Many people who have thought about entering the modeling industry have been confronted by this question at one point or another: what measurements must one have in order to land some gigs? While there is no single particular set of measurements that define who can or cannot be a model, here are some of the typical measurements that the industry requires.
Height Does Matter
Being tall is almost always a requirement of a model, mainly because clothes often look better when draped over tall people. For male models, being 6′ up to 6’2" is a good start. Sometimes, 5’11" can cut it. That height range is suitable across nearly all the different types of modeling stints.
For females, the range of 5’8" or 5’9" through 5’11" appears to be the general preference. Those figures are mostly applicable to high-fashion runway or editorial gigs, so do keep that in mind. Of course, being too tall can also make or break a modeling career. Some are just too tall and skinny, so much that the clothes they’re modeling won’t look too flattering anymore.
Numbers and Niches
While the general rule may appear to be “skinny and tall," certain types of modeling gigs do have different requirements. Depending on what one is modeling for—commercials, print ads, the runway, plus-size showcases, and others—the numbers will vary.
Again, the measurements for males might be a bit more catch-all compared to those for women. Aside from the typical height requirements, the typical male frame should be able to fit into a size 40 jacket. If you want to set a little allowance, you can even go up to a size 42 jacket. The key is to stay lean—not too ripped and not too skinny, either. Obtaining a good balance is important.
Female fashion models could go with the following criteria: a bust size of 31-36 inches, a waistline of around 22-24 inches, and hip measurements of 32 to 35 inches. Slender is the way to go, as one would likely see in the prescribed model measurements set by modeling associations around the globe.
These measurements give modeling a bad name as far as reinforcing an ‘ideal’ body type or image, but at least now we’re seeing much more diversity with ‘plus-size’ models. Defining that could take up an entire article, so instead check out Measurements and Requirements for Plus Size Models. Those measurements might not be as strictly enforced in other manifestations of modeling like for TV spots and commercial print modeling. With the latter, for example, men and women that are shorter than the heights we listed above are not uncommon, especially when the products being endorsed aren’t for fashion.
The measurement of the human body is probably more pronounced in modeling than in any other field—but that doesn’t mean not falling into the ‘prescribed’ set of numbers will spell the end of your modeling career. Again, it’s all about finding the right niche combined with having the right attitude. Having the physical tools certainly will help get one foot in the door, but those are of no good if you can’t carry outfits or display a decent personality.