How I dress for TV

This post originally appeared on Fashion Unexpected

TV presenter, showbiz journalist, novelist and mum Martel Maxwell talks failsafe TV style and what happens when it goes wrong!

Sleeves, short or long, are always so much more flattering on me than pale upper arms… the on-screen appearance of white arms does nothing for me. Trust me, I’ve cringed watching it back. I rule them out for myself in daily life too. Unless I have a tan and don’t feel bingo-winged, I’m all over the sleeves.

Watch your length… even a dress or skirt that seems a respectable length in the mirror can ride up to look more like a big belt when you sit down. If I’m on Lorraine on ITV1 as a guest, I’ll always be sitting and so often, awkwardly pulling down my dress. It’s a mistake I don’t make any more. When choosing an outfit, I always sit in front of the mirror and make sure viewers won’t be put off their breakfasts.

Talking of being put off your breakfast… you don’t want to see my bare legs. Some women have smooth, shiny, tanned pins – without a lot of work – I’m not one of them, especially now with a baby and toddler! So I always go for tights; that’s never more important than if your dress is short and you’re sitting down. Cellulite is never in fashion. Sadly.

For Lorraine, which is a warm, friendly and lively morning show… colours always look better than a black outfit. I think viewers want to see bright and fun first thing. Look at Lorraine Kelly’s style – she rarely wears dark colours, let alone black.

Aesthetics are important when you’re in a warm studio… but you have to look after yourself when outdoors. I once filmed fishing in a river all day when I was pregnant for a salmon feature on BBC1’s The One Show and was so glad I was wearing a cosy coat. It was January in Scotland and I could have done with an extra layer. Just like when you go out for the day it’s better to bring too much that too little, and a great coat can hide a multitude of sins underneath.

Don’t suddenly think… ‘I’m on the tele, I need a new wardrobe and style’ – think of what suits you and get it out of the closet – or buy something in a style you know if flattering for your colouring and body.

Dress up… if I’m in the studio for Lorraine I’ll always wear a frock that’s quite dressy but daytime appropriate. You get your hair and make-up done so it all goes together well and you feel great. When I covered the red carpet recently for the world premiere of James Bond in London for Lorraine, I went all out with a black-tie red full-length dress. Well, how often does an invite like that come along?

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