For a few years now, I’ve been intrigued by the notion of the Nordstrom Personal Shopper service. Essentially, Nordstrom employs a team of people whose job it is to help customers choose clothing in a private, by appointment only, one-on-one setting. The service is free; you simply make an appointment then you receive an email or phone call, asking you lots of questions ranging from your body type to your hobbies and lifestyle. From there, your stylist works within the budget that you provide them with to find clothing, shoes and accessories for you at Nordstrom.
I’ve had friends do it before and I was always fascinated by what they ended up buying. Recently, I decided to take the plunge and give it a whirl. Unlike many folks, I don’t have a new job that requires a new wardrobe, nor do I really need any new clothes. What I simply wanted was someone, with a fresh-eye and unbiased opinion to tell me what looks good on me (and what doesn’t) and to maybe push me out of my rut-riddled comfort zone a little. I gave my Nordstrom Personal Shopper a rather meager budget and told her that I really was only looking for a few key pieces–maybe enough for a couple of well put-together outfits. I was curious to see how the whole thing would work. Here’s my experience:
When I arrived, my Personal Shopper (Neil) apologized because, while they usually have a dressing room stocked with clothes, ready for you to try on, she was a little unclear about what I was needing or looking for. Also, I went last week, which is technically still summer, but the store was actively clearing out summer stuff and pushing the fall merchandise forward. She wanted to clarify what season I was looking to buy for. So, she walked the store with me. She wanted to see what sort of pieces I gravitated to and then pulled pieces on her own as well. Then, we headed to the dressing room.
I have to say, most everything that she pulled for me, I would never, ever have chosen for myself. Either the color was not what I’m usually drawn to, or it was a style that I didn’t care for on the hanger AND, the sizes she grabbed were considerably smaller than what I thought I wore. While I was in the dressing room, she was running around the store grabbing more items and returning my rejects. That alone was worth it for me–to have someone, with a clear knowledge of the store and it’s current merchandise, scouting for me and doing the “dirty work.”
So, these are the best of everything that I tried on. The only thing that I didn’t purchase was the dress. I liked it, but just don’t have enough opportunities to wear a dress like that. The orange, yellow and black top with leggings was the outfit that the stylist liked the best on me. It’s entirely not what I would’ve chosen for myself, but once it was on, I liked it and everyone who’s seen it on me enthusiastically agrees with the stylist. The second outfit (with the horribly blurry picture, my apologies) I really loved. That’s a lacy tunic top which I never would’ve thought I’d like, but I really love the drape of it and it has some faux-leather details on the shoulders that make it sort of fun and edgy. I was most comfortable in the flowy pink top (even though pink isn’t my favorite color–the stylist thought it was a good color for my complexion) and that’s another top that I wouldn’t have chosen (it was also from the junior department).
The most amazing aspect is that I was able to stay within my meager budget and got a ton of pieces that I should be able to mix and match and utilize to their potential. I plan to use the personal shopper service again if I have an occasion or just want a few new pieces to spice up my wardrobe. I tend to forget that Nordstrom, while being a very nice department store with many high-priced, fancypants items also has some very reasonable price-points–many items not that much more than Target prices! The customer service is bar-none and, even though I felt a little sheepish, taking up so much of Neil’s time with my small budget, she was lovely and patient with me. I even tried to shoo her away a couple of times, feeling as though surely she had more important, big-spenders to be helping and she told me, “Nope. You’re my appointment and I’m with you until you’re satisfied with what you have.” Talk about incredible, right?
Have you ever utilized Nordstrom (or any other store’s) personal shopping service? Please share your experience!