“Rally at the Rack”

Hello, Everyone!  I hope you’re all enjoying your final day of summer, and along with that, the final day of remarkable clothing sales! If not, take a look at my previous post on “Labor Day Sales” to take advantage of some last-minute deals from some of the top retailers around…speaking of retailers…if you haven’t already heard me on multiple occasions refer to the Seattle-based retailer, Nordstrom and it’s discounted counter-part Nordstrom Rack (basically like Filene’s and their Filene’s Basement), it’s because this high-end retailer that I only shop at when I am down in NYC, finally made its way upstate this week!  It’s great to see that many high-end names have caught word that NYC doesn’t cover the entirety of the state, and that there is an upstate, and we have stylish taste too!!

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Anyway, in October of last year, I stumbled across an article on the internet about Nordstrom Rack and how they were expanding to Albany, NY in September, 2015 (“Wait, we’re actually getting a Nordstrom??!!”). Fast-forward 11 months of anxious anticipation, and the wait is no longer! I was so excited to step foot into this store and soak in all it has to offer, and to then share with you my thoughts on the area’s newest clothing dynasty.

Thursday morning, 8 AM, I pulled into the Colonie Center parking lot with my two-year-old in tow. I had received a postcard in the mail from Nordstrom Rack stating that their “Grand Opening” (A.K.A. “Rally at the Rack”) on September 3rd would begin at 8 AM with breakfast treats, music, and over 25 raffle gift card giveaways (one was for $1,000). So needless to say, I had to be one of the first ones there to witness not only the mayhem that comes with the grand opening of a store that upstate, NY probably only dreamed about for years, but also a chance at the multiple raffle drawings. However, as I made my way down to the store’s location (sandwiched between The Cheesecake Factory, and L.L. Bean), I took a double-take. The line was ridiculously long, but as we made our way down, we were welcomed with loud music, a (losing) raffle ticket, enough Biscotti cookies to make my daughter do circles around the long line of anxious “Nordies,” bottled water, iced tea, and most importantly, carts and carts of coffee in which was brought straight to you by employees FullSizeRender (61)FullSizeRender (56)in aprons (they had me at coffee).

At 9 AM the doors opened and the crowd marched through, surrounded by the loud, spirited, dancing and clapping “Team in Green” employees (not to be confused with the Jets Cheerleaders), welcoming us through the proverbial “Golden Gates” of discount clothing heaven. Upon practically dragging my hand-clapping, dancing, and shouting two year old through the sliding glass doors, my first impression was, “WOW, IMPRESSIVE!”

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The two-story 35,000 square foot store had that modernized, industrial feel with exposed ductwork, shiny concrete floors, and bright decor displaying their quirky little statements such as “Happy Style Hunting” and “The Ultimate Treasure Destination.”  The small first floor showcased some houseware items, bookbags, and luggage (blah, blah, blah, where’s the clothes??!!). So little Allie and I figured that the prized possessions must be on the second floor-so up we went!

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And here’s what I have to share:

You’re first welcomed by handbags and wallets from top names such as: Coach, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, etc…) Wallets ranged from around $15 and up, while bags ranged from $50 and up (don’t get too excited, that Michael Kors Bag you’ve been eyeing, was not one of them)

Assorted sunnies (again an array of designers with an extensive price range

Accessories: watches, jewelry, scarves, hats, winter hats, gloves, etc…again, all ranged from around $10 to $100

A small section for cute pajama’s, socks, robes, etc…I do have to say, they had these really fun looking socks/stockings for the ladies that went up to probably your hip for around $20, something I’d never really seen before (so naturally, I wanted them…) and if they were around $10-15, I probably would’ve caved!

Outerwear included your typical run-of-the-mill department store coats by multiple designers-However, I did find a gorgeous knee-length navy blue hooded, down jacket by Michael Kors, retailed at over $250 and marked down to about $98 (I’m still kicking myself for not biting the bullet and just grabbing it!).

Shoes…shoes…shoes…you name it, they have it (the brand that is), the assortment reminded me of one of those shoe warehouses, where you could find a great pair, but just because you eyeballed them in the size 10 section, didn’t mean they had them in the size 7 section). I was entertained by two women arguing over a a glossy pair of magenta Hunter Boots that they swore up and down were marked wrong, because there was “no way that they could be only $50!” I thought to myself, “ladies, they’re magenta!” But I kept my mouth shut…anyway, a few brands to share: (Obviously) Hunter, Coach, Vince Camuto, Converse, Cole Haan, Tommy Hilfiger, Kenneth Cole, Timberland, Jessica Simpson, Frye (and if you’ve never heard of them, please check out their site-if you ever feel the urge to splurge on boots…they are a dream!), Nine West, etc…But, again, there really was no special bargain on the shoes, other than those Hunters. I would say overall, they priced out about the same as Macy’s and Lord and Taylor’s (IMO)

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And then there was the clothing section…this is a nightmare for anyone with OCD (and I’m one of them!).To me, order is EV-ER-Y-THING!!!! I found little solace in the fact that everything was just dispersed in no particular manner around the center of the store. They did have a few signs placed above racks, designating that the clothes on that rack were a specified designer, but other than that, it truly looked like an upscale Marshall’s. Within minutes, the basic carpeted area surrounding the clothes were overly-cluttered and with clothing that you could literally just purchase at Marshall’s (or even down a ways at another clothing store, where they probably sold their item for just about the same price, but with an additional Labor Day Sale Discount!) I felt so full of grief and disappointment and venting to my daughter wasn’t an option, so I walked over to a couple that looked as though they were in the same state of mind as I was. After introducing myself to them and sharing my thoughts on the store (the same I am sharing here), and then asking them they’re take on Nordstrom Rack, and shockingly, it was the gentleman that replied by stating that if you are willing to spend money on brands like Calvin, Tori, Michael and Vince, then come here, because high-priced retail truly is marked down to the Rack’s 30-70% off regular priced items (as they advertise). But for your day to day shopper who doesn’t always sway towards “Team High End Fashion” you’re better off sticking to your regular stores. In an essence, I have to say I wholeheartedly agree.

A list of designers I took note of:

BCBG Max Azria

Wild Fox

Hudson

Joe’s

Michael Kors

Calvin Klein

Kate Spade

Coach

The French Connection

Lucky

Alberto Makali

Nic + Zoe

Levi’s Jeans

7 for all Mankind Jean

AG Jeans

Vince Camuto

Under Armour (Active and Outer)

The North Face (Active and Outer)

Nike (Active)

Marina (Active)

Zella (Active)

After spending quite some time roaming around the store, observing the shoppers, the overly-enthusiastic employees (#Team in Green), the decor and products, I decided to at least give some of the merchandise a shot, and quickly jumped into a dressing room, only to be disappointed with the mix I picked out…Hey, at least I found some humor in the fitting room…

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Overall, friends…It’s like any other store or restaurant that settles into the area. It’s exciting for a minute, but then the hype gives way and it becomes just another discounted clothing retailer that has made its way upstate.

I’m not saying avoid it, because for all you know, you may truly enjoy it (Honestly, if I was a teenage girl I would be in my glory!). But when I step into a store and I really have to contemplate almost every item (minus that Michael Kors Coat!), then I know it’s just not for me…so overall, my opinion on the new Nordstrom Rack is written on the wall (literally)…

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Sorry for being a “Debbie Downer” on this one…but look at the bright side, my OOTD posts are starting this week, and I’m so EXCITED to share my closet “Rack” with you!

If you were able to find something out of the ordinary for an extraordinary steal, tag me on Instagram: @daniellepiel, on Facebook: Danielle Piel, or you can email me your thoughts at daniellepiel22@gmail.com or leave a comment below!

X, Danielle

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