Tips for Shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Hi all,

I want to start off by saying that, as painful as it’s been, 2020 is really flying by! I hope you’re all staying safe, healthy, and sane.

I can’t believe it’s already July, which means it’s almost time for the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (N Sale)!

Basically, Nordstrom has a huge sale every summer. It’s very popular (especially with fashion bloggers) and can be a little stressful your first time around.

To help with that, I put together this post with lots of information about the sale and my recommendations for shopping it.

First, let me give you some quick details:

  • The sale includes a TON of new items for the Fall season (usually plenty of Summer-to-Fall and some Winter stuff is thrown in, as well)
  • Access to the sale is based on your Nordstrom membership level (how much $$ you spend there each year)
    • Everyone can preview the sale starting July 24
    • Their website explains the different “tiers” and when everyone can start shopping after that (I opened a Nordstrom credit card last year so that I could shop a week earlier, because a lot of things I liked in the preview were already selling out)
  • Items do tend to sell out quickly; some get restocked again during the sale but others do not. This creates a big sense of urgency for shoppers during the sale (I’ll touch on this later)

I have a few tips for shopping the sale that I’ve picked up over the years, and I’ve found that having a plan really helps.

It might seem silly to others who are not as obsessed with details as myself, but I like to have a plan for any big sale before I shop! It helps me to stay organized and in control of my spending.

(Also, I just like to have a plan for most things.)

Anyway, here are some ways you can plan ahead and make the most of the N Sale.

Decide what you want
What I mean by that is, have a clear idea of both what you want to buy, and the amount you want to spend.

The first thing I do to prepare for the sale is set a budget; it’s easy to get carried away when things are on sale, and then get that sticker shock when you’re about to pay (or worse, after you pay) and see everything added up. 

Having a spending limit for the sale helps me to keep myself in check, and it also forces me to prioritize the things I want to buy. 

In addition to deciding how much I’ll spend beforehand, I also like to take advantage of the sale’s preview and see what’s going to be on sale. 

I have a Nordstrom account, so last year I added everything that looked good to my Wish List.

On the day that I was able to shop the sale, I went to my Wish List first to see what was still available, what the discounts were, and so I didn’t have to pore through all of the sale items again to find what I wanted.

Tory Burch bag and BP tee from the N Sale 2019
(no longer avail)

Plan how you will shop
Last year I did some shopping in person and then did some more online. Each has its own pros and cons, but with COVID-19 still being on the rise, I’m going to stick with online shopping only this year.

If you do plan to shop in person, you’ll get to see and feel the items live. That’s always a plus because many of the sale items from last year were super soft and great quality, which I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t feel them.

You’ll also have the opportunity to see how the sizes look in person AND you get to bring the items home with you that same day.

On the other hand, a lot of items sell out of stores first; last year, I went into the store excited to get one of the Tory Burch bags that was on sale, but the color I wanted was already sold out. An associate was able to order it online for me, but of course I had to wait 1-2 weeks for it to be delivered.

Shopping online is a great way to make sure you get your favorite items before they sell out.

You also avoid crowds of people that will be shopping live, and I personally find it much easier to browse through the long list of sale items on a computer screen, rather than looking through them one by one in person.

I also mentioned above that I opened a Nordstrom credit card before the sale so that I could access it a week earlier. If you’re concerned about waiting to shop, that is one easy way to bump yourself up in the line a bit.

However you prefer to shop, I do recommend that you do so as early as you can get access to the sale. And here’s why…

Tory Burch bag from the N Sale 2019
(no longer avail)

Be prepared for things to sell out

As I mentioned earlier, some items get restocked throughout the sale, and some don’t.

I haven’t figured out the pattern of that yet, if there is one, but a good indicator that something will sell out is if you see all the bloggers and influencers talking about it.

This is why I take the time to prioritize items that I want before the sale even starts; that way, I know exactly what to go for first if it’s in stock and, if the thing I really want is sold out, I have other backup items on my list that I can then fit into my budget instead.

Going from memory here, but some items that sold out last year and had one or two restocks were: Tory Burch handbags (select colors only restocked once; so glad I was able to snag the one I wanted!), SPANX leggings, shoes from popular brands like Ugg, Vince Camuto, and Sam Edelman. Some of these ended up completely selling out and not coming back in stock, even at full price. My Tory bag is one of them.

Other items that seemed to continue restocking during and after the sale were: basic tees and long sleeve tops from brands like BP, Sanctuary, and Madewell, jeans and leggings, home items such as blankets, and bags/totes from less expensive brands.

Marc Fisher sandals from the N Sale 2019

Some prices will be unbeatable, others won’t
There truly are some great discounts included in the sale! The average price reduction is around 30%, which is a good amount of money to save if you’re buying a purse or other designer item.

However, since the items in the sale are brand new (just released for the season), you never know if something will be marked down even further in the future. 

For example, The pair of Marc Fisher sandals shown in the picture above were part of the 2019 Nordstrom Sale. They were discounted about 30%, which brought them just under $100. I decided not to get them because the price still seemed too high.

Fast forward just a few months and I found the same exact shoes, in all three color options and all sizes, on flash sale at Nordstrom Rack for $50. I got them for half of the SALE price just by waiting until they weren’t a new release anymore.

It’s hard to know which of these items will go on further sale, but I try to prioritize the items that I feel confident will not be marked down further.

Another example: the most popular styles and colors of SPANX leggings were a big part of the sale and were marked down ~30% last year. I’d been wanting the black faux leather ones for a while and had been following their price on several different websites.

Their price at the Nordstrom Sale was and still is the lowest I’ve seen them go for (that’s not the only time or place that they go that low, but they do not go any lower in my experience) so the purchase was well worth it in my opinion. 

The bottom line is that if you really want something and you think the price is good, take the opportunity to buy it while it’s on sale. 

Once the preview for the 2020 sale is live, I’ll take a look at what’s available and make educated guesses on what will be a hot seller, and what will likely still be available after the sale ends.

Leather tote from the N Sale 2019
(No longer avail)

Last but not least, stay true to yourself
I feel like I’ve ended several list posts with this as the final suggestion, but that’s because it applies to so many different situations.

The coolest thing about big sales is that they give you an opportunity to get some new stuff you’ve been wanting at a cheaper price. Take advantage of the sale in the best way that works for you!

It’s easy to get caught up and spend a lot of money on things just because they’re trendy or because it seems like everyone else is buying them.

I always try to avoid this (that’s why I’m skeptical of every single trend when it first starts, lol) and recommend that others do the same if they can. 

Don’t feel like you have to spend money on something if you don’t love it. And don’t feel like you shouldn’t buy something from the sale just because it isn’t the one thing everyone is posting about.

Starting my blog and doing some influencing on Instagram really opened my eyes to how much pressure can be put on consumers these days. 

I am not someone who pushes product on you; all of my recommendations and suggestions are from personal experience and I’m always transparent about what I’m actually spending my money on.

Anyway, I hope this post was helpful to you, and I will certainly be doing another one with my top picks from this year’s sale preview! Feel free to comment below or shoot me an email with any questions you have in the meantime.

So, check back for more N Sale content if you’re interested, and you can always find all of my fashion favorites on my LIKEtoKNOW.it page.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend! Talk soon 🙂 <3

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