First time shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? Here’s what you should buy


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A Beginner's Guide to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale -- The basics you should shop with an emphasis on value!

Two years was the first year I really shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Before that, I thought shopping at Nordstrom was indulgent and irresponsible. Who spends Nordstrom-type of money on themselves?

Now that I’m on year four of researching the deals, trying on the clothes, and watching the prices after the Anniversary Sale, I can confidently say that if done strategically, shopping the #nsale can actually be frugal.

Mind you, I don’t think shopping the Anniversary Sale is required. If you’re on a super strict budget because your family is working on specific financial goals, you’re in the middle of a dramatic weight change (about to get pregnant, just had a baby, losing a bunch of weight), or you are the size and shape that looks good in lower-end clothing store clearance clothes, you can skip this sale.

But, if you have some cash and you want to up your clothing game, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is an efficient and affordable way to add quality staples that look great and fit well to your wardrobe without breaking the bank.

But I know that this sale can be totally overwhelming. There are an incredible amount of designer pieces and honestly, weird looking items that can be a total turn-off. Don’t even get me started on all the cold-shoulder, tie, bell sleeve crap they are peddling this year.

The Frugal Living NW team is here to help you wade through the stuff made for 19-year-old, iron-deficient models and guide you to the real-life lady gems.

The Early Access Sale opens to Nordstrom cardholders on Thursday, July 12 and to the public on July 20. 

Here are some tips to remember as you start shopping:

  1. Everything ships for free (no minimum order) and Nordstrom pays the postage if you return. You can also return to your local Nordstrom. There isn’t a return window either. So awesome.
  2. If your size is out-of-stock online or in the store, buy a different size and exchange it after the sale ends. Since the items in the Anniversary Sale are new for fall, they will be restocking.
  3. If you find that something doesn’t fit right later, Nordstrom will exchange it even if you’ve worn it. So, if those shoes hurt your feet more than you expected, return!
  4. Nordstrom will stretch shoes for free if they are too tight.
  5. Nordstrom offers alterations and it’s pretty affordable.

Here are the basics you should look for if you’re a rookie #nsale shopper.


Nordstrom hits it out of the park with their shoe selection during the Anniversary Sale, especially with women’s boots and booties/ankle boots. I usually try to buy at least one pair of booties to add to my collection as the options are slightly different each year. The brands are great quality, generally higher in comfort than an inexpensive pair and last FOREVER.

Our favorites this year:

  1. Sam Edelman Maurine Bootie just $99.90 + FREE shipping ($169.95 after sale)
  2. Blondo Lanka Waterproof Bootie just $99.90 + FREE shipping ($149.95 after sale)
  3. Born Fredrika Bootie just $89.90 + FREE shipping ($134.95 after sale)
  4. Lucky Brand Yabba Wedge Bootie just $86.90 + FREE shipping ($129.95 after sale) – Received these already and they are SO COMFORTABLE and SO CRAZY CUTE. Seem to fit very true to size.

Find our favorite shoe deals from the Nordstorm Anniversary Sale HERE.


While I don’t subscribe to the “it’s always better if it costs a lot” theory for everything, higher-priced jeans are just different. Better. They fit better. They hold their shape better. They make me look BETTER.

And the great news is you don’t have to spend hundreds to enjoy the benefits. All I’m asking you to pay is between $40 and $130. If you wash them according to the directions and, for the love, keep them out of the dryer, they will last for-eva.

Wit & Wisdom Itty Bitty Bootcut Jeans for $44.90 + FREE shipping ($68 after sale) —  Includes plus sizes. (Find all the Wit & Wisdom jeans in the sale HERE.) I truly believe that every woman should try these jeans on. They have a magic waistband that you need to try out.

Articles of Society Sarah Skinny Jeans for $41.90 + FREE shipping ($64 after sale) — These are Melody’s very favorite skinnies.

NYDJ Barbara Stretch Bootcut Jeans for $78.90 + FREE shipping ($114 after sale) — These are on the spendier side, but if you hate your middle and are always struggling with a muffin-top that comes with mid-rise jeans, NYDJ is your saving grace. Size down from the bargain store sizes.

Kut from the Kloth Diana Stretch Skinny Jeans for $59.90 + FREE shipping ($89.50 after sale)


Nordstrom is famous for their Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite Circle Cardigan but traditionally have TONS of great cardigan options: short, long, thin, heavy, bulky, with pockets and without. The Anniversary Sale is definitely a great time to grab one or two (or more) in varying colors and weight to get you through fall and winter.

Check out our full Nordstrom Anniversary Sale post for some great cardigans options in all price points.


You absolutely can buy some great basic tees at Old Navy, Target or other similar stores and they will work just fine. I tend to do the bulk of my shopping during the Anniversary Sale, so I grab a few basic tees that will last me the entire year.

The brands that Nordstrom carries hold their shape well, wash and dry well and fit great regardless of how many times they’ve been worn. It’s an easy choice for me

A few of our favorites:

  1. Caslon Rounded V-Neck Tee just $17.90 + FREE shipping ($25 after sale) – This Caslon tee was my FAVORITE from last year after trying on approximately one hundred. True to size or size down if you like less of a flowy fit.
  2. BP. Raw Edge V-Neck Tee just $11.90 + FREE shipping ($17 after sale) – Several colors available and gets AMAZING reviews.
  3. BP. Pocket Tee just $18.90 + FREE shipping ($29 after sale) – I have a few long-sleeved tees from BP. and they are some of my favorites to wear. Even in the summer because they are lightweight and super easy to layer. Love the pocket detail!  Available in several colors.
  4. Caslon Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Cotton Tee just $17.90 + FREE shipping ($25 after sale) – This is a tighter fit than the BP. Pocket Tee and note that it recommends to size up. This would be a great layering piece! Six classic colors available.


If you want your clothes to fit well, you need good underwear.

And the most important piece of foundation-wear (I think I just made up a term) is a bra that FITS. And there’s no better place in the world to get the “right” bra than Nordstrom.

Yes, these bras are spendy, but you’ll pay 25-40% less than regular price at the Anniversary Sale.

Wondering where to start? NATORI.


Natori Feathers Underwire Bra — $44.90 + FREE shipping ($68 after sale)

This is one of the signature bras of the Anniversary Sale every year. So super comfortable and you almost forget you’re wearing it. It’s perfect! Love everything Natori. It (almost) literally comes in one million colors and one million sizes. If you don’t believe me, maybe you can believe the 5 stars it gets out of 2,300+ reviewers.

We’ve had a few readers who HIGHLY recommend the Elomi bras in Plus Size. Both beautiful and apparently a wonderful fit.

Next up, undies. I don’t think you need to wear expensive underwear all the time, but there are times when you need to pay attention to your pantylines.

We can’t mention this brand in any posts relating to the Anniversary Sale (#trademarkproblems), but you can check out this Facebook post with price, information, why they are AWESOME and additional reviews from group members.

Lastly, shapewear.

Good shapewear will hold you in, smooth out your lumps, bumps, and muffins, and keep those lumps and bumps from creating a sweat pool and chaffing section.

Spanx Higher Power Mid-Thigh Shaping Shorts for $23.90 + FREE shipping ($38 after sale) — Comes in regular and plus sizes in three colors. These are perfect for form-fitting dresses and if you’re concerned about any sort of a muffin top because the top goes all the way to your bra line.

Spanx Power Short Mid Thigh Shaper for $23.90 + FREE shipping ($36 after sale) — Comes in regular and plus sizes in three colors. These are the same as the above option but stop at your waist.

Yummie Ultralight Seamless Shaping Shorts for $12.90 + FREE shipping ($18 after sale) — Get these if you wear skirts and dresses and want to solve the sweating between the thighs/chaffing problem. Plus they will smooth your side chub out a bit (but not nearly as much as Spanx or other more substantial shapewear).


Yes, Zella is a brand, not a clothing category, but almost everyone loves it and the Anniversary Sale is the time to stock up! Here are our favorite Zella workout pants:

Zella Live In High Waist Leggings for $35.90 + FREE shipping ($54 after sale)

Zella Live In Lite Crop Leggings — $33.90 + FREE shipping ($52 after sale)

Check out all Zella included in the sale, so many great items this year!

Click here to browse all items in the 2018 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Shipping and returns are FREE on all items!

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