SMU student projects tackle top ethical issues in fashion

The fashion world has never been big on navel gazing, unless, perhaps, it involves a chic crop top and strategically placed piercings.  However, like any trillion-dollar, international industry, fashion and luxury brands bring a unique set of ethical challenges to the table.  Similarly, the fashion magazines that long controlled coverage of the industry have in recent years been battling both upstart fashion bloggers and social media stars for audience and market share, introducing additional ethical and professional questions.

Students in SMU’s Fashion, Ethics & Media course addressed a number of these ethical dilemmas in creative multimedia projects this spring.  Check them out below:

1)  Model behavior

2) Fashion photography: Not all black & white

3) Luxury shopping in a digital age:

4) The ethics of Instagram:

5) Profile of local designers:

6) Vegan fashion:

7)  Fashion meets pop:

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time to get ready for fall?

by Naomi Bowen

Delpozo Fall 2014 , Dries Van Noten Fall 2014, Micheal Kors Fall 2014 Images via.

Delpozo Fall 2014 , Dries Van Noten Fall 2014, Micheal Kors Fall 2014 Images via.

While warm temperatures have finally taken over Dallas, fall will be upon us sooner then you think. Especially when it comes to fashion.

Most stores launch their fall collections in mid-summer. So why not get a jump on the new season by picking up a few pieces that will bridge the gap between July and September before you head back to the hilltop.

And since style is all about experimentation and making trends your own, gradually adding small new pieces to the things you usually wear is the best way to avoid fashion disaster.

Altruzza Fall 2014, Image via

Altruzza Fall 2014, Image via

Bradley Agather Means, fashion editor of FD Luxe magazine and founder of the blog Luella & June, says the three key colors for fall are red, pink and malachite green.  None of these hues represents a huge departure from pervious seasons, but look for a richer intensity to transition from summer to fall.

As for specific trends, Agather Means suggests several pieces to add to your wardrobe for fall. “Plaid, shine [particularly] the dresses on the Dries van Noten runway, [and] lots of color — especially pinks and bright reds,” she says.

Victoria Beckham, Fall 2014, Image via

Victoria Beckham, Fall 2014, Image via

Plaid was all over the runways — from Rodarte, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Delpozzo, ad Thakoon — for fall. While most designers chose to display the pattern on duster coats, others, like Timo Weiland, incorporated the print subtly into a black and white sweater, and Vera Wang debuted a completely plaid suit and blouse. You know something’s buzz-worthy when Leandra Medina of Man Repeller, includes it as her number one trend for fall.

Shelle Sills, former general manager and vice president of downtown Neiman Marcus or The Store, said she’s particularly intrigued by the new uses for fur this fall.

“One of the things that I’ve personally heard pieces of and I am personally attracted to is anything that has any kind of fur,” she says. “I’m not necessarily talking about a fur coat, but fur as handbags, fur trims, and fur really as fabric. And that’s one of the pieces that I think is particularly interesting.”

Image 4 copy

Sills added that modesty and a lady-like chic is definitely in for fall. “Anything where too much leg is showing to me looks very dated right now,” she says.

Martha Leonard, buyer for shoes and handbags at Stanley Korshak, said booties, boots, single-sole pointy pumps, pointy toe flats, fringe, and leopard were all going to be popular for fall.

Sills thinks the largest accessory shift of the season will be the focus on single-sole shoes. “All the shoes that had platforms, when we had things from Prada and Louboutin, they look so dated and so wrong,” she says.

“The number of women who had Blahnik’s in their closets they hadn’t worn in several seasons because they looked dated because they didn’t have a platform all of a sudden they became the perfect shoes again.”

For bags, exotic leather and ladylike top-handle handbag are popular. Comfort is still reigning supreme for fall. Backpacks and cross-bodies, along with mini satchels, make it easy to lug all your essentials around while staying hands-free and stylish.

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Agather Means and Leonard agree that a statement clutch is a necessary addition to any fall wardrobe.

Leonard also adds tall boots to her fall must-haves. Medine, likewise, cites, “kinky boots” as a major fall trend. The great part is there’s no heel limit for this popular style. You can go from flat to sky-high in a variety of colors and materials all while staying trendy and keeping your toes toasty for fall. Sills says finding the perfect textured heeled boot is on her fall wish list.

Leonard and Agather Means both mention the popularity of leopard for fall in all its varieties. You can either subtly incorporate it in an accessory, like a shoe or handbag, or go bold with a statement dress like Tom Ford put down the runway.

None of these trends is too far from what we’ve seen in the past.  I’m sure you all own a pair of boots, booties, and something shiny. There’s a method to the buying madness, which is why we see so many things carry over from season to season. “I try to build on styles that are currently selling,” Leonard says.

So make it fun and add a few key pieces to update your wardrobe. Don’t feel the need to completely redo your look. And remember: There’s a difference between fashion and style.

Five key pieces to pick up for fall:

  1. Oversized clutch
  2. Long duster coat
  3. Statement knitwear
  4. Leopard anything
  5. A great boot

Shelly Sills’s must have’s for fall

  1. Statement coat
  2. Textured boots with a feminine edge and the perfect in-between heel
  3. Key pieces to break up her usual uniform
  4. Rose Gold Bracelets


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euro trip

by Elle Finney

Allison Major, Morgan Riklin, Shelby Sanderford, Alyssa Breen, and Erin Costello in Innsbruck, Austria - Photo by Shelby Smith

Alisha Diaz, Shelby Sanderford, and Victoria Daly in Prague, Czech Republic – Photo by Mackenzie Farrell

Five days after my high school graduation I departed for a 17-day Europe trip with 30 of my friends. I was beyond excited and when it came to packing I wanted to make sure I covered all my bases. By that I mean I packed a different outfit for everyday and a second outfit for the night. I packed 34 tops for a mere 17 days. I wore less than half of it.

I learned from my mistake and made a change in my packing strategy when I studied abroad in Innsbruck, Austria for six weeks after my sophomore year of college.

Not everyone gets to learn from his or her mistakes but as students set to invade Europe for weeks of adventure, I have provided a packing game plan that will guide you to be both fashionable and functional.

Starting is the hardest part, but I have identified an attack plan that will make your packing experience less stressful and more efficient.

The Strategy:

Pull the articles of clothes from your closet that you know you want to bring. You want to bring clothes that are reliable and look good on you every time you put it on. If you’re unsure of it, you should immediately toss it to the ‘no’ pile. You won’t regret this, but those 18 tops you never wore will haunt you in your sleep.

One thing that everyone suggest was make lots of piles – separate your tops, shorts, jeans, skirts, and dresses from each other. The people I talked to really liked piles. Separating your casual clothes from your dressy clothes is essential. While you will experience the European nightlife, a simple top and jean shorts will be a signature ensemble when you’re going to spend most of your time exploring the city and drinking at pubs.

The 411:

After speaking with several study-abroad veterans, I have created a list from their learning’s of packing for the unknown.


Scarves: “I was able to bring less clothes because I could just re-wear my casual tops and wear different scarves with it to mix it up,” said Alisha Diaz.

Jean Jacket: “It was never cold enough where I needed layers, but the jean jacket was the perfect amount of warmth that went with every outfit,” said Victoria Daly.

Rolling carry on: “It was so easy to fit everything in it and easy to throw on a train, the last you want is heavy bag weighing you down while you’re rushing through a train station” said Alyssa Breen.


Heels: “I always wore flats out, even with my dresses when I went out, the one time I wore my pumps I severely regretted it,” said Daly.

T-shirts: “I wish I left them at home, I never wore them. If I could say anything about t-shirts, it would be to pack pajamas and pack more appropriate day outfits,” said Erin Costello.

Nice jewelry: “I wish I would’ve left my nice jewelry at home, I was always paranoid when that I would lose them while traveling,” said Breen.


Maxi Dress: “I wish I had brought more maxis they’re so versatile, you can wear them day and night,” said Daly.

Daily Necessities: “I wish I brought more things like underwear, towels, Tide-to-Go, etc.; doing laundry in Europe is hard and not very accessible,” Costello.

Casual Clothes: “I felt like I only brought shorts and t-shirts or nice going out clothes, I wish I had more clothes to wear during the day,” said Lucy Andrews.

Allison Major, Morgan Riklin, Shelby Sanderford, Alyssa Breen, and Erin Costello in Innsbruck, Austria - Photo by Shelby Smith

Allison Major, Morgan Riklin, Shelby Sanderford, Alyssa Breen, and Erin Costello in Innsbruck, Austria – Photo by Shelby Smith

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fast fashion vs. slow style

by Grace Merck

Trends seem to be moving from runway to wardrobe in sonic speed these days. Designs that used to follow a three-month fall/winter, spring/summer, cruise, and resort cycle are now only staying in stores for about two weeks.

This fast-paced market trend has changed the way shoppers think about clothes. People are caring increasingly less about quality of garments and focusing primarily on immediacy and low cost. But what is the true cost of this fast fashion phenomenon?

Fast Fashion

m1Fast fashion has emerged for reasons ranging from consumer needs to industry demands. In recent years, fast fashion retailers such as H&M, Zara, and Top Shop, have expanded exponentially due to vertical integration and advanced technology. New information technology is allowing companies to track what sells and send data such as designs and orders quickly awhile new printing technology allows manufacturers to create new fabric designs quickly and at low cost.

The Internet, social media, and blogs today also allow consumers to view trends as soon as they emerge. Because our society is geared toward instant gratification, i.e. streaming videos and online shopping, we are trained to believe we should have what we want whenever we want it. Fashion today is no different.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of fast fashion for consumers, however, is the extremely low prices.

SMU senior Jennifer Kaufler, shops at fast fashion retailers such as H&M and Zara frequently. “I shop at those stores because the price points are really affordable and I’m a student,” she says. “I don’t really consider things like ecofriendly fabric choice but I do consider how it’s made to compare that to how much use I will realistically get out of the piece.”


The Drawbacks

The drawbacks to fast fashion, however, can be devastating. The extremely low prices of the garments is possible, for instance, only because the people who make them generally reeive very low pay and work in poor conditions.

Recent events have finally drawn the attention of American consumers to these conditions.  In April of 2013, a garment factory in the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed ,killing 1,129 people and injuring 2,515.

Mark Vamos, endowed chair of the business journalism at SMU, says more and more companies are taking a stand on this issue.

“I do think that apparel companies are increasingly trying to position themselves as sustainable and ethical,” he says. “Their consumers are demanding it, and no company wants to have its labels found in the rubble of the next collapsed factory.”


Because fast fashions are produced at low costs, the fabrics, design process, the production techniques, the distribution method, and the life span of these garments are contributing to making these clothes non-sustainable garments, critic say.


Sustainability in fashion can mean a design’s sustainable. One of the most talked about ways is to use fabrics from natural sources — such as bamboo, hemp, and organic cotton — or to use fabrics made entirely from one fiber so they can be re-spun into anther garment at the end of their life cycle.

Supporting locally made clothing is another way to decrease a retailer’s carbon footprint by limiting the need to import and export around the world. Finally, producing merchandise that is built to last over time is one of the most important steps in creating sustainable fashions.

The Corporate Response

Although many companies are taking steps toward more ecofriendly production methods, this has proved challenging to some. Whitney Ranson is vice president of corporate merchandise planning at Tory Burch in New York City.  She says she is not aware of any additional efforts being made to create a more ecofriendly company at this time.

“I think companies that strive to be ecofriendly are motivated by either a strong leader who is passionate about the environment or a way to differentiate themselves from a branding perspective,” says Ranson.

One of the companies making strides toward more sustainable innovation also has more than 3,000 fast fashion stores around the world. In April of last year, H&M, the retail giant often credited with creating fast fashion, launched its first ever conscious collection called “Conscious Exclusive.” The merchandise in this collection is ethically sourced and sustainably made.

This year, H&M and Zara have joined with Canopy, a non- profit environmental organization, to put a plan in place by June 2014 which will encourage the fashion industry to avoiding using fabrics from endangered forests. On The Guardian website, Canopy founder and executive director Nicole Rycroft says around 30 percent of the rayon and viscose going into clothing comes from dissolvable pulp sourced form endangered and ancient forests.

“We will focus on building traceable and sustainable production of these fabrics in our own supply chain, as well as shifting the whole global man-made fibre supply chain. In doing so we hope to inspire others,” Henrik Lampa, environmental sustainability manager at H&M, told the Guardian. .

Although for some companies ethical and sustainable fashion seems to be more of a marketing position than a reality, the future of ecofriendly and sustainable fashion looks bright.

“Fast fashion’s negative effects notwithstanding,” says Vamos, “I think the continuing pressure from consumers, shareholders, activists and regulators will mean that more and more companies will have to adopt sustainable business practices.”


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‘Pricing Beauty’ author speaks at SMU Fashion Week

Image via Paz Beatty.

Image via Paz Beatty.

by Amelia Ambrose

Even for professionals, deciding on what kind of look will make a model successful is difficult and imprecise, Boston University sociologist Ashley Mears told a crowd during SMU Fashion Week.

Mears, the author of Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model, addressed a group of more than 100 students, faculty members, and member of Dallas’ fashion industry.

She described it as “taste” when producers talk about when the look is just right, just gut/ personal. When they see it, they know it.

“A look is something a model has. It is part personality, part physicality,” Mears said. “The more people understand something the less value that something has.”

The two main markets for models today are the editorial and commercial markets. With each of these markets comes a different level of prestige and money. Magazines, such as Vogue, do not pay as well as commercial markets. Models work for these companies for the prestige and status instead of big paychecks.

When a model works for a prestigious editorial platform that can build buzz. This helps signal that clients are interested in a model. “If people want to catch the next trend they hang out in social scenes so that they are constantly around the buzz,” Mears said.

Mears told the crowd that even though modeling is known as a very glamorous industry, few are able to reach the heights of success. “It’s a winner take all industry,” Mears said.

In fact, the median salary for models in the United States is around $34,000. “A lot of people entering the field are looking to be the next top model. They are competing for these spots at the top,” Mears said.

Not only do many fail to earn money, some models find themselves chronically in debt to their agencies, which pay for visas, apartments, plane tickets, and bike messenger services. They carry that debt with them. Even if they switch agencies, the debt follows.

“There are no retirement or benefits for models which is why sociologist call it a bad job,” Mears said.

The people who are most likely to succeed in modeling will be women. Females earn significantly more than their male counterparts in the industry. “Modeling is a paradox and one of the few fields where women make more money than men,” Mears said. “Females make 50 to 70 percent more then male models.”

And yet, she said that women’s careers are over by the time they are 25 years old, especially if the model works in editorial. On the other hand, men often work into their 30s or even their 40s.

“I thought that she did a great job of taking a critical look into the modeling industry. From the outside looking in, many people only see the glamour,” said Camille Kraeplin, director of  SMU’s fashion media program. “But like any creative industry, when you look behind the scenes, there are many inequities.”

Listening to Mears talk about those inequalities was an eye opener, said senior Mia Wittern. “I have always been interested in the modeling world. Hearing all of the challenges that they go through really grabbed my attention.  Anyone who has ‘the look’ must be truly amazing and I look forward to seeing the next it girl.”

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Birkenstocks are back

by Jenna Veldhuis

Since I was in high school, I’ve helped my mom with her annual closet clean out.  Though certain items seem ridiculous to keep, she always comes back with the same comment: “It might come back in style.”

And she’s right: Fashion is cyclical. And yet I do wonder about those ‘90s-era square-toe ankle boots she hangs onto season after season.

Some trends have a fiercely loyal following, yet are considered dowdy and unfashionable to others.  Birkenstocks are one of these. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, these comfy but controversial sandals had a moment in fashion history.  And guess what?  They’re back.


J.Crew claimed to be the first to announce this trend, writing in their spring style guide, “You heard it here first, Birkenstocks will be everywhere this summer.” However, it could be argued  that the trend started to surface as early as last year.

Celine’s spring 2013 show featured a rendering of the two-strap sandal, with designers such as Givenchy and Isabel Marant also designing similar interpretations.  While the original Birkenstocks were traditionally made only in basic, earthy shades of leather or suede, their designer counterparts have been bejeweled, covered in florals, with some even featuring a luxe fur footbed.

The history of Birkenstocks dates back to over 230 years ago.  They made their entrance into American culture in the 1960s, when they became the footwear of choice for the hippie population.  Their practicality and supportive cork footbed made them a go-to for dentists and doctors in the 1980s, and a decade later, when “grunge” was king, the sandals were sported by almost every Gen-Xer.

When I first brought up the Birkenstock resurrection to my mom, she immediately recalled owning a pair years ago.  Considering them a very casual type of shoe  “It is definitely one of those trends that I didn’t think would come back in the way it has,” she says.

The Birkenstock website says they represent “quality products that are comfortable, unique, timeless and respectful of the world around us.” The company uses a method of production that results in very little waste and packages the shoes in boxes made of 90% recycled material. These qualities have all helped build the sandals’ loyal following.  Not only are consumers purchasing a comfortable shoe, but they are also being eco-friendly by supporting such a sustainable company.

Elle Finney, an SMU senior, started wearing the iconic Arizona sandal in high school for the comfort, but eventually grew to like the look of the double strap buckles.  Finney says, “They’ve been the best shoes to travel in and have certainly come in handy for some music festivals.”

And yet the company has had trouble straying from their tree-hugger stereotype.  Until now, that is.

For those fashionistas who are tired of wearing uncomfortable, unsupportive footwear, the new style of Birkenstock sandal back on the scene today represents good news. For instance, recently the company has unveiled trendy versions of the shoe in metallic silver and black patent leather.

For smuStyle blogger Shelly Knutson, Birkenstocks take her back to “an effortless, California-cool lifestyle.”  Knutson thinks that the feel of the shoe really resonates with a lot of people these days, adding, “What started as a trend worn by the fashion outsiders or ‘risk-takers’ per se, like the Olsen twins, has now become a staple in countless closets yet again.”

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tips from the blogosphere

by Brooke Moore


photo courtesy of Bradley Agather Means

During the third annual SMU Fashion Week, the woman behind the popular blog Luella & June gave a room full of students an important tip on how to succeed in the crowded field of blogging: Write with your own voice.

Bradley Agather Means, who also serves as fashion editor for FD Luxe, started Luella & June with her roommate while seniors at the University of Texas. Her roommate soon decided it wasn’t her thing, but Agather Means kept at it, even though her list of readers was short—her mom, sister, dad, and just a few close friends.

Finding Her Voice

Agather Means remembered a phone call she received from her dad back at the start. “He was like, ‘You emailed me at 3:15 last night saying that you were working on your blog,’” she said, laughing. “‘So let me get it straight: You stay up until 3:15 working on something you don’t get paid for, and you don’t have anyone reading it?’”

Today, five years later, Luella & June is consistently ranked among the top blogs in the country.

Agather Means attributes her success to staying true to her own aesthetic and old-fashioned hard work. One of the biggest mistakes people make, she said, is to blog about something they either have no interest in or know nothing about. “Write what you know,” she said. “Figure out exactly who you are as a blogger.”

Internships also helped her get ahead, she said, even though she worked long hours and was often assigned tedious tasks. She said that when interviewing for a job, good grades and being on the honor roll help, but internships matter the most. “I cannot express the importance of internships,” Agather Means said.

She knew she wanted a career in fashion after a summer spent interning at Teen Vogue in New York. She was often in the office for 12 hours a day, but she loved the job. She said it was an amazing opportunity to work with fashion icons like French photographer Patrick Demarchelier and actress Rachel Bilson.

Networking was also important, she said. In order to build an audience for Luella & June, Agather Means would read multiple blogs a day and comment on other bloggers’ work. She also built relationships with brands and advertisers. While developing her own voice and aesthetic, her blog was beginning to grow.

Readers were not the only ones who noticed Agather Means’ work. One day out of the blue, she said, she received a call from the editor of FD Luxe, the fashion magazine published by The Dallas Morning News. Editor-in-chief Rob Brinkley read her blog and loved her fashion taste and writing style, so he knew exactly what he was getting when she arrived for the interview.


Photo via The Window by Barneys New York

Agather Means never wants her readers to think she’s “fooling” them by using a voice that isn’t her own—which, she said, is the easiest way for bloggers to lose readership. “They have to trust that I’m not just doing it for the money,” she said. She only works with brands and advertisers that are 100 percent her style.

Although she didn’t have to alter her aesthetic for FD Luxe, working for the magazine taught her so much about writing, the research it takes to do good writing, and reporting. “I was not a reporter, but I am now,” Agather Means said. “Every job is a constant learning process.”

Tips For A Novice

Agather Means also gave SMU bloggers tips on how to handle negative feedback. “[Luella & June] is so personal because it’s just me writing it,” she said. “I have to know that not everyone is going to like it, and not everyone is going to agree.” She advised novice bloggers to take negative feedback with a grain of salt and remember that it’s not personal. “I get it—I know it’s hard,” she said.

She’s grateful for all the negative feedback because she’s developed a thick skin from it. She also finds that negative comments can be helpful. “Be willing to accept [negative feedback] and grow from it,” she said. “You have to remember that people are reading your blog, and they care enough to comment on it—that’s the silver lining.”

Another suggestion Agather Means has for rookies is to make a business plan. If they have any aspirations to turn blogging into a career, they have to take it seriously. “Treat it as a business,” she said. “Be professional about it.”

SMU fashion media students were asked for their opinions on Agather Means’ tips on how to succeed as a blogger. “I read Luella & June almost daily, so it was great hearing how she got her start,” senior Jenna Veldhuis said. “She had no readers at the beginning, but she remained dedicated to her passion. She reminds you to do what you love, or you’ll never be truly successful.”

In two months, senior Elle Finney will move to The City That Never Sleeps, hoping to land a job in the fashion industry. “I really think [Agather Means’] advice will help me so much,” Finney said. “I believe that staying true to my aesthetic and personal style will be most important to my success in N.Y.C.”

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we’re back in the seventies

by Brooke Moore


Image via Elle.

Crochet—whether in a dress, tank, blouse, or swimsuit—has been spotted all over The Big Apple and L.A. We’ve observed summer knit dresses and accessories in runway shows for top labels like Salvatore Ferragamo, Dolce & Gabbana, and Gucci.

Elle’s trend alert suggests we get in the loop by flashing some skin in these sexy and modish crochet pieces updated with chic hardware.

Amy Adams wore a seductive crochet one-piece swimsuit in the recent Academy Award-winning film American Hustle. Though the movie was set in 1978, Adams’ appearance in the suit brought the style back to life.

Crochet clothing is normally meant to be boho-looking, often worn by young festival-goers. But this season, crochet is meant to be more refined and voguish. Instead of strappy sandals or flip-flops—which make the ensemble hippie-chic—crochet dresses are now seen with pumps and flats.

Pattern play and geometric design have made crochet in black and white all the rave. Pair it with a simple, yet elegant, cardigan, and you’ve got an outfit that you can wear into the office or out at night.

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miramar jean: comfy & chic

by Hailey Curtiss

There’s nothing I love more than slipping on a pair of yoga pants for class or running errands around town. It’s like Lululemon is SMU’s unofficial uniform provider.

Despite being functional and comfortable, wearing such yoga pants regularly can make the chicest girl look a bit sloppy.


Image via Rag & Bone.

When my family asked me one day if I owned any “real” pants, I knew it was time to change up my look. That was when I stumbled upon Rag & Bone’s Miramar Jean. These aren’t actually made of denim but of digitally printed terry cloth.  In other words: sweatpants.

Hallelujah!  This chic-but-comfy pant might just be the answer to every SMU girl’s prayers!

The Miramar faux-denim sweatpants look great paired with a relaxed T-shirt and sneakers, but they also rock heels and a blouse. They are a bit pricey, $300. However, given the many way you can wear them — in my opinion — these “jeans” are definitely worth the investment.

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looking the part: the in’s and out’s of broadcaster attire

by Courtney Schellin

sports reporter Erin Andrews

sports reporter Erin Andrews

It’s 5:30 pm. I’m in New York to cover the SMU Men’s basketball team in the championship game for SMU TV’s sports show Press Pass. Tip off is at 7 p.m.

For my co-anchor, fellow journalism student Billy Embody, this means he has time to relax, finish some work, and probably watch some TV.

But for me, it’s time to start getting ready.

In broadcast journalism, looking the part is very much part of your job as an anchor or a reporter. When it comes to choosing attire for a broadcast, we women must always work a bit harder than our male counterparts.  Let’s just say that worrying about which pumps to wear is only the beginning.

To be camera-ready, journalists must present a professional appearance.  But many sportscasters generally agree that this is trickier for women than men.

“Guys can throw on a suit and tie and be ready to go, while women have to worry about if they are dressed too provocatively and if their makeup is too much,” says Kelsey Charles, Dallas Cowboys radio show host.

Wondering whether my heels are too high, my make up is too much, or I’m showing too much cleavage are just a few of the concerns I need to consider before I do a broadcast– concerns that male reporters don’t need to focus on.

And if we get something wrong, you can be sure we’ll hear about it.

“It seems as though women’s attire is critiqued more than men’s and they need more variety,” says Beionny Mickles, sports anchor for SMU TV’s Press Pass.

Whether you’re behind the anchor desk or reporting in the field, attire is an important consideration, especially if you’re like me: a woman pursuing a career in a male-dominated field like sports broadcasting. You don’t want clothing to distract from your message, and with the target audience being mostly men, what is considered fashion forward might not always translate as such.

“You can still be cute, but conservative is key. Earn their respect and attention with the quality of your work, not the slit up your skirt,” says Charles.

I’d much rather be complimented after a broadcast about what I had to say than about how I look.  But hey, it never hurts to receive a compliment on a cute, put-together outfit!

For me when it comes to creating the perfect on-camera look, the best way to appear professional while adding my own twist is to experiment with some big accessories or pops of color.

These simple twists can help you find your look as a reporter while also helping you stand out amongst the rest.

“Stick to solid, bold colors,” says Anne McCaslin, Lubbock news anchor.

Charles and McCaslin both offer tidbits of advice that we all as women can relate to — the best way to look slim in front of the camera.

  • Avoid loose-fitting garments: “You know the saying “The camera adds 10 pounds?” It’s true,” says Charles. “I love loose fitting and boho style clothing in my free time, but when I go on camera, I try to keep my look streamlined and properly tailored.”
  • Stay away from large prints and ruffles: “Even if something with ruffles is loose and cute, it doesn’t look good on air,” says McCaslin. “The same goes for prints. Small print accents work well, but most big prints don’t look very good.”

The thing I love about sports reporting is the easygoing nature and casualness when it comes to attire compared with what we behind the anchor desk. If you’re scratching you’re head, asking, “There’s a difference?” then let me tell you, the attire can be world’s apart. In short, when anchoring behind a desk, your look should be clean cut without distractions, while for reporting, your attire can change from situation to situation.

Reporters have more leeway because of their working conditions.  You never know when you might need to run across a field to catch up with a source.

When you’re anchoring behind the desk, you should have a professional look that is simple yet elegant. Down to the length of your hair, every tiny detail matters.

Courtney Schellin anchoring for SMUTv

Courtney Schellin anchoring for SMUTv


“Too little is usually perfect and always play it safe if you want to be successful,” says Lexie Hammesfahr, anchor for SMU TV’s The Daily Update. “I consider the pattern and brightness of an outfit as well as the last time I wore it and what jewelry.”

When I’m reporting sports, my hair can be longer, I don’t always have to wear a jacket or sleeves, and if I want to bring out my new chunky turquoise necklace for a broadcast, why not! Just make sure not to get too crazy when you try to branch out.

What I wear also differs depending on the specific sport I am covering. For example, what I would wear to cover a basketball game is going to be a whole lot different than what I would wear to cover a football game.

Think of it this way: Are you ever going to see a basketball coach like, say, our very own Larry Brown, sporting a Bill Belichick cut-off hoodie on the sidelines? Absolutely not. As for Belichick, this is standard game day attire. (For all you non-sports gals, Bill Belichick is the NFL football coach of the New England Patriots.)

The same is true for reporters. Although, don’t count on ever seeing me in one of those cut offs.

When it comes to football games, the attire can be much more relaxed than what you might wear to a basketball game. If it’s -10 degrees outside and I have to cover a football game in a stadium outdoors, you better believe I’ll be wearing a parka and scarf for the broadcast.

Now if it’s -10 degrees outside and I’m covering a basketball game indoors, I’ll probably be wearing the same thing I would wear to the game as I would if it were 75 degrees.

Of course, our male colleagues do share some of our concerns. Working in television has a price

“I have to make sure I’m clean-shaven,” says Greg Tepper, Fox Football Friday host. “Beyond that, putting on makeup is still a foreign concept to me, whereas it’s second nature to my female colleagues.”

Oh, and one more thing:

“I make sure it won’t clash with anything I’m wearing or anything my co-host is wearing.”

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