My all time favorite sale of the year is here: the 2021 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! I shop this sale each and every year for staple pieces I will wear all year.

I always share exactly what I purchase, recommendations for the best deals, and items I've had for years. This post is designed to give you the best idea of what to get and what to skip! PLUS, at the bottom of this post you’ll find a giveaway for $500 to Nordstrom plus a Barefoot Dreams Blanket!

Some of these items only go on sale during the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, which is why it's such a big deal.

Everything I bought last year is still in my closet and are some of the things I wore, and still wear, the most.

The #NSale officially opens July 12th for priority Nordstrom card holders and July 16 for all Nordstrom card holders. If you don't have a Nordstrom card (I personally do and recommend it) you won't get to shop early. Public access begins July 27th and the sale ends August 8.

*At the bottom of this post you’ll find a giveaway for $500 to Nordstrom plus a Barefoot Dreams Blanket!

I HIGHLY recommend that you shop online. After going in store it was disappointing to see how much wasn't available in store. Also, it's just easier for sizing!

You can see my top picks by category, here!

But wait, Helene, you aren't a fashion blogger!

Shhh! I know. But the cool thing is I only share things I wear and wear and wear (and have worn for years) and I keep it on the less expensive side.

Every single year, even when I lived abroad, I shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Here's why you should listen to me: I scour the site for things I know that are wearable, flattering, and the best deals. Most items I share are under $50 or $100. Some of my favorite items this year are actually under $25!

I'm also just a regular person, not a fashion blogger, so that means you won't see me with a new outfit every day. I want things I wear to last for years. I recently read a post from a fashion blogger who ordered nearly 1,000 items from Nordstrom. WHAT?! Not only is that not realistic, it’s just plain crazy (and wasteful) to me.

I wear a size large and size 12 in pants. I often LOVE something on a skinny fashion blogger or model, but that doesn't always translate for me. I hope to share how these pieces really look so you can make a decision. I think it really helps to see what these pieces look like on (and on someone that isn’t a supermodel) so hope this helps!

Michael and I took some pictures in the mountains of Colorado! I bought everything on Tuesday and we headed out the next day on a 6 week trip! Perfect outfits for the cool temperatures in Colorado.

Why do I shop the 2021 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? Because it’s high quality, built to last clothing that I’ll wear for years plus plenty of beauty, gifts, and accessories. Stuff that never goes on sale, is on sale and it's stuff I know I'll wear for a long time.

This year I’ve taken a different approach to the sale. Not only am I sharing things I currently have or am buying, I did TONS of research on how these are reviewed across the web. Not just Nordstrom’s website.

Nordstrom is one of my favorite places to shop. No, it’s not the cheapest, but the brands they carry are some of my all time favorite (Zella, Madewell, The North Face) and their customer service and return policy is unbeatable.

Things will go out of stock from time to time (and many things go fast). But to make the most out of the sale I recommend creating a wish-list on Nordstrom's site, that way you’ll be notified if an item comes back in stock or when it’s available for you to shop. Because things do sell out quick, I buy it because I can always return.

Don't buy stuff you don't need. I always make a list so that I can get things I know I will actually wear. Are snake skin print booties super cute? YES! Will I wear them? Hmm, probably not. Or, you can find them much cheaper (like this option).

Nordstrom offers free shipping and free returns. So if you’re unsure of the right size, order a couple. You can always send it back! Or if you don’t like something, there’s no worries.

When can you shop?

The NSale officially starts July 12th with a preview July 6th. The sale is open to the public starting July 28th.

Best of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Try On

If you prefer to look at collages or just the clothing itself, check out my 2021 Nordstrom guide! Lots of helpful tips there too.

Note: Not everything I bought is here (since I ordered lots online!) But I'll make sure to update this post and share my faves along the way!

Best Leggings & Active Wear of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Hat // Top // Leggings

7/8 Pocket Leggings

If you buy one thing from the sale, make it a pair of Zella leggings. They are just my favorite and when they say “live in” they mean it. I wear leggings nearly daily and I always go with Zella. I’ve talked about Zella leggings on this blog for 5 years and will continue. Also with this price it’s just worth it!

I prefer the 7/8 pair with pockets. I'm short (5′ 2″) and the regular leggings are great but too long and are missing pockets. I get a medium in the leggings. Also pictured is this top for only $7.90!

Also pictured (and recommended) the Spanx tank top – it's a great shape (curved hem) and is great for layering. I got this in a large. Under it I'm wearing the Zella sports bra which is my favorite of the sale. SO DANG COMFY but also holds you in! I bought one last year and it was my favorite! I'm buying one in every color this year! All in large.

These biker shorts are so comfy! I wore them all day today during my drive. Also wearing this Leo top– definitely a favorite of the sale.

Also from Zella, I picked up these pocket joggers – so comfy! Wearing a large. Paired with this Free People ombre sweatshirt. I sized down to a small because I liked this more fitted than loose.

If you can't tell, I'm a big fan of this brand. I just find it lasts so long and holds up so well!

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings are the best dressy legging. These suck. you. in. So be prepared. I get a large! These always fly off the shelves. Spanx also carries this in a petite size now!! Of course have to get the Barefoot Dreams cardigan!

I am also loving the Spanx Bra-llelujah Full coverage bra. It clasps in the front (a must for me) has thick straps, and the back is just so comfortable. Feels very weightless, yet gives you a little lift!

WHAT TO SKIP: I know people go crazy for these True & Co bras but I can't stand them! They roll up and pinch my back. I tried on 3 different styles and none of them seemed to fit right.

Best of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Sweaters

Free People Sweater. When I saw this online I immediately knew I would need it! Free People fabrics and quality are the best. I love the oversized look and it’s just extra comfy. I'm in a medium. This was a favorite of mine last year in a similar style and I bought it in multiple colors! Black, white, and pictured is tan. If you want to wear it as a sweater dress, size up a couple sizes! Also, wearing these jeans.

Sweater // Jeans // Booties

Originally $128.00, marked down to $79.90.

Another Free People favorite is this Ombre Sweatshirt. It comes in a few different colors but I loved the pink accents. I know I'll wear this a ton and it's a great transition piece from Summer to Fall. It's super well made with sturdy material. And best of all… pockets! I sized down two sizes to a small for a more fitted look.

Last Free People sweater is this super soft, eyelash sweater. It comes in 4 colors but this baby blue caught my eye. Would also be great paired with a denim jacket.

This half-zip BDG by Urban Outfitters Sweater hits at just the right spot. Not too cropped and not too long. It's lightweight and love the purple, but also comes in black. I got a large. Also pairs well with my favorite jeans of the sale. I got a large.

SKIP: This horizontal cable crew sweater. It's got shoulder pads in it, but even worse, they make noise! This is super scratchy and uncomfortable.

Best of NSale Sweaters

Free People Swim Too Deep Turtleneck Sweater (My fav of the sale! Can be worn as a dress if you sized up!) // BDG Urban Outfitters Fisherman Half Zip Sweater (No one is talking about this and it's so cute! Love the fit and comes in purple and black, I have this on right now while writing!) // Caslon Cowl Neck Hatchi Tunic (Fall staple sweater and very lightweight) // Free People Princess Sweater (feathery soft and pretty colors) // Ugg Cecilia V-Neck Sweater (sherpa like material) // Treasure & Bond Women's Turtle Neck Sweater (Under $40 and comes in 4 colors) // Women's Polo Sweater (love the cut of this and under $35, also comes in tan!) // Caslon Cable Mix Crewneck Sweater (can never go wrong with a cable knit, $45) // Free People Be Free Tie Dye Oversize Long Sleeve T-Shirt (great price for Free People at $38.90!) // Outdoor Research Gray Trail Mix Women's Turtleneck Pullover (can you tell I like turtlenecks?! This is great for hiking! Also has pockets!) // BP Rib Crewneck Sweater (Only $18.90! Comes in 3 colors.)

Best of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Tops

I am so excited to get my hands on this Free People Leo Henley tee! This sold out last year and I was so bummed. I bought this in two colors and am eyeing the other colors offered. Just such an easy, pretty top. I'm actually wearing this today with biker shorts!

How fun are these pics?! Wearing this hat and my fav leggings.

This soft boyfriend flannel was immediately added to my Nordstrom wishlist when I saw it online. Safe to say it's worth it! At $35.90 I think this is a good price point. I got a medium. It fits oversize and is a bit longer in the back. Again wearing this hat.

Picked up this cute graphic long-sleeve tee. Goes well with jeans or a denim jacket. This is cropped but I think it hits just right. I'm in a large.

Find of the sale is this $7.90 shirt! I love the length of the sleeves and the material of this shirt. Not too thin but a little structured. Great for layering under cardigans.

SKIP: This cutout mock-neck top. It looks pretty cheesy in person.

Best NSale Tops

BDG Urban Outfitters Brendan Flannel Shirt (The softest flannel EVER, scoop this up) // Black Puff Sleeve Top // Madewell Texture & Thread Clip Dot Ruffle Top // Free People Leo Henley Tee (My fav! lots of color options) // Spanx Go Lightly Crop Tank (best workout tank) // Women's Def Leppard Too Late for Love Long Sleeve Crop Graphic Tee // Treasure & Bond Thermal Henley Tee (I love the cut of this- so flattering) // Lettuce Edge Mock Neck Crop Top (Under $12!!) // Halogen Funnel Neck Sleeveless Top (Great for layering cardigans or jackets, only $15) // BP Cool Girl T-shirt (Only $7.90!!)

Best of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Jeans

Oh my god these jeans!!! If you only buy one pair, make it these. Kut from the Kloth were my favorite from last year. These Catherine Ab Fab Ripped High Waist Boyfriend Jeans are so slimming and comfortable. Online they didn't look anything special but they are a great price point and make your butt look good! I got a size 12.

SKIP: These Mother Denim Jeans. A higher price point (these are $159 on sale) and I just don't think the quality is there.

NSale Favorite Bottoms:

Spanx Faux Leather Leggings (*Must have) // BP. Ripped Straight Jeans (Only $29)// Zella Live in Leggings (The best leggings of ALL TIME. I have 7 pairs!) //Kut From the Kloth Catherine Ab Fab Ripped High Waist Boyfriend Jeans (My fav denim) // Alo Muse Ribbed High Waist Sweatpants // Zella Live in Biker Shorts // Good American Good Waist Distressed Ankle Skinny Jeans (So slimming)

Best of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Cardigans

This wouldn't be an NSale post with mention of the cult classic Barefoot Dreams cardigan! It really is the softest. I bought this last year and wear it again and again. It's not cheap at $69.90, but it's one of my most worn pieces. There's a new version this year called the waffle Cocoon cardigan that I love!

This cute “speckled” cardigan is two tone and super light weight. Is a great transition piece as it starts to get cooler.

Best NSale Cardigans

Caslon Open Front Cardigan ($45.90 and comes in 6 colors) // Halogen Rib Cardigan (Shorter cut and comes in 4 colors, love Halogen quality) // Treasure & Bond Puff Shoulder Cardigan (I love the details of the shoulders, makes it dressier and great material) // MAdewell Kent Colorblock Cardigan // Billabong Sunrise Strip Cardigan (I'm into the striped cardigans. Love this oversized fit) // Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Lite® Circle Cardigan (my favorite ever! I bought this last year but so excited to see they also came out with a new waffle cocoon cardigan! This WILL sell out. Not cheap at $69.90 but worth it) // BlankNYC Marled Crop Open Front Cardigan (A cute grandma sweater that's oversized. I got both colors!) // BP Stripe Crop Cardigan (I love this cropped cardigan and haven't seen anything like this. $22.90). // BB Dakota Naples Colorblock Cardigan (super thin and great transition piece)

Best of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Coats and Jackets

One of my favorite picks for the NSale! This Plaid Shirt Jacket is going to be something I reach for all through Fall! At only $31.90 I think this is a great deal! I got a large. Also comes in gray but I got the “Lumberjack” color.

Truth be told, I didn't think I'd like this Wubby Jacket as much as I did! But it's so cute and snuggly. It feels so soft and I know I can wear this through our Texas winters.

Pleasantly surprised by this jacket, the Free People Moonchild Shirt Jacket! I was scanning through Nordstrom when I spotted this and wasn't sure it would look good on me but I dig it! Would be so cute over a dress.

I always check to see if Patagonia or Northface is on sale and I was so excited to see this North Face Osito Fleece Jacket on sale! It’s so soft, has pockets and is great for hiking.

Best NSale Coats & Jackets

Best Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Dresses

A LOT of the dresses sell out fast. But keep checking back- they will often restock as the sale progresses!

BP Plaid Long Sleeve Minidress (Only $29.90! This will sell out) // BB Dakota x Steve Madden Adelaide V-Neck Long Sleeve Sweater Dress // BP Fitted Slit Long Sleeve Rib Dress // VERO MODA Chaddie Floral Long Sleeve Ruched Minidress // Wayf Pierce Leopard Print Long Sleeve Mock Neck Minidress // Chelsea28 Floral Long Sleeve Chiffon Dress // Open Edit Cozy Double V Long Sleeve Throw On Dress // Treasure & Bond Floral Ruffle Long Sleeve Mini Shirtdress // Boatneck Long Sleeve Sweater Dress // Plissé Long Sleeve Mini Dress (Just bought this! Great for Fall and Winter weddings! Also comes in black) // Wayf Morela Long Sleeve Turtleneck Sweater Dress

Best Of Nordstrom Sale Shoes

My favorite shoes of the sale!! These Vince Camuto Afelia Knee High Boot come in 4 colors but I went with this gorgeous torilla suede. Will be perfect with jeans, sweater dresses, and all Fall long. Pricing: $149.90 After Sale: $240. Comes in regular and wide calf. I got an 8 wide calf.

These Steve Madden Cedar Booties will be worn all fall! They are a little tall for me but they are so comfortable and I think perfect for Fall weddings or a night out. Pricing: $89.90 After Sale: $134.95.

I'm a big fan of Asics for running and these are my favorite tennis shoes of the sale. No, they aren't quite as trendy as Nike, but if you want to work out, I highly recommend. GEL-Kayano® 27 Running Shoe are the perfect every day trainer. On sale for $99.60, after the sale $160.

Wore these almost immediately to go for a hike and I can tell you that these are the perfect shoes!

Timberland Courmayeur Valley Water Resistant Hiking Boot // Steve Madden Cedar Bootie // Chinese Laundry Bonnie Bootie // Franco Sarto Haleen Over the Knee Boot // Nordstrom Snuggle Plush Faux Fur Slipper // BP. Hailey Western Mule // FRYE Carson Piping Bootie // Marc Fisher Padmia Chelsea Boot // Vince Camuto Afelia Knee High Boot //Marc Fisher Nairy Lace-Up Bootie // Asics GEL-Kayano® 27 Running Shoe // Sam Edelman Poppy Sneaker

Best of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Beauty & Accessories

Nordstrom knocked it out of the park this year with hats! I've had my same straw hat for 7 years (also purchased in the NSale) because it's packable and will reform easily to it's shape. This packable panama hat is so lightweight and great for travel. I also got a few felt hats! I love this pretty mauve Wide Brim Felted Wool Panama Hat.

Best NSale Bras

There are 2 bras that are totally worth it from the sale. First up is the Natori Dynamic Contour Underwire Sports Bra. The best way to describe it like the perfect cross between a sports bra and a regular bra. It’s super comfortable, as in possibly the most comfortable bra I’ve ever worn. It’s full coverage and has removable straps so you can make it criss cross or regular. It comes in 4 colors. I bought it in black and mink. I'm so particular about bras and this is one of my favorites.

Next is my favorite sports bra of all time! I bought this last year and honestly kept doing laundry so I could wear this sports bra. It’s great for high impact yes super comfortable. Don’t sleep on this!

I love this gold jewelry from Madewell. It’s well priced and won’t tarnish. This necklace is an easy every day pick. Also love these simple earrings. The edged chain necklace is $24.90. The double link earrings are $15.90.

If you've been following me for longer than a week you know this mascara is my holy grail favorite! I stock up during the sale!

I just ran out of self tanner so trying out this St. Tropez mousse! It's got rave reviews.

The BEST hair care. People go wild for Living Proof but Olaplex is a patented system. The shampoo and conditioner are awesome but the bond strengthening treatment (NO. 3) is incredible.

Best NSale Beauty

St. Tropez Self Tanning Mousse // Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder Duo & Velour Puff Set (I buy this every year!) // Neu-Lash Lash Enhancing Serum Duo (This REALLY works to grow your eyelashes. I pick this up every year.) // Rapid Dry Lisse Hair Wrap Towel Duo (I use these and love them! Cuts down on drying time for my hair) // Nars Orgasm Blush Set (a cult favorite for a reason!) // Moroccan Oil Hair Treatment // Olaplex Bond Maintenance Hair Care Set (my favorite pick of the sale! This is a patented system that works.) // T3 1-inch Professional Straightening & Styling Flat Iron // Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Set (This brand rarely goes on sale!) // Oribe Home & Away Gold Lust Repair & Restore Shampoo & Conditioner Set (I bought this last year and loved it!) // Hourglass Ambient Lighting Essentials Palette (I have this and LOVE it. I’m almost out so I’m getting a new one!) // BeautyBlender Set (my favorite makeup sponges) // PMD Lilac Exfoliation & Peach Fuzz Removal Device // Coola Sunscreen 3 Pack (My favorite sunscreen this past year. It’s moisturizing and soaks right into your skin)


I'm splurging on this Clare V. tote backpack because it's so elegant and the suede and leather details are so pretty! Also comes in bag form pictured last 🙂

Best NSale Jewelry & Accessories

Hydro Flask 32-Ounce Wide Mouth Bottle with Straw Lid & Flex Boot // Ray-Ban State Street 49mm Square Sunglasses (Can’t go wrong with Ray-Bans! These are my favorite of the sale) // Treasure & Bond Plaid Burlap Scarf ($25.90 and will be perfect for Fall) // Treasure & Bond Packable Panama Hat (this hat is the best! Throw it in your bag and go- bounce back it’s shape. Only $25.90!) // Bracha Initial Necklace // Nordstrom Plush Faux Fur Slippers // Ugg Socks (soft & cozy!) // Madewell Double Chain Link Earrings (I love these simple, every day earrings for only $15.90) // Kita Leather Shoulder Crossbody Bag (Comes in a few colors and is so pretty in person! Also great size) // Quay Its My Way 61mm Gradient Cat Eye Sunglasses (Only $35.90 – Quay are my favorite sunglasses brand after Ray-Bans) // Baseline 21-Inch International Expandable Rolling Carry-On Suitcase // Madewell Edged Chain Necklace (Must have necklace! $24.90). // Felt Wool Panama Hat // Slowtide Modelo Towel (How funny and awesome is this?!)

See my top picks for home, gifts, and more here!

As I'm currently on the road (heading out in the RV for 6 weeks!) this post is being actively updated! So stay tuned for more!

$500 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale + Barefoot Dreams Blanket Giveaway!

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