Michelle Kosinski in South Africa: I've been wearing same pants for 11 days
Covering the news isn't always the most glamorous job — and oftentimes, the TODAY talent has to make do with what they have, on the run. NBC correspondent Michelle Kosinski, currently covering the Oscar Pistorius case in South Africa, learned how to make do with just one pair of "indestructible" black pants. Read her take on recycling fashion:
I had the typical correspondent clothing misfortune — this time a double-whammy: I had to head to South Africa straight from another assignment in the other hemisphere (do not pass go, do not head home for a frenzied clothing switch-out) — and had earlier gambled and lost on the fact that I'd be headed home soon. Very soon.
I had packed for a story in Amsterdam, where it was literally below zero, Celsius. Snow and ice blowing, causing me to bring things like a fuzzy hat, winter coat, lined gloves, boots, etc. Plenty, I thought, for a one-day piece on how Valentine's Day flowers make it around the world like magic — Santa's-sleigh-style.
Now, mind you, I know well enough to never take it for granted I'll be home "soon." I always stuff as much as I can into my little carry-on suitcase — just in case. Often it's full to bursting, causing airport personnel to force me to "try" to fit it inside one of those metal "guideline" boxes for bringing a carry-on on board, eyes glinting in the hopes I'll be forced to check it in. But this happens all the time, and I always make it work, smiling proudly at the end, to their dismay.
People often comment on how incredibly heavy that tiny suitcase feels. That's because of the 95 shirts I managed to cram into every spare breath of space!
It's because this sort of thing happens way too often: I'll head to Peru in its winter for what seems like three days max, only it turns into a month. Not exaggerating. Or we head to a sweltering island for maybe a week... or try three months. That's when we inevitably need to just venture out to whatever shopping situation is available and buy new clothes. This often happens in a panic, between live shots.
By the way, finding stuff in a hurry that fits well enough to look good on television — which frighteningly magnifies every baggy armhole or too-tight midriff, fun-house mirror style — and is appropriate for what we do is about a hundred times more difficult than it would seem.
But this time was different because of Valentine's Day. Surely nothing would keep me away from my (very understanding) boyfriend's wonderful plans, right? Ha. Wishful thinking.
The one time I don’t pack a ton of extras, surely enough, we are diverted to a story — in summertime, no less — for more than a week.
The first day I landed in South Africa, in the 90-degree heat, I was wearing boots, trousers, a winter coat and black turtleneck. People stared at me at the airport. I needed to be on-air in a few hours, and ended up with just enough time to stop at a shopping center and grab one shirt.
The next day, I found myself with a whopping extra 20 minutes to head to the same mall and run through like a maniac, grabbing enough shirts that might work for a few more days. I did pretty well — because, remember, we only need to look decent from the waist up! — but had only enough time for the upper half. No more spare minutes for skirts or trousers, something that would go with everything and fit and be appropriate for court everyday.
And not a single spare moment, ever since. I was able to somehow persuade a hair salon over the phone to deliver my favorite shampoo and conditioner to my hotel, which was a nice comfort when I inevitably started to run out of products as well, but there would be no doing that with clothing.
Thus, my 11-day trouser run. The longest ever. Thank goodness.
They are right now in the bathroom of my hotel room, standing up by themselves (kidding), where I have been avoiding them. I did pack one other pair at the start of this crazy trip, but they are tricky because they are tight black leggings, and just not cool for use with everything, especially for court!
I may have to go in for a day 12 tomorrow, but am sticking with the leggings as long as I can get away with it.
On yesterday's Nightly News, you'd never know it but I was wearing these black leggings with a too-short navy blue sweater, looking truly icky overall. But from the waist up — all good.
Today we all had a good laugh at our brilliant cameraman Dave Copeland, who was wearing a plaid button-down with striped shorts that may actually have been pajamas. Oh, and dark socks. He looked like a crazy tourist.
Why not dry-clean the trousers, you might ask? Because we're only in the hotel for a few hours a day — most days, two or three — and you never know when I might have to wear them. Plus, when very very busy, clothing is kind of the least of our worries.
They have served me well, my slim-legged, stretchy belt-looped Ralph Lauren Black Labels with a little split at the bottom of each leg. Glad I have them. Comfortable in both below-zero Amsterdam and 90-plus Fahrenheit Pretoria. A trouser miracle. Viva le trousers!
Soon, I suspect, they will simply run away from me. Screaming.
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