What should I wear on the “Today Show”?

July 16th, 2009

Help me decide. I’ve narrowed it down to three outfits, which I then photographed in really bad lighting. Oh well.

Outfit the first: Orange jacket, black skirt/dress


Pros: Jacket is a good TV color and looks authoritative but still fun. I can wear the skirt on the train & have the dress for backup. Lots of accessorizing options.

Cons: Is orange and black too Halloweeny?

Outfit the second: Grey tank, purple skirt. This skirt is actually a mulberry color, not nearly as dark as it looks.


Pros: Ladylike. Scarf allows for discreet miking, which is always a plus. I’m committed to the scarf on this one, which means I don’t have to make a lot of other accessory decisions. (Having options and not having options are both good, oddly.)

Cons: Might be a little bit fussy; projects femininity but not expertise.

Outfit the third: Pink tank, black skirt.


Pros: Simple. Bright TV-friendly colors. Can add a scarf or cardigan (yellow or black).

Cons: Too casual? Or do I only think that because it’s really comfortable? Would a cardigan smarten it up? Which color?

What do you think I should wear, readers?

32 Responses to “What should I wear on the “Today Show”?”

  1. Marie on July 16, 2009 5:26 pm

    Outfit the first. :-)

  2. Fillyjonk on July 16, 2009 5:26 pm

    Do you have a black blazer? Because I like #2 the best regardless, but a blazer or other tailored jacket would get the expertise back in there without sacrificing style.

  3. Robin on July 16, 2009 5:31 pm

    I do, but I wore that blazer the first time I was on!

  4. Fillyjonk on July 16, 2009 5:41 pm

    It’s a black blazer! Nobody’s going to notice you wearing it twice. I think covered shoulders are pretty key for projecting authority so in the absence of blazer I will have to reluctantly vote #1.

  5. Dmajor on July 16, 2009 5:58 pm

    Teevee studios can be stupid COLD, so I would advise against sleeveless. Of course you were on this show before — so, was that studio wicked hot from the lights or stupid cold from the AC to counteract the lights.

    Also, if you’re susceptible to being the least bit self-conscious about your arms, you’ll feel all secure and authoritative in a jacket or blazer. I know that Michele O. has set a new standard in sleeveless, but I’ve heard so many women say self-deprecating things about their own arms/elbows, whatever. I don’t know if you’re of that persuasion.

  6. PeaceBang on July 16, 2009 6:20 pm

    I say #1. The scarf of #2 is too busy for television- they say to avoid such patterns (and the fringe can just become a mess on camera). The third outfit does seem too informal for your topic and image. The big, bold, creative accessory on the orange jacket is terrific.
    Didn’t the producers tell you not to wear black? That’s what I’ve always heard when doing t.v. or extra work.

    How about a pair of cute slim-cut black trousers with the orange jacket if you have them? Then some fabulous ankle-strappy or other totally delicious shoes!

  7. MelissaJane on July 16, 2009 7:07 pm

    I vote number d1. Tanks = too casual and too much skin for me for a television appearance. And of course PeaceBang’s fashion advice is impeccable, as it would be!

  8. MelissaJane on July 16, 2009 7:07 pm

    Um, I meant 1. I have no idea what outfit d1 is.

  9. Stupendousness on July 16, 2009 7:57 pm

    I don’t think orange and black are too Halloweeny, but could the orange jacket go with the mulberry skirt? Oranges and purples work together right?

  10. Emily Gill on July 16, 2009 8:04 pm

    #1 – love the other two, but I’m with the covering-the-arms for authority theories!

  11. katherine on July 16, 2009 8:35 pm

    I like the second very much, but agree that the thank may appear too casual. The scarf, though…lovely.

    I also like outfit the first, but feel that the flower on the jacket may be too overpowering.

  12. Carolyn (Cambridge) on July 16, 2009 9:36 pm

    I can picture 3 with a black cardigan, or even the black jacket, but I like 1 just fine. It would be nice to have a backup, in case the host or her producer has had the exact same idea that morning.

  13. Whitman on July 17, 2009 12:37 am

    #1 #1 #1.

    I like the second better, but because you’re against repeating the blazer wearing… #1!

  14. dna on July 17, 2009 8:33 am

    Now that I see the possible outfits, I like the 2nd one the best– it is summer after all and you have great upper arms I am looking at what the Today showers are wearing today, do you have a light colored cardigan that you can wear when you are not on camera? You’re not going to be on for hours, but for a few minutes, I would sacrifice for the greatness of that look. scarves are hot.

  15. liza on July 17, 2009 8:47 am

    Few of us have Michelle Obama’s arms. I vote for sleeves.

  16. Jess on July 17, 2009 8:54 am

    First off, congrats on being on the show again!

    I think #1 is too Halloweeny, if it was fall then I woudl say go for it. #3 would look great with a gray cardigan (they were on sale at the J Crew outlet for $35 last week!)

    Look forward to seeing you on TV again!

  17. bluemoose on July 17, 2009 9:28 am

    I am finding it a bit sad that covered arms project more authority. Not blaming anyone, and I totally understand what you mean, but it seems a sorry statement about what lines women need to walk to present themselves authoritatively.

    That said, I vote for #2, with 1 being a backup. Outfit the third does look more casual. I like outfit #2′s personality. It looks professional without looking corporate (but then, I work in a pretty laid back world). Outfit the first is cute — and I like the suggestion of pants, rather than the skirt with that one. But it looks more like something someone on a morning show would wear — more predictable, I guess — and therefore slightly less fun.

  18. bluemoose on July 17, 2009 9:29 am

    Caveat: my only TV experience is two short interviews on a local midwestern news network where my segment was fit in between the livestock reports and grain futures. I got no wardrobe advice and probably needed a bit.

  19. lauren on July 17, 2009 10:29 am

    I definitely vote for #1. I agree with several others that the sleeveless tanks are too casual.

    And I disagree with bluemoose that this is a sad statement for women. I would certainly advise a male expert against wearing a sleeveless shirt for an interview on TV! :)

  20. Asgket on July 17, 2009 1:04 pm

    I vote for #2, jackets are for old ladies! You are young, hip, confident, jackets are super traditional… match your advice with your outfit you are giving old advice out.. so you want to engage your audience. As long as you love your arms. Look at what the TV staff wears.. they aren’t in jackets… I think number 3 is too casual and numebr 1 too old, and too halloween. Jackets are tough unless they are the perfect fit not to make you look boxy.. Always go feminine.

  21. Ashley on July 17, 2009 1:05 pm

    oops my name is Ashley

  22. Pat on July 17, 2009 4:16 pm

    I vote for outfit 1. I love, love the jacket! You will need to wear a cute pair of strappy high heel shoes — not that gladiator style that is currently “in fashion”. Good luck. You’ll be fabulous no matter what you wear.

  23. jl on July 17, 2009 4:42 pm

    I vote for #1. Great for camera close-ups, nice structure, good all around. I have no halloween-color problems with it. #2 and #3, too much flesh showing for morning TV. Best of luck!

  24. Robin on July 17, 2009 6:13 pm

    I’m fascinated by how this is turning into another bare-arms discussion! When did that become such a cultural flashpoint? OK, with Michelle Obama, but why?

    (FWIW, I’ve watched some video of the show, and both KL&H and their female guests wear a lot of tank tops and sleeveless sundresses.)

  25. katherine on July 17, 2009 6:46 pm

    I just thought it might be chilly in the studio.

  26. Kate Harding on July 17, 2009 7:03 pm

    I will pass along the best advice I got when I was freaking prior to CNN appearance: TV has gotten so much better that everything looks good (in terms of colors and prints, at least), so you should wear whatever you feel best in. Period. Look at it this way: If you’re sitting there in the black blazer thinking, “EVERYONE KNOWS I WORE THIS BEFORE,” you’ll project less confidence than if you’re wearing a comfy pink tank top and feel fabulous in it. And confidence is practically the same thing as authority, especially on TV.

    Also, if you wanted to give the producer a copy of LFTF and mention that they owe me one for Heath Ledger? That would be OK. Have fun!

  27. JoeJ on July 17, 2009 9:16 pm

    Ok, I’m probably disqualified because I’m a guy, but:

    1) It’s summer. Outfit #1 says I would rather wear something out of season to look authoritative, which, of course, makes you appear less confident and less authoritative.

    2) Outfit #3 looks like a beach tank. Sorry.

    3) Outfit #2 is seasonal, is muted in color and professional. The scarf adds some snap. I think the “bare arms are not authoritative” discussion is hilarious. Someone is either authoritative (inteligent, confident, articulate) or they’re not, having nothing to do with their sleeve length. Try this test at home – set the jacket up in a chair and ask it questions. I’m guessing, all things being equal, the responses won’t be that impressive.

  28. ConductMom on July 17, 2009 9:43 pm

    Well, I go with #1…but having seen that dress on you, I’d vote for that w/out the jacket. Maybe with a short scarf,just hanging over your shoulders, not the longer one , tied. A bright colored one.

  29. Fillyjonk on July 18, 2009 12:58 pm

    Not blaming anyone, and I totally understand what you mean, but it seems a sorry statement about what lines women need to walk to present themselves authoritatively.

    While I’m usually the first to go this route, in this case I have to point out that men would also look less authoritative with bare arms. It’s at least partly a function of men having fewer sartorial options — there’s no bare-armed look that a man would even fleetingly consider for a TV appearance, whereas Robin clearly has several tank tops she looks awesome and professional in. :)

    I would hardly say that covered shoulders look more authoritative because that is innately more authoritative — it’s because of what we’re accustomed to, and honestly, it’s partly because of what we’re accustomed to men wearing. But that’s the semiotics, and it’s up to you whether you use that or flout it.

    ON THE OTHER HAND if the anchors go sleeveless then fuck it, wear a tank! I don’t watch the show when you’re not on it so I don’t know, maybe their audience has a different set of expectations.

  30. Apostate on July 18, 2009 1:39 pm


  31. bluemoose on July 20, 2009 10:48 am

    That’s mostly what I meant. If this were a discussion in which (I know, laugh away) a man asked what to wear on TV, it would be presumed that he was authoritative, and I can’t see that that would be an issue on the table. The discussion would then be what would play better on camera. I had not actually put together that what we consider “authoritative” is what we see professional men wearing, but I believe that to be completely true.

    All that aside, I still like option 2.

  32. MelissaJane on July 21, 2009 5:53 pm

    Bluemoose, I would find a man in a tank top far, far less authoritative than a woman in a tank top. The woman…eh, since Robin asked, I vote against it, but I don’t think she’d be making a huge mistake if she wore it. The hypothetical man? Can’t imagine taking him seriously as anything other than a personal trainer.

    Never mind, just noticed FJ said the same thing. But hell, I typed it all out, might as well press submit.

    And I am not sure that men are so confident they look authoritative by default. There’s a lot of discussion about power ties and the color of shirts and what have you when they find themselves in these situations.

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