About Those Used Shoes Nordstrom Is Selling at The Rack

Hello-Hello, it’s a glorious sunny day here at The Prepatorium, we hope it is the same in your corner of the globe. Those hopes and prayers are meant especially for all our friends in those areas recovering from 72 hours of disastrous, deadly weather.

We begin today with a rather unusual story.


There’s quite a bit of chatter online about a story on CNBC’s Consumer Nation blog, it involves Nordstrom selling used shoes at its Rack stores:

High-end department store Nordstrom is funneling its returned and worn shoes to its Nordstrom Rack outlet stores. This practice is surprising since outlet stores are not known as second-hand stores. It’s a place for retailers to send their unsold merchandise each season.

More than anything the issue is about perception and possible damage to the brand; the story quotes several industry experts.

“On a perception level, it turns you into a junk store, a second-hand clothing store. And, that is something that now calls into question Nordstrom’s reputation as a first-rate, quality high-end type of brand retailer,” said branding expert Robert Frankel.

Evidently the practice is not new, a review posted on Yelp back in January of 2011 offers this input from a Rack shopper:

HERE’S the CLINCHER about Nordstroms……I didn’t notice til I got home and read the receipt (didn’t bring my glasses that day) that the flat slip-ons I purchased for $49.90 and retailed(supposedly) for $139.00 were tagged WORN AND REFINISHED SHOES. That’s right, people……….. USED, RESOLD SHOES.

Here is part of the company’s response.

Nordstrom Rack Spokesperson Kendall Ault said the shoes that are labeled as “worn and refinished” are gently worn (either tried on or accepted as returns) and then professionally cleaned, repaired and refinished as needed to return to a “near-pristine” condition.

Doing a quick check of the online Rack shoes I didn’t see any described as ‘refurbished’ or ‘previously owned’.

This just doesn’t make sense for a brand with Nordstrom’s history, let alone the stature it wants to maintain in the marketplace. And I say this as someone who has purchased and worn vintage clothing (1930’s – 1970’s) and handbags at consignment shops and thrift stores. (Fortunately Scooter-the-Wonder-Cat is vigilant in guarding such purchases.)

Rightly or wrongly, used merchandise carries a perception that doesn’t sync with the image of a higher end, upscale store, even if it is “only” being done at its off-price stores.

To read the entire CNBC story, click here. Thoughts? Reactions?


The sunny day and promise of much warmer temps this week has us thinking about spring styles. We start with a few totes, these two from Pucci are outstanding ($550 at Saks).

Pucci at Saks.com

Good news for those of us fond of Jonathan Adler, the designer has just launched a new line of totes.

Jonathan Adler

While wasting time researching the post I stumbled upon a number of things in one of my favorite color combinations this spring, hot pink and orange.

Kate Spade/Jonathan Adler/Rebecca Minkoff/Furla

These next three are all by Kate Spade.

Kate Spade

Here is a vivid group of apparel in the color palette, although the Milly may be more purple than fuchsia.


From left to right we show a pink sweater and cropped pants from J. Crew, a Kay Unger Watercolor Silk Gown i($650 at L&T), Milly’s Lindsay Push Up Dress (discounted to $227 at Saks), and the Alice & Olivia Claire Maxi Dress (on sale for $257 @ Saks).

The darling Polka Dot Dress is by etsy seller Precious Baby Bows.


Wile grazing on etsy we also found squarish Stud Earrings, a Chunky Necklace and Drop Earrings, all handcrafted by etsy sellers.


We even have goodies in the popular color scheme at the Princess:

Jonathan Adler &

From left to right, the Jonathan Adler Scarf for your four-legged family member ($14.50), Personalized Boat Totes ($19 and $26), and our Jonathan Adler iPhone covers, this one in Gothic Rose ($24.50). (Please forgive the neon photo above, we’ve no clue what we did wrong, but obviously something, none of the items shown is that bright!)

There are loads decorating options in this palette, Pillow Throw Decor created the pillows you see on the far left and right, the two in the center are by Festive Home

etsy sellers PillowThrowDecor and FestivHome

There are even lots of offerings for the tiny preps, including the Skip Hop Dunck Bath Toys at Boutique Targét, on the right we show a Paul Frank for Target Infant/Toddler bathing suit ($14).



We leave you with good news for fans of Downtown Abbey, here is the headline that had us smiling this weekend:

‘Downton Abbey’ Cast (Most Of Them Anyway) Sign On Through Season 5!

Almost all key cast players are re-signed for not just Season 3, but a fourth and fifth season as well, click here for the story.



Filed under nautical, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle

11 responses to “About Those Used Shoes Nordstrom Is Selling at The Rack

  1. Wow! I don’t even know what to think of this. I’m shocked to hear that Nordstrom does this!

    On another note, I do love the Kate Spade bags and YOUR vintage bags!

  2. Lulu

    I find this Nordstrom issue very interesting… I live in Phoenix, the home of Last Chance, Nordstrom’s returned merchandise graveyard (article here: http://www.azcentral.com/style/fashion/articles/2010/12/08/20101208last-chance-nordstrom-shopping-strategy.html )
    I always presumed that Last Chance got all of the returns, and The Rack was sent all of the unsold goods. Very curious to see the 2 cross-pollinating!

  3. ewwwh….that is just plain old gross! Sorry but the Nordstrom name just went down a few notches in my book. Funny the few times I been to The Rack, I left super unimpressed and actually kind of happy to hightail it out of there! It LOOKED like a second hand shop and I had ZERO interest in staying there much less buying anything and the shoe dept. in particular looked especially dismal…so this all makes a lot of sense. Thanks the heads up…now I know to REALLY stay away!

  4. I’m speechless. I can’t believe Nordstrom’s is selling refurb shoes. I imagine as word spreads their brand will take a hit. Sad, really.

  5. Used shoes? That’s just gross!
    So excited to hear about 3 more seasons of our beloved Downton!

  6. Woof – if true, that’s very disappointing news about Nordstrom. I say that both as a longtime customer of theirs & as a vintage shopper; I have no problem buying secondhand as long as it’s very clear that what I’m buying is just that, but this seems intentionally deceptive.

    In happier news, hearty golf claps for the “DA” news!

  7. Well the Kate Spade bags, I will say, having seen them in the SF store, are quite wonderful.

  8. Skipping over the shoe controversy for the moment, I am all for the lavender and orange goodies. Zip!

  9. Jen

    I suppose this is another reason for me not to go to The Rack. I’d be pretty annoyed if I got home and then realized that the shoes I purchased were once used.
    Love the handbags you highlighted. I’m off to Palm Beach next week. I’ll be getting all Lily Pulitzer. Will send pics.

  10. I just bought my second pink Kate bag and already have my eye on the little pink and orange clutch with the pink gumballs. I think it’s called an obsession but I love them.

  11. I don’t need any more totes BUT the JA ones are so cute!

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