Dressed to Kill:

The death of careers

January 9, 2017


Appearance Matters


As I review newscasts from coast to coast, I am constantly surprised at how many anchors have no idea how to dress. First, remember that as an anchor, your primary goal is to get the viewers to focus on what you are trying to communicate. Anything that distracts the audience from that is counterproductive.


Test everything on camera. Find out what works and, if it doesn't, return it!


Anchors - Female

Women face the biggest challenge. They simply have too many choices in dresses, jackets, blouses, and jewelry.  Furthermore, what looks great in public can look terrible on television. The best advice is to keep it simple. Remember, you are a working professional journalist. You are not going to a ball or clubbing. Solid colors work better than prints. Conservative jewelry is better than trendy and flashy trinkets.  “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.” – Karl Lagerfeld. If you do not know who this designer is, Google him.


Anchors - Male

The simplest piece of advice is wear suits that are gray, navy, or black. Avoid houndstooth or similar patterns. They moray on camera and you end up looking like you are electrified. The best shirt color is blue, as it is less harsh than white. If you choose to wear white, make sure the studio cameras can handle the contrast between the shirt and your face. Ties can be defining and challenging. Wear a regiment tie and you may come off as a banker. Wear a gaudy tie and you will qualify as a buffoon.



In my experience the entire issue of appearance is a management problem.

  • Every contract should give management the right to insure proper attire.
  • Managers must talk with their anchors about what does and does not work and most are afraid to do this.
  • Capture video of anchors in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The vast majority of those anchors dress properly. Show it to your anchors who don’t.
  • Do not accept the excuse that you are not paying your anchors enough to dress properly. You are not asking them to shop at Neiman Marcus or Saks. It’s not about how much something costs. It is all about how it looks on camera.


Anchors who are overweight need to get into shape. There is a lot of truth to the saying that the camera adds ten pounds. While you're slimming down, buy a bigger size. Nothing looks worse than an anchor popping out of a jacket or dress.



Here is the bottom line. If you look great, you win and so does the station. It takes work, but it is part of the job. Your success depends on it!




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