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Q&A: Guide to Nordstrom Women’s Departments, Where I Get My Fashion Inspiration + More!

Happy Thursday, friends! It is FINALLY the last day of January. I saw this meme on Instagram, and it made me giggle. Does anyone else feel like this?

I’ve been getting some repeat questions so I decided to write a Q&A post so I can answer them for everyone. Topics are pretty much all over the place — everything from blogging and personal questions to fashion and beauty, so hopefully you’ll find some of them helpful or interesting.

Q // I’d love to know the scale of Nordstrom brands lowest to highest. Like BP and Gibson seem lower, but you recently talked about a high end sweater you kept from Trunk Club.

A // This question was actually for my Facebook Live, which aired on Tuesday and you can watch it HERE if you’d like, but I thought it would also be helpful to share this information in a blog post.

This is a list of the main women’s departments at Nordstrom and who they’re for, along with the popular brands you’ll find within each. I’ll start at what I consider the bottom, quality and price-wise, and work my way up.

BP. stands for “Brass Plum” and caters primarily to teens. Prices are relatively affordable, and quality is variable. BP. is a department and also a Nordstrom-exclusive brand. Other brands you will find in the BP. department are Thread & Supply, Street Level, Vigoss, and Steve Madden. You can definitely shop here if you’re not a teen, but choose wisely. I only shop here for trends I want to try, not for wardrobe staples.

Savvy is a trendy department that caters to young and small-framed women. Sizing generally runs small, and price points and quality are a mixed bag. A familiar Nordstrom-exclusive brand in this department is Leith, and you’ll also find national brands such as TopshopBlankNYC, and ASTR the Label. I don’t shop much in this department, although I do sometimes like Leith and BlankNYC products.

Point of View stocks affordable casual and career wear in regular sizes. This is where you’ll find the Nordstrom-exclusive brands Wit & Wisdom, Caslon, Gibson, and Halogen, as well as national brands such as Lauren by Ralph Lauren, NYDJ, Sanctuary, and Vince Camuto. This is definitely a popular department among JLS readers as the average price point is accessible and styles are designed for a variety of body types and sizes.

T.B.D. is an urban and denim-focused department, and here you’ll find all of the premium denim brands like AG, Paige7 for all Mankind, etc. This is also where you’ll find brands such as MadewellRails, 1.STATE, and Free People, as well as Nordstrom-exclusives Hinge and Treasure & Bond. This is one of my favorite places so shop in-store, and usually where I go first. The denim draws me in, but I also like the tops and sweaters in this area. You’re going to get better quality and higher prices than the Point of View department, but the brands are still relatively accessible.

Individualist is a step up from Point of View and T.B.D. in both quality and price point. You’ll find more sophisticated styles and better fabrications by national brands such as Vince (not to be confused with Vince Camuto), Eileen Fisher, Joie, Theory, and Ted Baker. Nordstrom also has an exclusive line in this department called Nordstrom Signature that is comparable in quality and price point to the aforementioned designer brands. This is my favorite department to browse and window-shop and pet the luxe cashmere (ha!) but I usually only purchase those brands when I find them on sale. They sometimes go on sale at Nordstrom, but I also regularly search Off Fifth and Nordstrom Rack for my favorite designer brands.

Studio 121 is a high end department geared to more mature women featuring luxe brands such as Lafayette, Canada Goose, Burberry, and BOSS. I try to stay away from this department, haha!

There are others — the dresses are a department unto themselves, although you will find some dresses in every department — and then there are two or three handbag departments, three main women’s shoe departments, accessories, makeup, lingerie, and activewear departments; but the ones I listed above are the main clothing departments.

Q // Where do you find your fashion inspiration? How do you figure out what the ‘in’ things are going to be? Do you read any fashion magazines, and do they factor in to what you feature?

sweatshirt trim sweater // AG legging ankle jeans (budget option) // similar Jeffrey Campbell booties // Rebecca Minkoff shoulder bag // earrings // bracelet // sunnies c/o

A // I actually get a lot of inspiration from other fashion blogs and sometimes Pinterest. I used to read fashion magazines, but they are usually too far out there for me to get much real-life fashion inspiration. I still like to check out InStyle with each change of season to see their take on what’s trending, and I also do Google searches when I’m writing posts on upcoming trends, but I mostly watch other fashion bloggers and search Pinterest to keep a pulse on what is trending for us regular folk.

I also pay attention to the emails I get from the retailers I frequently shop because they often share trend alerts and styling advice. I don’t have a separate junk email for that type of thing. I actually open those, lol!

Q // What is your current skincare routine? Do you still sell Rodan + Fields? Are you still using Olay, and do you recommend it?

A // I regularly get asked about my skincare, so I linked my current skincare routine under the Beauty tab on the menu bar at the top of my website, and I try to keep it updated because I do switch things up quite often.

I stopped using R+F a while back. I still think it’s a great product, but I get the opportunity to try out other skincare lines for the blog so I wasn’t being consistent with it. I also didn’t feel like I was being a very good consultant to those who purchased through me, so I decided to let my account lapse.

Likewise with Olay, I tried out some products for the blog, and I was pleased with everything I used, but I’ve since moved on to other products. I do recommend the brand, though, and I think it’s an excellent value for the price point.

I’m currently using mostly Colleen Rothschild products. They feel and smell wonderful, plus they send me PR packages from time to time, which helps keep me well-stocked. #keepingitreal I still buy some of my own too, though.

I actually met Ms. Rothschild at a blogging conference a few years ago, and she’s a lovely person. The company is out of Dallas, TX, so you’re supporting a woman entrepreneur and a local company when you purchase her products, which is pretty cool!

Q // Do you get Botox or fillers?

A // I do not. At the present time, I’ve never had any Botox, fillers, injectables… or anything beyond a facial. I’m not opposed; I just haven’t gotten there yet. I feel like that’s one of those things that once you start, you have to keep up with it, so I’m putting it off as long as possible.

Lately I’ve been trying to get facials on a monthly basis — I used to get them once a year or so, but I’m definitely seeing signs of aging that I don’t like, and I’m hoping that by getting more regular facials, I can hold off on the more invasive procedures.

Q // Your posts suddenly began showing up in my junk mail instead of my inbox. How can I fix this?

A // Ugh! I hate hearing that. Yes, you can do a few things. First, be sure to add my email address (info@jolynneshane.com) to your address book or your contacts so your email provider recognizes that it’s a legitimate address.

Also, make sure to move all of my emails from your junk folder to your inbox — that also signals to your email provider that it’s an email you want to receive. If there is an option to click “not spam,” do that as well.

Finally, if you have gmail, you can set up a filter to send all my emails to your inbox — or where ever you want it to go. I hope that helps!

Q // How do you afford all of the clothes and shoes you buy? Your husband must have a really good job!

Wildfox white sweatshirt // AG legging ankle jeans // Greats The Royale sneakers

A // This is a paraphrase of various questions and comments I get from time to time. I had to include the husband line because we find it quite hilarious.

REAL TALK: When I say this blog is my job, I mean it is a full-time, self-sustaining job. I’m not some bored housewife with a shopping addiction. 😜 I fully support myself and the blog and help contribute to the family finances through this job. To be blunt, my husband does not pay for my clothes/shoes/accessories. Yes, he has a good job, but so do I.

If you aren’t familiar with how blogs make money, you can read all about it in this post. I always try to be completely transparent about the fact that I earn a full-time income from this blog, but sometimes I forget that not everyone understands how it works.

Sure, blogging is a lot of fun, and I’m incredibly grateful to get to do something I love, but there are drawbacks to this line of work. For one thing, social media never sleeps. This is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year job. I try to set some reasonable boundaries, but I never clock out. I tend to thrive on that pace, so it works for me, but it’s definitely a lifestyle.

The weirdest thing for me, though, is putting so much information out there for public consumption, especially what I spend. I try to choose what I share wisely, but no matter what I do, people are going to make their assumptions… and we all know what happens when we assume. Haha!

I realize it’s all part of living life online, and I’ve gotten used to it over the years, but I’ve had a few comments and questions lately so I wanted to clarify for those who are wondering.

Q // Do you keep all the clothes you feature on the blog?

A // I get this question often, and I figured it was a good follow-up the one above. No, I don’t. I couldn’t possibly!

I actually keep blog clothes and personal clothes separate so I don’t get attached to things I’m unsure about or don’t plan to keep. I have a rolling rack in my room where I keep the clothes I plan to try on or style for blog posts, and I only move clothes into my closet when I’ve decided to keep them.

My personal wardrobe is always changing because I cycle things through as they sell out because people like me to feature things that are in stock, but I hold on to foundation pieces that are higher quality and classic pieces that I can find similar products to link to.

As for what I do with the clothes I don’t keep, I return things that haven’t been worn, I pass some on to friends and family, I take a few bags to Style Encore at the end of every season, and I donate the rest to a thrift shop that benefits a local Christian prison ministry.

Q // What 5 items would you add in January to spruce up your winter wardrobe?

Leith open cardigan // AG legging ankle jeans // Vince Ridley booties

A // This was challenging to me for some reason! I can come up with 2 or 3, but 5… I had to think on that for a bit.

  1. Definitely a couple bright or pastel colored sweaters to liven up this dreary weather. I love this purple Leith open cardigan and this confetti wool blend turtleneck sweater. Oh, and this pink deep-v pullover. I bought those earlier this month because I was getting tired of neutrals and dark colors. Sizes are picked over, but at least the prices are good because just about everything is on sale! Does that just count as one?
  2. Some fresh jewelry! I’ve been adding some delicate pieces that I can wear alone or layer. I love this Gorjana star necklace for filling a v-neckline, and this Shashi warrior pendant is nice on crewneck and round neck tops. It’s a nice in-between length that we are starting to see more of this season. These on-trend tortoiseshell print earrings are under $10 and will go with many things.
  3. A new handbag? It doesn’t have to be an investment piece… or it can be. It was this time last year I invested in a luxury tote because I guess I was tired of clothes, lol!
  4. Okay, it’s getting harder. I’m running out of ideas. If you’ve been wanting to update your winter coat or add to your coat wardrobe, now is a good time to do so because most stores are running clearance sales.
  5. I’m going to have to go with a new pair of shoes! I just added white leather sneakers to my wardrobe, and as soon as this polar vortex moves out, I’m going to be wearing them almost daily. They’re a fresh and fun alternative to boots with my jeans and winter sweaters.

Q // Do you see skinny jeans sticking around? 

pink turtleneck // grey jeans (budget option) // snakeskin booties// leather jackets // similar tote

A // I get this question almost every week on my Facebook Lives. I guess I’m not the only one who is afraid the Fashion Police are going to come and take my skinny jeans away while I’m asleep one night! Haha!

I do see skinny jeans sticking around, although I think we will slooooooowly see them getting replaced by wider styles. That is where the trends are headed, and while that look doesn’t seem to be as versatile to me, neither did skinny jeans when they first started coming out, and now I can’t imagine wearing anything else on a daily basis.

I think our eyes will start to adjust as we see more people in the wider legs, but I do not see skinny jeans going anywhere this year. I watch a lot of younger fashion bloggers that are far more hip than I ever hope to be, and most are still primarily wearing skinnies. For now, anyway.

Q // Are cold shoulder tops and dresses going to look dated this spring and summer? 

WHBM cold shoulder knit shift // Converse Shoreline sneakers

A // I’ve had this question quite a few times as well. The cold shoulder trend definitely came in quickly and seems to be dying out just as quickly. I don’t expect to see much of it in stores this spring and summer. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to immediately ditch all the cold shoulder tops in your closet. It just means they’re not going to be as readily available in stores, and over the next few seasons, we’ll probably be seeing fewer and fewer of them on the street.

When deciding if it’s time to retire a trendy item from your closet, it’s a bit of a gut check. If you feel uncomfortable or frumpy or dated when you put it on, you may want to donate it. If you love it and feel pretty wearing it, I say go for it.

Also take into consideration the area in which you live and how quickly the people you rub shoulders with (no pun intended!) tend to adopt and discard trends. If you live in an urban or fashion-forward area, you may feel you look dated wearing cold shoulders this spring, but if you live in a more suburban/rural area where trends change more gradually, you’ll probably still see them around.

My 16-year-old daughter actually has one of my hand-me-down cold shoulder tops from WHBM, and she says she’ll still wear it this year, so there’s that!

Got Questions?

I try to do these Q&A posts a few times a year, but I also do an Asked & Answered feature in my email newsletters. You can email me anytime with A&A in the subject, and I’ll do my best to get to your question within a week! If you’re not signed up for my emails, you can do that HERE. And of course, I also take questions during my weekly Facebook Live chats.

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51 thoughts on “Q&A: Guide to Nordstrom Women’s Departments, Where I Get My Fashion Inspiration + More!

  1. So much great information!  👍

    I know most people love their skinny jeans – and I have two pair – but I have just never embraced it.  Mostly because my calves are thicker and I don’t feel most of them are very flattering on me.  The majority of my jeans are straight leg (not cropped – I don’t like those either) and some slim leg.  I’ll be honest and say I have to look real hard even for straight leg jeans that don’t have too wide of a leg.  I think my slim leg jeans are a  perfect compromise – not too wide not too skinny.  😊

    Sorry …  I know you didn’t want a full commentary … 😜

    To all of you in the middle of this polar vortex – stay safe and warm!  

    Blessings… 

    1. I think it’s good that you know what does and does not work for you. That is very important! You’ll definitely find more straight leg styles to choose from – the retailers I subscribe to are already featuring them as the trend for spring.

    2. Another Gina…from MA. Skinny jeans have never fit me very well so I’ve never embraced them either. I love the LOFT curvy straight and have a couple of pair of those. Where have you had luck with straight or slim jeans?  There are so many skinny jeans out there. I find it hard to find other styles. 

      1. Gina from MA – Here are the jeans I’ve found not to be too skinny as well as straight leg styles that I don’t think are too wide looking.  

        Macy’s:
        Style&Co brand – I like their straight, slim and skinny jeans.  I know the one says “skinny” but I’ve found they are not too constricting on my thicker calves.  They also have a curvy fit skinny that I tried but couldn’t get the right length for me.  The fit also varies by color.  🤦‍♀️ 
        Charter Club brand – their Lexington straight is good and I just bought their Windham skinny high rise – love the higher rise – still debating if the leg is too tight for my likes.  

        JCPenney:
        St. John’s Bay brand – LOVE their straight leg!! I just ordered their skinny leg – I tried one pair in the store but it was a size too big so I’ll see how it fits in the leg once I get them. 

        Lee Jeans – the Classic Fit Straight Leg – I’ve only ordered the Horizon color and did have to size down one but I love these too! 

        NYDJ – the Alina Convertible Ankle Jean – it’s a slimmer leg and I really like these too.  

        These run all price points and while the Macy’s  and JCP may be considered a lower quality Jean by some, mine have lasted a really long time.  

        I hope this helps.  

  2. Great post! I especially appreciated the run down of Nordstrom brands and departments. I’m trying to be more responsible when it comes to purchasing fewer clothing items of better quality and avoiding the “fast fashion” mindset. Frankly, I find it very disappointing and annoying when certain fashion bloggers model an item, sing it’s praises, and never mention that, quality-wise, it is, shall we say, “lacking”😡
    Now let’s talk about your closet! ❤️ I think hubby and I are ready to take the plunge and install  closet organization systems. I know you have shared this before…maybe it was your old house though…but if you don’t mind repeating the information, I’d love to know the brand you have, if you are happy with that lay out or would do anything differently.
    Thank you for this post!

      1. Ooh, can’t wait for the closet post! We’re getting ready to do our master bedroom closet. Getting some quotes this weekend! 

  3. Thanks for this very informational blog.  It was so good!  I’m so glad you explained the different Nordstrom departments.  I can get confused in the huge store in Dallas.  I appreciate you!

  4. Thank you for the insight on how you make money blogging. It was honest, informative and eye opening.  I admire your straight forward  ability to answer questions honestly and openly. Your blog is my favorite place to get my style info from- (and I have subscribed to many others)- yours is the best- and I am for one, grateful- 
    robin

  5. Great post today with a lot of helpful information. I especially liked how you explained the Nordstrom departments in the post and on the live. 
    As a follow up to your fashion sneaker post would you do a, “5 ways to style your fashion sneakers”? It’s probably similar to styling Shorelines, but an update with what’s in would be helpful. 

  6. So glad to hear that skinny jeans may still be around for awhile. Being short and having a petite frame does not do well with wide leg jeans, at least not in my opinion. Thanks for answering all those questions and it certainly helps me feel like we know you a little more on a personal level and not just a social media blogger. 

  7. Oh what happened to our spring like days ? Lol.. We had snow yesterday which turned to rain and ice in between. Yuck and back to -9 degrees Celsius with the windchill today.. but it is sunny and will be for the next week. Thank you for these questions and answer’s . You are one of the most open and informative blogger’s I’ve run into and always answer our questions. You definitely earn every bit of what you make:) Looking forward to some spring fashion even if we can’t wear  it for awhile. I’m really searching the in between stuff right now.

  8. Great post! I am finding I am getting tired of dark colors as well this January the 74th! I find this is a pretty good time to shop if you are looking for sweaters, because they are all on sale – but then most of the sizes are picked over too. Sometimes you get lucky though! My birthday is coming up in Feb, so maybe a small shopping day is in order! 🙂

  9. Thank you for the terrific post. I rarely shop at Nordstrom but when I do, now I know what’s what. I’m sorry that people ask questions that can be offensive. The comment about your “husband must make good money” made me bristle with irritation. C’mon folks, its 2019 not 1959! Blogging is a full time (plus!) career. Sorry to hear that.

    Hope it warms up soon. 3F is not much fun. Its 45F/ +7 C here so I will enjoy the day as much as I can before the polar vortex reaches us this weekend and we plunge into arctic temps.

    Have fun at your manicure! Stay warm.

  10. Jo-Lynne, This was a very informative post.  Once I realized how you make money (many months ago), I come to your site and link through to a retailer.  I learn so much from you even if it’s not always a particular recommendation, that I want you to get the monetary credit.  
    And I’ll add my 3rd & last (haha) Thank you! for the Nordstrom brands explanation.  So helpful!

    Have a great day.  I was out with my dogs when real feel was -23 yesterday (okay, only for 10 minutes).  It’s cold but beautiful in Cincinnati!

  11. Absolutely fabulous post!  Thank you so much for taking the time to put this one together.  I am going to save it for future reference when I’m shopping Nordstrom online.  It was 22 when I got up and the sun is shining nice and bright.  By next Wednesday or Thursday our highs will be in the upper 70’s!  That’s when I’ll see people in their spring/summer clothes.  Then they will have to return to their fall/winter pieces.  We have a great niece and her family that moved from GA to the Chicago area, for her husbands job, last November.  What a time to move there!  Have a blessed day!

  12. I know it’s a good time to buy winter (sales) but I’m done with dark heavy clothes. I have bought a couple of things. I found a sweater coat that I love but it will need to warm up a bit before I can wear it. I also bought two floral tops. I don’t usually buy floral but they seemed so fresh. I feel those on a dark background are less sweet. I’m hoping for an early spring. 
    I’m not ready to give up my skinnies but have added a couple of straight leg styles. I hope skinnies never wane as they are so easy to style and look great with tall boots or booties. 
    I hope you warm up some up in your part of the country. Brrr 

    1. I used to shop ahead for next year at this point in the season, but now it’s hard for me to think that far ahead. I think it’s the fashion blogging. I have to start planning spring looks now, and I just can’t think about both, lol.

  13. I love your blog and how “real” you are.  I enjoy hearing about your life & family.  Of course I enjoy the fashion part too.  Thank you for always sharing.  I look forward to seeing your blog every day.

  14. Thanks for demystifying the Nordstrom departments! Temps in my area are -20C and with the wind chill factored in, it is -30C. Today is sunny and is actually warmer than yesterday plus the snow looks gorgeous. It’s supposed to rain on Monday….so very strange!

  15. Thank you JoLynne for another wonderful post.  You’re always so authentic and open. You also take the time to interact with your readers, which is greatly appreciated. 
    It’s -3 today here in Indiana. But on Monday we’re supposed to have a high of 61! 
    Enjoy your mani and facial. 

  16. About new clothes for late winter, I’ve bought a couple of things at Loft to wear now and transition into spring. I love this lightweight sweatshirt in a pretty shade of blue. I found it in the store.

    https://www.loft.com/melange-crossover-sweatshirt/492385?skuId=26509280&defaultColor=4314&catid=catl000011

    And I ordered this hoodie on the recent free shipping day (thanks for the heads up about that!).

    https://www.loft.com/spacedye-textured-hoodie-top/503923?skuId=27344743&defaultColor=1056&catid=catl000011

    I appreciate the rundown on departments in Nordstrom! Now won’t be lost when I go in there lol.

  17. I would love to know how the monthly facials are changing your skin, if at all. I, too, normally get about 1 a year (if that) and am curious if you see a real difference getting them monthly.

    1. I always say, I feel I’m the worst at really telling any improvement in my skin. I mean, if it’s not flaking off, I can’t see much difference between various products and treatments. As of right now, it’s hard to say, except it feels moist and more resilient, if anything. I haven’t noticed a difference in the discolorations, but I asked her yesterday and she says that may require laser treatments. I signed up for a 4-part package and scheduled them out over the next 2-3 months. It includes another vitamin C facial, a hydro facial, and 2 others I can’t recall. I’m wondering if I’ll notice anything after all that.

      Also, they don’t do laser treatments at this spa I go to, so she’s not trying to drum up more business. I have been watching some other bloggers get them and wondering if I should… but I dunno. With makeup, I don’t think my issues are that noticeable.

  18. Loved reading this!!! You know the funny thing about bloggers and blogging is by reading about your life on a regular basis, I feel like we are friends. Isn’t that just crazy! Loved getting to benefit from others picking your brain. 😉

  19. The comment about your ‘husband having a good job’ reminds me of the numerous women over the years who have asked if my husband ‘allows’ me to cut my hair short.  🤦‍♀️

    1. Bwahaha… what??? Comments like that usually say more about the commenter than the person being commented on. That’s the cool thing about the internet, though. It has definitely opened my mind to other realities than my own.

  20. Holy cow, 3 degrees?! I can’t even imagine what that feels like.. I heard on the news just now that temps out your way are supposed to go back up to the 40s and 50s. 🙏 ☀️ 
    So I always like your Q & A posts as it’s interesting to see what people are wondering about. I tried Botox for the very first time last spring and although I loved the smoothness between my brows and beside my eyes, I had some side effects such as blurred vision for a few weeks, headaches, and anxiety with panic attacks. The anxiety part, I was told by the dermatologist, isn’t related to the Botox but I’ve talked to several other people who have had the same issues. All I know is I’d never had panic attacks in my life until I got the Botox and my eyes were watery and red for weeks. Once it wore off, I felt like my “old self” (unfortunately my 11s are back between my brows though too 😩😢) So I’m nervous about trying it again. You don’t look like you need it. 

  21. This was a great post! Like everyone else said, the breakdown of the Nordstrom departments and brands is incredibly helpful. Now that my local Nordstrom closed (what?!?) I buy nearly all my stuff from them online and it’s not always easy to tell the quality from the pictures (on the super fit 18 year old models) and I rely on blogs like yours and Cyndi’s a lot more for that reason. I also really appreciate when you explain why you don’t like something, either fit-wise or style-wise because I think it helps us have a more critical eye towards our clothing purchases. It seems like so many bloggers are doing amazon hauls lately and there is SO MUCH inventory there I can’t imagine it is all quality stuff at the prices their offering. None of it really seems like things that will stand the test of time. And this time of year is the literal worst for figuring out how to dress…I’m beyond tired of my winter wardrobe, it’s freaking freezing and all the stores have cute little thin colorful sweaters for spring! All that to say, I appreciate posts like this that aren’t pushing resort wear already. Even though I *did* order a couple pieces from the new Hi Sugarplum collection. Have you seen it?

    1. I have, and it is absolutely adorable! However, none of it works for my body type, lol. She and I have very different styles and body types, but I’m really happy for her! She did a great job with the collection.

      And yes, the amazon stuff is really hit or miss. I’ve been trying to do some b/c a lot of you all seem to like it, and I did find a few goodies that I think are decent quality — mainly the Daily Ritual brand. But you get what you pay for, and yeah, I don’t see this stuff holding up for many years. It’s along the lines of Target quality, imo.

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