Women Told What To Wear To Work. Again.

Women Told What To Wear To Work. Again.

Meteorologist Liberte Chan is told, live on air, to put on a cardi *face plant*

Let’s start the week by being thankful that May is the month that just keeps giving as far as women being told what they can and can’t wear is concerned. Brilliant.

This weekend, meteorologist Liberte Chan of LA TV channel KTLA, rocked up to work in a sparkly black dress with – shock horror – no sleeves. When viewers started to tweet complaints about her attire such as ‘Liberte Chan’s dress is totally inappropriate, it looks like she didn’t make it home from her cocktail party last night’, the news anchor Chris Burrous handed her, live on air, a grey cardigan, which she was told to put on immediately. Imagine if she had been wearing flat shoes too? I mean…


In videos posted after the incident it became clear that rather than being publicly shamed for her sartorial choices as some were suggesting, both Liberte and her co-hosts were having a laugh at the comments that were rolling in. Good for them, I say. But it got me thinking: is female weather presenter the hardest job to dress for in television? When you’re always cropped just above the knees and have to wave your arms around a lot while still conforming to a formal dress code, what on earth should you wear?

I am fascinated by the attire of BBC meteorologists here in the UK. Not the men obviously; they just have to whack on a suit and they’re good to go. The women though, spearheaded by the queen of weather presenting, Carol Kirkwood, all seem to share the exact same wardrobe. Figure-hugging shift dresses and cropped-sleeve boleros in ‘jewel’ colours of the kind usually reserved for summer weddings - think coral pink, kingfisher blue and deep purple – are the uniform of choice for most. There’s nothing wrong with any of that of course, but I’d love to see a bit more individuality on screen. If the BBC would let them…

Not only that, but the top job in BBC meteorology – the one where the presenter is given leave to show a bit of personality with their wardrobe -  seems to be reserved for men only. Sunday night’s ‘the week ahead’ slot on Countryfile (come on, admit it, you all love Countryfile!) allows its presenter to go casual, often opting to wear jeans, unbutton their shirts and push up their sleeves (although this is often met with complaints from old-fashioned viewers *sigh*).  While legend has it that Louise Lear once donned a loose shirt and a pair of skinnies on Countryfile, female weather presenters rarely get the chance to show a bit of flare just before Antiques Roadshow.

It turns out that Liberte Chan was actually planning on wearing a different black and white printed dress that played havoc with the green screen (not the first time she's had that problem) and that the black party dress was a back-up, but the point remains: why can’t a very intelligent woman (these are meteorologists with multiple degrees remember, not simply weather presenters) wear whatever the hell they like? After all, we need to know what the weather’s like so we can decide what to wear ourselves, so it’s only fair that they have a choice too.

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