10 Nordstrom Secrets Revealed

Are you a Nordstrom shopper? I am. I shop online at Nordstrom.com all the time, mostly because I am always working and hardly ever get time to go to the store. Their return policy is so amazing that I never have to think twice about ordering something and not liking it/needing to exchange it/wanting to return it.

I get emails everyday from PopSugar, and this one, written by Nicole Yi was in my inbox last week and is too good not to share!


10 Nordstrom Shopping Secrets, Straight From a Former Employee

Written by Nicole Yi for PopSugar

Nordstrom Storefront

This post contains affiliate links

Even before I started working at Nordstrom, it was one of my favorite stores to shop. And after working there for nearly two years in my late college years, I loved and respected the company even more. Employees go above and beyond to provide the customer with an experience rather than just a shopping trip, and I got to see it from both sides. There’s a number of fascinating facts behind the scenes at the beloved department store, but I’m zeroing in on the ones that will help you get the most out of your visit. Without further ado: 10 secrets that will practically make you a professional Nordstrom shopper.

1. Nordstrom’s liberal return policy is truly unbeatable.

The well-known tale about Nordstrom accepting a customer’s Good Year tires is totally a myth. You are, however, able to get away with a lot. Their computer systems will recognize some form of receipt (tag, physical or electronic receipt, credit card) for up to five years from the purchase date. Even if it’s clearly worn with stains, we have to accept the return, no questions asked other than “Was there anything wrong with the product?” Even if you say that you changed your mind (four years later), they can’t press any further.

You don’t even need a form of receipt, either. Though it makes the process easier for the employee, they can find a similar item to refund you if you really make a fuss. Many customers do take advantage of this, which has made Nordstrom’s return policy stricter recently. Now all returns must be refunded to the original form of payment, whereas before, customers were able to cash out on goods that were even clearly stolen.

2. New products arrive almost daily.

You’ll want to check back regularly because many departments get shipments every day. That also means that the floor layout is constantly changing, but there’s a way to beat feeling overwhelmed. The floor is typically organized into distinct looks like casual, department staples, dressy, and “going out,” for example. It makes it instinctive for employees when returning their “dump” (or go-backs) and hopefully easier for customers to shop if the manager did a good job.

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3. You’re allowed to take hangers home.

Some customers want to keep their clothes hung so that they can easily add them to their closet when they get home. Ask to keep your hangers and they’ll throw them in your bag or wrap your items in a garment bag, no problem. Limit your request to the plastic hangers, though, because the wooden ones are more limited. I’ve had customers even ask for a bag full of them before.

4. Utilize your sales associate.

Don’t be afraid to form a working relationship with a salesperson you really hit it off with. They make commission so I promise they won’t mind any requests. Some of my customers became regular clients who would personally call me for items they wanted. I would text them pictures of newly arrived products that suit their style and ship it directly home to them. They never even had to step foot in store. You can also ask him or her to bring you items from other departments like shoes or accessories to complete the look all at once. Just be mindful that they’re the ones putting everything back when you leave.

5. Take advantage of (free!) personal stylist appointments.

Most customers assume that there’s an extra fee to work with a personal stylist, but it’s completely free! Whether you have a special occasion you need help shopping for or just need to refresh your wardrobe, they’re there for you and they know what they’re doing. You can also do the same with any of your favorite salespeople. They’re often just as qualified and love taking time off the floor to personalize a dressing room just for you.

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6. The Nordstrom debit card is definitely worth the perks.

When checking out, the cashier will probably ask if you’re part of the Nordstrom Rewards program. We’re all forced to get as many customers as possible to apply for a debit or credit card, and though I felt uncomfortable soliciting when I first started, I learned once getting one myself that you’re only missing out if you refuse. I understand when people don’t want another credit card, but the debit card links to your existing account and is completely free. Not only do you earn $20 back in Nordstrom Notes (basically a gift card) for every 2,000 points, but it also comes with alterations, early access to the Anniversary Sale, and more. If you’re a regular Nordstrom shopper already, you might as well get rewarded for every dollar you spend.

7. Check out the Anniversary Sale on the first day.

If you don’t know already, Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale is around every July or so and debuts brand-new Fall products at incredible discounts. It’s the store’s biggest sale of the year, and for good reason. Designer goods are marked off by hundreds of dollars and other items are discounted around 25 to 40 percent off. This is the best time to stock up for the new season because prices go back up once the sale ends. Because stores get products in limited quantities, most of the best stuff disappears after the first day. Make sure you have a Nordstrom Rewards card to gain early access to the sale one week before the general public gets to purchase.

8. Ask an employee to take an item to alterations if it’s stained or wrinkled.

You know when you’ve found the last top in your size but it’s covered in deodorant stains or makeup? Let an employee know and they’ll gladly take it back to alterations and have them steam and spot-treat your item on the spot. They use a special, gentle lavender soap (that’s available for purchase in the lingerie department) that can seriously get anything out.

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9. There’s not much a salesperson will say “no” to.

Nordstrom is best known for its incredible customer service, and the company does not take that lightly. I’ve done everything for customers, from running iced waters to their dressing rooms from the espresso bar downstairs to carrying their bags to their car across the mall. But if you truly are an All-Star employee (an actual company recognition for outstanding customer service), you’ll have offered those things before the customer even thought to ask. Though Nordstrom employees have the freedom to do what it takes to make the customer leave with a memorable experience, don’t take advantage of them if you’re not planning on recognizing their services.

10. Everything eventually goes on sale.

All items reduce significantly over the course of a few months. If you have an item on your wish list you simply can’t justify purchasing, wait it out. Although there is a risk that it will be sold out by the time you’re ready, an employee will most likely be able to track one down in the store-wide system. I’ve been able to find the last top in the entire company for a customer before. When the price marks down over time to end in .97, it means it’s time to be sent to Nordstrom Rack. Occasionally, customers will find missed .97 sale items on the floor and score a great deal, and more rarely, we’ve had to honor items that literally devalued to $0.01.

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Impetuous Hedonism ~ Jo Malone’s Basil and Neroli Candle

Jo Malone Basil and Neroli

The way my home smells is so crazy important to me. In order to function in the madness that is my work and life schedule I need clean, clear, beautifully lit spaces that smell just right.

It sounds a little righteous, and there was definitely a time in my life when I would have rolled my eyes at a statement like that and said something incredibly clever like “oh pu-leeeeze!!”

Smells bind with memories in our brains, and for a long time now spring and summer in my home have existed on an olfactory loop that mixes lemon with jasmine and honeysuckle, the heady fragrance of Capri and the Amalfi Coast.

I can walk into my home after the longest, most stressful day and in a single breath be transported back to the bluest ocean you’ve ever seen. It’s like magic.

I don’t like most of the mass market seasonal home fragrances. Over the years I’ve tried to give my son an autumn home that smells like pumpkin spice or vanilla and brown sugar and any of the traditional scents, but just between you and me, I can’t stand them.

I’ve been searching for a new home fragrance for a while now, and I’ve become fixated on the new Jo Malone Basil and Neroli.


I love verbena smells, this one also has a cedar grounding it somewhere in its base along with a sexy yet fresh white musk followed by basil up top and warm sun kissed neroli at it’s heart.

This fragrance still manages to transport me back to Italy with a single breath. 

the sun setting over beautiful San Gimignano

Evoking a hundred nights in Tuscany the basil note reminds me of evenings drenched in the golden sunsets of San Gimignano, sitting along the city wall, a glass of local vernaccia in hand,watching over the fields and vineyards and olive groves as the afternoon moves into evening.

late afternoon in San Gimignano smells like fresh basil

The neroli smells like the blood oranges we eat for breakfast on the terrace in Sicily, or while looking out the palace windows at the screaming blue of the Adriatic in Puglia. 

morning coffee on the Adriatic in Puglia

Blood oranges that ripened in the blinding heat of the summer sun in the Mezzogiorno. 

breakfast time by the sea in Puglia

On the island of Lipari we stay in a place named after orange blossoms that fill the garden looking out over the bay at the live volcano of Stromboli, and that line the street that leads down to Cannetto bay. 

Stromboli volcano smokes menacingly across the bay

The neroli in the Jo Malone fragrance is a heady mix of all these memories.

One of the things I love about this fragrance is that even with so many notes it stays fresh and light.  It’s not weighty or cumbersome. It makes the perfect end of year gift, be it a business gift, personal gift or gift to yourself.

I read that it was designed to reflect the green leafy spaces in London, combined with London’s impetuous hedonism.

I like that idea. Impetuous hedonism. 

The Jo Malone Basil and Neroli candle is available both online and I store at Nordstrom.

The Coveted List August ~

I’m getting ready for a month of international travel that includes a couple of 36 hour + travel days involving multiple flights and trains.
The tricky thing about super long travel days, especially the ones that involve more than one international flight, is finding a way to be comfortable and still look good, even when you are stepping off a 10 hour flight 24 hours after leaving home.
So I am shopping the wardrobe that makes it all work.
Or at least coveting it…


I love traveling with a chic backpack instead of a handbag. Backpacks are much easier to maneuver around with. You can fit whatever you need in there, and get perfect weight balance across both shoulders rather than dragging weight on one shoulder.
And they look stylish! 


Check out this Tory Burch Amanda Backpack  at Nordstrom.

The Nic And Zoe Feel Good Pant travels well and is super comfortable – even when you are trapped in an uncomfortable airplane seat. 


The great thing about this pair of pants is that they don’t look trashed when you get off the plane, instead the fabric moves as you do, and looks fresh when you change into sandals and a clean T.

The Splendid V Neck High/Low Sweater from Nordstrom is a fine knit cashmere blend that wards off airplane chill while looking good.


Wrap up in the Alexander McQueen Reversible Hibiscus and Skull Scarf  to keep your neck and chest warm in flight, or pair it with a white tank or T when you land.


Prada’s Leather Espadrille combines comfort and ease with a little panache. You can run through airport terminals in them, and you can walk all over Rome in them, as comfortable as can be, and they never look anything but chic. The leather uppers breathe well and hold their shape.


Tory Burch Miller Sandals are a great alternative to slip on when you land. They look perfect with the Nic and Zoe pants.


Cartier Love Bracelet in pink gold and Cartier Love rings in pink gold. Because I love Cartier. And I love love.


Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist is fabulous for everyday use, but is also a life saving revitalizing facial mist to keep your skin hydrated and glowing during your flight. When you are away from home and your skin starts freaking out, this dewy skin mist is the ultimate travel hack skin saver – it’s soothing and calming and relaxes your skin back into happy mode.


Tatcha Brightening Serum is the holy grail of serums. 


It heals and soothes, hydrates and deep treats any skin type. You can use it alone as a light but super effective moisturizer on extra hot or humid days, or on long flights, or layer it with your moisturizer on normal days. It makes your skin glow as if lit from within. Wear it just one time and you will never want to go without it again.

Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Luxembourg. The satiny finish on these lip pencils make your lips look lush and hydrated after a long flight. Most people look washed out and drained when they deplane. A little pop of color on your lip makes you look rejuvenated and refreshed.