Let me begin by saying I am not being compensated by Nordstrom for this post. This is gonna sound like one big infomercial, and it is, but sadly I am not getting anything in return. However, if you use my HauteLook affiliate link, I do receive a merchandise credit! So if I convince you to use HauteLook, it would be really awesome if you'd use my link to make your first purchase! Thaaaaaaank yooooouu!!!
I recently got new headshots (by the fabulous Dana Patrick) and posted them on Facebook. A friend of mine complimented the clothes I was wearing in the shots, and that comment inspired this post.
There are plenty of fashion blogs out there to tell you "what's hot right now," and plenty of other blogs to tell you how to "get the look for less," so I'm not going to dive into any of that stuff. Instead, I'm going to tell you how I manage to look like I spend a lot of time curating my wardrobe, when I honestly don't have the time or attention span.
Look, I love clothes. I love fashion, I love shopping, I love putting together outfits to suit my various whims. And in my line of work, I have to put together a lot of costumes. Maybe nothing as outright "costume-y" as, say, "pirate" or "Olympic swimmer," but I definitely have to swing from "girl-next-door with a hippie vibe" to "girl-next-door who also happens to be a lawyer" to "girl-next-door who is going running." And when I'm getting headshots done? I like to have really nice clothes that make me feel good and also won't look cheap and dated a year from now.
So what's an actress (or any other Angeleno) to do with a limited budget and limited free time to shop around for good deals?
Get a Nordstrom Card.
That's my big secret. Get the Nordstrom credit card. I purchased three of the four outfits in my headshots above using the Nordstrom card (the fourth was purchased at Playclothes Vintage in Burbank).
No it probably won't change your life, but it might make it a whole hell of a lot easier. You can't always afford to pay in full for things you need likerightnow in this town, whether you're in the entertainment industry or not; this particular card offers a great rewards program; and Nordstrom stores are awesome for seven reasons I can come up with off the top of my head.
Let's be honest--sometimes needing clothes can seriously affect your quality of life. Maybe you're like me, and need something for an audition. Or maybe you just suddenly have a job interview and you really want to make a good first impression. Maaaaaybe you just got dumped and you signed up for every possible online dating site and you wanna look REALLY good for the scores of dates you'll be going on (I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT'S LIKE). And maybe you're just not flush right now and you need to use a credit card anyway.
Which brings me to my next point--if you're gonna use a card, use one that benefits you. The Nordstrom card is a store credit card that works at Nordstrom (obvi), Nordstrom Rack (the best), and HauteLook (WOOHOO). They have a fabulous rewards program--you accrue points for purchases, and every 2,000 points you are rewarded with a $20 Nordstrom Note. You also get perks like alterations (even the lowest level gets $100 in free alterations per year!!), early access to sales (and they have an awesome anniversary sale), and double/triple points days (normally you earn 2 points per net dollar, but on specific days this can double or triple).
Now, I'm not recommending this card so you can carry a high balance on it for a long period of time. I tend to pay it off at the end of every month. But I have paid just the minimum on it more than a few times and the interest hasn't bankrupted me.
Everyone offers credit cards these days, you may be thinking. Why Nordstrom? Well, friend. Let me tell you the seven reasons I can come up with off the top of my head.
- Brand selection.
Nordstrom carries all sorts of brands, from their own store brand, to mid-level brands like Free People and Levi's, to high-end designer stuff. So no matter the occasion, Nordstrom's got your back. Just need a pair of jeans? They've got something at any price point. Got invited to a red-carpet event that's tomorrow night? Nordstrom can help you fit in with the personal-stylist-on-the-bankroll set. Frequently, they partner with designers to sell items you can only get at Nordstrom (they're called Nordstrom Exclusives).
- It's a department store.
Yes, you can get clothes, obviously. But Nordstrom also has fabulous shoe, handbag, and makeup departments. I've been less impressed with the selection in their intimates department recently, but I still manage to find something every time I've gone looking (and TRUTH BOMB I pretty much only purchase underwear at Nordstrom Rack because they have cute thongs for $3 each). I save up my Nordstrom Notes and use them to purchase Chanel foundation.
- Stuff for men, women, and children!
Say your boyfriend's birthday is this weekend but you're low on cash on hand. Use the Nordstrom card to buy him some cologne or shoes or replace that ugly old track jacket he insists on wearing--and you accrue point towards Nordstrom Notes! It's basically like getting yourself a gift, too.
- Great prices.
Yeah, regular Nordstrom merchandise is pretty spendy, but sometimes they offer smaller brands for MUCH better prices than you can find elsewhere--once I bought a pair of Paloma Barcelo shoes for around $200 that retailed online for $400. Also, I love their Anniversary sale because it reverses the normal order of things--they offer great sale prices on new fall merchandise at the very end of summer. Y'know, right before you want to start wearing the stuff. Genius. Also, the regular ongoing sale rack is pretty decent.
The fun really starts at Nordstrom Rack (brick-and-mortar and online). I've noticed that the Rack seems to be stocking most of the front of the store with merchandise purchased for the Rack, but when you get to the clearance racks you'll see all the stuff that's maybe a season or two old from Nordstrom (and HauteLook, I'll explain that next) for DIRT CHEAP. You really do have to hunt, but you can find some pretty amazing things. They also sell shoes, jewelry, handbags, makeup, and home goods! And like I said, thongs for $3.
Then HauteLook (all online) is really the best deal, if not always the cheapest. You have to register, and sales start (by designer) at 8am and last for a couple of days. If you're awake and ready, you can score some pretty incredible finds at around 50-75% off in your size. But you do have to shop between 8am-8:30am for the good stuff. Order over $100 and shipping is free, but here's the best part--YOU CAN TAKE YOUR RETURNS TO NORDSTROM RACK. So don't worry if you're not sure you'll like it or it won't fit. Put literally $500 of amazing stuff on your Nordstrom card, try it on at home, and return what doesn't work to Nordstrom Rack.
Seriously, y'all...alterations. Actors know that the reason everyone looks so damn good on TV is because even the actors with the smallest roles have had the clothes they're wearing tailored to fit them perfectly by the wardrobe department. It is AMAZING what a little tuck here and a little hem there can do. *A note on Nordstrom alterations: I bought an Elizabeth and James jacket for almost 75% off, but it didn't fit me in the shoulders at all--thought I could get it altered with my free alterations, but the seamstress told me that the alterations that were necessary to get it to fit the way I wanted weren't offered. So I had to return it (sadface). So they can't do EVERYTHING. But they can hem all your pants to the perfect length.
- Curated, just not by you.
Whether you're like me and don't have the patience to be constantly aware of what's trending, or are like my youngest brother who would literally rather stick his hand in acid than be aware, Nordstrom takes care of curating for you. It's probably like deciding what book to read next--English-major snobs like me have our ways of deciding what is worth our time, but for everyone else, there's the bestseller list. It's probably not cutting-edge fashion (I wouldn't know), but every time I go in there I think, "God why can't I dress like a Nordstrom mannequin EVERY DAY."
- Last but not least...customer service.
It's legendary. They have the nicest salespeople who will (99% of the time) bend over backwards to make sure you get exactly what you want. They'll call other stores, they'll ship things to you from stores in other parts of the state, and Nordstrom will accept returns on anything, anytime, for any reason (if you have the receipt or they can find the item in your history on your card). Technically, Nordstrom Rack's return policy is 90 days (still....THAT'S A THREE-MONTH POLICY), but I have definitely returned things a year later. I have had a Rack saleswoman suggest I designate a purchase for my triple-points day (I did not know you could do that), and a totally separate saleswoman RE-TAG AN ITEM that I had accidentally pulled the tag off so she could accept the return. The only time I have ever not been able to return something was when I thought for sure I had purchased a dress within the past six months at most (still had tags on it) but I had lost the receipt--the poor saleswoman scrolled through AN ENTIRE YEAR of purchases on my Nordstrom card to find it so she could accept the return but she couldn't find it, so I couldn't return it. I'm telling you...they're saints.
So, that's why Nordstrom. And Nordstrom Rack, and HauteLook. If you've been struggling with a lackluster wardrobe (or having the funds to replenish your wardrobe), I hope this suggestion helps!