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Alyssa Woodcock

ENG 111 BL


24 September 2009

The Charisma of Karisma

Karisma is located uptown in between The Apple

tree, a store that only my grandma or a Vera

Bradley fanatic would shop at, and Brick Street,

arguably the most popular club in Oxford. Down

one block to its left is a small park with a place

for bands to perform under an archway covered

with flowered vines and to its right a block is

Follet’s book store. The exterior of Karisma

reminds me of the red brick and white molded

buildings on campus at Miami. Almost the entire

right half of the store is shaded by a tree planted

right in front of The Apple Tree next door.

Nothing shades the left half of the store leaving it

lit up during the day by the sun beaming down

from the lately cloudless skies of Oxford. The

doorway has a small circular wooden sign hanging above it. Carved into the sign in a modern font is

“Karisma: Klothing with style”. On display in the rather large display case is a fuzzy pink Northface

Jacket, a black standard Northface jacket and an Ed Hardy embroidered polo with MIAMI scripted across

the chest. Also sewn on the left chest of the polo is a design that looks like a symbol on a prep school suit

jacket or a (yeah I went there)Hogwarts cloak. (I love the entire intoduction!!!!!)

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I stood in front of the store staring at the embellished polo wondering just what I got myself in to

by choosing Karisma. I wondered if it was going to be like most high class stores and when I walked in I

would immediately be judged to whether I would be helped based on my the labels of my attire. For

instance I have walked into a Coach store without carrying a designer bag or wearing designer clothes

with every intention of making a purchase and had been completely ignored by the clerks. I said to myself

“Don’t assume that they will be like that too- keep a level head, but if they are pompous then fuck them!

They have money but I have character!” I took a calming deep breath and walked towards the glass door.

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I walked in and up to my left

hanging from the white walls were murals

only inches below the extra high ceilings.

An abstract design in teal, black, red and

yellow caught my attention first. Almost a

foot away hung another painting that looked

like a dart board with circular designs in

blue, white and red. The last canvas was

deep blue with bright yellow stars with a shadow of a person dancing

in the middle. There were racks of clothing under the paintings that

were separated by tall wooden shelves and on top of each mahogany

shelf was a tall blue vase over flowing with fake flowers. Fake bright

red daisies, dark blue tulips, peach daffodils and white carnations

poured over the rims of the glass vases. Right when I walked through

the door I also noticed a rack of black cocktail dresses that reminded

me of what I see the girls wear uptown every weekend. One of them was synched at the waist and then

flowed all the way to right below the knees. It was a beautiful dress and I was gaga for it--but then I

noticed it was two hundred and seventy dollars. As I searched the first rack of clothes I noticed a white

button down shirt with black pin stripes. Something in the corner of my eye distracted me- it was a long

sleeve t-shirt that was covered in designs in velvet that faded toward the collar with a sheen of sparkle. It

was glamorous like most things that catch my brown eyes. The shirt hanging next to it had a maroon

design that I would expect to see in a kaleidoscope rather than on a t-shirt. I had hope that since they were

only long sleeve t-shirts that they might be in my price range. I looked at the tags and walked away in my

empty wallet sorrows. In the middle of the light hardwood floor were three racks of clothing; one with fall

jackets, another full of button down shirts or all colors and sizes, and lastly one full of flowered blouses.

On the opposite wall hung a rack of scarves in all different colors, patterns and materials. This rainbow of

materials brought color to the room as if it was for decoration. Next to the scarf art stood ten feet of

mahogany cubbies overflowing with Seven and True Religion jeans (yes, the two designer jeans featured
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in Fergie’s cliché teeny bopper song “My Humps”). (I thought I was really clever her not gonna

lie..)Directly in front of the jeans and scarves stood a grand piano that also sat right behind the display

case in the front of the store. I noticed the classical music playing in the back ground as I started heading

towards the back room of the store.

They spotted me- two employees at Karisma and both of them asked to help me find something. I

told them that I actually had a few questions to ask them for my English 111 paper. Katie, employee of

two years and a junior at Miami, had a pair of khakis on and a lime green Lacoste polo that offset her red

curly hair and already tanned skin. Jessica, a sophomore at Miami, had a dress on that she said she

purchased from Karisma. The halter dress was white and flowy hitting right below the knee and was

embellished with a fancy black flowered design. They didn’t prove my speculations about the store wrong

but they did relate to me. (LOGOS! WHAT WHAT!?!) Suprisingly the fact that it was unusual for

college kids to be able to afford “klothing” from a store with prices like Karisma’s was understood by

both Katie and Jessica. They stood behind the glass counter that curved in front of a freshly polished stair

case leading to the attic of the store. They were both very friendly but they told me it was required for the

job and that they were extremely lucky to be working at Karisma. In Katie’s piercing blue eyes she

viewed the store as a boutique version of Nordstrum and specified that Karisma, like Nordstrum, carries

high priced and high fashion clothes that most people won’t be able to afford. (backing me up

again…)Jessica thought Karisma would be a boutique that she would expect to find in New York City.

The Vogue themed décor made more sense to me now. I asked about the prices and how they feel about

that one of two shopping spots in Oxford is extremely expensive. They said that Karisma’s clothes and

especially their- “…fly gear but I ain’t askin, they say

they love my ass in- Seven jeans, True Religion, they I

say no but they keep givin’, so I keep on takin’ and I

keep on demonstratin’ my “humps”, my ”humps”, my”

humps”, my lovely lady “lumps”(Fergie, “My Humps”)

…” (I thoroughly enjoyed this reference again. I was

very entertained and I laughed at my own joke again.)-

were worth the price and that as long as you wore them enough you would get the wear for your money.
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“Ha-ha! I would be wearing the same pants everyday for a year at that rate!”- I chuckled to myself. (I

didn’t really lol here) They thanked me for giving them something to do because they had only seen six

customers that day and none had purchased anything. I wondered if it was possible to run your own

business and be mentally challenged because the economy is just starting to recover and the manager

hasn’t considered selling designer and high fashion clothes that aren’t as expensive. How does that even

make sense? He also only has Karisma opened in two locations: Oxford and a small town in Illinois. If

nobody bought anything at one of the stores then what is the probability that anything was purchased at

the other location? I thanked them for the interview and continued my observations.

A thin black rug led me down a long skinny yellow

hallway that was covered in framed Vogue magazine covers

that surrounded a tall antique armoire full of HOBO bags. I

made my way past these and entered the back room. My feet hit

the squishy carpeted floor and I noticed that the walls back here

were mostly white and plain. The only splotch of color were the

fitting rooms that were painted black except for one panel on

each that was painted yellow.

I looked to my left to find

a wall entirely dedicated to Reef

sandals. It was man flop heaven

and they were all fifty percent off!

There were about forty nine man

flops to choose from along with

seven rows and four columns of

flip flops for the ladies to choose

from as well. A surf board was

mounted above all of the different colored and fit flip flops. Inbetween racks of flip-flops hung a poster of

a surfer girl in a red and white bikini sporting Reef sandals. The advertisement almost makes me want to

tear the surf board right off the wall and run all the way to the west coast in my Reef sandals to catch
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some waves…but it doesn’t. (I just really wanted to go off on a surfer lingo tantrum here) I don’t know

why Karisma decided to pick up surf wear in Oxford, Ohio but if you understand this then “catch me on

the flip side, dude!” I laughed about how random the display was for a minute but then continued my

observations. I noticed that right in front of the display sat a bench that had the logo Reef on it and a

mirror to use to look at your feet- as if you don’t know what your feet would look like in flip flops by


I turned to my right to find the other

wall completely engulfed in every kind of

Northface jacket imaginable. There was a pink

fuzzy one, a black fuzzy one, a brown standard

one, a rain repellant Northface, a winter coat

Northface and I was surprised not to see

matching Northface scarf and glove sets along

with all the different jackets. In the middle of the carpeted room stood a metal wired rack of other

designer fall jackets and a black down fluffy winter coat that was horizontally tubular and reminded me of

the Michelin Man. Every coat was at least one hundred and twenty dollars but compared to the one

hundred and twenty dollar shirts seemed to be a steal.

The facts are that I am not living in a world that could be described by a materialistic and

degrading song called “My Humps” (whatt now fergie…stop arching your eyebrows so pointy its

unnatural and disturbing…I just really don’t like her.) and I will not be purchasing any jeans from

Karisma no matter how many times I can wear them. The world I am from has a economy that is just

starting to recover, people all over the world that cant even afford more than dirty rags to wear and an

epidemic of starving girls that think they aren’t good enough because of the skewed images of beautiful

people presented by the media. Even though many students at Miami come from better off families- is it

necessary for one of two shopping locations in Oxford to be ridiculously priced? Thirdly to Jessica- we

are in Oxford, Ohio not New York, New York and if we were in New York City high fashion clothes

would be unique and “charismatic” not like Karisma’s collection of Northface jackets, man flops (hehe),
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black sun dresses, and button down shirts in every color you could imagine (ew and the samon colored

man booty short khakis. Yuck.).

Karisma is the typical “Catty Girl”. It seems nice and friendly but it screws you over in the end.

Karisma proved me wrong in that it is not the upfront “Snobbish Bitch” like a Coach store on most

occasions. Katie and Jessica seemed like somewhat down to earth girls who were very friendly but were

brought up upperclass. I think the décor of Karisma is much more unique and charismatic then any of the

clothes and I felt comfortable being there just browsing through the store. What it boils down to is—if

you are looking for an outrageously priced designer boutique with great customer service then go to

Karisma; if you are looking for the same items but with more personality and reasonable prices go to

Juniper. Juniper (love that place!!!) is down a block or two, past the park and on your left right across the

street next to Skyline Chili.

This is my best work. I don’t really have anything to correct in it …at least in my eyes.
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