In a world of T-shirts and flip-flops often worn to the workplace, how can Oprah, Martha, Tyra and Rachael get photogenic audience members to their shows?

Insist on a dress code.

No matter if the topic is easy office makeovers or an interview with the world’s hottest stay-at-home dads, audience members should come dressed to impress to most daytime talk shows. Most have specific guidelines on what to wear when appearing on their shows. Of the ladies of daytime TV, Tyra Banks, Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray have the strictest dress codes, while “The View” and, surprisingly, Oprah Winfrey, have the loosest standards.

“The Tyra Banks Show” and the “Rachael Ray” show have nearly the same laundry list of outlawed fashions — flip-flops, shorts, white T-shirts, velour sweatsuits, sneakers, ripped jeans or tank tops — which means it bans pretty much every trendy item in today’s casual fashion. A spokesman for “Rachael Ray” said the program wants audience members to be camera-ready because they’re actively involved in the show. “Our audience sits on a turntable, and they rotate onto a different part of the set,” he explained.

In addition to sneakers and T-shirts, “Tyra” bans “extreme hairstyles” of any kind — so no pink mullets. Luckily, the show is more sympathetic toward footwear. On flip-flops, the program recognizes on its Web site that “walking around the city in uncomfortable shoes can be a task. Some change their shoes once they arrive to the taping.” Thanks for the tip.

Meanwhile, don’t think of getting friends together and dressing in all-pink T-shirts that say “Happy 40th Mom!” on “Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Its Web site says, “No coordinating/matching outfits allowed.” Also banned — Ellen-branded T-shirts or hats.

“The Martha Stewart Show” makes it clear to “dress your best,” including the phrase three times in its e-mail ticket confirmation. Women should think “dressy and fun” when picking an outfit, while men should think more country club attire — “polo shirts or button-down,” the show said. What about madras plaid? A jacket is, thankfully, to be worn at one’s discretion.

This story first appeared in the November 2, 2007 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Oprah only has two wardrobe stipulations — no beige or white attire, which usually doesn’t film well on any television program. “Our audience doesn’t really wear T-shirts. They’re in sweater sets, blazers, crisp shirts in bright colors,” said a spokeswoman for the show.

But for those looking to shout out their own messages on TV — at least from the audience — “The View” welcomes everyone, including the coordinated birthday-message T-shirts and light-up holiday sweaters. “It’s a morning television talk show,” said one source close to the show. “No one’s going to come in a suit and tie — you just dress appropriately. It’s a relaxed vibe.”

So, for those eager for their 15 minutes of TV fame from being an audience member, WWD outlines in the chart below the dos and don’ts found either on the Web sites of the various shows or with ticket confirmations that guests receive via e-mail.

DRESS CODES FOR DAYTIME TALK SHOWS
SHOW TITLE WHAT WORKS WHAT DOESN’T
The Tyra Banks Show “We ask that everyone come in upscale, business, interview attire. Think classy. You’ll look best on camera wearing solid colors.”

 

NO EXTREME HAIRSTYLES and NO LOGOS OF ANY KIND (in bold on the Web site). No shorts, capri/gaucho pants, T-shirts, ripped jeans, sequins, hats, busy patterns, white/white tops/white jeans, jogging suits, velour pants, tank tops, flip-flops or sneakers.

 

Rachael Ray “You’ll look your best wearing solid, jewel-toned colors (deep blues, reds, greens, etc.).”

 

Shorts, capri/gaucho pants, tank tops, T-shirts, ripped jeans, flip-flops, sneakers, sleeveless tops, sequins, hats, very busy patterns, white or primarily white/off-white/light pink tops or shirts, jogging suits or velour pantsuit.

 

The Oprah Winfrey Show

Bright colors work best, said a spokewoman.

No beige or black.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show

 

Dress code is “Nice casual”: Dressy jeans allowed. A light jacket or sweater is suggested, “It is often cold in the studio.”

 

No “Ellen gear”— i.e., T-shirts with the Ellen logo, shorts, beachwear, shirts with large logos. Coordinating/matching outfits are not allowed.
The View

Anything. Bright colored shirts, holiday sweatshirts with reindeer with noses that light up. Shorts, sneakers, flip-flops.

 

Arriving naked.
Martha The show recommends “a chic dress, dressy jeans, or trendy and fashionable outfits,” “dress shoes and heels” for women. For men, “Polo-type shirts or a button-up shirt are best, with or without a blazer or jacket — it’s your call.” No T-shirts, large printed logos on shirts or pants, white shirts or wild prints. No hats, sleeveless tops, gym sneakers.
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