Back-to-school shopping ain’t just for the kiddos, you know. Teachers totally jump on this merchandise fest at the end of every summer, throwing down their credit cards with abandon, fully knowing they haven’t seen a paycheck for three weeks and probably won’t for another six. Yet we continue to romanticize this tradition summer after summer.
I think it takes us back to our own school days, when the smell of unworn clothes promised a new start and a fresh outlook on life. That new JanSport backpack was the source of all our organization prowess and academic success. That new cardigan was a power piece, designed to protect our chilly arms from overactive air conditioners and our hearts from aloof adolescent boys. Those hot new kicks would give us wings to strut down the halls with the attitude of a teenager one year older and ten years wiser.
And to us thirty-somethings, there has always been one special, glorious month during which this sacred event occurs. It’s where future dreams of fall conquer the heat of summer. It’s Christmas in July. It’s the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I have haunted this event annually since I was thirteen years old, when my mom would pull out the credit card and take me on a heavenly spree, always followed by a celebratory lunch at the Nordstrom Café to relish in our successful bounty. This was inevitably followed by the ritualistic “fashion show” back at home, where tissue paper and boots fluttered through the air like fall leaves. I’d turn on some late-90s tunes (most likely Counting Crows, Green Day, or Jewl) and pair all of my treasures with my old threads to create a bevy of new, fresh combinations.
This is a holy tradition, and I have honored it ever since. However, these days, it’s my credit card and teacher’s salary on the line, so I have to be a bit more judicious about my fall purchases. As such, I’ve come up with a system and a golden rule for myself about the Anniversary Sale to reign in the splurge-fest. Here it is, in all its glory:
The System: take inventory of your fall wardrobe before you spend a single dime.
- What is looking tired and needs to be replaced? Donate it and put a new one on the lookout list.
- Which shoes need to be put to rest or which ones just need a quick trip to the shoe guy to spruce up?
- What didn’t get a lot of wear last year? Assess whether it needs a companion piece to work or whether it needs to go.
- What were you dying to find last year and just never found? Put it on the list.
- Donate donate donate. Don’t waste your time hanging on to something that you don’t love.
MB’s Golden Rule: whatever you buy needs to work for two totally different outfits. If I can’t wear it in more than one way, it’s not meant to be.
I have a fall jacket addiction, and this is my newest love, mostly because it’s olive. But in order to throw down cash for a jacket, I need to be able to wear it seven days a week, in any environment. This jacket works just as well dressed down with moto jeans for the weekend as it does dressed up with a skirt for school or hat for fun.
This floor-length plaid is an amazing alternative to the standard plaid shirt. I absolutely love that I can wear it as a shirt or as a dress with a denim jacket. And these boots? I thought I had set out to find the impossible: a light boot with a heel that I could wear all day. This is the stuff dreams are made of.
A blanket scarf is a must for fall and winter (sold out in this color, alternate color here). Tossing on top of my fave leather jacket (similar here) has me ready for a pumpkin patch and a Pumpkin Spice latte. But it can also make a great print-mixing statement with my old striped dress and leopard print belt for a dressier option, especially when paired with these beyond comfortable purple booties.
My loot from this year’s Anniversary sale:
Erinn’s Golden Rule: Look for layers. I want pieces that I can wear in the early fall when the weather is still somewhat warm, but can easily transition to the winter months by adding a few layers.
All last season I hunted for the perfect lace up sweater and I finally found one! Not sure Karma loves it as much as I do, but I will be living in it this season.
This trench was the first thing I picked up and as you can see I did not put it down! I love the versatility of a piece like this to dress up and to dress down. Here I paired it with my old navy t-shirt dress (a steal!)
My fall finds: