about it on blogs and Instagram: Spanx faux leather leggings and the Barefoot cardigan. So far I haven’t purchased them, but every single time I come across them I’m tempted. The thing is, I already have alternatives for both in my closet (alternatives that I like enough but rarely use). I don’t NEED either. Your post has helped me tremendously!

  7. I felt the same way about the sale. I have everything I need for Fall/Winter and nothing looked radically different in style. Thank you for being honest and validating that the new IT thing isn’t going to make me suddenly stylish.

  8. Last year there was a Sephora sale in August, that might be the time to get your black orchid(my signature scent).

  9. This terrific post is an example of why I think your blog is truly outstanding. Your clothing reviews are terrific; but I am especially impressed by and appreciative of your honesty; i.e.many of us have wrestled with that pesky credit card debt or discouraging jeans search. You are willing to put yourself out there and your writer’s “voice” is a standout. Thanks Allie!
    PS I just ordered two Bernardo coats hope to keep one!

  10. I’ve been so disappointed in Nordstrom going on two years now. I feel like their buyers don’t know the store, who shops there, or what their demographic is. I can’t find the brands I liked there, and the ones that still exist aren’t the same quality. It makes me sad, but I can see them going down in the big pitfire of regular retail–especially since I live in their city of origin!

    1. Same. Been shopping it for years but it’s been a complete let down recently for new finds and this year was the worst. I almost thought of writing a letter to Nordstrom corporate because they need new buyers. I love stylish and quality clothing but there was NOTHING that I loved this year and in the old days I wanted half of the store. Winter coats which are something I look for each year were a major disappointment. The majority of women’s clothes featured were ugly and frumpy and not even things that would be flattering on someone with the “perfect” body. The stuff didn’t even look good on the models. Some of the work dresses were ok but the fabric looked cheap IRL. I’m a regular size petite and I didn’t feel like there was much of a selection online or instore compared to years past. (They used to have lots of cute jackets and suits and dresses.) even the ted baker clothes for the sale sucked in my opinion. Shoes to me seemed like a repeat of last year with played out booties that we all already own and over the knee boots bound to get donated once people realize they almost never have the right opportunity and outfit to wear them. Handbags were boring. I would have stocked up or added some more basic items but they didn’t have what I really wanted or needed in those categories either because I already have stuff they featured. How many natori feathers bras and pairs of black Zella leggings can I own? I loved your post Allison.

  11. Two boring but perfectly fitting Wacoal bras in my size, nude (palest pink) and navy for $70 with free shipping. No complaints and no real temptations from the other sale items.

  12. Haha … I love this! I got a couple of things I’m really happy with but I can’t help but laugh at some bloggers must haves … maybe it’s because most of them are so young. Believe me there is absolutely no reason for me to have those Spanx leather-look leggings!

  13. You crack me up! I saw the title of this post and thought “Yes! She decided to review it after all!” Your post was ten times better! I do love the NAS but mostly for leggings, Jeans, Bras and Boots (basics). By the time I shop, half the stuff is already gone. C’est la vie!

  14. The closest Nordstrom store to me is 400 miles. I’m happy with Dillard’s, jJill, Talbots and Chico’s! Do buy a few pieces of Cabbie when someone has a showing. Love your insta and blog!

  15. Love this post!!! I got the Barefoot Dreams Circle Cardi a few years ago and I agree, its soft but is only for home wear and overpriced for what it is.

  16. On Friday I drove 1 1/2 hours to Santa Barbara, California to shop at Nordstrom and the petite department was gone. I’ve shopped there since the store was first opened. Nordstrom, you’ve lost a loyal customer.

  17. I have a Nordie card but for some reason, I cannot link it to my online account. Consequently I can only do a ‘sneak peak’ at the Anni Sale items and put items on a wish list, but not in my cart. All my wish list items except for 3 are sold out now. They are forgettable, in that I don’t feel like I missed out. Except that leopard print belt, and there’s a similar one that’s a regular item (non-sale) at the same price. I hope I manage to buy the Wacoal sports bra at a sale price, but the world will keep turning if I don’t.
    I and my credit accounts thank you for confirming it for me that nothing is a ‘must have’–I already have the must have’s and they’re fine. Hang in there on the rest of it. Great to see you thriving in good health!

  18. Thank you!!! I ordered to few things I needed but didn’t find any wild card items that I wanted….seems you agree! (and here I was pouting that you weren’t doing a NAS post…lol..joke)

  19. Well crap, guess I need to get rid of my RM bag that I’m currently carrying. I had no idea she was a scientologist.

  20. Oh, this made me laugh! I went to the sale on the first day and was also underwhelmed. I bought the Madewell black canvas backpack and longed for the leopard Halogen cardigan (sold out) but passed up everything else.

  21. Love this, Allie! I literally went through the same thing on Friday. My Nordstrom card had expired and they had closed my account for inactivity. Clearly, I am not a regular Nordstrom shopper! I went back and forth on whether to get another one for kind of a long time. I thought I wanted to buy that ever-present Barefiiot Dreams cardigan, a Kendra Scott piece, and a Longchamp tote. Nothing I need, nothing that made me go “ooh, yes, give me that,” but a good few hundred bucks worth of whatever! I discovered Kendra Scott has good sales if you buy direct (and many less obvious pieces). Your post talked me out of the BD cardi, and the Longchamp bag is already sold out. Yay! I’m saving my money for travel instead. Love this.

  22. Great post! You captured it perfectly. I’m so sick of hearing about this sale. It’s just a freakin sale, people!

  23. I am really tempted by the tiger Dolce Vita boots. But everything else I have talked myself out of because I either already own it and don’t really need another one or I think there will be better stuff come fall. Even the boots will likely go on sale after the sale for a better deal. I found this years sale pretty underwhelming.

  24. Your best post ever, IMO. Love your transparency! And your courage to say out loud what most of us do but never tell a soul about.

  25. Thank you for this post! I love reading blogs, but so many promote a ‘buy, buy, buy’ attitude around these on-sale ‘must-haves’! It’s nice to have a reasoned perspective!

  26. Love this post! I got sucked in to the sale – again. The shoes I ordered online were horribly made. The quality of items tried on in store were lacking. The Zella leggings were sold out (I’ll stalk them, though). Best buy was a pair of Ecco shoes for my hubby. Next year, I will channel your resolve! Good idea to remove card number from account profile as it makes it way too easy to make impulse purchases!

  27. Earlier this year I used a gift card to buy Neulash, my only Nordstrom purchase I can recall. I’m thinking about buying it again, this time with real money of my own, so I’ll check if it’s included in the sale.

  28. I looked through the sale yesterday and bought…..nothing.

    I could not love this post more. Thank you for your honesty, makes me love you and your blog all the more.

    (Also, did not know that Rebecca Minkoff was a Scientologist. Now I have some different feelings on my bag of hers that I dearly love. *Sigh*. Damn it.)

    1. Ugh. This news upset me too. I have the ones I have and that is ok but I don’t know that I can get behind purchasing anymore of her bags. Might have to find them second hand. This is pretty upsetting to me.

  29. I just finally bought the barefoot cardi with squared hemline because I thought I could wear it out. Hmm. I’ll keep the tags on till fall and see if I still love it then. The other stuff I got, the faux suede leopard print raincoat, the Gibson twist front top and pajamas, I’m pretty sure I’ll like.
    Last year I bought a bunch of stuff and only kept my Clarks booties (still love love) and red cowl neck tunic was all I kept and I probably didn’t need the tunic.
    We’ll see what I wind up keeping. I have no problem hauling stuff back. Bless their return policies.

  30. Thank you for your honesty. This post is why I love your blog and have followed you for years. I don’t shop the Nordstrom sale because I can usually find the same things somewhere else cheaper. They seem to have the same things every year and they aren’t usually my favorites picks. I laughed out loud about the Barefoot cardigan. They are so expensive and they don’t look great out in public.

    1. I love this post! Nordstrom is my store of choice, but I’ve never understood the excitement over the sale, and I agree with everything you’ve said. Once about 17 years ago I got a very pricy blazer in the sale for about 40% off and to this day, that’s it. As for the barefoot cardigan, trying one on in store cured me of wanting that (haha), but I did score a throw way marked down after the holidays and I love it.

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