Picture-Perfect from the Waist Up
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN
Her fashion statement would fall flat in a court where elegance rules. As a CNN legal analyst, Van Susteren, 41, spends up to 10 hours a day on-camera, in jackets by Armani or Escada but with jeans, unstyled hair and almost no makeup. "I'm not glamorous," she admits. "I spill my lunch on my blouse." And on the electric blanket that warms her studio-chilled legs. "After 133 days of the O.J. trial, that blanket is multicolored," she says. CNN must like her style—this fall she'll have her own legal talk show, Burden of Proof. And viewers are clearly mesmerized. "Your hair is long and stringy," a 12-year-old recently wrote to her, "but don't let them change it, because it's great."
CNN's Sports Tonight anchor lives by a simple rule: "Let no NBA coach outdress me." Few could. Hickman (who, like all CNN's broadcasters, picks and pays for his own on-air wear) favors linen shirts and French cuffs. He has also devised a list of don'ts: nothing trendy, no themed ties. Not that most viewers would know the difference. "I did the weather once with my fly open," says Hickman, 38. "No one noticed. It was scary."
"Remember that scene from Saturday Night Fever where John Travolta puts down $5 each week for a shirt?" asks Hickman's Sports Tonight coanchor. "That was me. I never bought that cheap crap." At 49, Charles still dresses snappy. He favors Italian suits, his ties are flashy, and you won't catch him in chinos under his desk. "You can't see it," he says, "but I'm dressed up right down to my underwear."
The host of CNBC's nightly Steals and Deals, a consumer advice show, gets her TV clothes gratis from the design company Chetta B./Noviello Bloom. But that doesn't mean looking good's a cinch. Lieberman spends hours each week ironing, and no matter how sleek she looks, she takes flak. "Once," she says, "I got letters saying, 'We've seen that black blazer too much.' " Her favorite jacket has been sidelined ever since.
CBS has no fashion rules for its 60 Minutes team, but Stahl still feels she must "suppress my inner self." The 52-year-old journalist says she likes "red, yellow, curlicues and bows," but she knows that on-camera, less is more. And if she forgets, producer Don Hewitt will remind her. "Don likes browns and beiges," she says. "Once I wore a black-and-royal suit with epaulets, and he asked me to go home and change." But when the anchor's away.... "On assignment," says Stahl, "I sneak in reds all the time."
"I'm not that clothes-conscious," says CNN's 34-year-old morning anchor, "but with this job you have to be." In fact, Harris keeps his wardrobe simple—blue, black or gray suits—and then concentrates on making the most of it. He sits on jackets so they won't ride up, stays camera-trim by holding his elbows in and avoids colored shirts in the heat. "You can sweat like a pig in white," he says, "but in a blue shirt, everyone can tell."
Harris's morning show coanchor feels a certain nostalgia for her radio days. "Boy," says Kelley, 40, who began her career at KIXI in Seattle, "don't you know we wore our casual clothes then!" Now, she owns two closetsful of classic suits. Luckily, CNN lets her repeat outfits. "I have the equivalent of a medium-size luxury car in my closets at this point," Kelley says. "And it's not even tax-deductible."
The main thing on this man's mind when he dresses for work every morning is sex. And a good thing, too. As host of the CNBC nighttime talk show Real Personal, Berkowitz's job is to make his guests feel comfortable discussing just that. "Sex is fun, so I don't want to look like a CEO from IBM," says Berkowitz, 45. Sweaters—CNBC's initial style suggestion—worked no better for him than they did for Dan Rather, so today he says he gets personal in designer suits "with flair and style."
Time was, MTV's hip news anchor wasn't all that distinguishable from Deborah Norville. As a newscaster for Burlington, Vt.'s ABC affiliate in 1989, Soren "wore the big shoulder pads, the helmet hairdo, the scarves. I got hooked on how to tie them all different ways." Now 28, she's more comfortable in the fashion-forward designs MTV borrows for her from Isaac Mizrahi or Todd Oldham. But looking trendy doesn't mean she's anybody's fool. "If I'm talking about the war in Bosnia," Soren says, "I won't be wearing a bustier."