Learn to Take Measurements for Accurate Modeling Stats

Woman measuring hips with tape measure
Ruth Jenkinson/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

There is always a lot of talk in the media about models and their weight. But, for fashion models and the agencies that represent them, it has never been about weight, it 's a model's measurements or "stats" that matter most. In fact, in the 30 plus years that I have been scouting and representing models, I have never, not once, asked a model his or her weight.  

If you are already represented by an agency the agents there will make sure the stats on your promotional material is accurate, but if you are just starting out and are looking for a modeling agency to represent you, it is essential that the stats you give to prospective agencies are accurate.

Why You Need Accurate Measurements

It’s not uncommon for new models to feel uncomfortable or even self-conscious when taking their measurements. But as tempting as it is to forgo the process altogether, you should never neglect to include your stats when submitting your photos to agencies or scouts.

Top international modeling agencies and scouts view thousands of photos every month and they are looking for complete submissions. Plus, they don’t have the time (or the desire) to chase down models for additional information.

If you guesstimate your measurements or don’t measure correctly, you might show up for a booking only to be sent home because the clothes don’t fit. That’s unprofessional and a big waste of time for everyone involved (including yourself). So as you can see, it’s incredibly important to take accurate measurements. Here’s how!

Note: It’s often easier and more accurate to have another person take your measurements for you.

When measuring, make sure the measuring tape is flat against your body. Also, to ensure accurate measurements, make sure you’re standing relaxed with your arms at your sides (don’t hold your breath or tense up), and that you’re wearing tight-fitting underwear (no padding allowed!).

Required Measurements for Female Models

  • Height: In bare feet, stand tall and straight with your back against a wall. Have someone run a ruler or something that can be placed on the tallest part of your head straight back to the wall. Mark the wall where the ruler touches. Measure the distance from the floor to the mark on the wall. 
  • Bust: Many aspiring models aren’t always aware that in modeling, your bust size is NOT your bra size. It’s actually the fullest part of your bust! First, place the tape measure around the fullest part of your bust, at nipple level. Make sure the tape is parallel to the floor. Then, holding the tape measure, take a full breath in and out to allow the tape to slide to a comfortable, yet snug, position. This number is your modeling bust size.
  • Waist: Just like your bust measurement, your waist measurement may be a little different from what you’re used to. It’s not your jeans size! A true waist measurement needs to be taken at the smallest part of your waist. This could be at your belly button or even a few inches above it. Hold the tape snugly, but not too tightly, to find your natural waistline.
  • Hips: Many models incorrectly measure around their hipbones, resulting in a much smaller (and often impossible) hip measurement. Instead, standing with your feet together, measure around the fullest part of your hips and bum. This is the hip measurement agencies are looking for! 

Required Measurements for Male Models

  • Height: In bare feet, stand tall and straight with your back against a wall. Have someone run a ruler or something that can be placed on the tallest part of your head straight back to the wall. Mark the wall where the ruler touches.  Measure the distance from the floor to the mark on the wall.
  • Neck: Place the tape measure around your lower neck, just below your Adam’s apple. Tighten the tape, then loosen it off a bit by slipping 2 fingers between the tape and your neck. Round up to the next 1/2”.  
  • Chest: Wrap the tape measure under your armpits, around the fullest part of your chest. Make sure the tape is snug, but not so tight that you can’t breathe normally. That’s it! Easy. 
  • Waist: Just like your bust measurement, your waist measurement may be a little different from what you’re used to. It’s not your jeans size! A true waist measurement needs to be taken at the smallest part of your waist. This could be at your belly button or even a few inches above it. Hold the tape snugly, but not too tightly, to find your natural waistline.
  • Sleeve: First, place your hand on your hip. Then, starting the tape measure at the center point where your neck meets your shoulders, measure down along your arm and to your wrist. Stop measuring right where the wrist meets the palm of your hand.
  • Jacket size: You may have seen jacket sizes written as 40 Regular or 38 Long. The number refers to your chest size (measurement is explained above), and the “Regular” or “Long” refers to the length of the jacket. In general, your height determines the length you’ll need. Regular sizes are designed for men roughly between 5'8" and 5'11" and Long is for guys over 6'.