Deal Alert: Secret Designer Sale at Nordstrom

secret designer sale at nordstromI kind of suspected this yesterday when I first found the numerous Armani pieces for 60% off, but had to run to a PT appointment for my knee and didn’t have time to look after that: Nordstrom has a full fledged sale on designer stuff going on. Pages and pages and pages of pieces 40%-60% off. They’re not usually shy about their sales, so it’s kind of fun knowing about it — it’s like a secret sale. Just a few clothing pieces of note to give you a taste:

  • At top: I missed this gorgeous cotton pencil skirt in the roundup yesterday — but it’s now super affordable.  It was $395, but is now marked to $157. Nordstrom Signature and Caroline Issa Stretch Cotton Pencil Skirt
  • Below: There are actually a number of Max Mara and St. John suits in the mix, but lucky sizes only — this antique rose suit is only 40% off (womp womp) but has a a ton of sizes left.  The jacket (Max Mara ‘Frine’ One-Button Wool Jacket) was $1190, but is now marked to $713.98, and the pants (Max Mara ‘Calte’ Straight Leg Wool Pants) were $595, but are now marked to $357.
  • Everyone says the shirt dress is the new sheath dress, but most of the time I can’t see it for work because it either looks totally frumpy and wrinkled or totally “wearing my boyfriend’s shirt as a dress on my way home to change” — but this Max Mara dress looks great.  Crisp, chic, lovely. It was $965, but is now $578. Max Mara ‘Zircone’ Shirtdress
  • This glen plaid dress looks perfect for work by itself — I might play with adding a belt to it (skinny? obi? hmmn), or might also try it layered with a turtleneck beneath it in wintertime.  It’s 60% off — it was $1495, but is now marked to $578. ESCADA Glen Plaid Sheath Dress
  • I like the black version of this ombre knit dress the best, but I’m very tempted by the rosy pink version as well.  The dress was $1295, but is now marked to $517. St. John Collection ‘Papillons’ Ombré Knit Bateau Neck Sheath Dress

secret nordstrom designer sale

Pictured: Suit / Navy Dress / Glen Plaid Dress / Ombre Dress


  1. I’m looking for a graduation gift for my sister-in-law. She has just finished her doctorate, and is about 10 years older than me, with the means to purchase much nicer things for herself than what I’m able to get for her. I’m able to spend up to $75 or $100- I was looking at silk square scarves, but I’d really appreciate any other ideas about appropriate gifts?

    • A nice bottle of her favourite booze? She’ll probably need it after all that scholastic effort.

    • I think the best gifts are those that someone would love, but might not think to buy for herself or might not feel justified buying for herself. I try to get people little indulgences or upgrades from their usual. So a silk scarf, if it’s your sister’s style and not something she would get on her own, is perfect.

  2. I LOVE those four items at the bottom, but they are out of my new budget. :(

  3. What’s the ideal pencil skirt length for a shorter woman? I recently read somewhere that, if you want to appear taller, you should avoid wearing skirts that hit at the knee, which visually bisects the legs. Is it weird to wear a pencil skirt hemmed a few inches longer or a few inches shorter than the knee?

    • anon-oh-no :

      I think it should be just below the knee, tapered in just a bit.

    • You can definitely go a few inches above or below the knee.

      IMO, ideal pencil skirt length is more dependent on body proportions than height. As an hourglassy pear, pencil skirts that hit above the knee make my bottom half look wide (which makes me look stumpy overall), but those that hit just below the kneecap lengthen my silhouette and make my curves look well-proportioned. Women with straighter figures often look better with a shorter hemline.

    • I prefer my skirts to be just above the knee cap. I love the look of below the knee skirts on others but it makes me feel stumpy.

    • I mentioned this in the pencil skirt post, but the shoes worn with a pencil skirt also interact with hem length. An above the knee skirt with with high heels is going to look even shorter, and the tightness of the skirt will also be emphasized. Next time you feel your skirt looks too short or too tight (you feel naked in it) try switching your shoes to low or flat heels.

      A longer skirt hitting below knee will look frumpy with flats but can look elegant with heels. It’s extra important that the hem of the skirt taper in at this length too.

      I have pencil skirts in above-knee, mid-knee and below-knee lengths so I wear whichever length works with the shoes I’d like to wear. I wear my top of knee only casually in the summer, or for work in the winter with tights and flat heeled tall boots.

    • Shopaholic :

      If you’re short, I would wear skirts hemmed a bit above the knee. I find skirts that hit at the knee or below look a bit frumpy on shorter women. (I say this as someone who is 5’1)

      • I agree, I’m 5′-4″and most of my skirts are just above the knee worn with or without heels.

  4. I have trouble concentrating on tasks and can at times be a huge procrastinator (this site definitely encourages my procrastination). I think I could seriously be diagnosed with ADD but have never looked into it, I have simply learned to self manage. I find that I do best when I make lists and can cross things off as I complete them. If I get off track I remind myself to look at the list.

    I need some advice on how to deal with my supervisor. We are both mid-30’s and married with kids. I work PT and she works FT. I don’t think she has many friends here since she moved here about a year ago and works a lot. She talks to me a lot throughout the day regarding issues completely unrelated to work (potty training, her and her husband’s arguments, her dogs, her home improvement projects, etc.). I get that we have a lot in common and I think we could be great friends outside of work. However, her talking to me multiple times per day throws me off my work game. I will not work late into the evening and not spend time with my kids to make up the work that I don’t get done during the day because she is talking to me about non-work related stuff during my work time. I’ve tried going to lunch with her to talk personal stuff to hopefully curb the throughout the day talk and it doesn’t help. This morning I decided I would try a new approach – I closed my door and left it open only a little crack. I hoped this would discourage her from coming in. She came in and asked me a few questions regarding the work I left on her desk and then spent 30 min telling me about her vacation she just returned from. Advice??? Should I just be honest with her? Tell her I enjoy chatting with her but that it’s difficult for me to regroup when I get interrupted and that we should try and keep conversations during office time to work only? I don’t know how to deal with this.

    • Also, I find that she doesn’t just de-motivate me but she de-motivates the whole team. When other people see that she is standing around chatting, it seems like everyone adopts the chatting mentality. She’s giving off the vibe that the projects we are currently working on are not very time sensitive….which we all know they’re not, but they still need to get done somewhat efficiently.

    • Can you just cut her off and say that you have to get back to something or hop on a conference call? If she’s not leaving your office, then get up and leave on the premise of getting something off the printer, going to get some water, etc. Most people will take the hint.
      I don’t think the cracked door works. If you don’t want to be interrupted, close it all the way.

    • I have a very similar supervisor. We are actually becoming quite close through these chats and I love them, but they do eat up a huge chunk of time and distract me. That said, having this supervisor in my corner and caring about me as a person has paid enormous dividends, so I have decided that, on balance, the time suck is worth it. That doesn’t immediately solve your problem, but it might be a good way to reframe it and curtail your annoyance.

      I’d try a simple “Boss, I’d love to hear about x, but I’m trying to finish Y right now- lets check in during lunch.” This way you can protect some of your time and concentration and that will make her stop to think that she is, in fact, interrupting you. But in general, you’re not going to change her habits…. no matter how you think it impacts the whole team, no matter if you’re “right,” so I’d just let go of this one now. If she’s anything like my boss, this is just how she is.

      • cosi fan tutte :

        +1 on having your boss in your corner, and her knowing you a little bit personally will help you professionally.

        I have a colleague who will come into my office every morning as soon as she gets in, even though my door is closed and I am clearly busy, and give me a run down of her evening, expecting me to reciprocate. My strategy in dealing with her is to get up from my desk and meet her at the door as she approaches me, listen to what she has to say, and walk around the office/go get a cup of coffee while she trails off and goes back to her seat. She hasn’t realized and it really gets her to keep things short and sweet with me.

  5. Thanks a lot to all of you who gave suggestions on modest swimsuits for my MIL and aunt in law yesterday. I found something called a swimdress from la Blanca at Macy’s and it covers the upper thighs. I then bought two swim rash guard tunics from land’s end to add on top. Thank you for your helpful advice!

    • I do not have a MOTHER IN LAW (yet), but I would insist that she be dressed VERY modestley, b/c if she would be about my OWN mom’s age, she would probabley NOT want to walk around in a skimpy batheing suit, one or 2 pieces. My mom has a batheing suit from the 1970’s that looks OK on her b/c it has a skirt that cover’s her tuchus pretty well. I recomend a skirted 1 piece suit with ample coverage for the tuchus and boobie’s. THAT is age appropriate. YAY!!!

  6. Anon Techie :

    Thanks everyone for all the help yesterday in figuring out my (very immediate) decision on whether to accept the job offer. Re-posting since it was late yesterday, in case I get additional thoughts.

    Life situation: Two kids, kindergardener and toddler and I’ve always been a bit of a crunchy, babywearing, pumping/nursing parent spending a Ton of time with them. I’ve also taken a couple of steps down career-wise over many years, and DH is in a very demanding job with growth potential but earning equal to or slightly less than me now. Edit to add: I have grandparents for backup care nearby and they are very helpful already.

    Current job – pro: fantastic commute (<10 mins) and good work life balance. I worked here through being pregnant, so have been able to go home and check on the baby at lunch if she's sick. Work has not been super challenging, more operational which means I can get my day's work done and leave at 5:30, occasional early morning meetings/calls (across time zones) but I almost never take work home. I'm also able to pick up the slack in terms of home stuff since DH is so busy and works long days.

    Con: The office might move soon (i.e. 6 months to a year) so I might end up with a 25ish minute commute if not longer. Also growth potential is low, I've explicitly asked for the opportunity to take on more but a boss I loved (who hired me) left and the new EVP had a lukewarm response to this request, he's brought in some of his own senior leadership.

    New offer: Role seems great, exciting, I'd have the opportunity to hire a team. I'd get paid about 10% more. Good career opportunities.
    Cons: 30-40 minute commute each way and I Hate driving and get stressed out by it (busy highway). I have no insight into work-life balance but a potential weekly deliverable. I'd never be able to go home for lunch and see the baby again! The company is going through a difficult period but IMO is not in danger of closing down (though value of stock may fall so I need to factor into the stock compensation).

    What would you ask/think about as you make this decision?
    – Can I ask if I can WFH one day a week, or maybe one day every other week? Not sure if this will be entertained or if I would look bad for asking.

    • Anon Techie :

      One more question – should I mention my offer (higher title) and ask for a raise etc. in my current role? If I’m leaning towards leaning out (ha!) and staying in my current job, isn’t it at least worth it to say “heya, look people want me and want to pay me more but I’m staying here… value me and give me more” ?
      Not in an ultimatum way but just saying that I’m staying anyway and I’d be willing to accept say a promotion in 6 months?
      Also, I feel stupid turning down a better job, brand name company, higher pay and promotion! Just to stay at current company which is (temporarily) close to home but only until they find a new location in a few months time (and who knows where that will be as it’s cost-driven).

      • I’d stay at your current job. Leaning in/out is so that you can stay gainfully employed and also not drive yourself crazy while you’re managing a young family. You’ve leaned in, you’ve got a good job that provides with balance, I wouldn’t even consider leaving that. I also would not mention that you’re looking an have another offer – I think that marks you as a less loyal employee (and one who’s willing to jump ship for something not so important, like a title change), and that can negatively impact you at your current employer. Good for you for keeping your options open, but as described, I think your current set up sounds like a good one.

    • I think your question is more about do you want to lean in or continue leaning out. It sounds to me by your tone that you enjoy your freedom now. I’m in a similar position to you currently and I don’t know if there is any price I could even name that would take me to a job without the flexibility and ability to see my children that I have now.

      • +1. I have been a lawyer for 8 years. I have found a job that is decently compensated (could always use more. . .) but is incredibly flexible and allows me the ability to pick my children up after school, take off if needed for appointments, field trips, was able to care for my mother when she had cancer. These benefits are priceless to me right now at this stage in my life and I wouldn’t (and haven’t even when given the opportunity) trade them for just about anything. My commute time is better than at my previous job as well and that makes a big difference in quality of life, especially after work. I do acknowledge that the work I do here is fulfilling to me and I like my co-workers and so that helps as well.

  7. I wouldn’t take a 10% increase for a change in commute time from 10 min to 40 min. If your city is anything like my city, one wreck or snow or rain or anything really, changes the usual 40 commute to an hour or more. What is your time worth? Say you make $100k and are going to make an additional $10k…you’re spending an additional 5 hours in the car a week at a minimum. Multiply hours times 40 weeks per year and you’re looking at an additional 200 hours a year of commuting time at a minimum plus wear and tear on your car. Can you find a similar job closer by?

    I wouldn’t make a decision to increase my commute right now when your company is going to move at some point in the future. I worked at an office that was “going to be moving” for 3 years and then I moved to a new job. They were then bought out by a different company.

  8. Did anyone see that Plated came out with a cookbook? I thought it was a misstep, I use all the food services but would never buy a cookbook, I use them to plan for me. Seems like a “know your customer” went wrong.

    • In contrast, I keep my favorite Blue Apron recipes and cook them again, so I would totally buy a Blue Apron cookbook.

      • Interesting! If I cook I only google recipes. I’m happy to read the counter point.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I have re-made Blue Apron meals as well. I wish they had a feature where you could re-purchase the measured ingredients for specific meals.

    • Interesting. I’d almost never use these services but I love creative recipes and would at least take a look at a book…

    • Anonymous :

      I saw that last week, too! I use Plated and have remade a handful of recipes, but for me, most of the recipes contain at least one ingredient that I don’t have laying around and can’t buy in a quantity small enough for the recipe or use up before it would spoil. If they group the recipes so that I know I should cook these few in quick-ish succession to justify buying red curry paste or whatever, I might be interested. But the recipes are really not the point of the service for me, it’s the convenience of having the recipe and properly portioned ingredients at the same time.

  9. I am a very junior attorney in my organization but generally have a very good relationship with other departments. A deputy director in another department asked me to put together a training for his employees. I can’t do it myself, I need to work with the two other attorneys in this subject area, both of whom are senior to me and one of whom seems out to get me. I try to avoid toxic colleague if I can’t, but he really should be involved in this project. I don’t know why deputy director didn’t ask him instead of me to lead the training.

    Any tips on incoming toxic colleague because it’s his subject area without having him usurp the project?

  10. anonymous :

    Are CSAs ever cost effective? Or is it just fun to pick up yummy food every week? I’m single and I like to eat a lot of vegetables and I cook all meals, if that makes a difference.

    • Know your CSA, I suppose. I didn’t nut find mine to be cost effective. I’m single and cook a TON but split the CSA with bf.
      There was way too much food, much more than the two of us could eat, and things tended to come in waves — I found myself with 18 ears of corn in August, tons and tons of kale and lettuce with little else in June, and kohlrabi out the wazoo in Sept. I had two dozen tomatoes at one point, but no tomatoes at all for most of the summer. Keep in mind that because the selections are seasonal, you will still need to supplement by buying your staples.

      If you’re some who has the time not only to cook fresh meals, but to plan and do lots of mass freezer prep, it’s great. I doing regret it, but every week without fail, I ended up throwing away so much spoiling food.**

      **the plums somehow have lasted for 6 months and still smell/taste good. This is mysterious.

      • Another CSA failure :

        This, exactly. I loved the idea of a CSA, but I didn’t like having to plan my meals around whatever I happened to get. And as Anon said, it goes in waves, with tons of one thing and then tons of another. I’m a pretty good cook, but not good enough that I can come up with lots of different ways to cook kohlrabi or cabbage for weeks on end. So I think you’ll definitely be supplementing. I only lasted one season.

    • Wildkitten :

      It depends. Do you live near farms or are you paying someone to farm in Brooklyn? Are you using a CSA because alternatively you’d be buying organic veggies at Whole Foods or going out to dinner? Or are you using a CSA instead of getting conventional/frozen food on sale at Safeway?

      • anonymous :

        I currently buy normal (mostly fresh) produce at the local grocery store and sometimes Trader Joe’s. This box I’m looking at is $29 and is supposed to feed 1-2 people. If this is pretty much all the produce I buy in a week, then it’s in my budget. If I need to buy a lot more produce still in addition to staples, then it isn’t. I guess it depends on how much food they give me. It says 5-6 items, but I don’t know ho much. Does that vary a lot?

    • I loved ours when we had it. Even if went to the farmer’s market, I probably would’ve just bought stuff I already knew how to cook. I enjoyed stepping it up to new ingredients and challenging myself with new recipes, between research and improv cooking :) It was a challenge to use up everything but ours came with eggs so worse came to worse I tossed everything in to a frittata the night before the new box came. I enjoyed getting to know the farmer, the season, etc.

      What killed me was picking it up every week at the oh-so-convenient locations – note NOT AT ALL.

      But I also found that I really enjoyed complaining about my CSA – insert smiley emoticon here – I mean, he gave us, like, onion buds?! WHAT?! so YMMV.

    • The ones in my area are 30-40 a week. Which is super cost effective, especially if you are all about sustainability and your money going directly to a farmer (vs through a grocer store as a middle man).