When Carlos Zapata, an anchor on Univision Southwest Florida’s “D’Latinos al Dia” program, switched from print to broadcast journalism, his entire wardrobe had to be totally revamped. “I went from jeans to suits every day,” says the local journalist. But the switch was surprisingly easy for Zapata, who admits he’s always been interested in fashion. After just a few months of working in broadcast, he’d become one of the most dapper on-camera reporters in town.
More than 10 years later, Zapata is still one of the best dressed men in local news. Each evening, viewers tuning in can look forward to both Zapata’s smart reporting and his smart, with-the-times style. We caught up with him to get the inside story on how he manages to look so put together day-after-day.
You mention that you’ve always been interested in fashion, where do you think that interest came from?
It came from my mother. She was always very fashionable and professional and she always made sure that I was very put together. Even today, if I’m going to an event or an appearance she wants to know what I’m going to be wearing. My mom has six sisters and I was their little boy, so I was just always around it.
Did it take you a while to figure out what works on camera?
It took a few months. Some things that I really like wearing don’t work on TV. Bow ties, for example. I might wear one on the weekend to an event, but they don’t work for me on TV. I mostly wear solid ties on camera too. Patterned ties can distract a viewer.
What are the staples of your wardrobe?
I love modern fit suits, I went from regular to modern fit and I love the modern fit. It’s pretty much all I wear. I also love skinny ties. I’m a little bit slim so the skinny tie looks a little more sharp. On TV I usually only wear white or blue shirts, and I prefer solid colored skinny ties.
Where do you get your fashion inspiration?
I look at magazines, I love GQ. I also follow people on Instagram that are very fashionable. I love the Men With Style account; they post a lot of ideas that I get inspiration from. I also love to travel and I pick up things when I’m on trips. I like picking up things in other cities that I know no one else in Southwest Florida is going to have. My favorite city for fashion is Berlin. It’s so young and it’s a little more casual, but still very fashionable.
What about when you’re not in front of the camera?
On the weekends I like to dress casually — I love my shorts and my sandals — but with a touch of style. I’m also out at events a lot, and I’m always planning ahead for what I’m going to wear to upcoming events. My mom still helps me pick out things or helps me put an outfit together. But I pick out things for her too when I’m traveling. I’ll see a dress that looks like her and bring it home — I’ve never had one not work.
What’s the biggest fashion mistake you see men making?
Wearing jeans that fit poorly or putting colors or patters together that don’t work. It’s like, what were they thinking?
You never leave the house without what?
A pocket square became a part of my signature look about eight years ago. So if I’m wearing a suit I always have a pocket square. I also try and always wear a nice watch and I always wear clean shoes. Clean, polished shoes are important.
What do you like about fashion?
For me fashion is fun. It’s not something that stresses me out, I don’t worry about it. I just enjoy it. I feel good and that’s what it’s about.
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