Hail to the Sheath: Reporters Wear This Season’s Best Silhouette

The seven newswomen on these pages are casting an eye on the candidates this election season. But scrutiny is a two-way street: even brilliant writers and reporters have to look good. Here, they wear fall’s best sheath dresses, pairing some style with their substance 

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Christina Bellantoni, Political Editor, PBS Newshour

She has been a White House correspondent for the    Washington Times    and a senior reporter–blogger for the Washington bureau of   Talking Points Memo  . Now at  PBS NewsHour  (and a More contributing editor) , Bellanton  i finds herself “tracking every element of the presidential race.” Career high point? Creating campaign-trail videos for the Washington Times that made her blog the most trafficked on the newspaper’s site. Political reporting is the ideal job for a multitasker like her—plus, there are once-in-a-lifetime-level perks. “In 2009, I flew with Obama to Normandy, landing on the bluffs in a helicopter,” she recalls. She doesn’t even mind that campaign seasons are all-consuming. “Someday I will find time to clean out my five different inboxes and file stuff away. Someday . . .”


Lela Rose cotton dress; neimanmarcus.com. Giuseppe Zanotti Design leather pumps; giuseppezanottidesign.com. Asha by ADM horn, 14k gold vermeil, onyx and white topaz bracelets; ashabyadm.com. Karma el Khalil 18k white-gold, diamond, blue-chalcedony and black-spinel earrings; roseark.com.

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Chris Jansing, Host of MSNBC's Jansing & Company

Jansing has covered global news such as the World Trade Center attacks and the death of Michael Jackson, but it was at a local station—WNYT in Albany, New York—that she won an Emmy (for her nervy and affecting coverage of the 1996 Olympic Park bombing at the Atlanta Games). Her daily MSNBC show has touched on all things newsworthy, and as the election nears, its political coverage will be even more intense. “I interview everyone from top advisers to major fund raisers to elected officials, as well as a vast team of NBC correspondents and other journalists,” she says of her guest mix. “I gather as much information as I can,” which she acknowledges is a time suck that’s incompatible with sleep. “I have a lot of moments when I have to pinch myself at how blessed I am, even when the alarm goes off at 4:15 AM.”


Chadwick Bell gabardine dress; Stanley Korshak, 214-871-3600. J.Crew patent leather belt; jcrew.com. Wolford nylon blend tights; wolfordshop.com. Diane von Furstenberg satin pumps; dvf.com. The Woods Fine Jewelry drusy and diamond earrings; Jamie, 615-292-4188. Fragments horn, fossil and rhinestone cuff; fragments.com.

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Soledad O'Brien, CNN Anchor and Special Correspondent

O’Brien has been a field producer ( NBC Nightly New s and the Today show) and an anchor (­Weekend Today ), but now she ­happily captains CNN’s ­Starting Point, where the discourse is fast and sometimes furious. “I hold people accountable,” she says. “Politicians are racing around the country making public pronouncements under a lot of pressure. That leads to gaffes and misstatements.” O’Brien has received an NAACP President’s Award and has been named one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People, but she remains unfazed by fame. “I’ve always been willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done,” she says. It’s no wonder she hasn’t yet learned how to cook. “At the end of the day, I want to tell the viewer as much about what the candidates won’t want to talk about as what they do want the voters to hear.”


Philosophy Di Alberta Ferretti wool blend dress and PVC belt; 212-460-5500. Jimmy Choo leather pumps; jimmychoo.com. Kate Spade New York resin and gold-plated necklace; katespade.com.

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Helene Cooper, White House Correspondent, the New York Times

Campaign season has Cooper crisscrossing the country with Team Obama. “There’s no typical day. I’ll be chasing a candidate one minute and trying to figure out a Supreme Court decision the next,” she says of the job’s inherent whiplash. “I’ll also spend a lot of days in high school gyms listening to stump speeches.” For years Cooper covered politics and foreign policy at the London, Washington and Atlanta bureaus of the Wall Street Journal. The work never stops, and that’s just the way Cooper likes it. “I write everywhere. In an office. On airport tarmacs. Even on Air Force One, which I never tire of saying.” She suspects she’s most in her element when a big foreign policy story breaks, but she always sweats the details. What happens when she does get time off? “I end up home on the couch, watching the Cooking Channel.”


Halston crepe dress; shopbop.com. Elie Tahari suede pumps; elietahari.com. Stella & Dot glass stone ring; stelladot.com. Earrings, her own.

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Kathleen Parker, Syndicated Columnist, the Washington Post

She says she has a writer’s “relentless curiosity,”which she likens to a drive, such as sex, rather than to a vocation. She was scheduled to cover both conventions this time around and says she enjoys them as much for the spectacle as for the news value. “There’s nothing like being there,” she says. “I met Obama the night of his transformational speech at the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston, when I was crossing the lobby of a hotel in search of a swimming pool. That was pure serendipity.” Although she says the hardest part of her job is her “unyielding sense of my own suckitude,” she is in fact one of the best in the business. She often contributes to USA Today and the Daily Beast, and she’s the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner for commentary. “If I’m not reading or studying, I feel guilty,” she says. “Our world is so complex, I’m always struggling to keep up.”


Elie Tahari double-knit dress; Lord & Taylor, 212-391-3344. Jimmy Choo pony-hair and patent leather pumps; jimmychoo.com. Karma El Khalil 18k rose-gold and diamond ring; roseark.com

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Norah O'Donnell, Cohost, CBS This Morning

Hers is a great job, no question. “It’s a lot of pressure to host, but the audience for morning news is growing,” she says. Her experience is vast: She’s an Emmy-­winning reporter who has been chief White House correspondent for CBS News, chief Washington correspondent for MSNBC, a contributing correspondent for NBC’s Today show and a reporter for Roll Call. “The hardest thing about covering politicians is sorting out the truth,” she allows. But it’s not all serious business. “When I interviewed then-­governor George W. Bush in 2000 outside Tommy’s Country Ham House in Greenville, South Carolina, we were live on air when animal-rights activists unloaded a dump truck filled with pig manure. Three people fled the scene, all dressed in pig suits. Sometimes you can’t make it up!”


Carolina Herrera jacquard dress; neimanmarcus.com. Marco Bicego 18k gold, diamond and sapphire ring; Neiman Marcus Northpark, 214-363-8311. David Yurman 18k gold and diamond earrings; davidyurman.com

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Maggie Haberman, Senior Political Writer, Politico.com

In earlier incarnations at the New York Post and the New York Daily News, Haberman covered the protracted mudslinging of the 2008 presidential election, and the intensity was brutal. At Politico, she writes about the campaign daily. She says she works “everywhere there’s Wi-Fi” and plans to leave no aspect of the race off the table. The downside? “There’s a lot of hate mail in the era of the Internet,” she says. Any life goals that aren’t work related? “Visit Armenia with my husband, write a novel and spend seven days without checking e-mail.”


Boss cotton-silk blend dress; hugoboss.com. Casadei leather pumps; barneys.com. Tiffany & Co. diamond and 18k white-gold bracelets; tiffany.com. Jill Alberts pink-chalcedony, diamond and 18k gold earrings; fragments.com.


We scoured the market for Five Fall Fashion Must-Haves that will make your staples look brand new.


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First Published Fri, 2012-09-07 10:01

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