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What to Wear: TV Show Taping

By Amalah

I was offered tickets to go to Oprah on Monday and I have NO idea what to wear as I am working all day and don’t get to watch her show anymore. Someone told me the other day that everyone always looks so fabulous and I don’t want to be the one person who looks like the pale, sickly government staffer that I am. I have $150 in gift certificates to J.Crew from Christmas so I’d like to stay there if possible – any suggestions!?
– Greta

Hmm. So…confession: I don’t watch Oprah. Like, ever. I think the last clip I saw of the show was Tom Cruise jumping on the couch. So I will also have to take your friend’s word for it that the audience members look fabulous.
But! I was on TV last year (in High Definition, at that, ack) and was given a few clothing pointers regarding what looks good on camera:
– don’t wear white
– stay away from bold patterns
– stay away from stripes and plaid
– choose black, jewel tones or deep, dark earth tones
Add to this pile o’ tips the fact that Oprah’s show is filmed in Chicago, where it is currently winter, and you will probably have to stand outside in line for awhile. So…BUNDLE UP. Lots of layers, too, that you can shed once you’re inside in case the studio is sweltering.
Specific suggestions from J.Crew? Hard to make right now, since the website is dominated by the new Spring styles you definitely want to stay with warmer winter clothing. But that just means one thing: SAAAALLLLE RAAAAACCKK! (Do I sound like Oprah? I feel like I’m sounding like Oprah. All Smackdown readers today get a NEEEEWWW CARRRR!)
(No. That was more Price is Right than Oprah. It was also a total lie, either way.)
I know sale items vary from store to store, so stuff that’s on the sale section of the website might not actually be available in-person and in your size, but for example: I’d maybe layer a short-sleeve cashmere sweater with a casual jacket, then pair these with some great-fitting tailored black pants (wool and lined, preferably). I’d wear heels to dress it up (nothing too high for waiting in line, but hey, fabulous does sometimes take a little suffering), some black beads or silver jewelry or maybe a scarf, and done. If I wasn’t feeling super bold, color-wise, I’d opt for one of the more interesting brown cardigans (probably layered over a basic shirt I already own), a tweed pencil skirt, woolen tights and riding boots. (I like brown. I own a lot of brown. I may have actually just described my favorite go-to outfit there.)
This jewel-colored merino dress would also be awesome, paired with a simple black cardigan, if you could stand being outside in tights and knee-high boots. That’s from J.Crew’s Suiting collection, and really anything from there would be appropriate (LOVE J.Crew suits, especially on sale). They have a nice mix of classic black and bright colors, and even if you went with all-black, a suit is easy to dress up: great heels (maybe patent leather or an animal print), a glammy top under the jacket, bold jewelry and maybe an updo for your hair.
Guiding principle, I think, would be to keep it more or less “professional” (nothing revealing or see-through or overly casual), but then mix some fun into the occasion, either with bright colors or fun accessories. And then HAVE FUN. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you in hopes of some really awesome swag.


Published January 16, 2009. Last updated January 16, 2009.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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