Category Archives: sale

nordstrom anniversary sale 2013: pre-game strategy

Screen Shot 2013 07 09 at 4.06.48 PM nordstrom anniversary sale 2013: pre game strategy

It’s time, friends! The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is here! (well, if you’re a Nordstrom cardholder, it’s here…if you’re not, you’re just annoyed that everyone else is pre-shopping and you’re left out. Sartorial politics, I tell you.) By now, my annual guide has become a bit of a tradition, so I hope you’re as excited as I am to show off my picks from the best of the sale. I’ll have those for you bright and early tomorrow morning.

But first, a little pre-game strategy session. Pre-sale starts tomorrow, 7/10, and it opens up to everyone on 7/19. If you’re dying to shop early, just go get a Nordstrom Debit card and be done with it. It attaches to your debit card, no credit check, no heinous interest rates – easy peasy.

Even if you’re not a cardholder, I have a little treat for you. You can peruse the entire catalog here, right now!

Now, let me tell you about the designer insert. Not everyone got this special 12-page booklet in the front of their catalog – a little birdie told me these picks are virtually guaranteed to sell out during pre-sale, and I couldn’t even get advance photos to show you. But, I can tell you that the standouts from these limited pieces are a fantastic Vince cardigan with leather trim, and two Rag & Bone boots – one of which is the Harlow in black suede, and it’s gorgeous.

You can officially start shopping at midnight tonight (Pacific time), and I’ll be back first thing in the morning with links to all of my favorites. Stay tuned!

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reasons to celebrate

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale first look, via shopping's my cardio

Well, I had other things planned for today, but friends, I’m too darn giddy about all of the amazing things that are happening in the world today. Honestly, there aren’t that many days in life that you’re bursting with pride in your government, but today’s one of them, and I’m going to bask in it for a few moments.

And…well, okay, there are a couple of exciting shopping points worth making. Read on

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summer sale season! (and my picks)

barneys sale picks, via shopping's my cardio

All of those Memorial Day deals in your inbox felt crazy, I know. Too good to resist. But if you did, if you were patient, your virtue is about to be rewarded. Shopbop, Barneys, Saks and Net-A-Porter all launched their summer sales today, and there are goodies aplenty. Read on

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best bets from the fall sales

SMC Picks: Net-a-Porter fall sale

I had other plans for today, friends, but the sales this morning…they’re just too, too good (for all of the codes, from Shopbop to J.Crew, check out my Facebook feed and its never-ending stream o’ deals). I thought I’d share a few of the many, many items lurking in my shopping cart this AM.

Read on

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sale spy: mastering clearance stores

Editor’s Note: My helpful hints today on iVillage are all about navigating Black Friday – when to dive in, when to bow out, and how to prep for battle. In that spirit, I thought I’d have our Sale Spy, Roxanna, give you some tips on my retail Achilles’ heel: the clearance store! I have yet to master these bargain bastions, but now that I have her tricks in hand, I just may give it another try!
sale picks sale spy: mastering clearance stores

Sale Spy’s picks: Leather Combo Blazer, Cut 25, $346.99 (reduced from $495) / Crossbody bag, Steve by Steve Madden, $46.80 (reduced from $78) / Medici Coat, Anthropologie, $149.95 (reduced from $298)

Roxanna K.K. ~ Everyone can shop in ritzy boutiques. With their racks of carefully edited merchandise and judicious use of white space, they’re a piece of cake. But only die-hard sale hounds can shop at clear-out retailers like Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx. This is where you become a shopping ninja.

Now I know many people are overwhelmed and intimidated by these stores – the unending racks of jumbled up merchandise shoved together like sardines, the fluorescent lighting, the nonexistent service. But trust me – there are amazing deals to be found here, people. It just takes a little courage and a lot of chutzpah. Luckily you have your trusty Sale Spy to guide you through the process so that you, too, can score the best finds without developing a migraine in the process:

Read on

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sale spy: mastering the mid-season sales

{Editor’s Note: Every year, mid-October rolls around, the fall sales begin, and I’m in a retail panic. Friends & Family is always first…should I go for it, or wait for the first round of markdowns? Is it too soon to be thinking about holiday buys? But this year, I have a secret weapon: SMC’s own Sale Spy, here to lend her expertise to the best sale season of the year!}

sale picks sale spy: mastering the mid season sales

Sale Spy’s picks: Painted Ikat dress, Anthropologie, $80 from $158 / Woven silk pencil skirt, Valentino, $239 from $795 / Sandwashed silk tee, J.Crew, $35 from $110

Roxanna K.K. ~ Friends, it’s my favourite time of year: the mid-season sales! (wait – do I say that every sale season? Well, I heartily mean it every sale season. I am always envisioning the unlimited sale possibilities…)

Anyway, I really do love mid-season sales. Now, for a sale devotee, you’d think I’d go crazy for the hard-core post end-of-season sales in January and February, and while I do love finding some crazy bargains at that time, the October/November sales offer so much more possibility. Here’s why:

The selection. At this point, stores have only gone through 1 or 2 rotations of fall merchandise (they typically change every 6-8 weeks,) so there are still plenty of sizes and colours in stock.

The season. You can actually buy something now and wear it from tomorrow to the end of the season. No hoarding clothes for next year or trying to squeeze in the last few wears before the season ends, as I am wont to do after end-of-season season clearance sales.

The trends. This is most important in my book. At the beginning of fall, there are so many trends to shop but you have no idea which will actually last through the season and beyond. At the mid-season sales, you’ve had a chance to see what sticks, and can now pick it up for a significant discount. For example, it’s worth splurging on silk blouses, leather details and colour with a capital C (especially fall staples like oxblood and mustard). However, neon, crazy prints and peplums, while still around, won’t have the same lifespan.

Some tips on shopping these sales:

+ Hang on to those receipts! Many big name stores will reduce merchandise initially and then have an additional markdown on sale merchandise a few weeks later. I get the merchandise at the first markdown for the best selection, but I will then get a price adjustment or buy it again if it is further reduced, returning the original item. This year alone I have saved hundreds of dollars this way (don’t ask how much I’ve spent!)

+ If you had your heart set on specific mid-priced items that are now on sale, go ahead and buy them instead of waiting for them to be reduced further (a lot of merchandise disappears from now until Christmas.) On the other hand, if there are more expensive pieces you have in mind but haven’t found exactly the right one yet, hold off buying them at these sales. There will still be two more rotations of merchandise and much steeper discounts heading into Thanksgiving and Christmas.

+ Investment items like jewelry, bags and fragrances may go on sale closer to the holiday season because they are good gift-giving items, so hold off on these for now as well.

Good luck, and happy sale-hunting!

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sale spy: ditching those sale goggles

sale picks sale spy: ditching those sale goggles

This week’s sale picks: Navy tweed jacket, J.Crew, $90 (from $268) / Strapless dress, Zac Posen, $417 (from $1,390)

Roxanna K.K. ~ Last week, I was perusing the very last of the summer clearance sales when I spotted it: an amazing silk tank dress (designer, natch) at 70% off! It was the last one. It fit perfectly. The shop assistant said it looked great on me. I had to buy it that very minute!

At least, that’s what my inner voice said. I’ve been in this situation more times than I care to count, and as an impulse buyer, my impulses usually send me swiftly to the cash register. But over the years, I have learned to (sometimes) control those impulses and make a smart decision about whether an item belongs in my wardrobe or back on the rack. Here are some of the questions to ask yourself if you, too, have a hard time resisting the almighty bargain:

  • Is this good quality? Does it need to be? If the seams are bumpy and the fabric is cheap, no sale price is going to justify it. But if it’s a trend piece, it doesn’t need to be made to stand years of wear and tear, either.
  • Can it be worn now or do you have to hang onto it until next year? (This is especially relevant if you are shopping the end of season sales.) If you do have to store it for a while, ask yourself if it’s worth hanging onto. Is the design basic and timeless enough to make it work a year from now? Is it really such a steal that it’s worth taking up precious closet space for that long?
  • Where will I wear it? This can be a tricky one. For most items, I like to think of at least three different occasions at which I could wear the item (e.g. Casual Fridays, Sunday brunch, hanging out with friends.) The one time I disregard this rule is when I find a cocktail dress on sale. It may be hard to come up with the specific occasion to wear that dress off the top of my head, but I know I will be thanking my lucky stars that I have it when I get an unexpected invitation to my husband’s work function or that fancy party. Nothing is less fun than shopping for a cocktail dress at the eleventh hour (unless it’s shopping for a swimsuit at the eleventh hour.)
  • Does it fill a wardrobe gap or does it add to a wardrobe glut? I have an inexplicable obsession with sweaters. I have over a hundred in my closet, ranging from cashmere cuddlers to whisper light wraps. But for some reason, I can always justify why this one is different. Because I know that sweaters are my weakness, I try to avoid them at sales – instead I go for the areas where I have gaps, like slim cut pants. I find that gaps in my closet are easier to identify after I’ve been wearing my seasonal wardrobe for at least a few weeks, so if you also suffer from wardrobe glut, you might want to hold off sale shopping until you’ve switched in your fall wardrobe to avoid 100 sweater syndrome.
  • Would I buy this at full price? (Also known as, Is the price the best thing about this?) This is a big one for me because I am such a sale hound. My gleeful response whenever someone compliments my outfit is to say, “Thanks! i got it at 70% off!” I have realized, though, that price shouldn’t be the reason I buy something. I should buy it it because it makes me look and feel good and it has a place in my closet and my lifestyle. Price is just incidental. (I repeat this to myself like a mantra.)

If I am really torn about a sale bargain, I will resort to two final tricks. First, I put it on hold. If the lure of the bargain lessens considerably the minute I walk out of the store, I know it’s not meant to be. Second, I phone a shopping-savvy friend. She will often be able to see the item with more objective eyes and tell me whether it really is as amazing as I think it is (or whether I’m sporting my sale goggles.)

What about you? Are there any tried-and-true techniques that you use to separate the wheat from the chaff?

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sale spy: scoring big in the summer sales

{Editor’s Note: I’m so happy to introduce you to Roxanna, our new Sale Spy! She’s a second-generation veteran of retail sales, so she knows everything there is to know about scoring serious sale bargains. She’ll be sharing a few of her best insider tips and tricks for maxing out those clearance racks!}

Roxanna K.K. ~ Hello there, lovely readers! As a longtime follower of SMC and a committed sale hound, I am excited to share my sale tips and tricks with you in my new sale series. Having a mom that worked in the retail industry meant that I was exposed to sample sales early, and really, I could never stomach full price after that! But my mantra is always quality, cut and fit first. What’s the use of a bargain if it doesn’t make you look and feel fabulous?

The hardest time of year for a sale lover like me is late summer. Luxurious fall looks are starting to show up all around me – but all at full price! What’s a bargain hunter to do? Luckily, this time of year is perfect for transitional shopping – you can pick up sale items from spring and summer and work them seamlessly into your fall wardrobe. However, transitional sale shopping does require a strategy: you want to pick up quality pieces that are either basics or trends that will last into the fall season.

sale picks 1 sale spy: scoring big in the summer sales

Abigail trench, Soïa & Kyo, $132 (50% 0ff) / Navy Piped Blazer, Line, $239 (40% off) /
Long Back Sweater
, 10 Crosby Derek Lam, $66 (76% off!)

Here are some key pieces to watch for in late summer sale season:

Trench coats and leather jackets. These items debuted in spring, which means that they are usually heavily reduced or on the clearance rack by late summer. They are the perfect bargains to snap up because most people ignore them (who wants to try on a trench coat in sweltering heat?), but a few weeks later, they will be identical to the newest fall merchandise. (One store associate told me last week that the trench I was buying at 50% off was more stylish and better quality than the ones they had just received for fall!) It always pays to invest in outerwear, so now’s the time to buy high quality items that you couldn’t afford at regular price.

Open weave sweaters, lightweight blazers and chinos. These are great pieces for cool summer nights or chilly fall days. Open weave sweaters in particular were a huge trend for summer and can be seen on sale racks everywhere. Getting a neutral is a good idea so that it can be worn with a pop of colour for summer or with more subdued tones when September rolls around.

The perfect swimsuit for your late winter getaway. Swimwear and cover ups are priced to sell right now, so you can afford to splurge on a piece that makes you look amazing. Also, you’ll see a much wider variety of styles in summer than you will during the January getaway season. And just think, you’ll save yourself the horror of squeezing into spandex during the post-holiday sales!

Tees, lightweight sweaters and other layering pieces. Many retailers will now have their basics on sale in summer colours. Dressy tees, light knitwear and silk shells are great buys as you can layer them under a blazer or cardigan for fall.

Accessories are also often on sale in summer colours, particularly scarves and handbags. The key is to go for structured totes, satchels and shoulder bags – they’re always winners for fall. Steer clear of those candy-coloured mini-bags and oversized hobos, which will seem out of place when the weather gets crisper. Look for more saturated shades of orange, fuchsia, mustard or teal – and nudes work any time of year.

Now that you have your strategy, go forth and shop, my friends! And be sure to report your best sale finds in the comments!

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