AS I SEE IT
BY MARIANNE HERON
Spoiler alert, this is a callout for the fashion police, no, not to chivvy us out of WFM (working from home) gear although the guy who forgot to put his trousers on when taking a zoom call recently needs a wake-up call. No, it’s about the fashion choices of female presenters on RTE.
Does it really matter what they wear? Certainly, it does. Do you really want to be distracted from some important news items by wondering what on earth prompted a news caster to choose an unfortunate shade of acid green dress with contrasting inserts which made her look broad in the beam or asking yourself for the nth time why an otherwise gorgeous announcer always reads the news clad in unflattering PJs with something tied around her middle like baler twine?
Or be worried about your wans who wear heels so totteringly high that you wonder if they are going to fall base over apex?
Or what about the weather women? Figure hugging dresses are fine for party wear but have some of them realised how just how much their tummy bulges show up in profile against all those curvy isobars?
Or how about presenters who suddenly switch from wearing the kind of outfit that your Granny might wear for an afternoon tea party to wearing trainers and leggings to look trendy in line with a new studio design.
It’s the kind of look which maybe grand for teenagers hanging out in a mall but hardly the thing for haranguing the latest Cabinet minister who happens to be in the firing line.
When you are reading the news, including items about death, destruction and war, or issuing the latest orange weather warning about to hit Ireland, it is not the time to make a glaring fashion statement. This is the time for elegant understatement. Elegance is about being appropriately dressed for the occasion.
German chancellor Angela Merkel was once asked why she dressed the way she does always in identical figure skimming jackets and dark trousers. “I am not a fashion model,” she replied firmly. Muti, or mother, as Merkel is called in Germany, found her look and has stuck to it, only the colours and fabrics of her jackets change according to mood and season.
A bit like a uniform really, or men’s wear, where with a jacket, shirt and tie, not forgetting the trousers, men are sorted if boring.
“Looking stylish is as much about knowing what not to wear as knowing what suits you,” declare fashion gurus Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine, who presented BBCs ‘What not to Wear’.
Looking good on screen is challenging, not least given the cost involved and according to RTE, depending on a number of factors, wardrobe allowances may be made available to presenters. They may also wear their own personal clothes at times. Then there’s the ‘does my front look big in this’ question, as TV adds kilos to your appearance and the RTE wardrobe department are on hand to advise screen presenters.
Our female news and weather stars could make the most of the opportunity to showcase Irish designs, although, say RTE, the suitability of clothing technically and style wise for on-air use is the primary focus but Irish labels are included when within established budgets.
Most important of all presenters have the opportunity to demonstrate a sustainable approach to help change our over-consumption of fashion given the threat of global warming.
None of us needs to buy and wear new outfits all the time. We are buying 60% more garments that we did 15 years ago and the fashion industry is one of the biggest drivers of carbon emissions (it emits about the same quantity of GHGs a year as the entire economies of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined.)
Fast fashion ends up being wasteful fashion. In the US for instance, it is estimated that 80% of unwanted clothing goes into landfill or is incinerated.
It’s a pity to waste that opportunity.