At sunrise, she'll be smart and stylish; Visibility: Here's something WMAR-TV meteorologist Veronica Johnson can predict with certainty: her on-air clothing will be classic, but interesting; Fashion


It should be enough that Veronica Johnson, an on-air meteorologist for WMAR-TV, has to look great at 5: 30 a.m. Add to that task the fact that she is the mother of three, including a 2-month-old son. How does she do it?

By making a science out of dressing for work.

Her lab is a color-coordinated closet with a 12-foot ladder that reaches up to boxes of sweaters and shoes.

"I ordered that ladder, and my husband didn't know how tall it was going to be until he looked in the closet," Johnson says. "He said, 'It looks like a fire ladder.' "

Over the past years, Johnson, an Ellicott City resident, has also developed a list of rules that streamline her search for appropriate attire and keep her looking all-too-perky in the A.M.

What are your rules of thumb for on-air dress?

I can't have anything that's trendy. That's a no-no. It takes away from looking serious. It's got to be interesting, but not too busy to take away from what I'm trying to say. Classic but interesting.

Are there any colors you have to avoid?

The chroma-key wall where the computer weather map is projected is green, which means that anything that is a shade of green picks up the weather map. So, no green.

What can you wear?

I try and go with suits that have a lot of color, suits that have texture and look smart, but aren't necessarily like a banker's suit. When it comes to ladies on air, you have to walk a fine line of not being too trendy and not being too stuffy.

Are there designers who understand?

I think so. There are a lot of young designers out there, and a lot of more textured fabrics that work well and aren't going to wrinkle easily.

Shopping must become part of your work, since it's such a visible job.

It's an ongoing task with me. I go to New York City probably once a month, and one of the key things I do is shop.

There are also a few local places here in town, one being right down the road at Nordstrom, where I go to the Rack. You can really look your best without spending a fortune.

How do you shop and work and raise a family?

I don't have to try things on anymore. I go speed shopping.

Do viewers comment on your clothes?

They sure do. One caller said, "I really like that blouse you had on. Where did you get it?" And another said the color of my suit was beautiful.

When I first started out in the business, I remember a viewer wrote to tell me my sleeves were too long and even sent a clipped article about where your cuffs should hit.

What about dressing for live shots?

When I go out on live shots, which are centered around doing something at a health club or at an upcoming weekend event, I'm going to look for bright colors and clothing that looks comfortable, but neat.

How did you choose maternity clothing?

Instead of buying maternity clothing, which a lot of people are turned off by, I bought clothes in a bigger size and had them tailored to fit me throughout my pregnancy.

And if it was something I really, really liked, I'd have it altered again after my pregnancy.

Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

Pub Date: 2/04/99

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