A post college problem: jeans and tshirts are not okay? Finding out how to dress like a news reporter.

In the newsroom during college wearing--jeans and a tshirt!

The college uniform: jeans and a tshirt. I think a lot of college students are guilty of this. There is just so much going on in college that it is just so easy to become accustomed to this uniform. Well in the professional world that just won’t cut it. I recently went through my closet and threw away/gave away dozens of t-shirts. About around this time I realized that I don’t have enough professional clothes to last me a job where I have to dress up everyday. This is about the time, if I were posting this on twitter, I would give it a hash tag and write #postcollegeproblem. Realizing that I need a whole new wardrobe for my new job gave me a flash back to my internship at WAVY the summer before last.

I really looked up to all of the anchors and reporters and all of the women just seemed so stylish all of the time. Finally, when I was doing an overnight shift during my news rotation with Katie Collett and LV Harrell, I got up the nerve to ask Katie how she managed to wear something different every single day, “Gee, you must have a lot of clothes to be a reporter, don’t you?” She looked at me and said bluntly, “Honestly, you have to.” She then explained how she made it look like she was wearing something different every day because she learned to make different combinations with her outfits.

Katie Collett wearing one of the black blazers she recommended I should buy.

I learned that I would need to have a few staples, like a blazer, black pants, and solid colored dresses and invest in different colored cardigans and shirts to wear underneath the blazer. Then she said a piece of advice that I always remembered but wish I had followed now. “You will make such small amounts of money at your first reporter job that you won’t be able to afford clothes, so I’d recommend that you start stocking up now.” Looking at my meager professional wardrobe now, I wish I had listened.

All of the “professional looking” clothes that I had purchased to wear to my past two internships were unfortunately from Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe….meaning they were cheap clothes that become faded or worn after only a few washes.

Wearing a Forever 21 dress at WTKR that is now faded (this picture was taken only 2 months ago!) with fellow intern Laura Claggett.

There have been times, I admit, that I am shopping at the mall and look next to me and see a 13 year old girl looking through the same clothes. Those are the moments that I realize that I have been shopping at the same stores since I was 13. Anybody else out there guilty of this? I have been shopping at Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and the junior sections of stores for over 10 years! Sure, a lot of people say, “Well what’s the problem? If the clothes still fit, why not?” Well I think I’ve realized the problem recently. Those clothes aren’t cut for the professional world. Think about it, how many dresses or skirts from Forever 21 hit your knee? Very few, unless you are shorter than 5 foot 3.  I think it may be time to begin shopping at the big girl stores.

I was pondering the other day what kind of clothes I should invest in and from what stores when I remembered that my friend I had met through CNU TV, Katie Harden, was in the same predicament as me about this same time last year.

She got hired to work as a reporter for WWAY, an ABC affiliate in North Carolina, and always seems to be wearing the cutest clothes when she is doing stand ups and live shots. (Yes, Katie, I follow your work online..how could I not?) So I facebook messaged her and asked her what kinds of clothes would be smart to buy for that kind of job. She called me a few minutes later and gave me great advice. Flats instead of heels because one man banding in heels can be a nightmare–especially if you are shooting a story somewhere gross. Which by the way-I have shot weddings in heels–and I agree, my feet don’t like me after that.

This is Katie Harden one man banding and looking super stylish while doing it.

She also said invest in dresses in the summer because it is so hot and humid in the south and certainly wear pants in the winter. A point that stuck out in my mind was when she said, “Listen when you are on camera, all that matters is what you are wearing from the waist up–so invest in tops.” She went on to say, “Whatever you wear on the bottom is just for you. So wear pants rather than a skirt if they are more comfortable.” I had never thought about it that way but it makes a lot of sense. How many times do you see a reporter on TV and think, “wow those are amazing shoes!”

Since a reporter should invest in tops …what kinds of tops are good? “Layers look good on tv” she said, “Be careful with wearing black because if you have dark hair it will all blend—making you look like a blob on TV.” I bet you never thought of that, did you? I didn’t.

So now I am faced with the task of buying new clothes and breaking out of the jeans and tshirt mode. Heck–since I have been out of school I have been in wedding videographer outfit mode, which means wear pajamas all day while editing and all black on weekends while shooting. I guess I need to learn how to get dressed everyday again!

Goodbye Forever 21 and hello New York and Company…guess I knew this day would come one day.

Speaking of fashion and Katie Harden, look at this amazing video and of course notice the amazing outfit she is wearing!