Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: An Honest Guide of When to Purchase and When to Pass

UPDATE 5/1/2018: Save the Date for the 2018 annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sales! It’s set to launch this year on July 20 through August 5. 

Two years ago, I would not be sitting in front of my computer, placing online orders at 3:00 a.m. Today, that is exactly what I did. Last year, I got a Nordstrom credit card, specifically for the perk of being able to shop their (what has become legendary) annual Anniversary Sale. Today, Anniversary Sale access went live to Nordstrom cardholders; next week on July 21, the sale will go live for the general public. I waited so long last year, most everything I had set my eyes on was sold out in my size or no longer available. I’m still bitter about a Nordstrom-exclusive Kendra Scott necklace I missed out on haha. That being said, yes, there is a sense of urgency so you can get first pick but if not, it isn’t the end of the world. Here are some things to remember (and what makes this sale so special and talked about).

  • The sale items are NEW for fall – not leftovers/castoffs from last season.
  • They are designer duds- things that don’t typically go on sale are typically between 30%-40% off during this sale.
  • There is free shipping AND free returns. If you are unsure of sizing or fit or even what something will look like in person, you can order more than one and return the other easily

Before I jump straight into what I purchased already, what’s on my wishlist, and some of my favorite deals, I wanted to share a few things to remember – to keep in mind during the sale mania of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale- an honest guide of when to purchase and when to pass.

Chances are, you read my post from last week HERE about all the big life changes. So, as good as a sale as the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is, I have to be realistic. I considered the tired pieces I have that are due for replacement and some staples I am hoping to score for fall. I have planned to shop my fall staples during this sale so I could get great pieces at a fabulous discount. But, for me to keep it, I am going to have to love it. And, I know this isn’t necessarily the year for iconic, designer once-in-a-lifetime type stuff. So, if you need a pep talk too, here are a few things to keep in mind.


  • If it looks great on the model but isn’t you, don’t try to make it you. Pay attention to styles that suit you well, length, material…
  • If it’s between the power bill or the boots- Carrie Bradshaw would likely disagree but if you are closely monitoring a budget, don’t go beyond what you are comfortable with.
  • If it is too trendy- pieces that are super trendy can be bought at cheaper stores.
  • If it is something you aren’t crazy about but thing it’s too good of a deal to pass up. Something you don’t like but has a great price tag is NOT a good deal!


  • It’s timeless and within budget
  • Two if you are unsure of sizing- you can return the other for free (HUGE, convenient perk)
  • If you have been looking to treat yourself OR if you are planning to accomplish the bulk of your fall/back to school shopping during the sale
  • If you’re worried it will sell out. (Now, I am talking about something you are REALLY considering – not just something that is popular but isn’t you 😉 )

Below, I’m sharing what I’ve already ordered, what I love, and what I may go back for, depending on my luck with my first order. I’ll be sharing more details on my goodies after I receive them next week and will be referring back to this post for the duration of the sale. There are a few similar pieces I purchased, intending to only keep the one I most like after I try it on but obviously, I am totally into the long, drapey numbers for fall (and have been for the past several years 😉 ). All of these are items I would personally wear- you won’t find items that are cute but not “me”. Nor will you find a lot of those gorgeous splurge items. Rag and Bone fringe booties, I’m looking at you!

Click on the image below to be taken directly to the item. If you are a Nordstrom cardholder, you are good to go for early access! If you aren’t you can start taking some peeks, making notes, and bookmarking your favs for next week. Happy shopping!

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  1. 7.13.17
    Kristen said:

    Truly love your selections – thanks for putting this together!!

    • 7.13.17

      Kristen, I am so glad! I did too and then had to follow my own advice and empty my cart a little bit haha. Best of luck in identifying your favs! xo

  2. 7.13.17
    Joni King said:

    This is like having a personal shopper – thanks Kelley Nan! Hugs!

    • 7.13.17

      Joni, there is SO MUCH stuff- I tried to go through all 3948723 pages of the sale haha!

  3. 7.13.17

    Kelley, first off THANK YOU for keeping this in perspective. As you mentioned not everyone has an unlimited budget to just go buy buy buy during this sale. I agree there are some really good deals, and if you can get good quality staples within your budget that you will actually love, by all means pull the trigger! I was excited to see my favorite bra included, however when I realized the colors were ones I wouldn’t necessarily wear I passed. And thanks for including a few home things, I never think to look at those. Well done friend.

    • 7.16.17

      Lauren, thank you and totally agree! AND, while there are some great deals, there are others you can still get better deals for elsewhere. They have my husband’s cologne on sale but in a gift set he wouldn’t use- he can get his bottle for about half the price of their special. Gotta do our homework 😉

  4. 7.15.17
    Joan Young said:

    Hi Kelly,
    I would make your walk-in closet a little “wrapping room” where you could put all your wrapping paper, gift bags, ribbons, hostess gifts, etc. etc., Pinterest wrapping rooms …they have some great ideas!

    • 7.16.17

      Joan, I had thought of doing a wrapping organizer for rolls on the back of the door but overwhelmingly, the response has been a wrapping room! I think that is DEFINITELY the direction I am going to go in, and clear out those unorganized bins in the basement. Thank you so much for weighing in! xoxo