Nordstrom Rack Haul & My Shopping Tips for ‘Clear the Rack’ Sales

The first time I went to a Nordstrom Rack, I walked around for 5 minutes and then turned around and left.

It was overwhelming and I had NO idea where to start. There were literally thousands of items there, divided onto racks labeled with brands that I’ve never even heard of. When I did see a designer name I recognized, I’d look at the price tag and be shocked at how expensive it was, even at the discounted price.

It’s been a few years since then and now I get it.

I’ve figured out how to shop without getting overwhelmed and can now determine what is priced really well, versus what is still marked up too high. In fact, now I consider Nordstrom Rack one of my favorite stores… which is quite a change from that first time I wandered in.

To prove my point, I wanted to share a few items I picked up when they were having their most recent ‘Clear the Rack’ sale. For those of you new to the term, it is when everything that is on sale or clearance is an additional 25% off the lowest ticket price.

Here’s what I got:

Cole Haan Rosalin Weave Wedge Sandals
Original Price $228.00, My Purchase Price $42.75

Cole Haan wedges - Pocketful of Joules

I shared this steal on Instagram earlier this week, because a savings of 81% off the original price is pretty darn impressive. When I buy shoes that I would consider a ‘classic’ style that I can wear year after year, I prefer to go for real leather and a really good name brand that won’t fall apart.

Sure there was snow on the ground when I tried these wedges on my feet, but they will come in really handy on our vacation in April and all spring/summer long with my work clothes.

Nike Free 5.0 Shoes
Original Price $100.00, My Purchase Price $27.73

Nike shoes - Pocketful of Joules

I never pay full price for running or workout shoes. One year I actually went to one of those places where they watch you run and take an imprint of your shoe to find your ‘perfect’ running shoes and then try to sell you super expensive inserts on top of the shoe. Not. Happy.

Instead, I took the knowledge of what I was looking for in a shoe and went to DSW to try on a bunch of options at a discounted price. I’ve been needing some new workout shoes, so when I saw this pair for less than $30 I knew I’d have to try them out. Hopefully they are comfortable! {fingers crossed}

Purple Stone Necklace
Original Price ?, My Purchase Price $9.73

Necklace - Pocketful of Joules

I’ve been really loving long necklaces lately and have eyed the natural rock/druzy looking necklaces for a while. However, I get bored of necklaces pretty quickly, so I don’t want to waste a lot of money on them. Typically I’ve seen this type of necklace marked down to $30… so when I saw that this one was on clearance for less than $10 I knew I was getting a good deal and I snapped it up.

Okay, so now that you see it can be done… I have a few tips to help you navigate if you want to dip your toe into the whole Nordstrom Rack deals world.

Tip #1: Ignore the main clearance clothes racks
Yes, I’m sure there are a ton of deals in the clearance rack area but OHMYGOSH is it jam packed with a bunch of crap. Unless you are one of those people who is super comfortable just searching and searching through racks for that one diamond in the rough, just skip it.

Now, if you see the smaller clearance racks in a particular section, go for it. It’s a much more bite-sized way to see what’s on sale. For example, I’m not going to waste my time searching the rows of large tops but if I see a small round rack in the Athletic section, I’ll give it a look to see if there are any good deals on running clothes in my size.

Tip #2: Check out the jewelry
You’re going to need a lot of patience, but if you want that immediate gratification of getting a good deal… go straight to the jewelry racks. If you are a brand-name shopper, it’s easy to spot the expensive stuff because it usually has those anti-theft sensors attached to the item. So, do a little browse and I’m sure you will find plenty of Kate Spade brand jewelry, cute Dogeared necklaces in pretty boxes (these make great gifts) and even some Kendra Scott too.

If you don’t have the patience to sift through (sometimes) tangled necklaces, you can always do a quick search of the Nordstrom Rack website. You get the same deals online and orders over $100 ship for free (even if you order over $100 worth of stuff and then return what you don’t want back to the store).

I did a quick search and found this Dogeared star necklace (originally $62 and now $24.97) and this Kate Spade initial locket (originally $68, now $24.97).

Tip #3: Go for the shoes
I never used to be a shoe girl, but now they really are my weakness. If you are new to the world of Rack, shoes is a really great place to start because they usually have half a row of each shoe size dedicated to clearance items. Instead of being super overwhelmed by a ton of choices, you can just focus on the smaller section.

It also helps to keep an open mind on what you need… that way you can get some of the best off-season deals. Right now it’s 20 degrees and knee-boots weather, which means I typically wouldn’t be interested in strappy wedges, but by opening my mind I’m prepared for summer at a huge savings!

Tip #4: Look for brands you know
One of the cool things about Stitch Fix is that they have introduced me to brands like Kut from the Kloth, Daniel Rainn, Maggy London, Loveappella, DL1961, Laila Jayde, Kensie, Renee C, Collective Concepts, and more.

Well, ALL those brands are available at Nordstrom Rack. So, if you know you like a particular brand, you can look around for the rack that holds it (there are usually signs on top of the rack). Or, if you don’t get Stitch Fix but admire items on other people, take note of the brands and look around for them on your Rack treasure hunt.

Tip #5: If it’s on sale and you want it… BUY IT.
The stock changes over really, really quickly at Nordstrom Rack so if you see something on sale that you love, buy it or you may never see it again. Of course, there are some things that you will see visit after visit, but the good stuff really does get scooped up fast. If you have second thoughts, they have a really great return policy that gives you up to 90 days to change your mind (unworn, with receipt, with tags attached).

Additional tip, if you find something you love and want more than one of it… check the website. There is no guarantee that it will be there, but when I found my Democracy pants that fit perfectly I ordered a couple extra pairs online!

One Last Bonus Tip: Bring a friend
I tend to be a solo shopper, but if you are super overwhelmed it may help to bring a friend with you. They can help you navigate the racks and yell out when they see a brand they recognize for you to check out. Also, who doesn’t like a second opinion in the dressing room?!

So what do you think, did you find this helpful? Any questions that I can answer for you?


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7 thoughts on “Nordstrom Rack Haul & My Shopping Tips for ‘Clear the Rack’ Sales”

  1. aww, remember when we used to shop together? you gave me “this is fun” expression when looking for a top (or bottom)

  2. This is my current feeling about Nordstrom Rack: “It was overwhelming and I had NO idea where to start. There were literally thousands of items there, divided onto racks labeled with brands that I’ve never even heard of. When I did see a designer name I recognized, I’d look at the price tag and be shocked at how expensive it was, even at the discounted price.”

    I’m not a good shopper. I’m impatient and feel disappointed when nothing fits me right. I’m immediately frustrated when stores are organized by brand because I know nothing about brands. I want all stores to be organized by size and type of clothing (athletic, work, casual…). It would make my life so much easier. Also, if there could please be a designer that makes affordable clothes that actually fit every area of my body, I would probably faint from disbelief.

    For the running shoes, I gotta tell ya, I swear by those stores where they watch you run and try to sell you expensive inserts on top of the shoes. I definitely consider my running shoes an investment and can truly tell a difference in how I feel when I run in proper shoes with custom inserts versus running in a regular shoe. It may be partly because of my ankle, I don’t know, but I consider it worth it. I love Fleet Feet in Annapolis, but I usually go to Road Runner Sports in Columbia since it’s closer. They’re also super nice. Just my two cents 🙂

    1. I have done the fancy running store thing, but I was really disappointed. Years ago I did it and they determined that I needed a stability shoe… and sold me a super expensive kind that they recommended. When I went back, they said that I DIDN’T need a stability shoe and could basically wear any of their shoes. So it didn’t make sense for me to pay their super high prices (where nothing was on sale) if I could wear anything. That and the fact that they completely changed their minds a couple years apart made me feel like it was all BS. I ended up finding a pair of shoes on my own and ran in them all summer to train for my race… and they worked great!

      As for a brand that fits every part of me… sign me up when you find one! =)

      1. That stinks about your running store experience. They stay consistent with their recommendations for me, across stores and sales people, and I can tell a difference so it works for me. I’m glad you can use a generic shoe without inserts – that’s awesome and leaves more money for sassy shoes! 🙂

  3. On the sale racks, search for out-of-season, heavily discounted items. The more times a tag has been reduced, the more likely that the piece of clothing or pair of shoes is soon going to be targeted for shipment back to the warehouse.

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