The Hip Mom Rummages Through the Rack

Anyone who has the dubious pleasure of my acquaintance knows that I am a wee bit obsessed with Nordstrom, that store which I consider to be the pinnacle of retail paradise. I even named my blog after Nordstrom. And once, in a fit of pregnancy-induced craziness, I started up a one-woman campaign to get the Nordstrom brothers to open a store in Tulsa: I sat with a “petition” in Utica Square, imploring people to sign in their support of luring Nordstrom to Tulsa. Then I did the same at Woodland Hills, where I was promptly thrown out for “campaigning” and “disturbing the peace.” Really, I have a problem.

One might say I’m biased, given that I’m from Nordstrom’s hometown, but I offer you these facts:

1) Have you meandered through Nordstrom’s shoe department? Both Brass Plum shoes and Salon Shoes are, quite simply, like gamboling through fields of shoe elysium. There is no shoe mecca that comes close – not even über chic stores like Neiman Marcus or Barney’s New York.

2) Have you ever met an unpleasant or unhelpful person at Nordstrom? I suppose it’s possible, but I have not. Ever. They are unfailingly solicitous without being pushy or making you want to cringe and run away. I have worn hot pink, booger-covered velour yoga pants to Nordstrom, accompanied by a glorious mess of snotty, screaming kids, and the Nordstrom ladies coo: “Aren’t they CUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTE?”  Well, bless you, dear Nordstrom ladies, but no they are not, not right now. Now that I think about it, it’s possible Nordstrom employees are taking some kind of great drug that makes them both blind and very, very happy.

3) Nordstrom has a lot of high-end, pricey merchandise, yes, but there’s a lot of affordable stuff, too, particularly in the TBD and Point of View departments. Plus, their Petites and Women’s departments are not just mere afterthoughts for us shorter and/or more voluptuous types. And Top Shop – that cool hipster Brit brand – is among their offerings now and is quite affordable.

4) Their kids’ stuff is unique and adorable, without exception. And the shoes? I ALWAYS buy my kids’ shoes there – the July anniversary sale offers scads of sturdy, high quality back–to-school shoes! 5) Almost without exception, everything I buy at Nordstrom is somehow spot on, even though these days I buy most of my Nordstrom fix online. I’m not sure why; their buyers must have ESP.

So, when I learned last fall that a Nordstrom Rack was opening in Oklahoma City, I was pretty ecstatic. The “Rack” is Nordstrom’s lower-priced sister; many of the same brands are offered, but some items are exclusive to the Rack. It’s not the same paradise as a full-line store, but the Rack is great for exploring, or for when you’re on a budget (like 99 percent of us!), or just looking for fun – you never know what you’re going to find! The only drawback to the Oklahoma City location is that now, since Nordstrom has an Oklahoma City location, I’ll have to pay sales tax on all my Nordstrom shipments! GAH.

So, while we’re at a soccer tournament in Oklahoma City, I pay a visit to this spiffy new Rack. It is clean, well-lit, and chock-full of treasures. The Rack always offers tons of high-quality beauty brands at low prices, like Redken and Bed Head hair products, and Neutrogena skin care. Plus, there is an embarrassment of perfumes and playful cosmetic colors. There are tables of designer purses for lots less than retail, which I painstakingly paw through with a 3-year-old attached to my leg. And the shoes! There are aisles and aisles of shoes arranged by size.  Some might be off season, but with drop-dead prices often 50-70 percent off, you are bound to find something adorable for now or next year. My husband PVT actually finds some Nikes he likes – this is notable because my husband would rather watch an episode of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” than shop.

My girls of course have a fabulous time rummaging through racks of unique and adorable kiddie brands. Sylvie finds a ball gown she just has to have, and I’m thrilled to comply – it’s under $30.  Then we find some very manly Under Armour and Adidas sportswear for my sons, all aspiring Beckhams.

And then, while I’m paying and chatting with the clerk, she gives me a jaw-dropping piece of intelligence: the RACK is coming to Tulsa! After I get off the floor, I quiz her. Where? When?  She gives me the details, which I corroborate with Natalie Tobis of Nordstrom headquarters: The Tulsa Rack is opening April 3, just off 71st and Memorial in the old Bed Bath and Beyond store. AIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE! As of this writing, everything appears to be on track. The Tulsa Rack will offer a lot of the same offerings as other Racks, but buyers also take in to account local climate and tastes. Says Naomi, “Our buyers work hard to consider the needs of the community and take in to account climate. However, they also consider local interests and pastimes, really anything that helps us bring our customers what they want when they want it. As we come in to a community, we hope we get it right from the start, but we also keep listening to feedback from our customers to continue to refine the offering.”

And then there’s the million dollar question: Does the opening of a Rack perhaps foreshadow the opening of a full-line store?

“The Rack has been a great complement to Nordstrom stores for our 40 years. Lots of factors have to fall into place in order for us to be able to open a full-line store. This was a great opportunity in a shopping center that’s a good fit for the Rack,” Naomi said. “The Rack will have full-line store transfers, but at this time we do not currently have plans to open a full-line store.”  Well, girls, we can hope.

So, mommies, you know your assignment — head to the Rack now.  Do some damage, tell your husband you got some jaw-dropping deals, and then say a few prayers. Maybe someday we Okies will get the real deal!

(And ignore that distracted, wild-eyed chick rummaging through the shoes. That’s just me.)

Categories: Hip Mom