Have you ever spluttered into your cup of tea when you glimpsed a newsreader somehow maintaining a poker face while dressed in an absurd outfit?

Have you ever sent forlorn tweets about Ali Moore’s cravat into the ether? Well, feel alone no longer.

This article is your semi-definitive guide to the sartorial language of news and current affairs. Like the Amazons of classical legend, these fashion tribes are dominated by females — mainly because men’s outfits tend to be pretty boring.

However, perhaps Today Tonight’s Matthew White can bring some of his Dancing With The Stars razzle-dazzle back to the news desk — we especially like this bolero jacket:

Haute Lecture

We applaud newsreaders who break out of the strictures of business wear to add some fashion think pieces to our daily TV viewing. SBS’s Lee Lin Chin is probably the leader of this fashion tribe, but Nine Adelaide presenter Kelly Nestor recently revolutionised the fashion world with this extraordinary garment:

As our eagle-eyed spotter expostulated:”“It’s like a space suit, fire retardant suit or a bomb disposal jacket.”

Perhaps it’s an art piece: a metaphorical expression of the frailties of the human body amid the disasters and threats contained within the daily news cycle.

Resort Wear

Jennifer Keyte’s serious chat about the Black Saturday bushfires was somewhat undermined by this outfit that looked like she’d just nipped back from Nooooosa:

Red Hot And Reader

Lateline ginger Leigh Sales is incendiary in red:

Don’t let the modest Peter Pan collar fool you — the red is a metaphor for the grilling she’s gonna deal out to Joe Hockey.

Meanwhile, Sales vamps it up in this rather unconventional choice for a midday bulletin — black chiffon. Everyone! Cocktail party at Leigh’s place!

9AM ’s Kim Watkins is also no stranger to chronologically inappropriate cocktail wear. In this segment almost too steamy for morning telly, not even she can resist caressing her red chiffon bosom:


Australia’s venerable red fox, Kerry O’Brien, famously demonstrated some fire when some foolio dared to change his script, but it’s when he matches his tie to his hair that he really shines. Check out the fiery symphony of this interview with John Howard:


Symphonies In Satin

Crikey subscribers will already realise that their hard-earned doesn’t just buy cutting-edge commentary on politics, business and media — it also buys Australia’s most comprehensive, hard-hitting analysis of satin in news and current affairs.

Sky News’s Sharon McKenzie is probably newsreading’s most slippery customer. We especially enjoy this patterned affair:

Satin Princess Jacinta Tynan injected some much-needed romance into Sky News:

Meanwhile, Ten’s Helen Kapalos memorably hunted the news in a safari-inspired satin shirt:

Under The Desk

What newsreaders wear under the desk is a time-honoured industry secret. Janice Petersen of SBS World News Australia revealed her happy pants when her partner, Julian Hamilton from The Presets, won Album Of The Year at the 2008 ARIA Awards:

Jaunty Pussies

Years ago, I was obsessed with the ‘70s-style newsreader chic that Christina Applegate wore in the film Anchorman, for which I coined the term ” jaunty pussy“. The pussy-bow blouse is a staple of newsreader chic, but we can identify each jaunty wearer by the way her bow is tied.

Lee Lin Chin favours a deconstructed bow with layered textures in the same colour palette:

And upon investigation, Ali Moore’s so-called “cravat” turned out to be a rather minimalist pussy-bow.

For future reference, a cravat does not contain a knot, whereas a pussy-bow is a knot of two loops, with the ends left loose to drape.

Pinstripes As Usual

Any viewer of Lateline Business will realise that you can’t be a serious captain of industry without a pinstriped suit. If someone rocks up for their appearance on the show in — gasp! — a block-coloured suit, the ABC wardrobe department can probably sort them out.

The Mystery Of Tom Piotrowski’s Hair

There’s been much speculation over the years that Tom Piotrowski from CommSec, whose live crosses on Channel Ten’s late news developed such a cult following that he took the piss out of himself on Rove, has a ponytail. (Whether he has “terrets syndrome” is still a matter of conjecture.)

According to this (probably fake) MySpace profile, the ponytail is real. And plenty of people want it to be – it plays into so many stereotypes about yuppie finance types. But as you can see from the infamous 2007 video where Tom lost his train of thought, it’s more like a ducktail:

And In Late Breaking News, Whatever Will Be Will Be

I’m fascinated by the retro impulses of Juanita Phillips’s hair. Here, the ABC presenter has a rather Doris Day flipped hairstyle:

And she has made some fascinating metamorphoses over the years, from frosted Hillary Clinton bob:

To Farrah Fawcett-inspired flicks:

Also channelling the Doris Day look is Mel Doyle of Sunrise, who has favoured prim pastel blouses:

And neat frocks:

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey