I had intended on making this post about my picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, but I ended up returning 90% of what I bought for one reason or another (seriously I kept a scarf and some socks), and there are a million other people posting about #nsale right now anyway (that’s not to say that there aren’t some great things on sale — a lot of mine just didn’t fit or I decided I didn’t really need it.)
I shared this when early access started, but I have a love/hate relationship with this sale. On the one hand, I have gotten some really great stuff in past years for amazing prices. On the other hand, it gives me the same feeling that I get when I’m flooded with commercials about holiday shopping. It’s just so…materialistic. I follow some fantastic fashion bloggers that recommend great stuff, and I recognize that this is their livelihood, but I realllly don’t like it when bloggers tell me to ‘runnnn!’ to buy stuff. Clearly, I love to shop. But people, do not run to buy stuff. Unless it’s something you’ve been hunting for and have already thought through purchasing, walk slowly and carefully consider whether you should actually buy it on your way there. I think a lot of us get swept up in this “only one left!” mindset and then end up with a closet full of clothes we don’t wear and a very trim bank account. If you find yourself in this scenario, start to ask yourself these questions before you add to cart:
- Do I absolutely need it? There are some items that are just necessities. Good jeans, a white button-up, basic t-shirts, etc. They might not be shiny and exciting, but they can leave a painful hole in your wardrobe if you don’t have them. If it’s not something you really need, continue on to #2. If you do, skip to #3.
- Do I absolutely love it? My mom used to ask when I was younger if things were my “heart’s desire,” which became my family’s way of saying that you love something so much you just HAVE to have it. These things aren’t usually necessities or even practical, but in the words of my girl Selena, the heart wants what it wants. Dig deep, and if the answer to this question is yes, continue to #3.
- Can I actually afford it? Not is there enough in my account to cover it, not my credit card isn’t maxed out — can I actually responsibly afford it? Personally, I know myself well enough to know that I need to allot money in my monthly budget for clothes. If there’s something big I want, I save that portion of the budget for a couple of months until I can get it. Set boundaries with yourself, and stick to them. If the answer to this question is no, do not pass go, do not collect $200, close your browser window and go straight to shopping jail. Within budget? Read on.
- What will the CPW be? This is one of my favorite gauges of whether I should buy something. As a general rule, I aim to get a $1.00 cost per wear out my clothes. If it’s something that practically can’t be worn a lot (like a cocktail dress), I up the CPW to $10.00. This means the more expensive something is, the more I better be wearing it. With staples that I know I will get a ton of wear out of like classic winter coats, good jeans, basic work dresses, quality boots, etc., I allow myself to spend some money. For trendy items that I know I’ll only wear for a season, I turn to places like Amazon or Shein to stick to my cpw rule.
- Does it fit perfectly? If you’re like me and don’t like to leave your house to shop, obviously you won’t know this until it gets there. Make sure that you check the return policy before you order (this is part of the reason that I love Nordstrom so much.) If I had a dime for every time I bought something or kept something because I thought I could pin it/get it altered/lose weight to fit in it/live with it and then never wore it, I’d have a solid fifty bucks or so. Things that don’t fit properly aren’t ever going to make you feel your best, and you aren’t going to wear things that don’t make you feel your best. I will get something altered maybeee once a year, but I try not to count on that. If it’s too big or too small or just plain unflattering, bid it farewell.
- Does it meet expectations? Sometimes I get things in the mail that I’ve been pining after for months and building up in my mind and they are…fine. And fine doesn’t cut it. If it’s not everything you wanted and more, return it. There are too many beautiful clothes in the world to settle for anything less than amazing.
And that’s it. That’s my secret to ending up with a closet full of clothes that you actually wear and avoiding an “insufficient funds” message. And you know what? If it’s sold out by the time you think through these and decide to actually buy it, then it wasn’t meant to be. Happy considerate shopping friends.