January 20, 2015

Backyard Luxury

I first encountered Nordstrom during my trip to Seattle. The retail giant awed me with its extensive handbag and shoe section (almost an entire floor!), and so when it was announced Nordstrom would be staking ground in my own city, I had been eagerly awaiting its arrival for months. When it at last opened its doors in September, I had despairingly just left to begin another year at university.  After being taunted with photos of the grand opening, and consequently wistfully scrolling through its official Facebook page every day, I finally had the chance to walk under Nordstrom's gleaming silver storefront during my holiday break.

My consensus: impressed! The Nordstrom here was even better than the one in Seattle. Nordstrom is known for its combination of high and low, and in Seattle, that was glaringly apparent - right outside the walls of Chanel's grand boutique were racks of tween clothing starting at $10. A bit disorientating, if you ask me. Here, the prices ranged from mid to high, lessening the shock of disparate products. The store was also organized in such a way that the different sections were neatly divided, but flowed smoothly into one another. An overall enjoyable experience; happy to welcome Nordstrom to my city!

As a general comment, Nordstrom provides a fairly unique shopping experience. Because of its mix of mid and high, Nordstrom provides an opportunity for average shoppers to interact with luxury goods in a laid-back, comfortable environment. Retailers like Holt Renfrew uphold an elite atmosphere in order to stay consistent with its products, but Nordstrom is a more approachable retailer for shoppers (like me) who adore luxury, but may be intimidated by the colder, starker image of high-end stores. I'm a little torn on whether I enjoy such a shopping experience. On one hand, I do feel comforted by the more relaxed approach, yet feel as if the magic is lost when luxury products aren't given the treatment they deserve. I guess in the end, it will depend on your mood.

Lastly, highlights of my visit included seeing Valentino's Rockstud Ankle Boots, which I had first come across online.  My dad and I both zeroed in on the boots (him the pebbled black leather, me the smooth bordeaux leather), and with fire in my eyes, I wanted to announce to the entire store I was finally holding the glorious shoes in my hands (a saleswoman gave me a knowing smile as she heard me gasp). Nordstrom also had an impressive selection of sunglasses, including a pair of gold frame aviators from Marc by Marc Jacobs.  As my dad said, "If you can't find a pair of sunglasses here, then you're really out of luck!"  Lastly, in terms of clothing, I found colourfully striped beachwear by Missoni, which included long maxi dresses and one-piece swimsuits (or more accurately, suits for lounging in the sun because no way is water getting near that wonderful creation). At the end of my trip, I walked out under Nordstrom's gleaming silver storefront, ready to go back any time and do it all over again.

Image Source: BlueBesos, MTLurbJill Belland

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