We Tried On Hundreds of Cheap Items at Nordstrom This Year—These 16 Are the Best

This was the year of the dressing room selfie at Who What Wear. We figure there’s no better way to provide the ultimate shopping utility to you, our stylish reader, than by trying on our favorite picks in person and snapping a photo to show you how the items look IRL. Our aim is to prevent as many disappointing online shopping orders as possible with editor-vetted pieces. After all, fluorescent lighting is the ultimate test. 

Naturally, we spent the lion's share of our time at one of our favorite retailers, Nordstrom. When it opened up a Manhattan location, we were on the scene reporting which picks the most stylish NYC women were buying. When we heard you wanted recommendations for affordable basics, we shared which ones we’d buy. So at the close of the year, we thought we’d take a moment to review our saturated camera rolls to pinpoint which picks stand out from the pack. Luckily, many of the items are still in stock, and a handful is now on sale. Speaking of discounts, Nordstrom’s half-yearly sale is going on right now, and we went ahead and curated the best picks under $100 right here. But first, scroll down to discover the best Nordstrom finds of the year, handpicked by our editors.

Under $50

"NYC girls know the power of a basic black long-sleeve top that will pair with everything from jeans to midi skirts—and take you from day to night with ease. This Leith black bodysuit was extremely popular at the NYC Nordstrom store. Its deep and wide square neckline is super flattering, and the fabric is stretchy, silky soft, and surprisingly luxurious-feeling." — Judith Jones, market editor

"Well, isn't this fun! Fashion girls are way into V-formation tie-dye right now. Our UK editor in chief has been wearing a dress featuring this print nonstop, and Proenza Schouler's take on the trend has been spotted on countless street style stars.

"This guy is mesh, but I felt like my best seamless nude bra (I swear by this one that has amazing reviews) looked great underneath, so no need for a camisole. This is a size small, which fit fine, but if I wanted a smoother, tighter look, I'd opt for an XS. I'm also really into the baby-blue version below." — Kat Collings, editor in chief

"I knew about this top before I tried it on since it's been a best seller on Who What Wear lately. It comes in a ton of trendy prints from tie-dye to leopard, but for some reason, the camo version was calling my name. I typically steer clear of the print, but this version is low-key, and I could easily see myself layering it underneath neutral sweaters and dresses for an interesting pop of print." — Anna LaPlaca, associate editor

"Looking for a cozy yet chic top that will go with anything? This is it. The soft, fuzzy texture feels incredibly plush, and the square neckline and puff shoulders add a chic and romantic touch. I'm partial to this lovely rust color, but it also comes in six other colors." — Judith Jones, market editor

"There's no neckline that lies better than a cowl-neck if you ask me, and this little tank is proof. Its perfectly drapey neckline is the main selling point, but the subtle leopard print really drives it home." — Anna LaPlaca, associate editor

Under $100

"I have one word for this pullover: cozy. It was so soft I contemplated taking a little lie-down in the corner of the dressing room in it. It is like a cloud is hugging you! The pockets connect, making a little pouch, which is a fun detail for when your fingers are freezing and want to benefit from their own warmth." — Kat Collings, editor in chief

"I think it's showing how much I love this fluffy thing. I'm wearing an XS, which definitely still felt like it had plenty of room for a turtleneck shirt underneath." — Kat Collings, editor in chief

"My LBD hunt ends here. Beyond just the minidress, I wanted a simple cocktail dress that I could keep in my closet and pull out for every fashion emergency that might arise. Last-minute party? This dress. Funeral? This dress. Something to wear with sneakers? This dress." — Lauren Eggertsen, senior editor

"Hopefully you're as into the plissé trend as I am because we have another stunner coming in hot. I don't think I've seen a more elegant dress under $100. Clearly this would work perfectly for a wedding or an event with a cocktail dress code, but I'm also into the idea of wearing it more casually with simple sandals. Since the fabric has stretch, it's also decidedly more comfortable than most of my fancier dresses." — Kat Collings, editor in chief

"I'm wearing a small but would purchase this in an XS for a more formfitting look." — Kat Collings, editor in chief

"This turtleneck was wildly soft, flattering, and the perfect amount of oversize. The jeans? Can't beat the Wedgie fit by Levi's—truly." — Nicole Kliest, contributing editor

"I've been on the hunt for a cute little black dress for a while now. This one is certainly a tad risqué, which initially had me on the fence, but the longer I had it on in the dressing room, the more I fell in love with it. The nearly hip-high slit is daring in all the right ways, and since the rest of the dress is very minimal, I feel comfortable with the drama of the lower half. Plus, the slit is situated just perfectly." — Lauren Eggertsen, senior editor 


"Muted neutrals are the backbone of a chic fall and winter wardrobe. This cowl-neck sweater has a gorgeous oatmeal hue and is super soft. It drapes beautifully with a relaxed fit. I'll be wearing mine with matching beige jeans for a luxe look." — Judith Jones, market editor

Under $150

"Topshop comin' in hot with the faux leather! This olive-colored dress reminds me of a dress my boss, Kat Collings, wore over the summer. To be honest, I haven't stopped thinking about it. So buying a similar one was the natural next step." — Lauren Eggertsen, senior editor

"Some people are afraid of larger fluffy jackets, but I am drawn to them. I spotted this cozy coat in the Topshop section of the store and knew I must at least try it on. If you live in New York (or anywhere remotely cold), trust me, this jacket is going to keep you warm and comfortable all season long. And for the price, it won't do you wrong." — Lauren Eggertsen, senior editor

"Anyone who spends time with me knows how much I Iove wearing white on white. This green jacket helps translate the aesthetic to colder weather." — Nicole Kliest, contributing editor

"This trusty quilted puffer jacket is super versatile—perfect over a sweater on slightly warmer days and an ideal layering piece under heavy winter overcoats for freezing temps." — Judith Jones, market editor

"When I saw this fleece, I made an audible 'eep!' sound because it's so cozy but also feels polished. I'll be wearing it with a striped tee and camel-colored trousers." — Nicole Kliest, contributing editor

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