Monday, 18 August 2008

With apologies to the sisterhood

I'm not at all proud of what I'm about to write. I've been sitting on my hands for the last few days, trying to keep the shallow sentiments that will follow from wreaking their wrongness on my keyboard. But it is no good. They must out. 

I simply cannot bear the on-screen wardrobes of Hazel Irvine and Sue Barker.

I know this statement is a hateful affront to womenkind. I know it. After all, how marvellous it is that women are presenting more hours of Olympic coverage than men. How refreshing not to see the same old salt-and-pepper-haired boys' club, legs splayed across the sofas, making tiresome jokes about the women's volleyball competition.

And I can understand that Sue and Hazel may not be keen on any kind of coquettish get-up that would undermine their position as serious broadcasters of integrity, women who've been doggedly ploughing their furrow for years in a historically male field, and are finally reaping some primetime benefits. But would it be beyond the capabilities of any of the parties involved to find them some non-fripperous, properly grown-up presenters' attire that's, like, smart and nice?

Who unleashed this procession of boxy, unflattering, three-quarter-sleeved shirts that is taking place on my screen? It's as though someone doing work experience at the BBC put a load of Adrian Chiles' washing on at the wrong temperature and everything shrunk. And then some parsimonious member of the wardrobe department said, 'Well, there's still plenty of wear left in these. I suppose they'd do for Sue and Hazel.' I turned on the TV one morning last week, and I swear Hazel and The Chiles were wearing the same outfit – preppy pale blue shirts with beige chino-style chinos. And on Saturday, two female friends and I were watching the afternoon coverage when they cut back to Sue In The Studio. The three of us, in perfect unison, recoiled in horror at her candy-striped top with criss-cross, pirate-style lace-up feature around the neck, not unlike the reviled Manchester United shirts of the early 90s. On other days it's not unusual to see a saggy, baggy polo shirt on show that makes our host look like she's off to volunteer at a kennels. Oh for a chic trouser suit for La Barker.

So there you are. I am a wretched person. As I type this, I can hear the marching footsteps of an army of angry lady sports presenters heading for my house. Look, there's the glow of their burning torches through my flimsy curtains. They should be careful. Some of those tops don't half look flammable. 


miss w said...

Marbury says, "Yes, but what about Gaby?"

Chris said...

What indeed about Gaby. Two evenings ago she was dressed to take the main role in a student production of 'Abigail's Party' to the best of my judgement.

And whilst we're on the subject of what Hazel Irvine should not be doing, could she please give the whole 'Aren't Foreign Names A Hoot?' schtick a layoff for a bit? It's like listening to a 1950s panto writer workshopping possible character names.

Miss Jones said...

I am cautiously approving of Gaby's wardrobe. The Sue-recoilers were discussing this on Saturday afternoon and decided it was, by and large, chic yet modest. She does have a whiff of netball captain about her, but that is not related to what she wears. I secretly yearn to waft around my flat dressed like Beverly, or indeed Margo Leadbetter, so Gaby's 70s homage might not necessarily have been a thumbs down from me.

However I did feel for Mr Logan last week, having to sit at home minding the twins and watching Gaby's girlish flirting with Stephen Parry. Poor old Kenny, performing a lonely club-footed pasa doble around the kitchen in an attempt to reaffirm his masculinity.

I have no criticism to make of Claire Balding's wardrobe, since I think she is properly clever and knows some stuff about sport - mostly horses, admittedly. Hazel and Sue are not beyond reproach in this respect - as Mr A sagely notes. Mrs Jones pointed out to me recently that Sue insists on saying 'er' every other syllable, and once you've noticed this, it is like some kind of drip, drip method of torture.

Anonymous said...

As one of the three friends who did indeed recoil in horror at Sue's nautical/bondage style top, I now fear that I might have been wrong in approving of Gaby's wardrobe choices. She obviously admired Sue's nautical top, as tonight she has wrecked a perfectly nice dress with an ENORMOUS pair of tacky gold anchor earrings. Shame on you... (Matthew Pincent's three quarter length chinos are pretty disturbing too).

Miss Jones said...

Perhaps in Gaby head it's a humorous nod to the success of our sailors/rowers. She should know, though, that there is no place for humour when it comes to good accessorising.