Monday, May 26, 2008

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I often find myself weirdly fascinated by fashion. Clothes, I mean. Not by the way that fashion relates to my own clothes, so much (whether actual or potential); I suppose it's similar to the way I sometimes find high finance interesting, despite the fact that I don't actually possess huge amounts of money.

For instance...
It was a dark and stormy night on the television. While I waited for Lost to come on, a news bulletin was being broadcast. It looked like this:

Now, this is a perfectly reasonable look for a 2008 newsreader. But it's also a perfectly reasonable look for Farrah Fawcett.

Isn't that kind of interesting?
Seriously... the magenta, the frills, even the hairdo — it's not quite what you'd expect, right?

It could be 70s or even 80s, but either way it's unmistakably dated. A pastiche, even. Wear this out to a trendy bar and people will nod approvingly at your daring, ironical appropriation. And yet a fairly conservative, commercial, free-to-air television channel was willing to let their newsreader wear it on air. Did the producers think that this was a slightly daring fashion move, or a perfectly standard one? Or could they be so old-fashioned — ie, genuinely stuck-in-the-80s — that they didn't even notice how retro it looked?

I'd love to take this as a sign that the producers are actually letting newsreaders wear whatever they want, in the hope that journalism will naturally overshadow presentation. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see something really unusual — newsreaders in t-shirts, maybe? (Please don't mention stuff like this, that's not what I'm talking about). Is there any good reason for male newsreaders to always appear in formal suit & tie, for example?

Uh, now I'm actually thinking about it... yeah, maybe. People are so used to the standard conventions of newsreaderwear (shiny formal) that they don't even think about it, which allows people to (hopefully) think about the actual news instead. If newsreaders wear an outfit out of the ordinary, it can be a distraction: not an opportunity for journalism to overshadow presentation, but the opposite.

Aw, nuts! I thought she looked cool. You know what? To hell with potential distractions, I'd still rather see newsreaders wearing whatever they want.

--the Fashionical Thoapsl

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