Nordstrom v. Target: How to Shop for Style on a Budget

I have to admit, my love and fascination for shoes didn’t sprout out of nowhere. My mom has been in the shoe industry my entire life, and I also worked at Nordstrom for four years. In the shoe department. My experience with Nordstrom allowed me to gain a solid insight into the pricing of different manufacturers, and which whole-sale companies are more successful than others – despite their pricing.

If you were to ask an average college student such as myself where she buys her shoes, the answer probably wouldn’t be Nordstrom. My usual clients when I was a salesperson in the Women’s Shoes department were mothers – those middle-aged women who find pleasure in purchasing a new pair of beauties – and often talk about hiding the purchase from their husbands. Nordstrom tends to be on the more expensive side, especially when compared with stores that average college students tend to regularly shop at, such as Forever 21, Love Culture, and Divaz.

I’ve found a hidden gem. A store that everyone knows about and shops at, I’m sure, but not one that would come to mind when thinking of buying fashionable shoes. Target. Yes, a place where you can buy everything from family room rugs to toilet paper, you can also find great deals on shoes that are in style. Let’s take a look at some comparisons between designer-made shoes and Target shoes, with a special look at their prices.

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Here on the left is a fabulous Michael Kors tall leather cognac boot, perfect for fall and winter to tuck into a pair of skinny jeans or wear with an urban-style skirt. This boot, sold at Nordstrom, is $249.95.

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On the right, we have a Merona tall, genuine leather cognac boot, perfect for the same wear. It’s sold at Target for $69.99 (which for Target, is on the spendy side). Now tell me, is there really that big of a difference between the two? Aside from the slight change in the hue, the boots are relatively the same. The label is what’s different.

Now what about these? There’s the Yves Saint Laurent “Tribtoo” platform pump on the left, sold at Nordstrom for a whopping $795. Yes, you read that right.

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Granted, Yves Saint Laurent is a salon shoe (which in Nordstrom terminology means high-end designer), but look at it compared with the Mossimo platform pump on the left, sold at Target for $29.99.

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Now who, really, is going to be able to tell a difference? There may be a few shoe critics out there who would notice, me being one of them. Yes, I’m the kind of person who can see the difference in the stitching or the cut along the instep of the foot, but most people can’t. And honestly, me knowing all of this, I still would rather buy the Mossimo pumps because, well, shoes are shoes. You wear them on your feet, after all, they’re bound to suffer through some damage.

The moral of the story blog post is, there are options. College students, if you’re struggling until next Monday when you get paid to make a visit to the grocery store to change the bare cabinets in your kitchen like I am, it’s not worth spending the heaps of money that some labels require you to. Shopping on a budget is possible. And believe it or not, kind of fun.

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