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Sisterhood of the Stationary Dress

Mindy Basara wearing WBAL-TV’s stationary dress. Photo by David Stuck

Dresses come and dresses go, but not the emergency dress that hangs in the women’s dressing room at WBAL-TV. It’s a fixture. The ladies who are on camera are so thankful for this communal dress.

The dress belongs to all of us. Well, really Mindy Basara. Mindy was the one who bought it and, being the lovely person she is, left it hanging in the dressing room for us to wear if we were in need.

“I think I just brought it in just in case people had an emergency situation or they had on the same outfit as somebody else. It’s really stretchy and it’s a good color. It’s red,” she says.

Red is one of the jewel tones that works best on TV. You’ll notice when you see us on air that we don’t wear busy patterns or fabrics. We keep it simple and strong.

Reporter Megan Pringle has had an emergency that required the communal dress. It was a cold winter morning and she had left her dress in the car. With little time to retrieve it and get on the air, “I reached for the emergency dress. It was great in a pinch. And it fit just fine,” she says.

I have also spotted Kim Dacey in the dress—yes, tiny Kim Dacey. “I had on pants and I was going to be in the studio, and I needed a dress. So, I went for the emergency dress. It was a little long, but it worked.”

Exactly. Like the mythical jeans in “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” this dress moves from newscaster to newscaster, from one body type to the next body type. And we make it work.
I, too, have worn the red dress. I had a wardrobe malfunction and needed a quick fix in order to be on camera. The dress was a lifesaver. Another time I wore it because, like Dacey, I needed something a little more formal for the studio.

The interesting thing about this dress is that it fits all of our bodies. Did I mention that the dress is a size two? Yes, we are all about a size two to four. But, dear reader, as you know, one dress size encompasses so many body types.

“I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s special—it fits us in different places,” Mindy says. “I have issues in the behind area. That’s my larger place. Yours is the front.”

Yes, when I wore the dress, it was quite tight up top. Truth be told, it strained a bit across my bosom.

“Well, you got a lot going on up there,” Mindy says with a laugh. “But it worked for you, right?”

It did, of course. As Mindy says, it’s a special dress.

Lisa Robinson, WBAL-TV Photo by David Stuck

Here’s another TV secret: We occasionally swap dresses. I have an orange dress that Mindy and I can both wear. I think it looks best on her, because this baby has a back and she fills it out nicely. When I wear it, I fill it out on the top. That’s the way it usually goes if we swap dresses. We often say if you put my top with her bottom we would be the perfect woman.

I think it’s nice that we can share like this. Women are often judged by other women for what they wear—and how often they wear it. It’s a big deal when Meghan Markle re-wears a coat or dress, but why should it be?

Recently, Mindy and I were looking at the dress and we saw that it was actually a bit dusty. None of us had noticed, because we only wear it for five minutes or so. But since coronavirus has come on the scene, I say that we probably should give it a spin in the wash. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t fall apart, or worse, shrink.

I am not sure what we would do without our communal dress. I like it so much that I would recommend that you and your girlfriends—your sisters—find a shared dress of your own.

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