Monday, July 20, 2009

Nordstrom Personal Shopping or How I Like to Pretend I'm Rich

As promised, I am here to report the goods on my personal shopper appointment, but first I want to tell you what led me to this moment. In the last year I have been in fashion limbo. It started last August with my first miscarriage, then trying to get pregnant for 6 months, then getting pregnant, then having a another miscarriage, recovering and now trying again has been exasperating to say the least. During this time I've gained 10 pounds and even though I'm trying to get it off, my clothes are tight. Even before the weight gain, I was in limbo because of not wanting to invest in clothes before getting pregnant. So my closet needed a bridge between unworn old work clothes and a little too tight casual clothes and jeans.

Since my life right now is mostly casual, I like the idea of a t-shirt and jeans or capris but it looks so sloppy on me. I needed shirts and pants as easy to put together as a t-shirt but one step above in the way it looks. We go to a lot of parties, as in bbqs and baby showers, and I wanted these clothes to work for that too. When a girl is trying to be fiscally responsible, it's a lot to take into account with a potential changing body to dress.

My Goals: Mission Nordstrom Personal Shopper

1. Buy one cool outfit for going to casual parties.
2. Get out of my fashion rut and be open to new possibilities.
3. Buy some clothes that fit my body now.
4. Have fun and soak it all up!
5. Report back to you.

I have had a few days to process my personal shopping experience at Nordstrom. If I had written about it fresh from the store, you would have felt me bursting with excitement and the adrenaline rush that it was. Even though there were some things that could have been better, I'm not going to discount it because it was an amazing, totally worth it experience. I loved the personal attention and I will definitely do it again.

When I arrived, Scotty Smith, a total doll by the way, met me and escorted me up to the women's department. Since I had already informed him that I wanted to try on some 7 jeans, he started picking those out. He also went through and showed me some tops that would look nice on me. I agreed with most of what he picked but I wouldn't have picked them out on my own. In the dressing room, I tried on and tried on while he continued to gather more items. He brought me different sizes or different styles based on what had worked for me. Just for the schlepping alone, who could resist doing this?

After we finished with the clothing department, he led me through the shoe department, and then jewelry, which I decided to skip, then the purses which I would have indulged had I fell in love with one. A purse purchase was "G Approved"! I did have him hold a coral-red colored Kate Spade but I changed my mind. There were lots of Marc Jacobs buttery leather ones too. I'm so picky about my purses because I don't like to change mine that often so it has to go with lots of outfits.

My husband asked me if it was like What Not To Wear because he knows I love that show. It would have been cool (except for the humiliation) but it wasn't. He wanted me to get the full spiel of style advice and great clothes that work for me. Since it was the first day of the sale my shopper was a little distracted because he is the manager and kept being paged. I think maybe style advice would usually be a part of it though. However, he already chose for me what he thought would look nice so essentially it was unspoken style advice.

One of the big perks for me was being shown different departments and brands than I usually visit. I tend to have certain labels that I look at and ignore the rest. Knowing what brand and size looks great on you can be so useful, especially if you are getting a great deal online. I like to look at and and it's essential that you know your size. BCBG and Karen Kane shirts seemed to be what worked for my style the best. He threw in a 100% silk Diane Von Furstenburg that looked great but I had to veto because of the delicate material. I'm a bit of klutz and my clothes need to be cleanable.

Here are some of the items he picked out for me:
BCBG Dress

BCBG Shirt

BCBG Shirt
Link to Nordstrom here

7 for all Mankind Jeans Dojo Petite Style

Steve Madden jeweled flats in Navy

There was obviously a lot more that I tried on but what did I end up buying? I got a Karen Kane top that wasn't in the sale but must be sold out because it is not on the site anymore, a green Halogen blazer above, the 7 jeans above, the BCBG kimono shirt above, and the navy flats. I also got G two pairs of 7 jeans and 2 TD shirts. After I got home, I decided to take back the kimono shirt and get the BCBG dress instead. Also, after trying on the navy flats with my jeans I realized that I would have to have my pants hemmed to wear them so I took them back. I wish they had just a little heel because I love them.

Every year I also take advantage of the reduced prices to get a new bra and underwear. I was fitted a few years ago there in the lingerie department which is another must do experience. Apparently bras don't last forever (who knew?) and should be replaced every year or two. My favorite underwear used to be the Hanky Panky but Natori has become my new love. Of course I always aspire to have bra and panties matching!! G doesn't understand why women wouldn't match them, don't they come in a set? I won't show you what I got but I always go for Chantelle bras.

Right before I had this appointment, I had ordered two pairs of jeans from Rue La La, which came in a few days ago. I got the Citizens of Humanity Dita style which are a bootcut style but petite. I love that the jeans companies are now doing shorter styles so I don't have to have them hemmed. They were a great price at $99 each. I feel funny saying that because I used to think that was way too much money for jeans.

Since Friday I started looking on ebay seeing if I could find some cute BCBG and Karen Kane tops to go with what I got. There are lots of cute ones to be found at great prices. Most of them are even new with or without tags. I have two coming in the mail, one that I got for $17.00 and the other for $41.00.

The Bottom Line--Why Get a Personal Shopper:

1. Get the Right Stuff : As the personal shopper carrying all my items led me through the purse department explaining how the jewel toned purses would accent my fall wardrobe, people were staring at me. (Who's that girl?) It was really cool to be cruising through the section with intention and guidance. If you don't have money to waste and need help selecting some clothes, it is an even better reason to have some help. I did find the jewel tones great but quickly realized that these colors are very trendy and that I would not be spending $200 on a trendy colored purse. That is not an investment worthy purchase for me. So even though the personal shopper might tell you one thing, you still have to use your own noggin to filter it.

2. Personal Service: If the promise of all the schlepping didn't do it for you, how about someone there to only talk about you and how these clothes look on you. There is no impatient husband waiting for you, giving unhelpful comments when asked. There is no friend telling you about some drama in her life, or even trying on clothes too and wanting your opinion on hers. It's all about you and sometimes a girl needs that.

3. Building a Wardrobe: Creating a relationship with a personal shopper doesn't mean that you have to spend thousands of dollars at a time. I'm sure they would prefer that though! I think it would be perfectly acceptable to go in when you are starting a new career, perhaps just out of college, and buy a suit for an interview with shoes, and all you need for that. After you get the job, you could go back for some other building blocks to add to the suit. Maybe you have a wedding, or an event that you need a dress to wear. If you buy that dress well, it can take you through many events for many years.

4. Investment: Everyone talks about investment pieces in your wardrobe which I completely believe in but not every piece of clothing is an investment into the future. Of course you can buy things that are expensive and seem like an investment but they won't last in your closet. Just like I had to walk away from the jewel toned bags in teal and berry, the hot colors right now, you can decide what will be worth spending the big bucks on. For me, jeans are worth it. So maybe you don't need a personal shopper to pick out a purse but if you have trouble navigating some part of shopping, why not use this free service?

5. Finding the Right Fit: Who doesn't want clothes that flatter them? I think this is one of the keys to style that is hardest to achieve. We are really at the mercy of trends and the shape of clothes is part of those trends. The last couple of seasons it is hard to find a shirt that doesn't look like maternity with all those empire waists. How about skinny jeans for a fit that doesn't work for many people. I loved that Scotty chose things for me that fit my body well and flattered my own shape. Since I have an hourglass figure, covering up my waist can make me look really chunky. So if you have a particular body issue that you are having trouble with, maybe they can pick things out for you that you didn't know would work for you. I think having an unbiased person helps get out of ruts and get beyond body image issues.

So that's my report from the "field". I'm so happy to have had this experience. I don't think I'll be doing it again in the near future but I can see myself going back for a seasonal update, or even an event I need to shop for like a Christmas party or wedding. I'm curious if this post will inspire any of you to make your own appointment. If you do, let me know how it goes and of course what you get!


Stephanie said...

That dress is so very pretty! Thank you so much for posting this. I've always been curious what a personal shopper would be like. it sounds like a really good experience.

Oh and those flats are sooooo nice.

Quite Simply Me said...

I love this post! You are so cute with your mission statement! ;O)

Wouldn't it be great if we had girlfriends who could go shopping with us and be as honest as a personal shopper? I had a friend many years ago that we did this for one another. She had said to me that due to the fact that we both wore different styles and had opposite tastes - we could do this without competing with one another. I remember thinking that I would not compete with her or anyone else but try and help but women can be...competitive when it comes to that kind of thing.

I am so happy you came away with so much good advice, some great clothes and with you feeling like a million bucks! Now the fun part is you can take all the advice and shop where ever.


The Closet Therapist said...

Bonjour Madame-Aren't the shoes so pretty! I wish I could have kept them but hemming all my pants wasn't an option. Are you going to get them?? I'm sure there will be some less expensive options everywhere because they are so trendy right now.

Quite Simply Me-I am that girlfriend which is why I can go with my friends but don't have someone to do the same for me! That's great that you had a friend like that. I hate girl competition!

Jaylee said...

Interesting post.!! Great finds.. Everything is looking truly beautiful, That Nordstrom BCBG dress is my favorite.

Bryony said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Liz said...

Thank you! I found this post when I was researching the Nordstrom Personal Shopper service and you've pushed me over the edge. I'm calling them as soon as I finish this message. After three pregnancies, two miscarraiges and one baby, my wardrobe is a mess. Not only does nothing seem to fit but after a couple years of childproofing I seem to have lost my sense of style.

I hope all is working out on the baby front!

The Closet Therapist said...

Liz, Let me know how it works out for you at Nordstrom. You've been through a lot and sounds like you need some time for yourself. Thanks for the wishes on the baby front. Right now we are putting it on hold but hopefully this year we will be fruitful and multiply!

Caitlin said...

I stumbled across your site as I'm researching comsumer behavior at Nordstrom for my senior seminar project for college! As a dedicated Nordstrom shopper, I love your comments about your personal shopping experience! For the company's big semi-annualsales, as a shopper you can sign up to pre-shop all the items that will be sale beforehand and a customer service rep takes you to every department you're interested in!
I saw that you mentioned that you returned the flats because your jeans needed to be hemmend. I'm not sure if you know this, but one of the greatest perks of purchasing jeans from Nordstrom is the complementary free hemming by the alteration department!
Love your puchases!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you posted, I was planning to make an appointment and now you have convinced me to do it now.

nicole said...

i just had a great experience with a stylist at nordstrom too! similar situation for me (mom of 3, lots of weight changes amd uncertainty). this was a great way to get honest advice about what looks flattering out of all the new trends.

i was actually curious, do they get commission on
the purchases we make? do they expect a tip or a nice note written saying thanks?

The Closet Therapist said...

Hi Nicole! So glad that you are happy with your experience. I just had another one too which I will write about soon.

To answer your question, they do get credit for the purchases, but I'm not entirely sure how their commission structure works. I think if you make a personal connection it would be very nice to write a thank you note, but I wouldn't give a tip. That's just me though! I think the best compliment would be to keep shopping with them.

Unknown said...

So interesting! I've been considering using this service, but I was unsure of how it would work. Thank you!

Geraldine Bolles said...

Can you help me on line? I live in Medford, OR. And there are not any Nordstrom stores nearby.
I am looking for a dress for my Grandaughers wedding in Seattle June 22.
I am 77 yrs. young and weigh 138 pounds. I usually wear a size 10-12 dress. I am looking for a tea length dress with a short jacket. Some lace would be nice.
Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

Anonymous said...

Norstrom will do alterations for full priced items at no charge or for a fee for sale items. Nice perk!

Anonymous said...

Have you considered shopping with a CAbi stylist?

Anonymous said...

personal shoppers do not require tips, but when you purchase an item they commission. the more you purchase and the higher the amount spent the more they commission they make. and to be honest they deserve it. when they take the time to really help you,make you look and feel good and you purchase its a good trade off. you keep the clothes and use it in your life to help you with your physical expression and lifestyle (work), then it becomes a valuable process.

if you take one hour and a half of their time in an appointment and don't buy anything, they they have made 0 dollars off of you, its really not fair. Yes you should love what you purchase and yes you wont purchase everything, but be honest with your budget,

too many people look at this service as a feel good freebie. when you take up a lawyers time, you are paying them for their knowledge and time. when you goto a makeup artist you are required to purchase a certain amount ....

yes its important to LEARN about your body through style, and thats what the stylist helps you to do. but again this process of buying is about efficiency. Not for the salesperson to commission, but so you can actually take clothes home and make it a practical part of your regimen, not just play dress up.

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