The modeling industry began to experience an upswing in the 1960s already. Vera Anna Gottliebe Gräfin von Lehndorff is known as the first German model. Under the pseudonym Veruschka, the model marketed herself as a figure of art and was also active as an actress. Nowadays, names like Heidi Klum or Lena Gercke are more common in both international and German settings. While you can follow the successful German models on Instagram to learn more about their career steps and their everyday life, Heidi Klum's show "Germany's Next Topmodel" is also a good source to learn about recent requirements for models. Or you can simply read through our article; we have summarized all the important facts about the topic of model measurements.
Between myths like 90-60-90 and terrible nutritional advice, it is easy to get confused as an aspiring model. The requirements to become a model are very different and completely dependent on the industry. There are, however, some general guidelines that will significantly increase your chances of success.
Before we tell you the most important details, you should know that the exception proves the rule. If you are one or two centimeters below or above these numbers, you might still become a model. Provided that the agencies agree to it. In general, a model should be about 1.73 to 1.79 meters tall. The question of weight is less important in the modeling scene. A slender and long body that is toned, trained and has the right proportions is of much more value.
The National Charta of the German Textile and Fashion Industry has set a BMI of at least 18.5. That means that if you are 1.77 meters tall, you must weigh 58 kilograms. As a small reminder: the BMI is calculated as follows: weight / (height)². It should be noted, however, that this formula does not provide any information about body fat, which is an important indicator for a toned body. The clothing sizes vary between 34 and 36; anyone starting at size 38, is referred to as a Plus Size Model. Shoe size is also a significant factor for a well-proportioned body; they vary between sizes 37 and 41.
Another important part of a successful modeling career are mental abilities. It will be easier for models who are able to assert themselves while being patient and self-confident. Expressiveness and the "je ne sais quoi" (French for "that certain something") also matter a lot. For fitness models, a lot of emphasis is placed on a physical definition, which makes it difficult to provide clear data. For all types of models, light skin types and a sympathetic charisma are favored. However, various campaigns and movements oppose this long and critical view. For example, Naomi Campbell is considered the most successful dark-skinned model. The British woman even has her own modeling agency where all skin types are welcome.
Classic measurements for a model
In the modeling scene, a distinction is made between different branches and measurements accordingly are seen as more or less stringent. Especially in the high-fashion and catwalk sector, observance of the measurements is particularly important, since designer clothing must fit like a glove and in all the right places. For Plus Size Models, the measurements are less strict. The following list summarizes all important facts:
Differences between modeling branches
|Area||Age in years||Height in m||Chest in cm||Waist in cm||Hip in cm||Clothing size|
|Catalogue||14-24||Ab 1,76||90||60||90||Bis 38|
|Plus Size||16-24||ns||90||60||90||Ab 38|
|Men||ns||1,82-1,88 (normal) |
* ns = not specified
Other important notes on the modeling categories
If you are wondering what weight is required for each category, we have to disappoint you. Your weight is not a reliable indicator, because it is distributed differently in each body and therefore everyone looks different. That's why the industry is often just looking for models with a thin and slender physique.
The table goes by the strictest measurements, which means that agencies place the greatest emphasis on the correct measurements for catwalk models and least on Plus Size Models. There are different requirements and standards for the category of male models, so they have to be considered separately.
For those among you who are interested in the lingerie and underwear sector, it is important to consider some additional features. Here, the emphasis is on particularly firm skin and an athletic figure. Age doesn't really matter here, but the C cup is an important benchmark and must be supported by good proportions.
The missing data in the column for fitness models is intentional. For both male and female fitness models alike, the definition of the body is most important. Often the correct body fat percentage provides all the necessary answers, but an aesthetic and fit body is the main focus.
If the numbers of the minimum body height don't include you, you still have the chance to work as a petite model. Also as a fitting model there will certainly be assignments. These are booked to generate the fit, the cut and first general impressions. Feel and mobility are also tested in this way. The problem with this is that specifications for fitting models are very precise and vary from one designer to another. Therefore, the required measurements are already included in the listing.
And do not forget: Models like Kate Moss (1.70 m) did not meet the minimum height requirements and made a career of it anyways. So, uniqueness and charisma can be just as important for landing an assignment.
Sedcard, your most important accessory
A sedcard is the figurehead of a model and is often compared to a business card. In the international context it is known as a composite or comp card and is often misspelled with a t because it is associated with "on set". However, the sedcard was invented by the managing director of the British modeling agency, Parker-Sed; that's where its name comes from.
The most important feature of a sedcard is the front, where you can see at a glance the memorability and versatility of a model. The sedcard should always be created by a professional photographer instead of filling it with selfies and everyday photos. You can use a self-portrait with eye contact as a lead. It is best to integrate photos from the different modeling areas. Above all a full body photo is indispensable for a sedcard. Also a lingerie picture and a few pictures in different poses or styles would be an advantage.
The backside should list all important measurements. This includes body and clothing sizes, numbers for chest, waist and hips, shoe size and age. Information about bust size, hair color, eye color and contact information for your agency should also be included. But please make sure to update this information frequently so that the numbers are correct for a potential shooting! In addition, you should include space for a link to your current online sedcard. If you want to be super up to date, you can also create a QR code. For the printed version DIN A5 is the common format.
Differences between men and women
Differences between men and womenThe requirements for men and women are usually different. The female sex must meet strict rules and prerequisites. For men, the requirements can often be found on the respective agency's website. That's where they state minimum dimensions. In general, however, a slim and fit body without too much muscle mass is the deciding factor for male models. This of course isn't the case when an agency is looking for a fitness model. However, since the conditions are less complicated for men, they often receive only half of a woman’s salary.
For shootings, men should provide differentiated measurements. Although these often don't appear on the sedcard, it is better to be prepared. Especially for fitting jobs, the following measurements are important: neck circumference and arm length, chest and under chest circumference, waist and hip circumference, as well as the inner leg length.
Features and trends in the modeling industry
The modeling industry has always had to deal with a lot of criticism because of what are considered unrealistic goals. For this reason there is a constant movement away from the "90-60-90" measures and towards naturalness and normality. This is especially evident in various commercials with curvy and plus size models. It has also been argued that charisma should also be more important with children and teenage models and that the certain something is not enhanced by the perfect measurements. A model has to be able to show her own personality and charisma through her poses and facial expressions - with or without perfect measurements.
There is also constant experimentation with different skin tones and colors, as light skin types have been preferred in recent years. In the course of the LGBTQ movement, agencies have also shown interest in transgender models. Recently, world-class singer Rihanna was the first to introduce a male plus size model in her Savage x Fenty collection, once again proving her forward-thinking and modern approach.
Your best friend - measuring tape: How to measure correctly
First of all, you should have a full-body mirror or get someone to help you to minimize contortions. For the sedcard, it is extremely important to have accurate measurements. That's why we have compiled this guide for you.
- It is best to strip down to your underwear or get completely undressed, stand straight in front of your mirror and place your feet close together.
- Begins with your chest. You will have to put the tape measure over your nipples and measure around the rest of your body. Be careful not to stretch the measuring tape too tightly.
- For your waist, it is best to measure before breakfast, because your stomach might be bloated after eating. Simply place the measuring tape about two to three cm above your navel.
- You can easily make mistakes when measuring your hips. Especially with this one, it would be good to get someone to help you. Stand in front of a mirror and find the widest point of your body. Then place the measuring tape at this point and determine your measurement.
Example measurements of famous models
|Name||Measurement in cm||Height in m||Age|
We'd like to emphasize again that the weight is misleading and is more likely to cause confusion than provide valuable information. Don't use the top models' weights as a guideline. Comparing your own with other models' weights will probably lead to self-doubt instead of encouraging you to eat a healthy diet and exercise.
Despite its length, this article will provide you with all the important information if the modeling business should be your dream. Even if the requirements and measurements are very strict, they are not all that is needed for success. You must be just as versatile and have that "certain something". In this sense, try to think about what makes you different from the others. In the end, a good combination of necessary proportions, great charisma and unique expressions are what matters.