• Marilyn Gardner Woods

The Anniversary Sale

Updated: Jul 21

A case of the dressing room giggles which sometimes turned into guffaws may have been the most fun I’ve had in a couple of years…


What is it about clothes shopping, specifically sale clothes shopping, and even more specifically, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale that releases all inhibitions from grown women turning them into a gaggle of prissy pre-teeners?


My best bud Gail, who repeatedly touted her Nordstrom customer-classification as “an influencer,” tagged along with me for my pre-sale appointment with Mel, the model-like, all-knowing fashionista, glamorous personal shopper who was dressed for battle in a flouncy short dress and sneakers with gold metallic accents.


In the Fashion Valley store, our Nordstrom store, Mel has been instrumental in guiding both Gail and me in dressing for weddings, vacations, interviews, book signings, and playtime for years. Separately. This was our first joint outing with intent to purchase new clothes which we didn’t need. Both exhausted from post-pandemic stress and longing to feel fabrics, we were searching for new outfits for the Gladys Knight performance at the San Diego Pops opening weekend and Hair at The Old Globe.


No, we didn’t need anything new.

Not about need this time.


My friend, the “influencer,” is a classic style, who leans toward solid colors and togetherness; my taste, as they liked to point out throughout the afternoon, occasionally incorporates a bit of funk. I find my overly casual self wanting to emulate Gail’s style often. We are opposites in dress along with so many other things which is, of course, why we love to hang out together.


The minute the Mel began to bring armloads of clothes to our dressing rooms, the adrenaline kicked in and the hilarity began. With both doors open and our attentive advisor in the hall between us, we modeled for on one another, and either rejected or whole-heartedly adopted selections one by one. At one point, Gail motioned toward me and said to Mel, “I wish I could be more like her.”


Before either could speak, I said, “You can’t because I live in FUN Country. *** You, in PERFECT Country.” I jutted my chin toward Mel. “She’s in PEACE Country” and that’s why she keeps finding things we like, pacifying us. This brought about gales of laughter from other dressings rooms near us. Soon doors were opening, and other shoppers joined in the fun. “Why don’t you try on this one?” or “Can you see if there’s my size in that? It looks so cute on her.”


At some point, when we could no longer stand it, with what must have been the eighth or ninth load of try-ons over our arms, Gail and I doubled up in her spacious dressing room where all sense of modesty and figure shaming went out the door as we stripped down to bra and panties slipping items over our head and back off again over and over. Back on hangars. Two piles. Yes. No. Good girl friends do this. Forgive one another the fat deposits, age spots, and cellulite at the same time offering good constructive advice.


“That color washes you out. So not you!”

“The length is not good for your shape.”

“Looks like something my mom would wear…”

And one you love to hear, “That looks fabulous on. you – get it in every color!”


We didn’t get every color. We didn’t buy everything we wanted. We each had budgets and didn’t end up spending nearly as much money as we thought. But every penny was worth it, not only for how we’ll feel stepping out to The Rady Shell—her in the new Rolling Stones

t-shirt and jade green jacket, me in the zip front sweatshirt with ruffles on the shoulders which both Mel and Gail said looked like something from Hunger Games which I took as constructive criticism—but also for the most entertaining afternoon in a long, long time. An afternoon with girls giggling in the dressing room.



My text to them both late that evening:

“Same time, next year.”


*** I can’t take credit for the country stuff. A recent personality test developed by a clinical psychologist, Dr. Tim Kimmel, determines in which country you live. According to this, “we all live in our own ‘personal country.’” There are four: Control country, Fun country, Perfect country and Peace country.




Wish I had been there! Darn! would have loved to be there and “even talked about” Sue D.


Loved, loved, loved this! I'm a Bloomingdales addict/points shopper, but could I come with you next year?? SB


We are all still girls!


Sound like this could be a wonderful skit ? Bess


Sounds like so much damn fun. DI in Texas


Hey, that was funny even for a guy! Doc Bullock


I was not a fly on the wall to witness this adventure, but I'll tell you that I imagined it all. As a matter of fact, because there was a photo at the end, I had to re-run the whole episode again because the faces did not fit (except for your's) in my imagination.

I had a good laugh, but never quite understood the full dimension because I am not a clothes person.

I loved it, thank you ❤ Renato


Sounds like a hoot, wish I had been there!!❤️Jeanine


Hi Marilyn - Enjoyed reading about your shopping trip. It reminded me of my trips to Fashion Valley with my friend J-9 Stenzel. We didn't go for the shopping as much as for those 'popovers' at Neiman Marcus!!! JC in Canada

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