Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2016

I know that almost every blogger practically lives for this sale so they can tell you to buy everything in hopes that you’ll click all their links…however, I wanted to do a real post about what (in my opinion), is actually worth buying from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Full disclosure: yes, there are affiliate links in this post, but I promise to tell you what you’re clicking on in case you want to google it instead of giving me a commission, LOL. My goal is for this post to be truly useful, instead of just another OMG NORDSTROM ANNIVERSARY SALE 2016 YOU MUST BUY IT ALL post (because as much as I love Nordstrom, truthfully, I don’t think it’s all worth buying)…

If you read my blog, you know I’m all about a good deal. Let’s face it…I’m cheap (for the most part). I like to spend my money on quality items, and I’m willing to spend more on the things that I’m less likely to find at Goodwill or on Poshmark. The last few years, I’ve ended up making some purchases at the Nordstrom Anniversary sales, but I always like to do lots of research before deciding what to buy. Last year, I did a post on what I bought from the sale, and what I ended up returning. Nordstrom has free shipping and free returns, so it makes it easy to return items that don’t work, but I try to focus on not over-buying so that I don’t have to make those returns at all. I definitely think there are a few great items worth buying in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and that’s what I want to focus on. The sale is also the perfect opportunity to buy gifts, so make notes of upcoming birthdays and holidays, and you can see if there is any shopping you can get done early!

FYI – The 2016 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale early access starts TODAY, July 14th (for Nordstrom Card holders), and opens to the public on July 22nd. Early access will give you the best selection as some items do tend to sell out, but sometimes they will restock for the public start date, so be on the lookout.


I have bought some beauty products the last couple years, and they have worked out really well for me. Before I even see the sale, I try to make a list of any beauty or skincare products that I’m looking for. This way, when I see what’s included in the sale, I’m not just buying because it’s on sale, and I know that I’ll end up using it. Also note if there are certain brands you like that never go on sale, and be sure to keep an eye out for those products. Some brands will offer special beauty packages or limited edition travel size products, which I like to look for as well.

A few of the high end brands will do limited edition sets for the sale, and sometimes they are worth it depending on your needs. I was really tempted to buy the Tom Ford lipstick set last year, but since I hardly ever wear lipstick, it didn’t make sense for me to spend the money. A few of the sets this year include a Chanel brow kit, Tom Ford Makeup set, Tom Ford Black Orchid perfume set, and a Chanel Chance travel perfume set. While they are still pricey, if you’re in the market for one of the items already, it makes it a good time to buy.

If you have been looking for a Clarisonic, this is a great time to buy one (they have lots to choose from). I finally caved and got one from last year’s sale, and I’m in love. They rarely go one sale, so this is a perfect opportunity to get one. If you already have one, then stock up on some extra brush heads during the sale.

Now is also a good time to stock up on beauty tools, such as the beautyblender sponges (you get 2 sponges and a cleaner for $35 compared to $56), or makeup brushes. I got the beautyblender set last year, and I’m getting one again this time around! They have quite a few brush sets as well, and they are in all different price ranges.


My favorite part of the Anniversary Sale is probably the home decor, because I’m addicted to blankets and candles. Diptyque usually has a special on their candles or fragrances, so I always look for that. Last year it was for fragrances (which I wasn’t interested in so I passed), but this year it’s a set of 5 mini candles for $55 (normally $75). If you’re looking for other candles, it’s good to try to get to a store and smell some of the other ones, because they have other brands for good prices that are nice as well. The Voluspa 3-candle sets make really good gifts, and I like their candles as well. They have two sizes this year, a large 2-wick set for $30, and a mini set for $16.

I mentioned buying a Barefoot Dreams blanket last year that we were going to return, but we ended up keeping it and were very glad. They are SO SOFT. Now, you can sometimes find these at Nordstrom Rack for about the Anniversary Sale price, but I had trouble finding the King size blanket we wanted. We used it on our bed in between the sheets and comforter this winter, and it was just perfect. We also have a smaller throw that we use on the couch. They hold up really well and both of us thought they were worth it! Besides maybe finding them at the Rack, the normal ones don’t tend to go one sale, so this is a good time to get one.

If you don’t want to spend on the BFD blankets, they have the Kennebunk blankets again this year (in both solid colors and chevron pattern). For $26, they are the BEST thing you’ll buy for the couch (get prepared with a new show on Netflix, because you won’t want to get off the couch when you’re snuggled in this). We got one last year, and I’m definitely getting one more, as well as some for gifts!


I admit, I don’t really buy much clothing from the sale. Why? Because as I mentioned before, I’m cheap, and 40% off retail just isn’t enough for me. Plus, I find that I see a ton of the items on sale or at the Rack a few months after the same (for a better price), so I just can’t usually justify it. Now, I admit that some of the clothing in this year’s sale is amazing, but I personally can’t justify the prices. What I would suggest for the clothing is to focus on items you NEED, and also items that normally never go on sale. Jeans are a good one to look for, especially if you have a certain brand and style you love. Intimates and activewear are where I personally find more items I feel to be worth buying. This is a great time to stock up on certain bras or underwear (like my personal favorite, Hanky Panky) that don’t usually go on sale.

I mentioned this in last year’s post, but one item I always recommend to my friends is the Barefoot Dreams (BFD) cardigan. Holy crap. It’s amazing. It’s so soft and perfect for lounging around in. I have a grey one I got from the sale, and I live in it (Tommy gets jealous when I wear it because he wants one for men, HA!). They make great robes as well, but I prefer the cardigans. These tend to sell out fast because they are one of those things that usually don’t go on sale. They also make great gifts (I got one for my MIL last year), and I promise everyone will love them. This is definitely worth buying. If they sell out, keep checking back because they usually restock these a couple times throughout the sale, and you can also try to snatch up a return! They have a ‘circle cardigan’ this year as well which I’ve never tried, but it looks a bit more structured than the original draped cardigan.

If you’re into activewear, they always have some really good Zella pieces in the sale, including my favorite ‘Live-In’ leggings. I can’t justify the Lululemon leggings (unless I find them at Goodwill, LOL), but I like these just as much. They are nice and thick, and super comfortable. They only go on sale during the Anniversary sale, so it’s a great time to stock up. I have quite a few pairs now, so I won’t be buying more this year, but if you don’t have some, I definitely recommend trying them.


They usually have some decent deals on shoes for the sale, but do note that a lot of them will end up at the Rack later on. Also, some of the shoes are made specifically for the sale, and they have been known to be less quality than the original shoes. That fact is usually the deal-breaker for me. Look for shoes that are part of a brand’s main line, and not made especially for the sale as this will ensure you get the original quality.

They do have some decent Nike running shoes every year, so I bought some a couple sales ago and was happy with the quality (I’m eyeing the black and white printed pair and think I may try them out…). They also have 2 colors of the ever-popular Adidas ‘Superstar” sneakers in the sale (the all-white version is my favorite), as well as the ‘Stan Smith’ sneakers, and they are only $59 instead of $79. I love mine and wear them a ton, and I’d definitely be buying the white version if I didn’t already have a pair!

Rag & Bone has good boots in the sale, and if you don’t want to buy secondhand, the Anniversary Sale is a good option for you. I have heard some people complain about the quality from past sales, so if you don’t love the styles, you’re better off looking at the Rack, TJMaxx Ebay, or Poshmark.


Lots of people love to buy the bags from the Anniversary Sale, but I’m not one of them. The bags aren’t enough of a bargain for me to buy, and they are also still quite a bit of money. To me, if I’m going to spend a lot of money on a handbag, I’d rather get exactly what I want, instead of settling for a bag just because it’s on sale. If you don’t see a bag you’re absolutely in love with, it’s not worth it! Again with bags, I’ve heard complaints about quality compared to full-line items. Most of the bags will also end up on sale a couple months later, or at Nordstrom Rack. If you are looking for a bag and see one you like, I would definitely suggest getting to a store and feeling the bag, and compare the feel to the full line bags of that same brand. If you can’t get to a store, just remember you can always return it if you get it and don’t absolutely love it.

The only bags I continuously see people buying at the Anniversary Sale are the Longchamp bags. They have a decent selection, and they are bags that don’t go on sale often. You can sometimes find some at the Rack, but I’ve seen them at around the same price as the Anniversary Sale price. So if you’ve been looking for a Longchamp, this is a pretty good time to get one.


I haven’t bought any jewelry from the sale (I’m cheap and buy mine from Forever 21 usually), but they do tend to have a few pieces worth looking at. They have a good selection of Kendra Scott this year, so if you love her stuff, you can get them for decent prices. They also have a few fine jewelry items from designer brands that rarely go on sale, so if you’re interested in diamonds, this may be a good excuse to get some. They have a couple gorgeous Bony Levy pieces, but they are out of my range.

Watches can be worth the splurge if you’ve been looking for one. They have a diamond Michele included in the sale this year, as well as a usual Michael Kors selection. I have found watches cheaper at the rack, but that’s very hit-or-miss.


Don’t hesitate to look for gifts for your guy! Tommy always looks at the Anniversary Sale items for guys, but he never finds much worth buying that he can’t find at the Rack for less. Just like for Women, they do have decent prices on running shoes, so it’s a good time to get those if you’re in the market for them. If your guy is looking for dressy shoes, I highly recommend trying some Allen Edmonds shoes. Every year, they have a few of their shoes included in the sale. These are normally styles that don’t go on sale otherwise, and they are also part of their full line, so you know you’re getting the original high quality shoes instead of ones specifically made for the sale. They do the same with some of their belts, and those are also a good buy, even though they are still a bit pricey. With Allen Edmonds, once you wear down the soles, you can send them in and pay to have them completely resoled and cleaned up. They are a great shoe, and Tommy will always recommend them to anyone who asks. This year, the Allen Edmond “Strand” shoes are on sale ($259 down from $395), and they are my by far my favorite pair of shoes the brand makes.

In conclusion…

You can probably see the theme of my list by now, which is trying to focus on items that aren’t made specifically for the sale. Now, I understand that not everything will be lesser quality, but the last few years have been upsetting with shoes or bags being poorly made. It’s also good to remember that lots of it will end up on sale a few months later (when it actually starts to get cool and you need Fall clothes), or it ends up at Nordstrom Rack. Being the bargain-hunter I am, I prefer to wait for the 80-90% deals on most items, instead of 35-40%. Again, this is just my own opinion. There is a lot of other great items to buy, and if you have the money, go for it!

TIP: Keep the items you buy (or wanted) in your “Wish List” online. This will help you find items that may have sold out if you keep checking back. Also, I would recommend checking back at the items you bought to see if they go on sale at a later point. If they do go one sale a couple months later for less than what you paid and are still in stock in your size, you can get a price adjustment!

Overall, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is hit and miss. It can be really tempting and easy to over-spend, but try not to be caught up in the “Sale”, and make sure you’re really buying items that are worth the money. Before the sale, actually before you even look at the sale items, make a list of what you’re looking for. Then, take the time to do some online searching, and get a feel of the prices those items are going for. If you buy something that you don’t love once it comes, or the quality doesn’t feel quite right, don’t hesitate to return it!

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9 Responses

  1. Amanda

    I agree. I use to have a bad habit of over spending at this sale , and finally in the last couple of years I have come to learn what’s really worth it, and what’s not. There have been many anniversary sale items still in my closet that I didn’t even wear! I’m all about my beauty products, jeans, and boots, and a few items for the kiddos and I’m good. Loved your article .., rings so true. I shopped this morning but surely I will unfortunately have s few items to return just because I wasn’t sure of the jeans hemlines this year?

    1. I totally get it! I definitely over-spent the first year I really started shopping this sale because of all the hype, but now I’m like you and have learned to step back. I do love the beauty deals (used makeup just isn’t as appealing as used clothes, LOL), and this is a great time to get those sort of items. I’m just thankful for Nordstrom’s return policy!

  2. Val

    Loved the post! I contemplated buying the Chanel brow set but opted for the Anastasia brow set because it’s cheaper and the reviews are really good. One thing I would also advise is for everyone to use ebates. For nordstrom the cash back is currently 6.0% of the item total. Since I purchased the brow set for $36 I will be receiving $2.16 in cash back. I have found that all of this adds up in the long run.

    Ebates is quick and easy to use! If you don’t have ebates and you sign up now they’ll give you a $10 Cashback bonus on your first purchase of $25 or more!

    Just in case you don’t have one my link is:

    Btw there are so many more stores than Nordstorm but I have seen that nordstorm has one of the highest cash back percentages.

    1. Ebates is great, but I always forget to use it! Nordstrom does have a really good cashback percent there though.

      I looked at the Anastasia brow set too, but I still have plenty of brow product left, so I decided I didn’t need either of them this time around, I have the Anastasia stuff though and love it!

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