James Perse open back ruched dress | $156
James Perse ruched henley dress | $143
Eileen Fisher organic linen cardigan sweater | $178
Every year I shop Nordstrom’s anniversary sale, and I never come away with much. I haven’t bought anything at all the last couple of years, or have bought one or two things and returned them. Most of all though, I am just not great at buying anything out of season; I’m an in season shopper, and like to be able to wear what I buy immediately.
This year, though, I’ve added a few things to my cart, including this Natori feathers bra I’ve wanted since last year’s sale, and finally really need. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Hanky Panky retro thong, so I’ll get another pair of those. I am also getting an Alo sports bra (I have quite a few Alo things and love the brand), this Alo mesh tank and maybe these Beyond Yoga leggings. I’m tempted by some Eileen Fisher pieces, and of course the James Perse items, but I really only need bras and workout clothing right now.
What are you buying? anything? Overall, I think the sale seems a little better this year than in years past? or is it just that they have the things I need on sale??
More of my favorites:
I have a totally random question that I am thinking of with regard to sales- what’s the sustainability perspective on purchases from a discount surplus retailer (e.g. TJ Maxx type places)? I assume manufacturers don’t track down to that level, and write off unsold stuff kind of like bad debt, so purchased through these kinds of stores may not contribute as much to the “produce more and more and more” dynamic of ‘firsthand’ shopping. I am not very educated about this. What do you think?
It is my understanding that clothing from those types of retailers is produced specifically for them. TJMAXX or Ross (or whoever ) leases the brand name (such as Calvin Klein) and produces items for the bargain market using their own factories and workers. Except they are aiming for the low end of the market, so I would assume their standards and quality are far less regulated.
I agree with you that the sale selection seem a little more impressive this year. I’ll probably try and pick up the JP open back ruched dress and the ruched henley dress – they look so beautiful on the models. I’m just torn on colors…probably black for the open back dress and eggplant for the henley dress (even though I want to like the platoon color, practicality tells me I probably wouldn’t wear/like as much). I definitely recommend the Natori Feathers bra! I have two of them but got too small of a cup size so I don’t wear them often because when they do the cups runneth over if you know what I mean. So, will probably pick up that bra in the proper size this time, plus the Wacoal La Femme bra since I love the Embrace style and the two seem pretty similar. I desperately need a new sports bra for low impact workouts, too. There is the Onzie Circle bra top that I’m interested in, but am unsure of sizing.
I am on a spending freeze so I can only drool and dream. I did just buy a man’s button down shirt from a thrift store [and doing my part for the local landfill]. I’m going to fashion it into one of those off the shoulder shirts that is so trendy right now.
I would be all over the Eileen Fisher linen shift dress however…….
I don’t think that’s actually the case but for things like J Crew Factory, bag lines by Barneys New York, etc. My q was about buying new from places that may also be slinging one-off (unsold, not lower-line manufacture) All-clad pans and Eric Carle book sets. Since Grechen has always talked a lot about sales and has moved into Slowre etc I wonder what she thinks!
Because the outlet/off price market is so big now, most of the merchandise sold in these stores are produced for the outlet, they are not true “deadstock” (items that didn’t sell at full retail). I did a blogger event at TJ Maxx and they specifically said their goods were from the manufacturers directly. They spun it as a good thing (i.e. current season merchandise), I took it as the product was never meant to be sold at the higher comparable retail price and therefore of a lower quality. If sustainable is what you’re after, I wouldn’t assume outlets are a better choice.
I didn’t pick up any clothes but did order the expandable Longchamp tote in Bilberry (I LOVE Longchamp as a frequent traveler and small space dweller). I was tempted by the leather Longchamp Le Pliage tote in natural (camel) but decided to pass. The fact that it had a zipper, lining and inside pockets and foldable (omg) did give me pause. I already have a Dooney in a similar color and don’t need two. I did order a few waterproof/water resistant booties to try (La Canadienne Sharon & Pikolinos Andorra) as it’d be a nice thing to have when I go to Seattle during the late fall/early winter. I have Hunters but they feel clunky and don’t breathe well. I lugged them all the way to Seattle last year and used them exactly once. I don’t have high hopes though as black booties rarely look good on me (skinny ankles, short legs and curvy between the chest and thighs). I feel like black booties is one of those things I constantly look for but may need to accept it’s not for me. I never even thought to look at the lingerie!
Grechen Reiter says
i’m not entirely sure i understand your question – but i’ll address a couple of points i think you’re making:
tania’s right about stores like tjmaxx, last call, nordstrom rack, etc. selling items that aren’t ALWAYS cast-offs (some items are excess inventory) – they’re manufactured specifically for “outlet” stores. when i learned that, i stopped shopping at those stores altogether out of personal preference.
as far as i understand it, stores like tuesday morning sell cast-offs that are “real” overstock items.
i personally don’t buy a whole lot on “sale” anymore because i have a bad case of sale goggles…and tend to buy too much i don’t need just because it’s on sale.
my personal preference is to not shop a lot of sales, because i know i have “issues” with sales, and buying for price instead of whether or not i actually need something. i understand a lot of people wait specifically for sales, and have great luck sale shopping, outlet shopping, and secondhand shopping. my history is such that if i do a lot of sale or outlet shopping, i end up with things i don’t need and never wear. even more than normal that is 😉 – so i limit myself. but everyone’s shopping style is different….
Grechen Reiter says
oh man… i did see that the cup size on those bras runs small – AFTER i placed the order!! oh well, i’ll exchange if i need to, i don’t think they’ll run out.
i love both those JP dresses, and am tempted by the henley one – in black, i’m sure.
i’m the same way, i love the other colors, but know myself too well; i’ll only wear it if i get black.
I was able to get an early look at many of these items at a preview yesterday- I focused mainly on Eileen Fisher and Vince to check out and shoe department was way too crowded but the quality on the items I saw was NOTHING like the regular line. In addition to the sustainability element of EF, I used to genuinely love the fabrics which have been declining over the last 4 years or so. The viscose jersey in the sale was practically see-through and was already shapeless just on the hanger. I think it is generally well known that many items are manufactured especially for the sale and as a result there is no intention of ever srlling these items at the “regular” price. House labels I looked at were a little better but tread carefully if you are looking for anything to last more than a season.
Would you go for size 1 or 2 in the Henley dress? I love the eggplant color! Do you think it’s possible that the quality of these JP pieces for the sale are lower than the usual styles?
Grechen Reiter says
I would get a size 2 in the Henley dress. I’ve tried on Jp styles from the Nordstrom sale and they seem the same quality as usual…
Out or “Over”?!? 😉
Really? The sale merchandise at the regular Nordstrom would be made JUST for the Anniversary Sale? I find that hard to swallow.
It’s true. Not every single markdown item, but a good percentage. I haven’t browsed this year’s catalogue because I don’t shop the Anniversary Sale, so I can’t speak to specific items, but in years past there have been many pieces from well-known designers manufactured specifically for the sale. It may have started as a “best of intentions” situation, like maybe Brand X would produce a special wash of a classic denim style just for Nordstrom… but these days it’s more like Brand X produces a few inferior quality items that are headed for the Rack once the sale wraps up. Over the past few years they’ve been easy to spot because they’re usually “on trend” pieces that aren’t available from the designer’s own web retail space or from other retailers who have pretty much the exact same stock as Nordstrom, but for the AS “deals.”
I still look forward to the Anniversary Sale, though, because some of the local boutiques in my area have blanket percent off sales in order to compete. And it’s a nicer shopping experience overall, especially on weekends, because everyone else is at Nordstrom. And I do shop at Nordstrom throughout the year for my favorite designers, mostly because I appreciate their customer service. Typically I buy online; I rarely return items but I often take things in for repair/alterations. They are always responsive and generous at my local store.
Tania this is so interesting! Thanks! I cruise a Marshall’s regularly for stuff for my kid and think this one isn’t selling only specialy-manufactured lower-quality (or arguably lower-quality) things – I saw a Vince jumpsuit, a pair of Helmut Lang stretch-leather leggings, etc., on separate occasions.
Grechen, my question was muddled but what I meant was whether shopping at discounters was more sustainable than shopping first-hand because you’re potentially reducing waste in terms of disposition of overstock, and in terms of not contributing directly to a manufacturer’s sales numbers, reducing the kinds of projections made season after season in terms of items made. I do think it makes a difference but agree that deep discounts can lead to impulsive buys and regret (for me).
I was at Nordstrom’s yesterday, and some of the Eileen Fisher items in the sale did not seem to be the usual quality I would expect from them…fabrics seemed a little flimsier, etc. I’ve come around to think that I’m better off paying full price or a lower discount for something I really love–the sale ends up being a lot of hype.
notes from a bargain shopper:
– the natori feathers bra is my bra of choice, but i rarely pay more than $20 for them thanks to ebay. not sure of your size, but it’s always worth a look.
– perhaps hanky panky is better from an ethical standpoint (i believe they are made in the usa?), but these thongs are pretty much exactly the same as the one you linked. they’ve my absolute fave: http://www.target.com/p/women-s-wide-lace-thong-gilligan-o-malley/-/A-16796233?lnk=abtest_searchpdp_2
I didn’t know that! So thanks for sharing that bit of knowledge. I generally get my EF off Ebay — you can’t beat the prices and I like being part of a reuse economy instead of contributing to demand or fast fashion.