The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Norma Kamali for Walmart Review

Last week, I did the unthinkable and placed an order with Shopping at Walmart is a sticky subject, considering many consumers see them as an evil empire. I find it almost unbearable to shop there in person, but I was determined to review the new Normal Kamali collection, so after two failed attempts to find it at stores near me, I bit the bullet and bought a couple items from their website.

Whereas a trip to a brick-and-mortar Walmart is depressing at best (no offense to anyone who shops there, but you haven't been to my Walmart--it's like a scene out of the Mike Judge film Idiocracy), shopping at is actually very pleasant. Norma Kamali's new budget fashion line is conveniently promoted on their homepage. Navigating the site is easy as can be. Additional product shots would be helpful, as would additional inventory. Most of the items I really wanted to see in person were completely sold out (such as this awesome batwing cardigan, leopard jersey tank dress, or black and white striped henley). At the same time, that can be a clever business strategy--it only made me want the items more!

So I placed my order on a Monday, and the goods arrived just two days later on a Wednesday morning. I have mixed feelings about the overall quality and styles thus far. It's been like a roller coaster ride of emotions (I love hyperbole): First I hated it. I saw a lot of jersey and sweats on that annoying model from the '80s and thought to myself, this is the LAST thing Walmart customers need to look good. Then, I revisited the site on a different day with a different mood...and suddenly loved it, especially with those addictive low prices. Six bucks for an organic cotton tee?? Twenty for a black blazer? Hook me up!

Even though I was bummed that all the good stuff was sold out, I eagerly filled my virtual shopping cart with a basic white tee ($6), a gray graphic tee ($6), some red skinny jeans ($15), a long-sleeve crew tee ($8), a black vest ($12), a black blazer ($20) and a two-pack of Nobo gray opaque tights ($8.97). On a side note, the shipping costs were a little misleading: I was expecting to pay 97 cents for the whole order, but when it came time to check out, I realized that it's actually 97 cents per item. Still, very reasonable and as I said, I got my goods within two days.

The quality is definitely good considering the price. I love the graphic tee because, well, I'm a dog lover so the cute little daschund design makes me giggle. Tee-hee. My white tee and long sleeve gray tee are as good as anything you'd get at the Gap. The jeans and vest are fine quality-wise, but the fit was off. Too big. Unfortunately I won't be exchanging them since the smallest size they offer is a size 4 and that's what I got. The blazer works because I wanted something menswear-inspired and this definitely fits the bill. I wore it out over the weekend and channeled Yves Saint Laurent's le smoking (some might say I'm delusional, I like to think I have a very vivid imagination).

I will be hiking back to my nearest Walmart store to return the items I don't want, and I like having that option for returns. It's too bad that the line is only carried at select stores nationwide because I'm curious to see more. I'd love to try a dress from the collection after seeing the editor of Budget Chic modeling her Norma Kamali leopard print dress (see the pics here). In conclusion, I think I have a pretty good sense of the sizing, fit and quality, so I will definitely check back on the collection in the future and if something amazing comes up, I won't hesitate to buy more from this line. And then I'll go plant a tree to atone for my budget shopping sins.

Its funny how walmart has been having the reputation for years as a terrible place to shop. I personally think its the same thing as when you go to forever 21 or wet seal.. you get what you paid for and sometimes when you rummage through everything you find an awesome piece with a great price.

A best friend of mine graduated for fashion design not too long ago and she actually had a couple of intern jobs right when she got out, and one job she had was picking out fabrics for walmart's "new" line.. theyre apparently in the middle of trying to build back up a new reputation by choosing better textures..fabrics...

so thats good news =)

p.s and i think that blazer looks awesome!
#1 Neira on 2008-11-12 06:53 (Reply)
Great review BB. Her line did go fast. I wanted the batwing jersey shrug as well. I when to order that about 3 weeks ago and nothing was left but the gray one. I wanted the black.
#2 budget chic (Homepage) on 2008-11-12 09:48 (Reply)
LOVE the clothes you're modeling from Walmart! Esp. the red skinny jeans, tee and black vest combo. Simple, stylish and edgy at the same time.

Walmart can be deceptive. Most of the time I don't find good clothes there, but once in a while you can really score some amazing pieces. My favorite is a blue-and-white, pure silk "bandana"-print top that looks gorgeous! It's from their "George" line, and unlike any top I've seen anywhere else, even to this day. I wish I got the red-and-white print version too.
#3 Anusha (Homepage) on 2008-11-12 11:21 (Reply)
the blazer combo and the red skinny jeans combo are amazing. i've never shopped at walmart for clothes before but i am definitely buying those 2 pieces.

PS- I just want to say I am a huge fan and I love everything about your website!!
#4 Julia on 2008-11-12 12:17 (Reply)
I love your blog! Read it every day.

Hey- I was wondering about the Walmart sizes- the t-shirts that you bought (very cute btw)- is a medium at Walmart the same as a medium at say Gap or Forever21? Or can you give me a good idea of the sizes compared to other stores.
#5 Hanna on 2008-11-12 12:23 (Reply)
I would liken the sizing to, say, Old Navy. I got my Norma Kamali tees in size XS and they fit perfectly. Hope that helps!
#5.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-11-12 15:21 (Reply)
Very informative. LOVE the graphic tee!
#6 Katie on 2008-11-12 12:30 (Reply)
I agree with your comments on the NK line, and I voiced similar comments on my blog a few weeks ago. Luckily, I made the NK discovery while the dresses were still available on Love the sweetheart wrap dresses + off shoulder tops:
#7 MH (Homepage) on 2008-11-12 13:08 (Reply)
I really like your second outfit! The tee IS really cute. And I'm not going to list Walmart as one of my top shopping sights, but I definitely don't have a problem with picking up a few basic items there, such as t-shirts. I love that they have basic, v-neck tees for as low as $3.99 and they last me quite a while too!
#8 Celeste (Homepage) on 2008-11-12 13:16 (Reply)
great review- thanks for it b/c I wondered too but like you hate going there! LOVE the pup tee
#9 Real Style Real people (Homepage) on 2008-11-12 13:35 (Reply)
I JUST picked up my order from Norma Kamali's line. I live in the LA area and couldn't find this line at any store so I had to shop online. You can avoid shipping fees by having them sent to the store directly (Site-to-Store option) and shipping will be free! I was pretty surprised by the quality and fit of the two wrap dresses I bought but the red "skinny" jeans did not fit that well. They actually weren't even skinny jeans. They are very wide at the bottom almost boot-cut style. I have to say the jeans pictures on the site were misleading.
#10 LB on 2008-11-12 16:42 (Reply)
One other thing, Walmart carries an American Apparel knockoff brand called Seed. They have v-necks, crew necks, leggings, and even those scarfs that you can wear a million different ways. Super cheap, too!
#11 LB on 2008-11-12 16:45 (Reply)
It is SO FANTASTIC to have you do all this pre-shopping for us, BB. Your picks are adorable on you, and I'm glad to know that Norma's Wal-mart quality isn't atrocious. I, too, get a migraine just entering a brick-and-mortar Wal-mart, but I'll def cruise past their website based on your recommendation. And order small. ;-)
#12 Sal (Homepage) on 2008-11-12 16:58 (Reply)
re the ethics of walmart. anywhere you go you have to check where the stuff was made. personally i go out of my way NOT to buy stuff that's made in china bcuz they're giving money to prop up the military regime in burma and they're buying out africa and not for altruistic reasons either, and they're glutting european and american markets with too much stuff; saying that, it's harder and harder to find stuff that's not made there so just shop responsibly and don't overdo it. personally from what i've heard about 4ever21 they're not any better and the quality is no better than walmart.
also a couple of their 'george' label things are not bad.
#13 maggie z on 2008-11-12 18:52 (Reply)
Great comment. I would love to know where and how my clothing is made but getting that information is difficult.

Anywho, I just checked the labels on all my Normal Kamali stuff: Blazer and vest were made in Guatemala; tees were made in Indonesia; jeans in Bangladesh.

I think American companies are catching on about our general "mistrust" of goods made in China so they're moving production elsewhere...does that make it better? Hard to tell.

At first I shopped at Forever 21 because I thought everything was made in Los Angeles, but that's not the case--just a percentage of their clothing is made in L.A. Also, they've been accused of having sweat shop conditions right here in the states...again, I don't know where they stand today. Consumers need more information about the products they're buying, from food to cosmetics to clothing and beyond.
#13.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-11-12 19:41 (Reply)
LOVE this post! I am itching to buy the red skinny jeans - can you tell me what size you got and how they fit?? You look about my size and I have yet to brave a skinny jean - but from the reviews I read these sound like they aren't super severe skinny. Oh, and the tee - how long is it?? I usually can't buy regular tees from anywhere because of my height (have to go to specialty places like or or but that tee looks like it might be a tad longer... my B&M Wal-mart doesn't have these pieces, so I'm so thrilled you posted about them!!!
#14 onebrickshy (Homepage) on 2008-11-12 20:02 (Reply)
Hey onebrickshy! I'll try to reply to your questions here in case others are wondering: Size 4 jean, not tight enough for my liking but they might be what you're looking for. Definitely more of a boot cut than skinny. Tee is a good length, has that extra inch us tall girls need...but we're always looking for longer ones, right?!
#14.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-11-14 00:13 (Reply)
Oh, the wages of impulse buying! I went ahead and ordered my jeans right after I commented just becuase I couldn't wait! And I should have gotten the size 4 (6 is too big for me??? vanity sizing run amok!) I LOVED the jean, but it was just too big on me, so I returned it to the store and they didn't have any in stock, so I bought the size 4 online just now. I'm still SO excited to have them though - the marerial was far better than I expected, and I love the cut - I'll let you know how it turns out!! ;-)
#14.1.1 onebrickshy (Homepage) on 2008-11-21 10:04 (Reply)
Hello, it's me again! :]
Thanks for the replies the last time, they were heart-warming.

I'm so glad you did a feature on Wal-Mart!
With my whole student budget, Wal-mart's been moving up my list of favorite stores. (I actually like it a whole lot more than Target.)

My love for Wal-Mart started almost 4 years ago, when I got a pair of White Stag brown faux-suede slouchy knee-length boots. I bring them out every chance I get. They were just 24.99 or so & are still in great shape today!

I've come to find that their designer lines such as George, White Stag and Metro7 are actually of pretty good quality; most likely a lot better than that of Forever21 (which I love too).

Okay, enough about my love for Wal-mart.
Where did you get that cute contrast tank-dress? (Or is it a tank paired with a skirt?) Either way, I would love to own it! :]
#15 Nancy T on 2008-11-13 00:27 (Reply)
Great feedback, thanks for sharing! The contrast tank-dress is from Forever21. I got it this summer and it's proven to be a really versatile style.
#15.1 The Budget Babe on 2008-11-14 00:09 (Reply)
it looks quite stylish.
#16 savvymode sg (Homepage) on 2008-11-13 01:44 (Reply)
Sweet review, though I still am very skeptical about buying any clothes from Walmart!! Call me a fashion snob, but at least Forever21 doesn't have overweight balding "gentlemen" walking around with food stains on their shirts. Maybe that's just the Walmart in my town. Ah well.
#17 MizzJ (Homepage) on 2008-11-13 03:03 (Reply)
While I normally wouldn't ever step foot in a B&M Wal Mart, after reading your review, I thought it couldn't hurt to at least check out their site. Sadly the items I was interested in were either out of stock or only available in a large or extra large.

I don't know if wal mart is quite up to par with online clothing shopping either - I couldn't find any sort of size chart (not that those are always terribly helpful anyway, but they could at least try)

And in comparison to Forever 21, well, have you ever tried to return or exchange anything at Forever 21? It's impossible! At least wal mart lets you return or exchange pretty much anything.
#18 Lydia (Homepage) on 2008-11-14 20:19 (Reply)
I just purchased the long sleeve and short sleeve T shirts yesterday for $3!! I guess they were on sale! My local Walmart had just about every peice in stock except for the red jeans. There was 1 size 18 left! GRR! The sweatpants with the pockets are nice and comfy although weird fitting. Definantely for around the house only.
#19 Chrissy on 2008-11-30 16:37 (Reply)
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