It’s no secret that some of my best finds happen at Nordstrom’s the Rack, specifically the Rack on Oahu. Great designer and bridge merchandise at a deal coupled with Nordstrom’s great customer service, it’s been a win win for me over the years. But for many the Rack is a huge warehouse chock full of overwhelming choices. And just because you found it at the Rack doesn’t always make it a bargain. Here’s how to make sure you strike it right when shopping at the new Honolulu Rack at Ward.
My Favorite buys at the Rack:
- Designer lingerie by brands Chantelle, Natori, Wacoal, Hanky Panky, and commando.
- Designer jeans by brands J Brand, Hudson, Paige, Habitual, Mother, and Current Elliot.
- Jersey blazers by Gibson.
- Layering basics including tees from James Perse, Vince, and Soprano.
- Shoes of all kinds including Haviana slippers.
The Layout: First things first, the new Rack is now 2 huge floors in the new building across from T.J.Maxx. Main floor is Men’s, top floor is for Women. When entering from the parking garage, the first thing you’ll see is the huge accessories department, lingerie, sunglasses, and home to your left. Then you’ll be bombarded with plenty of rounds of juniors, ladies and then women’s wear with a nice little pad of designer. I was a bit disappointed with their selection of designer, as the gals were really pumping up my expectations before the new store opened. Beyond the dressing rooms, and another large pad of accessories including handbags and body, you’ll find yourself immersed in shoes. It feels a bit more claustrophobic than before, with the aisles longer and taller, and at an angle. Designer shoes are separated like before, but now boots are also sectioned off which is nice.
The tag is your clue: The Rack has buyers that select merchandise directly from suppliers much like the main line Nordstrom does. Sometimes it’s from the same collection, but perhaps a different style. Things that come directly to the Rack can be much of the same that you’d find in their main line stores, but at 30-50% off retail. The real savings come from pieces that were originally meant for the main line stores and either got reduced and didn’t sell, or were customer returns after the merchandise already left the floors. These tags are marked differently, and usually have a red sticker, and usually go directly to the clearance racks.
New Designer Pad: The day I stopped in to the Rack the designer pad had racks of Helmut Lang, Rag & Bone, Trina Turk, Vince, Nanette Lepore, Kate Spade, Burberry London, Eileen Fisher, Element, Diane Von Furstenburg (DVF), Tory Burch and I’m more. These racks had some basics, but mostly wild prints or strange cuts that you can understand why they were leftovers. The main exception to this rule is Vince. Though this last visit the rack was loaded with sweaters that unless you were hopping a plane to snow, you couldn’t imagine wearing in the tropics.
Start with Clearance: Always a sucker for the best bargain, I start my search at the clearance racks. They are fairly organized, sorted by size and sometimes by section from the main store. My favorite finds are usually in the Indy, t.b.d., savvy rounders. On my recent haunt I found a Tibi silk top that normally runs $225 for $36, Coach platforms for a mere $34 (normally also $225), and a pair of current elliot cutoff denim shorts for $22, normally $156. I also found a perfect cropped 3/4 vince tee for $39 and a knit Rag & Bone blazer for $159, they run at $495. Now unless you need these things, it’s not really a bargain. But these are all great deals, and ones I plan on getting a lot of use from.
Some things to remember when shopping at the Rack:
- Shopping early in the day the racks are tidier, and often less busy before lunch time.
- Always check for quality. Sometimes seams don’t line up straight, you don’t want a crooked seam on your butt, so double check.
- There’s a 15 item limit when trying on, so be strategic with what you chose to try on with what. Dana is often working when I shop, and she helps make the process smoothly for me and my clients.
- Some shoes are re-soled if they were previously worn by a customer. These are often the best deals and often up to 85% off retail. I’ve spotted Prada, Jimmy Choo, and Feragamo. And they will be in the regular shoe section, not designer, so take a second look.
- Alterations can be done on the spot at the rack, and their seamstresses are just as good as their full line counterparts. Salva and I are on a first name basis.
- If you don’t feel like waiting to check out in line, look for any team member in the green shirt, and they can check you out if paying with credit or debit card.
- You have 30 days to return unworn merchandise. Though I find even if you pass the 30 days, they graciously take back your items for a full refund with proof of payment.
Nordstrom Rack 1170 Auahi St, Honolulu, Hawaii 96814; 808.589.2060