The Transom: Terrified, Mousy, & Generally Shabby

Recently, The Transom received this letter from a young fashion reporter who is frequently, as they say, “on the scene”:

…[N]ot sure how to convey this to your staff, but every time I’m at a party with an Observer reporter, I KNOW they’re an Observer reporter. Your staff is brilliant, but SO nerdy, and they dress/ act like it! They walk around with glasses and little notepads. Nobody is going to open up to people like that!

Case in point: Last month at the REDACTED DESIGNER fashion show. REPORTER NAME REDACTED showed up in a mousy black pant suit and glasses. They wouldn’t let her in. I’m convinced if she’d dressed and acted like she belonged, she would have breezed through the door. Similarly at the REDACTED event, REPORTER NAME REDACTED looked terrified and clearly out of place.

Jesse Oxfeld recently told me that reporters should be as inconspicuous as possible and that meant dressing down. I disagree; to see and hear what the insiders see and hear, you must dress and act like them. THAT’S inconspicuous, at least in the fashion world (see: REDACTED NAME OF CUTE YOUNG FASHION REPORTER).

I don’t know why I’m so passionate about this; maybe because I think the Observer is one of the few print papers that can really reflect an accurate and complex picture of the fashion scene in New York. And I hope I don’t sound like a total snob, being like, “your reporters have yucky clothes.” But I do think a makeover is in order, or at least a new staffer to show them how it’s done.

Or, you know, you could bring back Candace B. 🙂

The Transom has thought often, if not much, of this email. (Particularly about bringing back Ms. Bushnell! Now there’s a New York Observer reporter with a body—and a budget!—for fashion.)

But as The Transom gazes across the office, all that can be seen are reporters with fashion interests not much different from those of New York Times media reporter David Carr. (Those who have seen the brilliant Mr. Carr with a cigarette clenched between his teeth, scratching at his ragged notepad, shirt tails all aflap, will know what we mean.)

It is 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 6th. The Transom has just realized that the Observer‘s foxy redheaded senior editor Suzy Hansen wears the same ratty t-shirt to work every single Tuesday. It is a grubby bit of Napoleon Dynamite swag which arrived via U.S.P.S. some months ago. “I’ve never even seen the movie,” said Ms. Hansen.
–Choire Sicha

The Transom: Terrified, Mousy, & Generally Shabby