Here’s What to Buy from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

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Updated for 2021!

Can you believe it’s already time to start shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? If you’re a regular reader of the blog then you may notice that Nordstrom is my go-to store for a lot of pieces that transition well between work and weekend wear. Although Topshop is now primarily with ASOS, I still regularly check out the Topshop and Trend section when I’m in need of some fashion inspiration. For the anniversary sale, I typically make a full wishlist online during the preview period–that’s how this post came to be! Once the sale is live, I like to split how I shop to maximize my time and minimize any returns or shipping delays. For the items that are in stock at my local Nordstrom, I’ll head in-store to check them out and purchase locally first. Anything that catches my eye but isn’t in-store, I’ll usually double back and place an order online.

Just like any other year, I’ve curated the Nordstorm Anniversary Sale 2021 picks by creating my own wishlist through their site. Rather than list all of them out in this post, I picked a few pieces and combined them into three looks. Personally, I love to look at outfit collages when I’m trying to find a particular item. It helps me see various ways to style it–which increases my return on investment–and I’ll sometimes even walk away with a new outfit!

Now, before I share my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2021 picks, there are a few questions to answer first:

  • Why should you care about this sale?
  • When can you start shopping?

nordstrom anniversary sale picks

Why You Should Shop Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale

Simply put? It’s not your average retail sale.

If you’re on Instagram, probably every third post around this time of year is about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you’re reading this post, then I thank you because there is so much content out there about the sale that you could read but you landed on this site and I appreciate it. There’s a reason why your favorite influencers and bloggers talk about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale more than others (except maybe Sephora’s sale) and it’s not just about affiliate purchases.

In a traditional sale, stores mark down items at the end of a season in an effort to push out the products that didn’t sell during peak season. This ensures they bring in sales while making room for new inventory for the upcoming season. Because of this model, sale items tend to be “out of season” pieces.

Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale does the opposite. Instead of marking down old items, it’s marking down new pieces. Essentially, it’s a fall and winter preview sale with some end-of-summer items thrown in as well! Nordstrom puts some classic and new arrivals on sale for a brief period of time, and then everything goes back up to the regular price once the sale is over. Honestly, I wish more retail stores would do this. I feel like it’s the perfect amount of time for customers to get a headstart on picking up seasonal favorites, and a sale will only drive more purchases. But, enough about that. Let’s move on to the next question and then I’ll stop rambling long enough to share my picks.

nordstrom anniversary sale picks

When to Shop | The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Dates for 2021

This year, the earliest to shop is July 12, but the preview is available now if you want to build your own wishlist. Of course, the dates vary based on each customer. If you’re a cardholder, the access begins anywhere from July 12 to July 16. If you don’t have a Nordstrom card, your shopping begins on July 28. Regardless of when you shop, the sale ends for everyone on August 8. Below is a nice little rundown of when you can shop based on your cardholder status:

For the cardholders:

    • Icon early access: July 12-27
    • Ambassador early access: July 14-27
    • Influencer early access: July 16-27

For the non-cardholders:

    • Public access: July 28-August 8

Okay, enough chatter. Let’s get into the good stuff!

nordstrom anniversary sale picks

What to Buy | Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Blogger Picks

As a disclaimer, let me start off by saying you absolutely do not have to buy all of these items. Although we aren’t quite where we were in terms of the pandemic when I originally shared this post, a lot of people are still feeling the financial effects of it. Not everyone has the same funds that they used to before the pandemic hit. Even if you do have the same funds, your mindset may have shifted a bit. I’m in the middle of a style shift and with that comes a new set of eyes for my future versatile pieces, and my wallet is certainly thanking me for it.

If you have the means and are in the mood to shop, think about what pieces fit your current style and can be carried into the next few seasons. On average, I make a wishlist each year of about 10-20 pieces and end up purchasing anywhere between 1 and 5 items. Over the years, I’ve learned that I’m the type of person who will forget about a new item and never wear it if I buy too many things at once. Set a price or item limit for yourself, buy what your wardrobe is missing, and focus on things that you can style in multiple ways. Now, let’s take a look at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2021 picks.

I created four different looks:

  1. Activewear to help you feel motivated as you get a daily workout in.
  2. Office attire to help you adjust back to wearing actual work outfits instead of just the Zoom-style attire we’ve all grown accustomed to.
  3. Pre-Fall to help you mix and match seasonal items as the weather transitions over the next few months.

Below each look, I’ve included links to the pieces featured and a few additional ones so you can add them to your wishlist!

Set One: Activewear

Much like last year, Zella and Alo both have some really cute gym clothes available in the sale that will help you work out in style. The ivory and pink tones caught my eye immediately so I had to add them to the list, but they also have brighter colors available if you’re looking to add some color to your fitness style.

Alo and Zella workout wear including an ivory sports bra, eggshell crop top, and mauve biker shorts


Set Two: The Return to Office Wear

How many of us are getting ready to or already have transitioned back into working in an actual office, at least partially? The idea of wearing a full office outfit is both exciting and exhausting to think about, but Nordstrom has some pieces that have me looking forward to showing off some looks.


Practical return to office ideas include a blazer, sleeveless blouse, and ribbed midi dress

Set Three: The Pre-Fall Transition

Of course, you can’t shop the Nordstrom sale without checking out some of the pre-fall pieces. I’ve been loving dresses for the past few months, so I’m curious how this plaid option could style in the fall.

Summer to Pre-Fall Transition Pieces from Nordstrom

Personalizing Your Wishlist

Okay, so what if you’ve seen my recommendations and want to expand on them even further? No problem! What’s nice about Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale is they let you preview before you even have access to shop! What this means is you don’t have to scramble clicking through each category when the sale is live. Instead, you can save yourself the headache of something selling out while browsing and just visit your wish list and add to cart. This is especially helpful for anyone with a later access date because the inventory for the trending items starts to sell out pretty quickly.

While you wait for your access date, head to and create your wishlist. When I made my wishlist, I streamlined the process by clicking on the categories I was most interested in. Everything from clothing to home to beauty has a sale selection, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed sorting through the noise. I recommend starting in three places:

Those three categories are my first points of interest because they are timely for the fall season and that’s typically where I find the most savings. As someone living in Texas, paying full price on winter jackets is something I like to avoid when I can. Nordstrom also has some of the trending items listed on their site as well, which is helpful if you feel completely lost.

nordstrom anniversary sale picks

Short on time? Here’s the key info:

  • Take a peek at Nordstrom’s key dates to find out if you can shop before the public access on July 28.
  • Create your wishlist ahead of time by taking advantage of the preview!
  • Spend some time looking through your wishlist to hone in on 1-5 pieces to purchase.

FTC: This post contains affiliate links. Shopping the links I’ve curated is greatly appreciated and helps keep the site running. 

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