Nordstrom RACK vs. TJMaxx!
THE SETTING: St. Louis. A cloudy Sunday afternoon with autumn in the air provides perfect shopping weather. A solitary bargain-hunting fashionista sets out in need of some fall clothes. Her choices are the just-opened Nordstrom RACK and the tried-and-true TJMaxx, one with the Runway section in the back.
Which one will have the best bargains for autumn clothing?
THE COMMENTARY: First up is Nordstrom RACK. Now I was never impressed with the RACK; even in Chicago it was nothing spectacular. Saks Off 5th had a lot more going for it in terms of deals and brands. But since it has just opened, I decided to check it out. The parking lot was packed, and the first thing I noticed when I walked in was the checkout line had about 60 very patient people waiting in it, and it snaked through the store.
I walked around. My focus was shoes and clothes, but I noticed Neutrogena Healthy Skin face cleanser at the front, on sale for $5.49. This is the face wash I use, and it is usually $7.49. So this is a great deal and a promising start. But I wondered, when did Nordstroms start selling Neutrogena products? Hmmm.
First was the shoe section. Some Sofft, lots of middle-to-low brands and nothing for fall: no fall lace-up booties and no leopard prints. In the clothing area, the only Nordstrom-worthy brands were Vince and Theory, which were still out of my price range. There were denim brands like Joe’s Jeans, but I don’t need any jeans right now. Suffice to say, I walked quickly out of RACK empty-handed.
On to TJMaxx. The parking lot was not full and there was no one waiting in line inside. I head straight for their Runway section, and am greeted with all kinds of garish clothing. But it’s designer garish clothing, so I began flipping through every rack, looking for hidden gems. I got really excited when I see an entire section of Missoni clothing, but, even discounted-to-$199 Missoni pieces are too pricey for me. There was a lot of Theory, Vince, Nanette Leopore, and Rock & Republic. And Escada. I picked up a blue/black houndstooth Nanette Leopore skirt and a neon yellow Theory cardigan, and carried them around with me for a while, but never brought them into the dressing room.
I reluctantly left the Runway section and thought I’d do a quick look around the rest of the store. It was in the dresses section that I finally scored: a beautiful charcoal short-sleeved sweater dress from Calvin Klein, one of my favorite brands. It has a tiered texture and a scoopneck, and the dressing room try-on confirmed it. It was half-off, only $50, which for such a work and church staple, was the fall bargain I was looking for!
THE WINNER: TJMaxx
Though I had visions of Nordstrom RACK surprising me with amazing deals on designers I’d normally not be able to afford (like Tory Burch and Missoni, which a real Nordstroms carries), I was very disappointed. They have a good denim selection, but I won’t be going back there any time soon. Until I run out of face wash.
TJMaxx holds a lot of promise with its Runway section. I will keep going back to see if I can find an investment piece. They also have a lot of designer denim, like Joe’s Jeans, 7 for All Mankind, and Dylan George. TJMaxx wins by a landslide!