Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day Thirty-Four: The Continuing Search for Norma K.

Today you get picture of the Holy Grail instead of me because I spent Sunday wandering through various Walmarts looking non-photogenic:

(pic via, though it's everywhere out there)

What does the Holy Grail have to do with my wardrobe project? It's a purely literary allusion--I've been on a quest for my own version of the Holy Grail and it has nothing to do with religion. It has to do with Norma Kamali, of course. (yes, I'm a Christian, but I don't think alluding to the Holy Grail in a lighthearted way is a salvation issue--also I'm thinking of it much more in the spirit of Monty Python than the Mt. of Olives)

I confess (I do that a lot, don't I?) that I wouldn't have been as enthusiastic about this project if I hadn't remembered--somewhere back in my addled brain--that Norma Kamali was involved with the Walmart people in some way. The style of Norma K's clothing is very pleasing, and a welcome relief from WM's usual fare of inexpensive fabrics and ho-hum designs.

What I didn't expect was the pure, foolish legwork involved in finding Norma Kamali-wear in its natural habitat.

The Walmarts in my area are the retail equivalents of basic-model Chevy Luminas: serviceable, but hardly glamorous. I'm very aware of what clothing they have, and in what sizes. The selection is slim, and no one in women's apparel has ever heard of Norma Kamali. That's not a criticism--it's just a fact. So I'm online daily to see if there's anything new and fun available.

I searched for the Norma K. line when I was in Nashville. Heard a rumor it might be available a thirty minute drive away--in the exact opposite direction from where I needed to go. My sister didn't see anything in her local St. Louis store, either. My blessed mother and father went to three different Walmart stores in the greater Cincinnati area just to find me Norma K. shoes. As far as I know,  Northern Kentucky is the only place they're sold between Indiana and the Atlantic Ocean.

I did do my homework. As soon as I realized the Norma K. stuff had a limited release, I used WM's handy store locator widget to see where it was kept in stock. No need for me to go into the details, but just let me tell you that "limited stock" means "we have one skirt someone bought at another store and returned, but we have no idea what in the hell to do with it." So much for their famous inventory skills.

This is madness I know: On Saturday, I spent half an hour in a BP parking lot on my GPS and cellphone trying to confirm Norma K. sightings at five different St. Louis Walmarts. The BP parking lot was half and hour west of Terre Haute, over two hours from my house (and there was no Norma K. in the Terre Haute WM, btw). Why St. Louis? I had to be there on Sunday, and didn't want to miss any Norma K. possibilities.

On Sunday, I did find Norma K. at ONE store in St. Louis. I drove to three, called five. Even Bengal, who was with me, was excited when we finally found the mother lode.

Before you all start thinking it's time for an intervention, let me tell you what I found in St. Louis: I found...clothes. Lots of black and blue and white clothes. I found Norma K. displays with pretty, thin models, and quite a few pieces that didn't suit me at all. Was I disappointed? Well, yes. For a while.

I think it was one of those be-careful-what-you-wish-for moments. It took me two hours to try everything on. I averaged about 50% between likes and dislikes. Bought lots of $7 goodies for next (!) summer. A few wear-now pieces.

I feel a little deflated. I wonder what the next big challenge might be. Shoes? Jewely? The perfect Argyle leggings?

Right now I have to get ready for Chainsaw Class--still have no idea what to wear. I've avoided buying flannel. Can you see me in this? Waving a chainsaw?

(photo from www.walmart.com)

Hope your day is full of blessings--L.


  1. Laura, I want you to know that you abso-freakin-lutely are cracking me up today! The mad Wal Mart search and now the chainsaw class attire to look forward to.

  2. Isn't it required to wear flannel while waving a chainsaw? I thought I saw that law somewhere... LOL to that and the Monty Python referernce. You've brought back a happy memory of seeing that movie with my dad. : )

  3. Hi, Becky--Chainsaw 101 up today! I absolutely cannot believe how much time I spend at that place....

    Hi, Carrie--I think that's my favorite Monty Python film. I'm glad this brought you a memory of spending time with your dad. I know how you treasure them.