Outside the Today Show studio window, the snow was coming down hard.
Inside, Today Show co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Natalie Morales were on camera, telling millions of viewers about the latest blizzard that had gripped the East Coast.
"It's the coldest winter in recorded history!" gushed Savannah. "I know, it's just freezing...brrrrr" remarked Natalie, doing a little fake shiver.
Matt Lauer chimed in about the frigid weather, too. But he was wearing a suit. Both of the ladies were wearing sleeveless, summery cocktail dresses. In the middle of a blizzard. In the middle of January.
I switched channels to MSNBC, only to find "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinksi sporting a bright cobalt blue sleeveless sheath dress. She looked like she was going clubbing. But instead, she was headed into a heated debate on healthcare reform with Joe Scarborough.
I hit the remote again. There was Kelly Ripa, flaunting her ripa'd biceps in a tight, sleeveless frock.
No need to check on Fox. Every woman on Fox News goes sleeveless. Fox practically invented the "sexy anchor" look. Foxy Meghan Kelly would sooner come out in favor of gun control than appear on camera in a dress that covered her well toned guns.
Everytime I turn on the tv, I see female reporters and tv hosts of every age wearing the ubiquitous sleeveless sheath dress uniform. Andrea Mitchell shows up for White House briefings in skimpy sleeveless dresses. On CNN, Ashleigh Banfield routinely goes sleeveless, but balances the look with her trademark Clark Kent glasses that say, "I'm a serious reporter. No seriously, I am."
Recently on MSNBC, the earnest and professorial Melissa Harris-Perry uncharacteristically showed up in a halter dress so provocative, it gave the network's tagline, "Lean Forward" a whole new meaning.
Sleeveless, and its slightly more demure cousin, the tiny cap sleeve, is the new blazer. The only holdouts I've seen are Cristiane Amanpour, Rachel Maddow and Candy Crowley. I don't think we'll see any of them rocking the sleeveless and stilletos look anytime soon. But I fear that at this very moment, Candy Crowley is being pressured by some network exec to slim down, hit the Stairmaster, and squeeze into a sexy, plus-sized number by the mid-term elections.
And the sleeveless trend isn't limited to just the gals on the national news. Even on my local news, our less than glamorous anchorwomen flaunt their arms nightly in sleeveless dresses that scream K-mart more than couture. And needless to say, every female weather reporter would wear sleeveless even in a tsunami. Wearing tight, sexy clothes is clearly a job requirement.
Look, I know it gets hot under tv studio lights. But did the heat just recently become so intolerable that it suddenly necessiated an all-sleeveless-all-the-time wardrobe?
What I think is that a) producers insist their female on-camera talent dress in an overtly sexy way, showing as much skin as possible, to boost ratings and b) many of those females spend hours in the gym and want to show off their toned upper arms.
Look, if my upper arms were ready for prime time, I might want to show them off, too. But not every day. And not all year long.
I still cling to the antiquated notion that some clothes are seasonally appropriate. I know, it's an outmoded concept. But I'm sticking to it. You want to wear sleeveless? Wait till August. If it's the middle of January, I don't want to see skin. I want to see sleeves. Or better yet, a sweater.
And if you're reporting on a serious news story, sleeveless just doesn't look all that serious. So why have news outlets traded serious for sexy? To attract more male viewers? Or because they can't afford to spring for dresses with sleeves? I'm all for women looking feminine and attractive on tv. But that's different from dressing like the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Should we blame Michelle Obama for starting the sleeveless trend? Perhaps. The First Lady looks great in her sleeveless dresses, and I don't blame her for flaunting her seriously toned arms while she can. But it's gone too far.
Are tv producers so desperate for viewers that they have to turn every female newscaster into a sexy bombshell? And the bigger and more disturbing question is, why are women going along with it? Why do seemingly intelligent women slavishly follow every fashion trend and try so hard to look like Kardashians while trying to sound like Edward R. Murrow?
I don't get it.
We've come a long way, baby. Which is why I long to see long sleeves.