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The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – How to Prepare for It

June 11, 2021

It’s that time of year again! Well, not really. But it is time to start thinking about how to prepare for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Why? Because I believe if you’re going to shop this mega pre-fall sale, it’s wise to shop it smart. And smart women prepare ahead!

Truthfully the famed Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2021 is just over a month away. What??? Yes, last year the mid-summer sale was changed to August in the midst of the pandemic. But this year the dates for the sale have reverted back to July, which has been the traditional month for the sale to kick off.

What is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?

Unlike most of the sales we’ll see pop up in the near future, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is not a summer clearance sale. It is a pre-fall sale, stocked full of brand new trending and classic fall and winter merchandise.

You’ll see brand new merchandise from brands like

Prices are generally marked down 30-40%. You’ll find great deals on:

  • handbags
  • shoes & boots
  • premium denim
  • sweaters
  • athletic wear
  • sleepwear
  • coats & jackets
  • lingerie
  • jewelry
  • home items

Nordstrom also features some great beauty buys during this annual sale. Prepare to find many of your favorite brands discounted and offering gifts with purchase.

When is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2021?

Honestly, I enjoyed the later dates of last year’s NSale. But this year the sale has returned to July. That may seem early to start thinking about your fall and winter wardrobe, but I’ve found it’s worth it to kick it into gear. The savings are that good. In fact, this past year, much of my fall and winter wardrobe came from this annual pre-fall sale.

All Nordstrom cardmembers can shop Early Access starting July 16th—shop even earlier depending on your Nordy Club status. The Anniversary Sale is open to everyone July 28 through August 8. Prices go up August 9. See the chart below for Early Access dates for each level of Nordy Club Cardmembers.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2021 Access Dates

BUT you may have noticed in the calendar above that EVERYONE gets to preview the sale starting July 6th. That feature was introduced last year, and it was so helpful. The preview allows you to shop it smart.

Shopping in Canada? Your preview starts July 19. Nordy Club Ambassadors get early access July 25-27, and everyone can shop July 28-August 8. You can shop online at

About the Preview

Last year the preview replaced the paper catalogue for the sale. And honestly, I thought that was a good thing. The paper catalog didn’t have even a fraction of the products included in the sale. Regardless of whether or not Nordstrom will reintroduce the paper catalog, they are giving us the opportunity to preview the sale online starting July 6.

But just because the preview begins July 6 does not mean you’re seeing the whole sale at that point. I noticed last year that they added new items to the sale daily leading up to the first shopping days.

The biggest benefit of the Preview is that you can begin adding items to your Wish List during this time span. So you’ll need a Nordstrom account, whether you have a credit card or not, in order to use the Wish List feature.

Early Access for Cardmembers

Nordy Club cardmembers with Icon, Ambassador or Influencer status will get even more time to shop Early Access. The higher your status, the earlier you shop. This is on top of the six days of Early Access all cardmembers get. You can check your current Nordy Club status here.

Why the Hype?

Look, I don’t mean to make a bigger deal of this sale than it really is. However, if you’ve shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale before, you know the benefits are substantial.

  • You get a first peek at the fall fashion trends, if nothing else.
  • Nordstrom offers FREE SHIPPING, no minimum purchase required.
  • Nordstrom offers FREE RETURNS and they make them super easy. So shopping online for this sale is just as effective as shopping in the store.
  • The Nordstrom website is super easy to navigate.
  • Nordstrom ships faster than most any other retailer you’ll order from.
  • You’ll accumulate 1-3 points per dollar towards Nordy Notes that you can then spend on other Nordstrom merchandise.
  • You can schedule 1 or more of your Personal Double Points Days during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale so you’ll accumulate points toward Nordy Notes even faster.

How to Prepare to Shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Obviously, you’ve got plenty of time to prepare for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. And don’t worry; I’m not turning all my focus to the sale anytime soon! But, besides alerting you to this year’s sale dates, I do want to map out a few brief strategy tips that can help you prepare for this annual sale so you can shop it smart…if you want to shop it at all.

Tip #1 – Definitely enroll in the Nordy Club.

It’s free and safe and requires nothing from you other than basic account information. As you make purchases at Nordstrom (during the sale and all year long) you’ll accumulate Nordy Notes that you can spend on merchandise with no limitations. Having a Nordy Club account will also enable you to use the Wish List function starting July 6th.

Tip #2 – Consider getting a Nordstrom Credit Card.

Taking out a credit card is a highly personal and important decision, so I don’t want to pressure you to do this at all. But if you shop Nordstrom consistently and don’t mind another card, I think it’s worth the leap. You’ll have to have a Nordstrom card in order to shop the sale early at all. And honestly, by the time the sale “goes public” many sizes are sold out and some items will be gone completely.

I keep my Nordstrom card paid off every month, and that’s the only way I suggest having this store credit card. You will earn Nordy Notes three times as fast and you’ll unlock other benefits as well.

Tip #3 – Enroll in the Dressed for My Day Private Facebook Group.

Not only is this a fun and informative group for discussing all things fashion and beauty for the older woman, but it’s also where I will be posting about the sale (restocks, unique finds, fit information, etc.) in “real time.” So if you have a question or need a tip while shopping the sale, you’ll be able to access me there fast.

Tip #4 – Start thinking now about your fall and winter wardrobe.

Look, I’m not suggesting you obsess over this sale starting now. Don’t do that! But when you have a moment between now and July 6th, spend some time mapping out your fall and winter wardrobe. Consider wardrobe essentials you need to update or replace (classic blazer, cardigan, jeans or coat), holes you want to fill (a nice quality handbag perhaps?), pricier wish-list items you want to look out for (leather jacket or boots) and the colors you want to stick to. You want to participate in this slightly overwhelming sale with a strategy or sit it out all together. Otherwise you might end up with impulse purchases you regret. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz unless you have a strategy and stick to it.

Tip – You can print out my Fall/Winter Wardrobe Essential List from my Freebies for Subscribers page…if you’re a subscriber. (The access code is always at the bottom of the newsletter!)

Tip #5 – Subscribe to the Dressed for My Day newsletter now.

I offer lots of benefits to my subscribers. And if you receive my daily or weekly emails you’ll know exactly when I post all of my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale posts. I’ll be hitting my local store on July 14 with my Ambassador status, but I’ll be building my own Wish List well before that. So I’ll be keeping you in the know!

Once again I plan to offer balanced coverage of the sale. I’ll continue to post relevant summer and transitional outfits as well as evergreen style tips, so you won’t get just Nordstrom Anniversary Sale information during the period of the sale. Don’t worry about that!

You can check out my previous years’ NSale coverage HERE.

I’ll admit, the first year I covered this sale I was in over my head. But in 3+ years as a style blogger I’ve learned my way around the block. I’ll be able to navigate you through this sale so you don’t get sucked into the hype. I know the brands, the appropriate price points, the best buys and the general sizing information you’ll need at your disposal.

Tip #6 – Set a budget.

This sale can be a little overwhelming and the hype can escalate. Definitely set yourself a spending limit based on your needs and personal budget.

Tip #7 – Make a shopping list.

Refer back to tip #4 and start making a list now of the things you might want to look for during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I suggest making your list before the sale opens. You’ll be enticed by ads then. Ha! If you make your list now or at least over the next month and a half, you’ll be able to map out the items you know you need to fill out your wardrobe the way you want it.

Be sure to take into consideration your personal style essence, lifestyle and color choices. (Click through for posts on those topics!)

Tip #8 – Use the Wish List feature during the Sale Preview days.

You’ll have the ability to shop the sale well before it goes live. You can then add the items you hope to purchase to your wish list. You won’t be saving them to your cart, mind you. And those items can sell out. But you’ll have them prepped (including size and color choice) and ready to purchase when the sale begins and you have access.

Tip #9 – Plan to shop the sale Online.

I’ve shopped the sale online for several years, but I also shopped it in-store for the past two years. Let me tell you, shopping in-store was generally a big disappointment. The inventory was only a small fraction of what is available online. And many items were not available in all color or pattern options in-store either. Finally, sizes were likely to be picked over and sold out in-store. And it’s just hard to locate everything in the store.

I definitely prefer shopping this sale online. So let me help you navigate that! And if you have a store nearby, I simply suggest ordering online and requesting curbside pick-up when available. But be aware that not all items will be available for immediate curbside pick-up.

Tip #10 – Prioritize your list and make multiple orders.

Once your level of access to the sale opens up, items will start selling fast. I suggest you prioritize your list and shop accordingly. And as you add one or two or three items to your cart, place an order. Then you can continue to shop and place more orders. Since there is no charge for shipping, it makes sense to go ahead and place multiple orders quickly and in order of priority to you.

Bonus Tip – Pay for Expedited Shipping on Favorite Purchases

I learned this tip from another blogger last year, and it definitely paid off. Items are selling so fast that inventory control sometimes gets behind. If you purchase expedited shipping your order gets put ahead of others, insuring that your order is shipped before inventory is depleted. Yes, that cuts into your savings. But if you’re ordering a big ticket item that means a lot to you – say a leather jacket or designer handbag – it may be worth it.

Alright, that’s more than enough information to take in right now…a month ahead of the sale! But I did want to go ahead and give you these tips so that you can mark your calendar and begin to plan accordingly…if this is your jam!

Look, I know that many of you, like me, are trying to streamline and minimize your wardrobes. And I know you don’t want to make so many purchases in the future. I get that and I’m right there with you. That’s exactly why it makes sense to be smart about these things. I know and you know I’m going to shop this sale. You probably are, too. So let’s do it smart!

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Blessed for My Day

Some days I begin to feel like the world is a little out of control. Indeed, the Bible teaches us that people are out of control. That includes me! Ha! We tend to be led by our emotions and appetites. We make great decisions one day and faulty choices the next. We’re unpredictable and fickle.

But I am so glad we have a God who is above all of that. He is bigger than our mayhem and more powerful than our whims or wiles. And He sees and knows you and me intimately. Sister, He has not lost control. He sees all, knows all and is in the midst of all. Let’s trust that He’s got this. We can rest in His sovereignty.

“Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord. ~ Jeremiah 23:24

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xoxo, Kay
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24 thoughts on “The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – How to Prepare for It

  1. I would love to see a post about the pieces you purchased last year. What did you end up loving and wearing often, and what was rarely worn or used. How did items hold up through multiple washes? Did anything shrink or fade? Did sweaters pill or stretch out of shape? What are the signs of quality you use when shopping?

    1. I agree. I wish every blogger who covers this sale did an oops post later on. Some of the items came on sale at even better prices late in the season and we would really benefit from that knowledge. I just keeping thinking of that coach bag that was so popular but I have not seen it on anyone’s blogs since? I suspect it wasn’t so great after all.

  2. Kay, thank you so much for the info. With everything going on I had completely forgot about the Nordy sale! Can’t wait to preview and can’t wait to see all the styles you will put together for us to see.


  3. I’m curious to see if we have a backlash. Usually when you have tight pants, sooner or later fashion will switch to a looser style. Tight cardigans for a while means we might get cardigans with a looser look and interesting knit instead of flat. Are ripped jeans gone? Can I find that marigold color in denim? ?

    1. Hi Eve. You’re right. Fashion trends tend to swing back and forth on the pendulum. Yes, you can definitely still continue to wear distressed jeans…if you wish. Here’s a link to some “marigold” jeans at Talbots.
      And they come in several fits and lengths. ?

  4. Thanks so much for the post! These tips are super helpful, especially as I work to rebuild my wardrobe. I will definitely be taking stock of what I need over the next few weeks. (Hint, it’s not more black pants. 🙂 )

  5. I am from Canada and so thankful Nordstrom has given us our own website. There is a difference in price for sure and we also now get free shipping and returns which we didn’t have shopping on the US site. I am much more likely to shop now than before. In fact I have 🙂 I hope we get some preview of the sale as well. I’m sure the website will be sending notices as well. I look forward to seeing your choices as I have a similar style as you even though I wear warm colours. Thanks for all you do for us!

  6. Hi Kay, great post. Have you tried Kiel’s Cream de Corp body lotion? Every year it goes on sale in a huge bottle….I’m curious to try it IF it’s as good as several bloggers say it is. Based on your quizzes, posts and videos, I’m planning to shop neutrals so I can build a workable wardrobe for fall/winter.

  7. Thanks Kay! I tend to go a little crazy during this sale with too many impulse purchases. I’m going to listen to you this time! I love the tip about using the expedited shipping. I have had the experience of items selling out after I thought I purchased it. Very frustrating! I’m very much enjoying your blog and videos!

    1. Yes I had experienced that in the past too. So frustrating. And it still happened once or twice last year, but not in the items that meant the most to me and that I’d paid for faster shipping. That’s how I got my camel coat that sold out so fast. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog and videos. Welcome Anne! ?

  8. Thanks for remembering us Canadians. We have different prices and different stock/items. It is still a wild a wacky time. Thank you for your great advise. I started my list of holes in my wardrobe and only have one item! I also started a list of what I don’t need! On the other side of my paper I have put in bright colours my style, colours and lifestyle. .. trying to stop those impulse purchases. This is all thanks to you!

  9. Kay, hope you enjoyed your time away this week. You sure deserved it.
    I’m interested in knowing what the fall trends will be this year. That would be helpful to me deciding what I might purchase. I know I’ll be on the look out for a new cashmere sweater. You turned me on to those. I got my first one at Talbots and since bought others from Nordstrom.