The Hip Mom Reconnects with Nordstrom, Her Shopping Soulmate: Part I
If you have read my columns for a while, you might know (I drop this ad nauseum) I hail from Seattle, Washington – home of Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft – and most importantly, NORDSTROM. In fact, when my Okie husband and I decided to move here, I was shocked and chagrined to discover there were no Nordstroms in Oklahoma! (My younger, cuter self even set up a petition area for signatures to bring a Nordstrom to Utica Square.)
While shopping has vastly improved in Tulsa in the 13 years I’ve lived here – and yes, we have a Nordstrom Rack, which is a great step in the Nordstrom direction – there’s nothing quite like Nordstrom. The shoes, the customer service, the chi chi brands to oogle at mixed with the chi chi stuff most mortals like me can afford – well, it’s a magical place. So imagine my euphoria when my beloved PVT arranged a birthday trip after a rough fall season to go to the newly minted brick and mortar Nordstrom – NYC!! EEEEECK!
Nordstrom has been hovering around the NYC shopping scene for years, but the time never seemed right. Ironically, when online shopping seems to be the ne plus ultra of retail, Nordstrom decided now was the time to open a showcase brick and mortar store in a city famous for its sky-high (ha!) rents. But the jewel-like, seven-story store, at the base of the world’s tallest residential building right off Central Park West, is an investment in the store’s name and brand – and will attract both locals and tourists with its strategic location.
So I call two of my besties, Brooke and Jennie, and we settle on a weekend – off on a Southwest Flight (or two) we go! We get in late and taxi to the Parker Meridien, a relatively affordable hotel not even a block away from Nordstrom (there are tons of hotels right in this area just off Times Square). After quaffing a nightcap and noshing on some (rooftop) bar food, we collapse into the beds in our svelte suite (there may have been some dancing) and get ready to hit the pavement for my 10 a.m. personal stylist appointment. What, what’s that you say? Well! It’s a free service provided by Nordstrom – you fill out a little form online, asking you what you’d like to accomplish – just a little wardrobe help, or aid with a specific event – then note what brands you like, your size, your preferences. The form itself is brief – and a lot of fun!
In the morning, we ladies are stunned we sleep in past 9 a.m. – this NEVER happens in Tulsa – is it the blackout curtains? The lulling sounds of taxis, horns and garbage trucks? – but I have to scurry down the street to make my appointment while my friends get ready. Oh, friends, the entrance is beautiful: a stunning, open glamfest with a Fendi rainbow to greet me – and then escalators to the right which serve all SEVEN levels of this retail paradise. I sprint downstairs for a Mexican Mocha from the Nordstrom coffee bar, and then scoot to the third floor where the “Styling Services” are found. I check in with a lovely lady who escorts me into a bright, huge, beautiful dressing room – and it’s here I first lay eyes on my clothing selections…and Giovanni.
Ah, Giovanni. He floats in to meet me, and to my delight, his background is as romantic as his name implies: He hails from Rome, is half-Italian, half-Aremnian from a large family. He emigrated to the US to go to Fordham on scholarship, and since then has been working for fancy NYC clothing companies like Etro; he just started working at Nordstrom. Initially, Giovanni seems a bit reserved, but he quickly figures out this mom from Oklahoma gets a little high from time alone, shopping, and the occasional mimosa Brooke and Jennie bring me from the “Shoe Bar” (more on that later).
In my dressing room, there’s a glorious selection of about 15 pieces for me to try on – some I would have picked, some I would not have picked – but as I start trying things on, I’m almost universally thrilled with what he has chosen. Everything fits; everything looks fabulous – are these skinny mirrors? He grabs me leather (ish) leggings when I mentioned I saw a lady in the store wearing them and picks the perfect pair – and of course couples it with the perfect leather jacket. Now that he knows a bit more about me, he runs to get me workout gear, jewelry and shoes….yeeeeeeee! Again, some things I would never have chosen, but a Nike half shirt actually is cute coupled with some really wild Junya Wantanabe workout leggings.
And booties! He finds some beautiful, buttery Alexander Wang boots with a steel heel cut out – they are sublime. Coincidentally, a jewelry lady with sorceress-like intuition appears with a variety of baubles. I’m not a big jewelry person – I feel like I’m too short to pull off a crazy amount of bling – but I gravitate towards some chic, dangly earrings that I immediately put on. Then Giovanni proposes we take a tour around the store; I want to check out the children’s offerings. So we meander down to the first floor – I’m still wearing my new leather leggings, a cute top and those earrings. I find some darling Zella pieces for my girls, check out the shoes, and then realize I’m starting to suffer from low blood sugar. I tell Giovanni to keep my loot while I find my friends for lunch at the Nordstrom bistro on the top floor. Alas! The bistro is near the extensive loungewear/lingerie department, where I buy a few new winsome things, and Brooke finds some “Commando” leggings – which are Spanx-like but comfier! And then we have to walk through Top Shop, where I spot a darling sweatshirt for my oldest daughter.
Finally, we collapse and have a lovely lunch. Something to note: Every single Nordstrom employee is polite to a fault, helpful and attractive. They are all just happy to be there, unlike some stores where some employees seem to resent your very presence. While we’re eating, Giovanni texts me – he’s started to ring things up for me. When I realize the value of the unpaid things I’m wearing – and the earrings! – I can’t believe I’m not being shadowed by burly bodyguards. Maybe I am! I guess I won’t try to run out the door. The service is impeccable; our lunch light and delicious.
Then we’re off to navigate the denim department, where we search through the oodles of beautiful jeans. We stop by “The Shoe Bar” for a quick cocktail – it’s strategically situated by the vast women’s shoe department. Brooke has a delightful concoction christened “Husband Daycare,” with bourbon. Then Giovanni texts me with my total – EECK! But it’s within the very generous budget PVT set for me, so we wander back to the stylist lounge for me to pay. Giovanni is not quite through with me; he wants to know if I need help with makeup brands – but I’m thinking that I don’t need makeup advice from a heterosexual male. Suddenly it’s almost 4 p.m. – time for my appointment at the Face Gym!
Friends, I hate to keep you in suspense, but this is a two-part series: Coming next, you’ll hear about our night out after shopping, our return to Nordstrom in the morning where we explore purses and handbags, the Glossier display, Nordstrom X Nike boutique, the “See You Later” resale boutique, Jennie’s quest for a cute hat to shade her face at lacrosse games, a lovely lunch at Wolf, my thoughts on personal stylists and my tips and tricks for your own trip to Nordstrom NYC! Stay tuned!