The Overrated Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. And What I Bought!

Okay. Before I show you what my purchases were from Nordstrom’s Overrated Anniversary Sale, I want to touch base on a few things. And, as an ex-employee of Nordstrom, I can speak freely about this.

Actually, no it isn’t!

There was a time when I looked forward to this annual sale. For me, it was all about that great pair of boots or that wonderful handbag that you could buy for a very decent discount. The merchandise offered was epic.  I’ve made purchases on leather Longchamp bags and various brands of boots. Going back a few years, the sale was something that was well-worth the annual wait.

I’ve had this leather Longchamp bag for seven years now and I love it…

…same with this Navy Longchamp bag. And Navy is difficult to come by. Both of these were epic purchases!

Then something happened. It happened to Nordstrom.  The store became a “brand” and became obsessed with “influencers”. Not that there’s anything wrong with this but…. Nordstrom veered of the path and seemed to have lowered standards. Rather than keep the store’s exclusivity, Nordstrom fell prey to social media and the younger influencers while forgetting about their loyal customers!

Nordstrom seems to be veering more and more toward a younger market–but remember-the younger consumer isn’t as loyal as the older consumer. They follow trends…and at some point, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale won’t be trendy.  Read this article from Buzzfeed: Influencers Arent Into the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale--it’s an excellend read!

But what really bothers me about the change in the Anniversary Sale is the influencers (a great number of them) receive a commission through an affiliate program on items sold. And that’s also fine. I don’t begrudge anyone from a commission. And when I worked at Nordstrom, the commission was excellent. However, there was a downside to commission.  And that was the return of an item.  Any item that was returned within a timely fashion was held against your earnings. I honestly don’t know if that is the case with the affiliate program, but I’m guessing it doesn’t.

black friday success GIF by Feliks Tomasz Konczakowski

It’s all about the Benjamins–or is it? What about losing commissions on returned items?

Which brings me to another thing. Influencers have early access—even earlier than I do as a card holder. I’m constantly wondering just how much do they return of their purchases?  Given Nordstrom’s ridiculously generous return policy, I can betcha there’s a ton of returns on purchases from these influencers.  And as an ex-employee that irks me.  I’ve seen purses returned with little tobacco pieces from unsmoked cigarettes as well as purses that smelled like cat piss. I’m not kidding. I’ve even had customers buy stuff with every intention of a return after a special occasion. That’s thievery and Nordstrom enables it. You buy something and you wear it, and unless it completely falls apart, due to bad construction, you keep it.  As a consumer, I purchase to keep.

My other ‘thing” is that a lot of influencers who don’t make the purchases will recommend a ton of items that they wouldn’t even buy themselves.  I just don’t understand that train of thought. Perhaps it’s that I’m not easily influenced. Perhaps its that when I recommend something, you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ve lived with it for quite some time!

With each passing Anniversary Sale, I’m becoming more skepitcal!

So, let’s get back to the Anniversary Sale of 2021.

I perused. And perused. And perused. And the disappointment was at a high. The quality of the goods used to be remarkable. There was a time when you could find different, out of the ordinary pieces there—but no more. The price point is still higher but the quality is lower. The store just isn’t special or luxury anymore.

Regardless, I did manage to find a few items for the fall. And as I’m on a no-buy, I discovered an old gift card that I had from a couple of years back that had gone unused.

What did I buy?

What did I buy? Sneakers, a scarf and two pairs of leggings. And last year I purchased leggings and a scarf.

I purchased a knit midi-skirt that has yet to arrive.

I’m actually looking forward to the arrival of this skirt. I’ll look great with boots!

The Skirt:  Is brown, comes mid-calf, has a slit and I made the purchase for fall/winter because the color veered off my usual black or navy. Brown isn’t a color I wear but I thought with a black shirt and black boots, the skirt will look great. Also, given the fact I’m losing weight, the knit fabric is very weight-friendly. The Anniversary Sale price is $29.90 returning to $49 after the sale. I used a note and got this for $19.90

You can’t go wrong with leggings–and good ones at that!

Vince Camuto Two Seamed Back Leggings:  You cannot go wrong with a good, solid pair of leggings. I chose black simply because I’m a fan. After reading many reviews, I went with the leggings in two sizes. One in Small and one in Medium.  Apparently, these run large and although I have gained pandemic weight, I was afraid that the Medium might be just a tad big.  These are not flimsy in any way, shape or form. They are extremely opaque and well-constructed. The seam in the back gives them a more expensive look. Retailing for $49 after the sale, I paid $29.90 for each pair.

This is the size Medium. It’s a bit looser in the bottom leg and in the waist. Both fit well.

There isn’t much difference between the Small and the Medium. The differences are that the waistline on the Medium is slightly larger and more comfortable. However, the waistline on the small is tighter but not to the point where it is painful or squeezing me.

Check out the waist on the Medium. It’s looser and a more forgiving size. And a tad more comfortable!

Whereas the waist on the Smaller size cuts into my gut more.  Regardless,  both sizes are keepers.

A very good buy!

The leg in the calf area on the Medium is slightly looser but not by a lot.  The leg on the Small for me, is a better fit.  I prefer the Small because I like the tighter leg and as I lose weight, the waist should be a better fit. I’m still keeping the Medium sized though because for home wear and those days where I just want to be extremely comfy and not polished, they will suffice!

I’m still in shock that I purchased these. But I’m thrilled that I did!

Nike Court Vintage Premium Sneaker:  The pair cost $49.90 and is now sold out. The sneaker runs about $70 or $75 after the sale—but I don’t know if this will be re-stocked. The funny thing is I’m not a sneaker person. Yet, I made the purchase.  How can I put this?  It’s not an ageing thing but since I need to get out and move—a helpful part of keeping my depression at bay, I have been searching for a more stylish pair of sneakers and saw these. While I haven’t ventured outside with them, I’ve worn them at home and they are comfortable—so far! I like the way they look too.

I’m an 8 1/2 and these fit TTS. They are comfortable and look great with the leggings!

Another thing that I like is these aren’t fabric. They will be much easier to keep clean!

Treasure & Bond Wrap Scarf. This cream and brown and black scarf caught my attention because last year I purchased a scarf by the T & B brand and love it. In fact, it was my most-worn scarf last winter. This scarf, purchased at the Anniversary price of $25.90 was a different story. After the sale it will retail for $39 and believe me, it isn’t worth the $39 price!

My scarf purchase this year. Although I like the scarf, the quality isn’t as good as the quality of the scarf I bought last year.

See the scarf in the top left-hand pic? I purchased it at the 2020 Nordstrom AS. I wore it regularly and love that scarf. It is one of my favorites!

While I like the print and the colors, I’m disappointed in the quality. It’s very flimsy. Unlike the scarf that I purchased last year with a higher thread count and a smoother sturdier feel, this is textured and more of a knit. That isn’t to say I don’t like it. I do like it and I’ll get a good amount of wear out of it. It’s just the quality isn’t that great. In fact, the sale price of $25.90 was high. It should have been less than twenty bucks.

It looks fine around my neck..

…but close up, you can see how flimsy it is. This scarf will be a mess from getting pulled on everything. 

Since I can’t say how the quality of the skirt is, just how do I feel about my purchases?

The leggings? I’m very pleased with.  It’s a basic purchase that you can’t go wrong with and the quality is excellent!

Overall. I’m very pleased with the leggings.

The sneakers were the money purchase.  The price was excellent and the quality and style are really spot on.

The sneakers were the money purchase and nobody is more surprised than I am!

The scarf? Quality is “meh”, but given the print, I’ll get use out of it.

What can I say?  It’s nice looking but flimsy as all get-out!

And if you found the items you wanted were sold out—wait a while. The returns will come spilling in. Or better yet, go to Nordstrom Rack—you’ll find a better deal I’m sure!  For entertainment purposes, here are links to past blog posts I’ve written about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale:  What Happened to The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?   Who Needs the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?

I know that at this third post about the sale, I sound like a broken record but I’m tired of the hype over nothing. I’m tired of the marketing and I’m tired of Nordstrom dismissing their root customer!


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!
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26 Responses to The Overrated Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. And What I Bought!

  1. Nancy Bagshaw-Reasoner says:

    Catherine, I agree with you one hundred percent. I was so disappointed.

  2. Sharon Daly says:

    You are so right! After shopping almost exclusively at Nordstrom for decades, I’ve given up, except for one or two items per year. The quality and styles are comparable to “fast fashion” retailers but the prices are higher.

    • Catherine says:

      Sharon you freakin’ nailed it. The quality AND styles are comparable to “Fast Fashion” but the prices are luxury. The store needs a revamp! XOXOXO

  3. Juliet says:

    I think Nordstrom by the sound of it are heading for a well-deserved bit of a cropper. Sooner or later, these influencers will be seen for what they are (and a lot of them are empty, vacuous, needy/greedy nobodies) and with their zero loyalty then Nordstrom are pursuing a no-win situation, serve them right when it all goes pearshaped. I would also suggest that if the bargains are no longer such bargains that their profit margins are not as they were and maybe that strategy isnt working for them – good.

    Surely if enough people that are loyal and savvy stay away or buy minimally that will eventually become a well known fact in itself. That said, stocking up on good quality basics are always a good idea when they are a good price

  4. marsha57 says:

    I agree 100%! I was never big into the Anniversary sale simply because I didn’t live close to a B & M store. Now that I do, I’ve checked it out and found it lacking more and more each year. There used to be Brahmin bags…not this year or last. I did buy a couple of bras and fell for the hype on the Eileen Fisher wool lantern pants. They will be going back. If they were $40, maybe I’d keep them. But, at $149, no way! I fear Nordstrom will soon go the way of so many other retailers.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Marsha. Yeah. When I worked at Nordstrom, Brahmim was a huge seller. I don’t even think they carry Brahmin anymore. The bags were really nice and great quality! Ohhhhhhhh. I’m just not an Eileen Fisher fan. I’m sorry but the brand’s clothing is wayyyyyyyyyyyyy overpriced for what it is. $149 for an anniversary sale price? Nope and I’m glad you are returning. XOXOXOXO

      • Marsha Banks says:

        Yup…I keep thinking that might work for me. But, I just find it to be overpriced, shapeless clothing! I returned the pants today. BTW, I finally took the plunge and started a blog. I’m not sure why it isn’t showing up, but it’s I hope you’ll give it a gander…don’t choke though! It’s a baby blog right now!

  5. Ooh I like that skirt you’re still waiting for! I’m sure you’ll share pics when it arrives 😉

  6. KB says:

    What’s a Nordstrom’s? lol. But that is a seriously cute skirt!

  7. Somewhere in Texas says:

    Enjoyed reading your opinion of the sale, especially since you used to work there. You hit on something I did not think was fair: lazy influencers who have large selections of “picks” that they have never purchased. I follow an influencer who moved to the UK who did this, not even sure she ordered any of the items she linked as there were no reviews. It is not fair to expect American women to support ones UK lifestyle this way. Some of the anniversary “sale” linked items were a $70 water bottle and an almost $500 pink bag/tote although cute, was entirely plastic and flimsy- – -I only caught this because I read the online reviews. Buyer beware!

    • Catherine says:

      My Texas Beauty–I’m glad you spoke of that. I’ve unfollowed quite a few blogs as well as many instagram people simply due to the fact they add links to items they obviously have no intention of purchasing. It’s false advertising. The same with Like to Know it. Influencers wear an outfit and add links to similar (note–SIMILAR) items that they are wearing and get paid. My ethics run against that. I cannot recommend an item i would never wear. It is why I’ll never make money–LOL! XOXOXOXO

  8. Rena says:

    I hear you on this. Back in the day, I couldn’t wait to get the sale catalog and see all the great Fall looks. Now, like you said, meh.


    • Catherine says:

      Rena. I don’t even get a catalog in the mail anymore–and I used to get a good one. Ugh. I honestly don’t know what’s happened with Nordstrom! XOXOXOX

  9. cathe says:

    I remember when I was growing up my mom used to take my sister and I to the anniversary sale to buy our school shoes. One year there were some cute sandals on sale and I really wanted them. Sadly my feet were too wide according to the Nordy salesman and said they weren’t for me. My sister on the other hand didn’t have wide feet so she got a pair. I was so mad!
    I ended up with salt water sandals instead of the cute ones. And I’ve never shopped the anniversary sale since!

  10. patty says:

    I bought Neubrow as a 2 for 1 deal. That’s not easy to come by. Boy, do I recommend that product! If you’re thinking of trying it, do it now. It took one month to work for me, but I have real eyebrows again!

  11. audrey says:

    Cathe, I bought a Natori Feathers bra, based on your suggestion. I haven’t received it yet, but the sale was better than full paying full price. I’m not impressed with the Nordstrom sale events these days. Too much of the same things featured, over and over. I’ve been finding some great sale items over at J Crew. Not as good of a return policy as Nordstrom, with many sale items “Final Sale”, but I buy carefully and I find the J Crew sizing to be consistent enough to take the risk. Prices are so good and I can always donate the item if it is not good for me. So far everything has fit perfectly.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Audrey. And an extra–if you like the Feathers Bra, check out Nordstrom Rack because they are sometimes found there. I love those bras so much. Oh yeah–it is the same thing over and over! Geez. I need to head to J. Crew because I’ve hardly purchased anything from them in forever! XOXOXO

  12. Marsha L. Calhoun says:

    Do the knee and upper thigh areas of the leggings turn brown after a few washings? I am eternally searching for a pair of leggings that don’t do this – oddly enough, my first pair (from Danskin, no longer available in the length I need) came from Nordstrom and didn’t do this, but almost every pair I have purchased since has faded to brown in that area. The only other pair that didn’t do this came from China and I ordered from Amazon, and of course this product is no longer available.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Marsha, I haven’t washed the leggings yet but I won’t be wearing them till the cooler weather arrives–I’ll keep you updated. I do have a great pair of leggings from J. Crew that never turned brown though. I think they are the anyday or every day leggings! XOXOXO

  13. vavashagwell says:

    Yeah, some of those influencers are bad. Especially the ones from Utah, and I’m sure you know who I mean…. I haven’t purchased anything from the NAS, but I did recently make my first purchase in about 3 years for a pair of Jeffrey Campbell flip flops. A whopping $30! hahahahahha

    I’ve moved towards sewing my own clothing. I have a fantastic stash of high quality fabrics and it’s time to use them. Sometimes it’s hit or miss though, the trick is pairing the right fabric with a nicely fitting pattern.

    Love your sneakers.

  14. I catch their best sales of the year and paid less than $300 for a whole summer wardrobe. Quality products..quick shipping..and absolutely no problems.

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