Finding a ‘professional look’ for journalists

By ALEXANDER B. PEARCE

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog entry is written solely with male journalists in mind. As a young man, I find myself completely unqualified to give any advice to female journalists about how to dress.

While broadcast journalists are on-camera often, print journalists might be tempted not to give their appearance a second thought. After all, journalists are supposed to look like the hard-working deadline-meeting newshounds that they are, right?

For all of the life lessons about not judging people based on the way they dress, appearance is a huge part of first impressions. As such, it is vital that journalists groom themselves properly for their job if they ever want to land the big interviews with powerful people.

Fortunately for the stylistically challenged journalist, a wealth of websites offer insight on a budget with complete guides on how to dress to impress.

The Art of Manliness, for of its cheesy displays of masculinity and bravado, gives readers plenty of tips on how to build a professional looking wardrobe. A complete series simply entitled How to Build Your Wardrobe describes the step-by-step process by which a practical professional wardrobe is built. Many of these guides might seem outdated or old-fashioned, but they reflect the sorts of traditional mindsets that reporters might run into in the field.

Style guides can be especially useful for journalists unsure about how to knot their tie or which accessories are appropriate for a business setting. These guides come in the form of professional tips or the personal blogs of self-described “clotheshorses,” but both serve the same purpose in helping journalists dress themselves for interviews.

A Tailored Suit offers an adequate style guide to questions regarding slightly more formal attire, even offering free image consultations (all with the intent that readers will buy their custom-made suits).

Ask Andy About Clothes is another style guide that specializes in answering personalized questions rather than simply offer widely applicable overviews. It even has an article answering the question of why we should care about how we look in the first place, including journalists.

Fashion should not be the primary concern of most reporters for obvious reasons. But taking the time to dress appropriately and professionally will help journalists with their work, whether by making an interviewee more relaxed or appearing more professional when trying to set up an appointment.

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