What Happened to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?

It’s that time of year.  The Early Access to the (once) Iconic Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

The pickin’s aren’t all that wonderful for 2020!

And I am greatly disappointed.  Again.

Where do I begin?

There was a time that I absolutely loved shopping at Nordstrom.  During the time I worked there, the hours were annoying but I worked for the greatest boss.  I worked in the handbag department and had a blast.

Nordstrom Reveals Brands Carried in its Pacific Centre Flagship

Although the hours weren’t my jam, I enjoyed working in the handbag department and I did alright with the commission!  But the best was my manager and assistant manager!

My reason for leaving was that I found a job more conducive to what I was trained for—and administrative assistant.

keyboard smash

Hmmm. On my ass all day.  Eyesight deteriorating quickly– from the fire into the frying pan–or is it the other way around?

And employee discount aside, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale rocked my boat.

It was the one time of the year that I purchased items that would be used over and over.  Leather Longchamp bags and boots.  I never strayed far from those two items.

This leather Longchamp tote was purchased during the Anniversary sale WITH the additional employee discount. It was hitting the NAS Lottery! I use this a lot during the winter months!

This navy Longchamp leather tote was also purchased during a NAS! 

The selection of bags and boots was outstanding—as were clothing items as well as beauty items.

Arrows pointing to the many pairs of boots that were purchased during past Anniversary Sales–they are now packed away for the upcoming winter and when I welcome them back, they’ll be worn!

Then things changed.  It seemed, at least to me, that the Anniversary Sale was shifting gears into a new movement—the influencer group. But not just any influencer.  This sale was now a plethora of young women, with long cascading hair extensions (not that there’s anything wrong with fake hair-LOL), floppy-brimmed hats, long cardigan sweaters, high boots worn over jeans now replaced with white low-top sneakers.

The new Nordstrom Anniversary Sale customer.  Young. Beautiful.  Cascading hair and floppy hats.  I guess the floppy hats took the place of the pigeon-toed stance! But the thing is, not all women go for this look–especially the mature demographic!

While there’s nothing wrong with that look—it’s just that a large number of us do not fit into that stereotypical young influencer style.

Peace out.  I prefer a beret!

I realized my hunch was right when I visited Nordstrom in King of Prussia to peruse the choices of Mother-of-the-Bride dresses.  The lot was both frumpy, matronly and full of horrific color blends.  There was nothing to appeal to the mother who wanted to look stylish.

This. From the store that holds an “iconic” Anniversary Sale. Am I correct in saying Nordstrom has now placed the mature demographic in the back racks? These MOB dresses are hideous…

And I ended up with a more flattering style at Lord & Taylor!

And thus, befalls the issue with the NAS.

While inspecting the many pages of offerings, I came up with this condensed review:

The sale consists of sneakers—white low-tops

Although these are a great price of $49.00, the NAS is overwrought with tons of the same style sneaker.  And where are the GOOD pointy-toed flats?  I’ll tell you they aren’t at Nordstrom!

Leggings (of which are in my cart)

I did order these high rise leggings to suck the belly fat from the pandemic weight gain. There are quite a number of leggings to chose from at this Anniversary Sale!

Long cardigans

This photo is not from the NAS but there are many like this.  I happen to own this sweater and love it but don’t find many reasons to wear it.  Perhaps I’ll wear it with the leggings I ordered!


Ohhh. Look what footwear is shown with these jeans.  I dig a pair of ripped jeans but the thing is, I have four pair and cannot see adding one more pair, whether ripped or not, to my already full collection. It isn’t practical.

Overpriced beauty items.

Is it worth the $79 for this? I think not. Look. I like Bobbi Brown cosmetics but the greatest eye palette by the brand I purchased was found at TJ Maxx for a very deep discounted price!

And please. Do NOT get me started on the Tom Ford cosmetics. $88 for this?  NFW!  He’s a wonderful clothing designer and his overpriced scents are lovely but you can do better in the makeup area!

And surprisingly, the choices of floppy hats were few!

She dropped her mike because she was as surprised as I was over the limited choices of floppy-brimmed hats! And please–wear the hat lower on your head.

The selection of boots was also underwhelming. I did spot what appeared to be an adorable pair by Vince Camuto–and I almost added them to my cart–until I saw the chunky wood heel.

At first sight, this boot was lovely. Pointed toe, camel color. I was intrigued

And then I saw the view showcasing this stacked (wooden?) heel. It was a turnoff. Stacked heels have a habit of turning inward with more wear.  Had this been a kitten heel, it would have been perfect!

Black booties are also a hot item for the sale!

And in all honesty, none were as nice as these booties from GEOX that I purchased last year in Paris.

What I have in my cart are a scarf from house brand Treasure & Bond

I like this scarf. A lot. The neutral colors will go with most of my winter wardrobe and it isn’t too small or overwhelming in size. It’ll get a lot of wear time.

A bra by Natori.  The Feather Bra by Natori is my favorite bra ever. It’s so stinking comfortable and whenever I see them on sale, I grab one.  Truth is, I can get a better price at Nordstrom Rack but it is few and far between when I spot my 36 C on the rack at The Rack!

The Feather Bras from Natori are my favorite bras ever!  My daughter Oona is also a fan.  Quite honestly, I could do better at Norstrom Rack but they are few and far between. Glad the NAS has these!

And these basic legging that are high-rise with the ability to suck the belly gain from my pandemic stress bingeing!

I have high (rise) hopes for these leggings.  My favorite pair is one from Loft that I purchased years ago and they still fit like now–hopefully these will prove to be the same!

The real thing is, this pandemic has changed up my philosophy on shopping.

As far as beauty items go, I’m paring down these days.  Wearing a mask and social distancing has made me realize that my most “mature” skin is happier without foundation.  Instead, I’m opting for products that give a glow to my face—such as Glossier’s Futuredew and Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Filter.  And neither are available for a discounted price during the Anniversary Sale.

Charlotte Tilbury - Hollywood Flawless Filter

This and……

….this have lit-uh-ruhl-ee taken the place of foundation.  Both give a great and NATURAL glow to the skin!

There are more than enough neutral eye shadows in my collection—enough to last till I’m 90.

This. Tarte’s Tartelette in Bloom palette. I return to it constantly. It is neutral. Great for every day into the evening and cost $39–I purchased it well over a year ago.  There is nothing like this at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Besides, I didn’t see any great cosmetic discounts at the NAS.

I have enough clothing for the upcoming winter.   In fact, I’ve got two soft, fuzzy, long cardigans that I hardly wear.  Why would I purchase another?

The floppy hat craze?  Suffice it to say that the NAS had two offerings which weren’t all that wonderful.  Instead, if you like a good floppy hat, head to Amazon.

I don’t think this was offered in the Anniversary Sale but you can do much better on Amazon. And I can bet most of those influencers bought THEIRS on Amazon as well!

Seriously, I think this is a nicer hat and it’s from Amazon!

Nordstrom loves Tory Burch and you can see the love with the Burch bags and watches. Personally, after working at Nordie’s, in the handbag department, I will say that the brand’s bags are not well-made.  They are cheaply constructed and just not that great—I know this—I have two bags. And I’m over the brand.

My preference for bags these days is vintage—Coach and Louis Vuitton and I have plenty. There’s no need for another bag to my already large collection.

This Old Bag's Got More Old Bags! More Vintage Bag Love. Coach Has Returned  into My Life | Atypical 60

A small sampling of Coach and Vuitton bags I’ve refurbished!  My kitchen is my work space!

It’s disappointing for sure.  Why?  Well, because as department stores go, Nordstrom has been unique in the fact you could find big-name luxury brands as well as the more bridge brands—those in between affordable and luxury.  And their house brands were pretty decent.  A step above Macy’s and just a rung on the ladder below Neiman Marcus.  These days, Nordstrom seems to have taken the place of J.C. Penney.

The sales help at the store has always been stellar. When I worked there, we had extensive training in customer service.  And the return policy was so great for the consumer that it bordered on criminal. I’ve seen the store accept handbags that were used for years and stunk of cigarette smoke.  That’s disgusting and encourages very bad customer behavior.

Nordstrom Wins Award for Excellence in Customer Returns

The store’s return policy is absolutely horrific for the store’s sake. I’ve seen photos on Instagram of piles of boxes that influencers stated they will return. So basically, they are buying to return. That is absolutely vulgar!

The store (at the King of Prussia, I cannot speak for other Nordstrom stores), used to be impeccable in it’s displays of the clothing and other items.  Last time I walked through (which was a couple of weeks ago), displays and racks were sloppy and unattractive looking.

Look. I realize that the retail business as a whole is in trouble.  But—if this industry wants to rebuild, then perhaps they need to take a step back.  Nordstrom needs to reassess their valued customers. The women (and men) who look forward to quality goods.  Those who can be particular about what they wear.

Nordstrom’s Anniversary has let me down increasingly. I want the store to return to that time when the offerings were far better than what they are now.   What are your thoughts?  Have you shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in the past?  Are you tired of shopping in general?  Has this pandemic changed your retail ideology?

shocked oh no GIF by CBC

Yes, David. I’m as disappointed as you are. But maybe things will be better at the 2021 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

I’m curious!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to What Happened to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?

  1. Nancy says:

    I totally agree with all of your thoughts. The store has become a disappointment to me…another mature woman who wants to be stylish . I can can purchase items within reason and can find NOTHING I want. I remember a few years ago when it was narrowing down my purchases…now I hope to find one or two things I might consider purchasing during NAS…that has not happened this year, I have bought nothing. Honestly I have not bought much there at all in past few years. Much like you…I want well made, flattering, classic clothing and that is not to be found at Nordstroms…honestly is hard to find anywhere. Frustrating to say the least.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Nancy. Oh how I also remember those days of narrowing down a huge shopping cart to what I really needed! Recently when the store opened, I went in to buy Guerlain’s Meteorites and they were out of stock. How could you be out of stock in a store when you just opened after a pandemic? Did the buyers not prepare for the opening? They store has less and less to offer for us these days and it is frustrating! XOXOXOXO

  2. Terry says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I used to rely on Nordstrom for high quality, reasonably priced clothing and accessories in natural fabrics. Now that’s a rarity. They often don’t even have my size and I see pages and pages on line (my local store closed) of trendy items made out of cheap fabric. I’m no longer as much of a fan. It’s pretty disappointing.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Terry! Right?? Now the Anniversary Sale is akin to fast fashion and it is incrediby disappointing. What’s the difference between Walmart Fashion and Nordstrom at this point??? Excpet dollars!! XOXOXOXO

  3. Sue Reiner says:

    AGREE!!! The sale was the same old same old!!! Not fun at all!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sue! You know, I feel so much better to read these comments because I realize I am not alone. It is a complete snoozefest! Thank you! XOXOXOX

  4. marsha57 says:

    Do you remember getting the NAS catalog and dog earring the corners of pages with items you wanted? Yeah, me, too. But, now, I’m really disappointed in the offerings. I’m not a high priced denim kinda person. I like my Old Navy jeans just fine, and I have plenty. The same goes for leggings. I miss shopping in person, but I’m not going into a mall for a long while. Indiana has lessened the restrictions, and our numbers are skyrocketing! But, I digress! I do think you, along with some other bloggers I read, hit the nail on the head. Nordstrom is after a certain demographic, and we are not it. Even the upscale offerings are ugly…not that I buy those. Just two years ago, I was at a level where I could shop earlier. Now, I have the early access that comes with having a card…because there’s so little I want. I do buy my Jo Malone there and some Christmas presents. It’s just sad.

    • Catherine says:

      YES! Marsha YES! I remember when the NAS catalog was thick! Then it morphed into a few pages and now–nothing! I LOVED marking up the catalog! And then going into the store to see what the goods looked like! Honestly, I do better at Nordstrom Rack!
      It is sad. It’s sad because Nordstrom lost sight of their loyal customers and loyal demographic in favor of fake haired ( and yes. I wear fake hair), fedora, loving, basic demographic. And it certainly won’t work in the long run because those are the women who buy, post on Instagram then return. The store loses money in both giving them a commission and having to deal with returned goods. Grow up Nordstrom! XOXOXOXO

  5. Susan says:

    Hilarious! I have the same scarf in my bag, and a nylon tote. I can’t find anything there I want, and I used to buy nice cashmere sweaters there… I won’t pay designer prices for jeans, and absolutely will not wear the ripped holy ones. Sorry. Floppy hats? Hat hair? No way. I agree, on Insta all I see nowadays are the younger girls with pigeon toes or accounts with young farm (??) girls wearing formal dresses. Good Lord! Save me!

    • Catherine says:

      Susan! that scarf–huh? I found it was the best of the offerings and it is now on the way to me! I used to buy quite a lot from Nordstrom. No more. I find the offerings for clothing to be of poor quality. An those young farm girls–lest we not forget the contingent of Mormons (no disrespect to the older demographic of Mormons) who potificate God with their wardrobe. God has nothing to do with clothing choices–except for my beloved Cathoiic School uniforms–LOL! Save us all my dear friend! XOXOXOXO

  6. I’ve noticed most stores have very little to offer and feel this is more a supply chain interruption than anything else. Stores were closed down with all of their spring clothing that didn’t sell, now they need to stock up for the new season when no money has come in for the last few months. It will take a while for them to catch up….or go bankrupt.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Nelson. Yeah. I get that. The NAS is somewhat of a last ditch but to tell you the truth, the powers that be from the store had months to prepare for this and relied on same-old same olds without any thought to outside the twenty to thirty-something demographic and it’s just wrong! XOXOXOXO

  7. Sharon Daly says:

    Cathe, you are so right. At least three years ago, long before the pandemic, Nordstrom started to ignore its mature customers in favor of boho 20somethings. I used to get everything at Nordie’s—clothing from casual to work to special occasions, as well as shoes and boots. Last fall I could not find anything that was chic and well made except one pair of Aquitalia boots.

    • Catherine says:

      OMG. Sharon–three years ago is when the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale got bad! You hit it–the store stopped thinking about the long-time customer in favor of the boho, hat customer! Last fall I purchased absolutely nothing. I’m shocked at the fact I found three basics this time around! XOXOXOO

  8. Renee in Northern California says:

    Yep, I’m with you! Plus, the irritating, on-line procedure Nordstrom puts the “shopper” through to buy their merchandise…not fun! I placed a leather moto jacket in my “Wish List” which was “Sold Out” by the time of my level of access. Sorry Nordstrom, I just can’t be bothered to keep checking the website to see if it has been returned/restocked. I’m chalking it up to “not meant to be”. Besides, reality is with Covid19, where will I wear it? I did order a Barbour jacket for the hubs and a pair of Adidas for me (hmm, now, you have me re-thinking the shoes, LOL, will I look like one of those silly Insta-influencers)?
    Catherine, you may have saved me money :)) and I thank you!!

    Have a Great Week!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Renee/1 I am absolutely happy and thrilled to save you money honey! Don’t get me started on that elusive “sold out” bullshit. Honestly, you can head to Nordstrom Rack at October’s end and purchase that covet item that was sold out online. I refuse to check and recheck these sites! Have a wonderful week–can you believe we are headed into the end of August? It was a lost summer!! XOXOXOXO

  9. Rebecca Porterfield says:

    Had this exact conversation with a friend earlier today. The sale is a big yawn.

  10. Momcat says:

    Up here in the a North Nordstrom’s are few and far between. I have bought items from their online site that weren’t available in theCanadian stores. We have one here in a Ottawa and their customer service is amazing but honestly I am not purchasing much of anything online or otherwise…except scrubs and my birthday gift with purchase from Sephora and it’s all replacement items I am low on. Nothing fun….
    A big hint to those who think they are getting super deals on high end items at the NAS. Go directly to the manufacturer’s website… 750.00 Aquatalia black high suede boots…195.00 bucks! In friggin CDN $$ no less. They are perfection, I must say. My fave little Pikolino sandals 275.00 at Nordstroms….no way!!!!I paid 150.00CDN and weren’t they shipped out of Montréal! I bought another pair ( different colour) during a big sale the company was having….75.00!
    I have two nylon Longchamps totes, one large one medium paid 125.00 for the large and 79.00 for the medium. These are in CDN dollars ladies so subtract 35% and see what it would cost you in USD. BTWThose Longchamps bags are the real deal but were found at a Canadian version of Overstock called Beyond the Rack. And for Canadian readers I purchased a rare leather and suede Longchamps Cody bag from Holt Renfrew one lucky Black Friday 60% off with free shipping I think it cost 250.00 total WITH our gargantuan sales tax. She’s a beauty, medium size black and red. With shoulder strap too.
    I have also found discounted cashmere at TSC but really for high end stuff at bargain basement prices hit Poshmark. My Dad always said “ Never pay full retail for anything you will always find it cheaper elsewhere” that man lived and breathed retail so he knows! Still remember the 5.00 Nunn Bush loafers he scored at a Sears discount centre! Had been discounted from 175.00!
    I think our spending habits change as we proage and this pandemic isn’t helping. I’ll be a pensioner in three months so I’ll have to watch my pennies er, my toonies( no pennies here anymore) I’d rather spend on experiences or getting my hair done, a good wine or the odd mani pedi. I’ll live in leggings!!

    • Catherine says:

      Momcat. I’m with you. The NAS sale does have items that can be found elsewhere for a lesser price. I have gotten Longchamp for a lot less in France–but I realize that not everyone can get to France so in essence the sale has had decent prices but Nordstrom Rack is a goldmine for brand name items!
      You also bring up a better point. Proaging and the realization of the pandemic puts things in perspective. We don’t necessarily need STUFF –it’s the experiences that matter! XOXOXO

  11. vavashagwell says:

    The anniversary sale this year is PARTICULARLY bad. I had a $20 note to use and I was hard pressed to see ANYTHING that I wanted.

    I really hate that they are featuring these damn influencer turned ‘designers’. The clothing is cheap and unappealing. I’m looking at you, Rachel Parcell. I despise the prairie look, the ruffles, the cheap polyester fabric. UGH. So until Nordstrom cancels that Utah blogger, I’m done with them once and for all.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Vava! Yeah! What’s with the Utah/Mormon influencers anyway? That prarie look was much better and more unique in the early 70’s anyway. The number of Instagram posts and blog posts with these women and the damned floppy hats, long cardigans and the ruffles are getting on my last nerve. I think Nordstrom should change the name of the store to “Little Nordies on the Prarie”. The worst NAS ever! XOXOXO

  12. Juliet says:

    You know these days I am all about loyalty and when I say loyalty – I have been that stalwart loyal customer to brands or shops for years and then felt done over – either the stuff is shoddy/naf/doesnt speak to me or it has obviously been bought in for a sale and is again shoddy/naf/doesnt speak to me – either way… loyalty works both ways and I am cross. Unless I feel a shop/brand speaks to me these days I move on, some of the brands I have loyally followed for years are struggling – I like to think that is my personal effect, but in truth I suspect there is an actual army out there of some very cheesed off women who feel the same. Personally I think I/we deserve better and deserve something back… So quite frankly for those companies struggling but STILL chasing the young floppy hat brigade, crack on – do yourselves out of business by offering freebies to these parasitic and freeloading young wannabees I am going elsewhere… with my money.

    As for make-up, I love TKMaxx – some absolute bargains, do your homework and know your brands and what works for you but first and foremost read the ingredients and identfy gaps in your routine. I dont know if you have come across a UK skin care writer called Caroline Hirons – she has a brilliant book the daughter sent me – basically dont spend loads of money, go with what works for you and be nice to your skin. I utterly love her as she reminds me of a former sister in law from near where she comes from and has the same blunt no nonsense approach

    For shopping youd think the retailers etc would follow the buck but apparently they are too busy chasing these influencers to stop and think. their loss – in terms of profit sheet and people who actually are as ideal a customer as you could want

    • Catherine says:

      Juliet. I hear you! Like you, I’m all about brand loyalty. My love for J. Crew knows no bounds and my favorite summer frocks are by Lilly Pulitzer. My Rondini sandals? My faves! Hey! I have a favorite short trench in a raspberry color. I got it 15 years ago at TK Maxx in Dublin!! It’s funny how over by you it’s TK and here it’s TJ. But you are spot on the Maxx chain has great discounted makeup.
      What bothers me more than anything is that Nordstrom is banking on all these younger influencers who return 70 percent of the shit they buy to pontificate how much they “love” what they are wearing. And people buy into that! It’s incredible. I’m my own influencer!
      But Nordstrom better wake up and soon because they are going right down the toilet! XOXOXO

  13. So that’s what happened to the shoes I put in my online bag. I was supposed to keep track of them and buy them at some special time? Forget about it. I’ll pass. If I see one more influencer rave about the NAS I’ll scream!!!!! It’s so obvious and boring. What ever I wanted was gone. So where’s the joy in that? Keep on ranting Catherine!

    • Catherine says:

      Yes Sandy. You were supposed to forget about your art and your paintings and keep abreast of your Nordstrom shopping cart. All day. All night!
      There is no longer anything unique at Nordstrom and it’s sad. Its a store that I never would have thought would turn into an H & M or Zara. Shaking my head! XOXOXOXO

  14. The times they are a changin’😡

  15. Bridget says:

    I guess I’m an anomaly – I still really like Nordstrom. I guess since I can’t afford to buy much even when the sale is happening, I don’t get as upset about it. I don’t like pointy-toed shoes, or heels, and frankly I look at the item rather than the models, because I’m going to be the wearing/using the items. I think it depends on what you look for. And as for items in your cart disappearing, I don’t know of any online shopping sites that holds things for you – if someone else gets there first, they get it. Sort of like if you are actually in the store!

  16. Cyndy says:

    Welcome to the 60s club of too much stuff and I’ve had (and have) enough. Even tho’ I bought three pairs of shoes last month. Just because I liked them.

Leave a Reply