It started with a link to a stylish $23 dress being posted to a private Facebook group for broadcast meteorologists. More than 50 of the female meteorologists in the group purchased the Homeyee Women’s stretch tunic pencil sheath dress, and on Sunday November 22, 2015 a composite image of female broadcasters across the country all wearing the dress went viral on popular sites such as Reddit.
The Homeyee Women’s stretch tunic pencil sheath dress has a 4.7-star rating, and many of the reviewers have noted the quality is great for the price.
“Many female meteorologists are subject to a strict dress code for what they can and cannot wear on air,” Shelby Hays, a KOCO Meteorologist from Oklahoma told Tech Insider. “Patterns are considered ‘too busy’ and there are often regulations on sleeve length or style.”
When Hays learned of a $23 sheath dress from Amazon through an online chat room for weather forecasters, she jumped on it.
“Someone stumbled onto ‘the dress’ and a few of us ordered it and shared pics of it on air in our group. Everyone saw how great it looked,” Hays says. “At $23 we could buy a handful of these dresses for what we normally pay for just one.”
“The dress” has since appeared on a number of news stations in almost every color available – with the exception of green, which will disappear against a green screen.
“More than 50 of us purchased the dress, so if you travel and watch the news, you might see something familiar,” Dallas’s Fox 4 meteorologist Jennifer Myers posted on Facebook.
Finding the right dress to wear on air can be a challenge, meteorologist Lyndsay Tapases told BuzzFeed News.
Tapases, who works at WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina, said the goal is to look polished, professional, and credible. But finding business casual that is also flattering, stylish, and comfortable can be difficult — especially since most women are also looking for dresses with sleeves.
“This dress had all of those qualities we look for, but the price was the major selling point,” Tapases said. “Many of us don’t have a clothing allowance and are responsible for buying all of our own clothes.”
The bold, fun colors didn’t hurt either, and as each woman began to receive her online order and tried it on, she would confirm to the group that it really was that good, Tapases said. Some women even bought the dress in multiple colors.
“Each time someone new got it in, we just kept confirming how great of a buy it was.”
KTVI meteorologist Angela Hutti says, “The good thing about the dress is that it comes in solid colors. This is good for using on-air. Plus, it can be hard to find dresses with sleeves for colder winter months.”
Hutti found out about the dress in the private Facebook group. Her favorite color is a Houndstooth pattern but she says that will not work for television. The design is too detailed for smaller screens and it will produce a Moiré effect.
“Many stations even have consultants that come in and tell you colors you should and shouldn’t wear,” said Shelby Hayes.
Meteorologists are subject to even more restrictions when they stand in front of green screens. Some of the technical requirements for overlaying forecast images of the screen mean they can’t wear colors like green or blue.
The private Facebook group has become a place where female MeteorologIsts share fashion advice, in addition to career guidance and advice. A month ago, someone in the group posted a picture of a “cheap” sheath dress available on Amazon. Did we mention that the dress is only $22.99?
The rest is fashion history.