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Posing for Brands—Part II: Posing When Your Outfit Doesn’t Suit You

Are you ready for another posing post? This one is going to be a bit shorter, as it tackles some specific issues you might run across when modeling for a brand (or when taking photos in clothes that aren’t your own, or don’t fit you to a T).

@dreamy_kawaii (IG) for Bio Politics, Oni-Con 2018 | Sally Asbury for Puvithel, Oni-Con 2017

Help! My skirt is too short!

This one should really go without saying, but you’d be surprised. Especially if you’re tall, certain brand’s skirts may fall shorter on you than is appropriate for being onstage—especially when you’re standing above the audience. If you find that this is a problem, plan your poses around leaning forward, like the above photos, or if it’s alright with the designer, ask if you can fall short of the marks so you can stay further back on stage, or wear an underskirt. Even a standing back a foot can help prevent people from seeing what you don’t want them to see.

Also, wear shorts or a pair of bloomers underneath your skirt if you can. If you know what you’re going to be wearing before the shoot or fashion show, try to match the color of your shorts to the color of your petticoat or skirt inside.

Collin Quinlan, Vic Von Fabre, Lauren

The corset or vest is too long and buckles

If you have a shorter torso, this one is for you (especially if you have bigger hips as well). You may find that your vest or corset is slightly too long for your body and buckles unflatteringly. Think about elongating your spine by pushing your belly button up, and thinking really hard about touching your belly button to the back of your spine behind your solar plexus. Note that this is not the same as ‘sucking in’ and does not accomplish the same result.

I used to be in marching band, and we did this technique as we marched to create separation between our upper and lower bodies, so we could play and march at the same time. It did this by elongating and aligning our vertebrae, getting us to hold a proper posture. This elongation (coupled with tightening our cores) enabled us to absorb more shock in that buffer zone. In posing, this elongation physically makes you slightly taller by temporarily fighing the gravity that weighs down and collapses your spine, if that makes sense. You are literally holding yourself up with muscle instead of bones. It makes you look taller, more confident—and it will also help relieve back pain!

The jacket is too tight and I can’t move!

It’s common for specifically men with broader shoulders to run into problems with Japanese-sized blouses or jackets, and in fact, a good friend of mine had to deal with this at the last fashion show I photographed. For this issue, think about other ways the jacket can be worn, whether that’s open or thrown over your shoulder. If it’s a less formal brand, you can let the jacket fall to your elbows, similar to the below.

Ota-Q: @joahsovereign (IG)

If the designer wants you to wear it properly (which is likely for more formal brands) unfortunately the only thing I can say is to deal with it the best you can. Keep your shoulders rolled back, and try not to choose poses that will make the garment strain or look tighter than it actually is.

The designer wants me in shoes I can’t walk well in, are too big, or too small

If this happens to you, my condolences. Let the designer know that you aren’t practiced in wearing heels, or that the shoes don’t fit. They may not be aware, and might let you switch shoes with someone. If they insist on you wearing them anyway, make sure to cross the stage deliberately and fluidly. Remember, the show isn’t a race! Better to be a bit slow than fall and hurt yourself, or your feet.

My pants are too tight!

This goes without saying, but if this happens to you, try not to make any movements that might strain seams. I want to say that most designers won’t put you in pants that are too tight—they’ll just make you wear your own. If you find that brand pants are consistently too small, make sure to bring your own to a shoot or show as a backup.

Izzabell Arcana, Eve Cauley and Chey Skye, Courtney Skinner

The shorts are too short for my comfort level

If a designer puts you in shorts that you feel are too short and that make you feel self-conscious, don’t ignore it. You comfort is important, and will show in your confidence on stage or in a photoshoot. Remember, you’re selling these clothes—portraying them with confidence is super, super important! Still, your designer put you in those clothes for a reason, so how do you portray confidence in clothes that make you self conscious? That’s where posing comes into play.

There’s a few ways you can tweak your walk and poses to help yourself out. On stage, walk confidently—if things are going to show your legs, let them, and rock it. Even if you have to fake confidence, do so. People will love the confidence you have showing off your body (even if it’s fake) and won’t even care if you have a little loose skin here and there. Remember, most people are body positive, cellulite is normal, and you should be able to wear whatever makes you feel great!

In photos, you can put a bag or prop in front of your legs or, if you have no prop, you can lean forward at the waist and tighten the muscles in your lower back to raise your butt and stick it out slightly. If you do it right, your thighs will look thinner and much, much smaller.

You can do the same techniques in your poses on stage, however, be careful to not tighten those muscles too much to where it looks awkward from the side, and try not to hide your shorts too much. You’re still a mannequin in these cases, and it’s your job to show off those shorts in all their short, little glory.

Models: unknown and unknown, Amye Cortiaus, Bethany Berwick | Houston J-Fest 2016

The clothes have to be pinned on me! What’s up with that?

This is pretty common in the fashion world. Lots of supermodels are actually too small for the clothes they wear, so they are clipped or pinned to fit them better, look more tailored, etc. It’s common in both photoshoots and fashion shows and, while it might be a bit awkward, rest assured that this isn’t really out of the ordinary for high fashion or for when the designers want the clothes to look absolutely perfect and custom made for the model, even though it wasn’t.

If you’re pinned into the clothes, practice walking and posing in a way that doesn’t show the pins. Practice with someone if you’re doing a fashion show, or let the photographer know that you’re pinned in and don’t want any of the pins or clips to show. Those extra eyes will help make sure that you’re ready to go once the modeling starts.

I think I look bad

First of all, when modeling for a brand, it doesn’t really matter how you think you look—it’s up to the designer. If the designer doesn’t like how you look in a coordinate, they will change it up until they’re content. When modeling for brands, try to not judge yourself, especially if you’re trying a new style. You might look great in reality, but it might be so different compared with with what you’re used to that you might think otherwise. Trust the designer and their creative process, and remember that every single person has a different coording style and process, and it might not jive with yours.

I Do Declare: Tiffany Michelle Thomas | Stevie Quinlan | Bio Politics: Meci Johnson

Standing before a fashion show

It’s not really posing, but it’s something that many models have to deal with, especially with the more well-known or picky brands. Fashion shows and photoshoots can be a lot of “hurry up and wait,” and the designers don’t like clothing to be wrinkled or messed with once their on the models. You may find yourself standing for a long period of time in an uncomfortable room or in uncomfortable shoes—or both if you’re really unlucky. Try to keep your mind off things by practicing your walk some more or making friends with the people next to you. If you can, take your shoes off and save your feet for the actual walk—just remember that the shoes you wear will directly affect your walking and posing, so I advise you to keep them on if you’re wanting to practice.


One more posing post down and out! We’re nearing the end, though, so congratulations if you’ve made it this far. I’d like to thank all my continuing readers for their time and confidence. You guys are the best.


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