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Join date : 2010-12-20
Age : 42
|Subject: Sian Williams: My mum was my best fashion adviser Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:05 pm|| |
Sian, 46, has been presenting BBC Breakfast for ten years. She lives in North London with husband Paul, 56, a freelance television producer, their two children and her two children from her first marriage — ranging in age from 20 months to 19 years. Sian says:
I was sent to interview striking dockers, and I felt ridiculous. So I reverted to trousers and boots. I subsequently spent seven years in Current Affairs at Radio 4, which involved a lot of running around, so skirts and dresses were impractical.
When I started in television, I was making programmes. So, when I first screen-tested, I was just wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a jacket borrowed from one of the crew. When, to my surprise, I was offered a presenting job, I had to rethink my wardrobe.
I found myself in my late 30s and 40s having to dress in a more feminine fashion. Mum loved it.
She always watched me presenting news bulletins and BBC Breakfast. Dad used to call her ‘The Hair & Jacket Correspondent’ because she’d say things like ‘your hair’s too dark’ or ‘that jacket is a little too sombre’.
Mum sadly died from cancer in November 2009, and I miss our phone chats after each programme.
I take up most of the wardrobe space at home and most of that contains work clothes. My everyday clothes comprise jumpers, jeans and boots. Whenever I’d tell my kids off for having clothes all over the floor, they say ‘but there’s no room in the wardrobe!’
In 13 years of TV presenting, I’ve built up a lot of clothes. So, in January 2010, I got rid of three-quarters of my wardrobe to raise money for The Hospice Movement and Macmillan Cancer Support who looked after my mum. The quarter I kept were the clothes Mum liked.
My first TV presenting job was for BBC World in early 1997, and I wore the only jacket I had, which was grey and ill-fitting. When I came off-air after three hours about the Northern Ireland peace process, the producers said: ‘It was fine but we were distracted by your jacket!’ So I went out and bought a royal blue one.
For a couple of years I was President of the Television & Radio Industries Club. They have a big awards ceremony in March. I didn’t feel I had anything glitzy to wear, so I had a quick trawl on the Internet and I bought this for £49 on eBay.
When I received it, I thought it a bit low at the front. After the programme that morning, my colleague Sophie Raworth sewed me into it so I looked decent to present the awards.
Prized possessions: Vivienne Westwood jumper, left, and leathers made especially for Sian by BKS
I buy one dress a year from the designer Britt Lintner, whose work I love. She designs dresses for women in the City who want to look professional but don’t want to wear a trouser-suit. It’s nice to support someone who works, who has children and a passion for creating these amazing woollen silk dresses which look professional, are wearable and don’t crease.
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD JUMPER
This is the most expensive jumper I’ve ever owned — I got it in the sale at Liberty. I wore it when I was rehearsing for BBC’s The Magicians (BBC1, 7.30pm, Saturdays) and it’s still got sawdust on it! Vivienne was a guest on BBC Breakfast last month, and I admired the jumper she was wearing then.
Investment pieces: Britt Lintner dress, left, and Stella McCartney coat
Sentimental value: Sian's favourite necklace
Mum loved jewellery. After she died, I gave all her pieces to my sister-in-law who makes jewellery as a hobby. For my birthday, she took lots of bits of Mum’s necklaces and made a special one for me. It was a lovely thing to do and I recognise every stone.
James Toseland, former World Superbike Champion, invited me to ride pillion with him on a racetrack for a BBC Breakfast piece. I grew up around bikes — my Dad used to build them — so I was really excited.
A company in Northamptonshire called BKS designed leathers for me and they are amazing. I was waiting for this ride with James and the leathers were getting tighter. The day before the ride I discovered I was pregnant, so I had to postpone it.
STELLA McCARTNEY COAT
I often buy things from charity shops. This was in the window of an Oxfam shop. I loved the strong purple colour — which is politically neutral!
I did a lot of standing around in the dark at Westminster in this during and after the last General Election. That included the day the Coalition Government was announced, when it was so cold that the cameraman lent me a fleece, too, and the make-up lady warmed my face with a hair drier
.SIAN'S WARDOBE CHECK LIST
JEANS/TROUSERS: I've got about five pairs of jeans. The most recent were expensive Goldsign ones bought for BBC's The Magicians.TOPS/SHIRTS: I'm quite small — 5ft 2½in and weigh 8st — so plain, unfussy things suit me better and don't distract the viewers.
DRESSES: I have about ten fitted dresses. Putting on a dress is a concession to my mum. I quite like it now, but I’ll rarely wear a dress in my free time.
SUITS/JACKETS: I've got about 15 news-reading jackets in a range of colours, though dark purple is a good colour for me. My mum used to hate me wearing black and, in her last days, she told me: 'Don’t wear black after I’m gone.' I wore a navy blue dress at her funeral.
SHOES/BOOTS: I’ve got about five pairs of boots — two knee-length, two ankle, and one yomping-through-the-snow boots. I'm not really a shoe person. There are a few pairs I wear on the telly, including a pair from L.K. Bennett which go with everything.
HANDBAGS: I didn’t used to have one, but when you’ve got kids you need to carry all sorts. I only have two — a purple one from Zara and a black one I bought in Turkey.