Last night Katie Couric, the first solo anchorwoman in television history, made her debut on the CBS evening news. I suppose I should have been paying attention to her journalist expertise, her savvy skills as a hard-driven investigative interviewer or maybe just been pondering the fact that I was watching a woman break through the biggest barrier in her career but instead what enthralled me most about this important, historical event was what colors she chose to wear.
Following the current trend of black-and-white dressing, Katie wore a white jacket over a black dress. Black and white is a combination that is not only timely but also chic and elegant in its simplicity; a classic look that combines the sophistication of black with the purity of white.
"Black never goes away. It's so symbolic; it's sophisticated, elegant, classic, safe, dependable and classy," says Leatrice Eiseman, internationally renowned color and design expert. Black is seen as authoritative and powerful. Interesting that the words we use to define black could also be used to describe qualities most of us look for in a respected news broadcaster.
Black is also a color that is known to make the wearer appear thinner however after how gracefully Katie handled last week's airbrushed picture fiasco (without her knowledge CBS promotional magazine Watch! digitally altered Katie's picture to make her look about 20 lbs. thinner) I doubt that anyone would dare to suggest Katie wore black for its slimming qualities.
In contrast white generally projects purity, cleanliness, and neutrality. It is a color that encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles and in this position it is likely that Katie will need to do both in order to reinvigorate the CBS evening news. The symbolism of the 'white jacket' adds another layer of meaning. A white jacket, an undeniable icon worn by medical professionals, scientists, chefs and other professionals symbolizes trust, confidence, knowledge and wisdom.
While I enjoy analyzing the color combination and thinking that it may have been a long considered choice, there's another part of me that knows it could have been simply an intuitive decision or perhaps even a sudden inspiration that came to Katie while reading the August issue of Vogue magazine which reminds us that white "is often like a clean slate- simple, fresh, and full of potential." Either way I think the black and white combination was a perfect choice.
Now you may ask would I have paid as much attention, or given so much relevance to color choice if she were a man? Well yes and no. Since this has always been a male dominated position, a conservative colored suit and tie have always been the style du jour, so if Brian Williams delivered the news wearing a black shirt and white jacket last night, I guarantee I would be talking about it today.
What's exciting is that with Katie comes the possibility of a new era in color and style for our evening news. Will she step up to the challenge? We'll have to stay tuned!