Typical Measurements for Models – Industry Standards Versus the Real World

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It used to be that if you weren’t a 5-foot-10-inch thinny minny, then the odds of breaking into the modelling world were almost nonexistent. It may still be the case that the majority of models are thin and tall, but the fashion industry seems increasingly to be embracing diversity and waking up to the fact that most of its customers are not beanpole-esque. 

As top model Tyra Banks once said, “Perfect is boring. Human is beautiful”. Brands are discovering that customers very much like seeing people with bodies like their own on catwalks, on billboards, and in ads. Plus-size or curve models like Ashley Graham and Hunter McGrady are forging very successful careers. When Victoria’s Secret books its first plus-size model (Ali Tate Cutler), you know an idea has gone mainstream.

So what are the typical model measurements, and how do they compare to the real world? There are lots of different types of modelling, and different jobs require different shapes and sizes. There are exceptions to every rule, but it’s always a good idea to know them first before you throw the rulebook out the window. Let’s take a look.


High-end fashion models


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When the average Joe thinks about models, high-end catwalk modelling is what they think of. Designers love the way these tall, thin, and beautiful humans make their clothes look in editorial shoots and on catwalks. Yes, they look amazing, but they are not like most of us when it comes to measurements.  

Women fashion models are usually at least 5 feet 10 inches tall, and their waists tend to be about 10 inches smaller than their chest and hips. When it comes to dress size, it’s usually 4 to 6 US, 6 to 8 UK, and 10 AU with a typical bust size of 34 inches. (Note that the average British woman weighs 11 stone and wears a size 16.) 

Male models are also tall, usually coming in at 6 feet to 6 feet 5 inches. They typically wear tops of 40 to 42 inches and have a 32-inch waist.

Lingerie models


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Professional lingerie or underwear models are usually curvier than high-fashion catwalk models. Female models usually have at least a size 34B bra and hips around 10 inches bigger than their waist, although having a strong physical presence is more important than size. Male underwear and swimwear models tend to match fitness model measurements, although they may be a bit leaner.

The differences between models and regular people are significant. In 2015, Simply Be compared the average Victoria’s Secret lingerie model with the average Australian woman. The Daily Mail reported that the average Angel stands at 5 feet 10 inches tall, wears a bra size 10A to 10D (UK 32A to 32D), and wears a size 6 dress (UK size 4). The everyday woman, however, is just 5 feet 4 inches tall, wears a 14D bra (UK 36D), and fits size 14 to 16 (UK 12–14) in clothes.

Petite models



Not everyone can reach the apple from the top branch; some people are smaller and need a ladder. Petite models model petite clothing for petite people, usually women. So how tall is petite? Usually around 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm) to 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm), with smaller hips and chests. Did you know the global average height for a woman is actually a bit over 5 feet 3 inches (163 cm)?

Plus-size or curve models



Plus-size or curve models advertise products and services aimed at plus-size people, which is to say most of us! In the UK, plus size is usually defined as size 12 and above (in Australia, that’s size 10). Women are usually 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet tall and have a proportional body shape. Typically weight is between 161 and 205 pounds, with a chest size of 41 to 45 inches. Plus models look healthy, fit, and, as with all models, usually fabulously beautiful!

Male plus-size models generally need a chest larger than 42 inches and a waist larger than 34 inches.

Commercial models



Commercial models sell all types of products and services in a wide range of publications, catalogues, and photo shoots, and measurements aren’t as limited as in other areas of modelling. Both women and men are accepted in a wide array of shapes and sizes, but typically women are at least 5 feet 6 inches tall and men are at least 5 feet 10 inches tall.

Fitness models

Fitness models


These models have muscles where others do not. Their athletic-looking bodies, long and lithe, are used to sell products and services in the fitness realm. As muscle weighs more, fitness models also tend to weigh more. Fitness expert Marc Perry says that female fitness models should have a body fat percentage between 15% and 17%.

Male fitness models usually need to have visible muscles and a body fat percentage of around 6% to 7%.

Other body parts



Modelling isn’t all about your face. Sometimes, it’s another one of your fabulous body parts that companies are interested in. There’s a steady stream of work for models just featuring their hands, feet, legs, eyes, or teeth. If you happen to have perfect teeth or beautiful fingernail beds, a body parts agency may have work for you. 

Measurements are clearly important in the fashion industry, but brands are now actively looking for different body types, so if that sounds like you, get to it. Good luck!

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