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Who wore what when? New website offers castoff anchor/reporter clothing at bargain prices

TV talent coach Jolene DeVito, formerly of WFAA8 and TXCN, now wants their mostly high-priced hand-me-downs, too. Anchors and reporters can one-stop shop on her new website. Photo: Ed Bark

TV newsies and their wardrobes for $300, Alex.

Answer: TVnewscloset.com

Question: Where can anchors and reporters unload their used on-air garments, buy someone else's and earn/save money.

Jolene DeVito, formerly an anchor at Dallas-based WFAA8 and TXCN, says she may have "created a monster" with a brand new website that specializes in sales of old on-air clothes. Since its launch last weekend, the site already has roughly 150 items in stock and 12 orders in its first two days, she says in a telephone interview.

DeVito's full-time job is still at Irving-based Talent Dynamics, which offers coaching and media training for anchors and reporters on the way up, down or currently on the air. The new spin-off site, in partnership with Talent Dynamics, addresses the need to dress the part without breaking the bank.

"Years ago, they may have had certain trade agreements with stores and things," DeVito says. "But that's long gone. A clothing allowance certainly wasn't unheard of years ago, but now it certainly is . . . If you can afford the real high-end stuff, you can spend thousands and thousands of dollars a year on clothes. I perfected the art of not spending that much, but it was still a bigger chunk of my salary than I would have liked."

So here's how this works. Anchors/reporters whose clothes have worn out their welcomes can put them up for sale on tvnewscloset.com. All of their discards are priced at 60 percent off the original retail price, with the site taking 50 percent of the cut on high-end items and 60 percent on cheaper duds.

All clothing is pictured on the site, with prices and sizes included. There's also a description of where it's been, although specific stations and the sellers' identities aren't revealed.

DeVito does acknowledge, though, that the "Crayola Plum" Size 8 Donna Gray 3 Piece Suit is one of her old on-air outfits. It's now priced at $35.

All of the site's orders have been placed by women so far, DeVito says, with shipments already on the way to anchors in Tyler, Austin and Portland, Maine.

Male anchors can stick with their outfits longer than women can, she says. "We can only get away with wearing things a certain number of times before viewers start to recognize it and get tired of it."

DeVito and Talent Dynamics initially stocked the online store by "reaching out to our friends in the industry." There have been a few unexpected windfalls, she says. "We've made 30 cents off the change we found in pockets."

It's tougher to find suitable on-air clothing in smaller markets, DeVito says. "A lot of times you'll buy something in a store and it simply doesn't work on the air. Or maybe the camera doesn't read it as the color you thought it would."

And whatever the market size, "Sometimes your news director will say, 'Uh uh, don't wear that one again,' " DeVito says. Easy for them to say, harder for an anchor to take it back.

TVnewscloset.com so far has stuff for sale from all but one of D-FW's television news providers. "But I expect that within a couple of weeks we will have clothes from all of the local stations," DeVito says. Duds also have arrived from anchors based in Colorado, Arizona, Rhode Island, etc.

Commoners can buy the clothing, too. And if someone wants to know who wore a suit or outfit previously, DeVito is willing to make a discreet inquiry. Maybe you, too, can replicate the discarded look of say, CBS11's Karen Borta or Fox4's Steve Eagar. The latter might well have a gangsta-striped suit looking for a home after management told him to stop wearing it.

A further browsing of tvnewscloset.com turns up these other intriguing items:

***A "Crayola Cerulean" Limited Blue Stripe Button Down ($10) worn by a "morning anchor in the north east."

***A double-breasted "Crayola Gray" (what's with the crayons?) Burberry Suit ($120) that used to be on-air attire for a "Primary Anchor" in a Top 10 market.

***A "Crayola Almond" Rebeka Camisole ($10) from a "major market morning anchor."

***A "Crayola Yellow-Green" Sag Harbor skirt ($15) previously donned by a "weekend morning anchor at a top 5 station in the south."

*** An Oscar De La Renta Pinstriped Jacket ($40), also "Crayola Gray," of which the site teases, "Viewers of a top affiliate in the southwest saw this one on their favorite sports reporter."

Hmm, it has a 40-inch waist, which possibly puts both NBC5's Newy Scruggs and WFAA8's Dale Hansen in the running. But they'll probably never tell. And in reality, that's the fun of it, whether you're a buyer -- or voyeur.