2012.10.12 The naked truth about wardrobe guidelines

Written by David Green.


It’s Friday night...after 2 a.m. so it’s really Saturday and I am doing laundry. In the basement. The place I never go at night. Only...I have been going down there lately late in the night. 

You might recall I did so to wash Rosie and Caroline’s clothes the night before they flew back to Baton Rouge. And nothing bad happened...as in no bats made their silent swoop in my general direction.

It was good practice since I am leaving in the morning—Saturday morning, for Portland, to participate in the Pushing the Limits workshop for the pilot program the library will host next year—and I needed to wash a few more things (Yes, this is way too last minute even for me.).

I’m thinking this is going to be a very nerve-wracking experience, but also a very fun time.

First, when the producer e-mailed asking all the librarians participating to fill out an appearance release form, she also asked us to send a bio and a photo of ourselves.

She gave a sample:

“I'll start...the following is a photo of me taken at a Christmas party.”

She asked for it around the time of the Labor Day Bridge Walk and the only recent photo I had was the one David took of me at the walk, dressed as a chicken (Remember? We invited everyone to dress as an animal with a tail to go along with the “Animal Tales” theme for this year’s Prime Time series).

So, I sent the chicken photo and this note:

“Attached is a photo taken of me at a community event...all in a day's work for a rural library director. (I'll send you a normal one soon.)”

And then I got a little nervous...maybe I was pushing the limits of professionalism. But her e-mails had been light-hearted, friendly, and personable, and her response allayed my fears.

“Hi Colleen,

Oh man, that was so unexpected—thanks for the real good belly laugh—great way to start the day!”

Then, the production coordinator e-mailed to introduce herself and said this was “a very small world moment.” She said she went to MSU with my son Ben and that she and Faye VanderHoff are very good friends. “...when I saw your name on our roster and that you were from Morenci, I asked her if she knew you. And of course she does! Isn't that crazy?!”

Later, she e-mailed wardrobe guidelines. Among them:

• Please abstain from wearing busy, loud patterned prints, including stripes and checkered shirts or dresses. 

• Solid jewel tones work the best on camera (amethyst purple, ruby red, emerald green, topaz yellow,  tourmaline green, turquoise, and blue) as do solid earth tones (rust orange, earth brown, hunter green) 

• Solid white and primary red however are no-no's (but cream/ecru and burgundy/magenta is okay). 

• Because there will be microphones on your table that pick up not only your voices but also the noise your clothes make, we ask that you please wear soft fabrics (e.g. cotton, linen, wool, etc.) and avoid crisp fabrics (tulle, raw silk, etc.)

• Jewelry, please do not wear bracelets, large necklaces or noisy dangling earrings. Jewelry clanking, like noisy fabrics will be picked up by the microphones. 

“So, black is OK?” I asked. I had Googled wardrobe guidelines and black was on the NO list.

“I like your list better than the ones I came across in which pastels ruled. (I worried that we would all look like an Easter basket.)”

“Black pants or a black skirt would be fine,” she advised, “but we do encourage people to stay away from the Johnny Cash look (entire black wardrobe) because solid black does not read well on camera.”

Today, I started to worry about make-up so I e-mailed her again.

“I don’t normally wear make-up and when I do (weddings of my children, 35th high school reunion) it’s my daughters or Sephora putting it on me. I’m not philosophically opposed to it or anything, but I’m pretty inept. I’m assuming you’ll want us to wear some for the filming...if so, is there someone on your crew who applies it for the make-up challenged? If not, I will muddle through.”

“We do not have an official make-up person on hand, but don't worry at all,” she said. “We may do touch-ups for 'shinyness,’ but other than that we want you to appear as your normal selves! If you don't normally wear make up, then no need to go to Sephora before the conference. We want you to be comfortable.”

They better have a lot of make-up handy. Perhaps the only way I’ll make it through all the guidelines is to walk in naked.

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