Style File – Dressed for the Weather
WBZ-TV’s AccuWeather Meteorologist Danielle Niles
Getting dressed in the morning can be challenging for most women, but WBZ-TV’s AccuWeather Meteorologist Danielle Niles has her wardrobe down to a “science.” She looks fabulous no matter what the weather has to offer.
I started “dressing” Niles back in 2008 when she made her broadcast debut on New England Cable News (NECN) after recently graduating from Florida State University where she earned a master’s degree in meteorology. This past fall, she transitioned to Boston’s WBZ-TV, a CBS owned-and-operated station, to become their weekend meteorologist. Her weekend days begin at the ungodly hour of 2:30 a.m., starting with a commute from her Merrimack Valley home to the Boston station. Before going on the air at 5 a.m. Niles crams in hair, makeup and forecast preparation. During the week, her days are just as busy, providing forecasts for WBZ News Radio 1030, updating her social media and recording weathercasts for CBSBoston.com, which also play on Boston.com.
So exactly how does Niles dress for her demanding and often unpredictable job? After several years of working together, we have learned what works and what doesn’t.
Look the part: Niles wants her clothes to project a sense of professionalism, but also to look stylish without being overly trendy or flashy. These days almost everything goes on some television stations. From leather jackets to mini dresses, it seems that many on-air personalities have pushed the dress code to the extreme.
But Niles has remained classic. It’s important to her that viewers trust and respect her and believes what she wears has an impact.
Plan, plan, plan: Niles plans her outfits the day before she goes on the air.
I recently introduced her to apps such as Wardrobe Journal and Stylebook that make wardrobe planning a cinch. The tools help her to remember outfits (including shoes and accessories). “I take photos of what I wore and when I wore it,” Niles says. “I try to work on a 6-week schedule. In other words, I need about 42 outfits in rotation.”
Colors count: Niles looks best in jewel tones that compliment her olive complexion and show well on television. Vibrant colors and rich, saturated tones tend to “pop,” whereas lighter, neutral colors can look washed out on the screen. At NECN, Niles could not wear green since she was in front of a green screen (the map would project onto her). WBZ does most of their weather segments in front of a 103-inch plasma television, which means she can add green back into her wardrobe.
The fabric factor: Wrinkles and creases look messy on camera so Niles opts for soft knits and jersey materials that stay wrinkle-free. “I go from the studio to the weather center to sitting at a desk at least 2 dozen times a day … so if the fabric wrinkles at all, that will show on TV,” she says.
She also is careful about prints, which can be distracting to viewers and take away from the weather maps. Smaller, muted patterns such as animal prints can work as long as they’re balanced with a solid color or worn in moderation.
Hide the mike: Microphone placement can be tricky when choosing clothing. “I have to place two boxes on my back—one for the microphone and one for the IFB (so I can hear my producers and directors behind the scenes). These boxes aren’t small, so it’s tough to hide them,” says Niles. The answer is for her to wear a Velcro “belt” on her leg to hook the boxes to. This works well under dresses and skirts.
Accessories: Jewelry looks great on television but some pieces can be problematic. Bangles or bracelets that “jingle” are out since the noise can be a disruption. Necklaces can also be an issue since anything lightweight can move around and hit the microphone.
Flashy, shiny or sparkly jewelry can be distracting.
The dress is best: Niles loves dresses and looks fabulous in simple, fitted sheaths. “Dresses are wonderful. I don’t have to worry about picking out a skirt and shirt or pants and a top. One piece and I’m done,” she says.
Prepare for the unpredictable: In New England the weather can change in a split second. Nile’s clothes need to be “storm ready.” “The other day I had to report outside and then come back into the studio to report the weather later on in the day,” she says. “I literally brought a duffle bag stuffed with clothes. I had leggings, snow pants, a long sleeve shirt, sweater, WBZ winter coat, hat, gloves and snow boots with me. When I came inside to report the weather, I had to throw on a dress, touch up my make-up and tease my hair (to remove hat hair). I’ve found over the years that packing more is better than less because I never know what I may need.”