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!

SALE ALERT >> Colleen Rothschild is actually having an Anniversary Sale right now, with 20% off site-wide. The code is 5AVS.

I’m not sure how long it will last, but it’s a great time to give it a try if you’ve been on the fence, or to replenish your supply if you’re getting low on anything. She has a starter kit if you’re not sure where to begin.

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 ([email protected]) 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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