Get In Where you Fit In.
A career as a FIT MODEL was foreign to me until I took the plunge and was honest with myself that I wanted to start modeling at the ripe age of 30.
Was I scared? Sure!
When am I not concern about the next step?... (that's for another blog). I was thinking, where do I fit-in, umm I'm not too skinny, I'm not fat...I am what I would call myself, slim curvy with the height of 5'7 3/4'' (171 cm) or round it off to 5'8'' or (172.72cm) with the weight of 137lbs (62.14kg). I started looking up different fields within the modeling industry and came across Fit modeling.
While still living in Massachusetts at the time, I applied online for a Fit Model position in NYC. I was called in for an interview, I was hired on the spot and within a couple weeks I relocated to NYC. For over 2 years I have been employed at the same company as a Full-time Fit Model. With a brief intense transition from the mental health field to being a Fit Model in NYC, it took a lot of adjustments. I slightly felt like Anne Hathaway from the devil wears Prada.
Here are a few tips I learned along the way.
1. work it out
WELL...not as much as this guy in the picture.
Many people commonly confuse Fit Modeling with Fitness Modeling. Am I in tip top shape? Nah, I still have traces of dimpled thighs.
You don't have to have the "perfect" body, just a proportional body.
Fit models are models who work behind the scene in fashion houses and with garment manufacturers and designers to ensure that the sizing and the fit of the garments fits comfortably on the consumer. Being vocal regarding how the garment fits is a necessary job requirement.
Work out sometimes...
eat right and don't freak out that you must maintain your weight to keep a roof over your head.
I did freak out at one point. I couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that the job was easy but somewhat difficult.
I finally realized it wasn't a job; it was a lifestyle. It was beyond my working hours and it was about me making healthy choices as I ate daily and make good decision even on weekends.
"Never let your weight be an obsession"
I rarely ever weigh myself, but I can tell if I lost or gained 5 or 10 lbs. (2.2kg or 4.5 kg) based on how my clothes fit. Be mindful of the garments you are fitting. Being a Fit model for mostly outerwear, I can get away with a few lbs. For other Fit Models some company does a measuring every month.
I learned to have a healthy sense of self and confidence.
I also began to understand that not all my friends will eat as healthy as I do. Some will roll their eyes if I choose a salad or if I’m more concerned about whole wheat bread as oppose to just white bread. I continue to choose healthy options and in no time, some of my friends started eating healthier around me.
You may not look like a print model or have the height of a typical runway model, but maintaining your weight is a necessity.
Some Fit models work with modeling agencies and have several clienteles they go to at any given moment. This requires them to travel from one location to another and they charge by the hour typically $200 or so. I am underestimating it. I know someone in the field for 20yrs that charges $370/hr. and $300 for 1/2 hr.
On the other hand, I work for a company In New York City full-time. My current salaried work schedule is from 10a-5pm Mon-Fri which is not bad. When I am not doing fittings, I am writing blogs.
2. look Groomed
Make sure nails are always manicured/well kept. They do not have to be polished, but they must be clean and trimmed and the same for your feet.
As a fit model I am somewhat always on display and when I am trying on outwear garments, people are looking at me and at the same time they are not.
They are mostly looking at how the garments fits but essentially, I am still on display. In all, keep
a fresh clean looking face, for some people that is their natural look with lip gloss and for others, they need make up to look natural. At least know the basics when it comes to makeup.
…...NEITHER HAIR NOR THERE
Your hair is somewhat an important part of the job. Yes, black people, not everyone wears an afro and white people not everyone's hair is straight. I loved changing my hairstyles, but I realized that I must be consistent once I was hired for this job.
I used to wear long extension braids, big curly puff. I drove the fit technician nuts, and he continually threatened to cut my hair off...and we both laughed. I began wearing protective styles (google it), and finally I went bald.
Literally I cut my hair and that made it all simple and easy. I wanted to do a major chop years ago because I made a promise to myself that I was going to cut my hair at the age of 30. Now, I keep a wig at work, just in case my head is too small when I'm trying on the hoods for the coats.
…..TO BE OR NOT TO BE FASHIONABLE
You are what you eat...and to some degree people see you as such based on what you are wearing. It reflects your image. Though you are not on the runway and no one expects you to dress as if you are, essentially it is good to have a well-groomed appearance and apparel to match.
Take time to learn what looks good on you.
Spend time to know what colors works and which one doesn't.
This field has taught me to started caring about the things I thought were absolute nonsense. I used to be the one that careless about what is in season. I was the one who cares more about comfort than anything which means sweats, not just any sweats but baggy sweat pants were my Athleisure, leisure, outfit of choice.
This doesn't mean you have to change who you are, just be more conscious of your outfit and what it is saying to others. Again, this information is coming from someone who hates to iron, I rather put my clothes in the dryer to take out wrinkles than to pull out the ironing board. 'eh'.
Since I moved to NYC and my clothes dryer is not as convenient as I would like it to be, I have pulled out the iron and ironing board several times, knowing I could not cover up the wrinkled shirt or pants.
As a fit model I spend a lot of my time on my feet depending on the season. I realized I can't stand in heels for over 2hrs. To someone else this seem like common sense but for me it was comfortable at the time. But after a while I realized my feet were swelling and when I arrived home after work, I wanted to sit and did not want to get up.
If it wasn't to eat or use the bathroom, I wanted to sit-down /lay down and have my feet elevated. Because I was on my feet all day, I did not want to go running at the gym or even go on the elliptical.
I realized I needed to massage my feet when I’m home and when I am getting a pedicure.
As I am learning to be fashionable, I realize that heels are not the answer to everything.
Learn to wear cute shoes and sandals and wedge etc. Still look cute and realize that during and after being a Fit model you will need your feet. Now a days, I leave a pair of black and brown heels at work. I wear sandals to work and if they need me in the showroom, I throw on my heels and switch back into my cute sandals when it’s done.
If I am doing fittings, I switch into my cute comfortable sandals. The same can be said if I wore cute boots for the fall/winter season.
Over there...Under where?
YES! just as how all lives, black lives, our lives, blue lives…matters…your under garments matters as well.
Especially if you fit dresses, pants, active wear etc. bring couple bras and undies to work AND INTERVIEWS and after a while you will get a feel of what is required as you are doing fittings.
Keep in mind, your body is being used to simulate an actual consumer and having the proper undergarment, ensures having the corrects specs and feel of the garment.
If you are unsure as to what is needed, ask?
Be aware that your job is to change into different clothing so get used to it even if you are on your period and feel bloated.
As you are changing into clothes make sure you feel comfortable in doing so, ask to go to the bathroom to change or ask for a screen to change behind.
NEVER FEEL FORCED TO CHANGE IN an environment that MAKES YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE. Keep that in mind. (look out for another blog regarding this).
5. David-cop-a feel
As a fit model you will be touched daily.
Please know which touches feel professional and comfortable and which touches are not aka sexual harassment.
In this field there are a lot of creeps that are disguised as bosses and supervisors that will want to “touch” the garment but essentially, they are trying to caress you.
Please report this to HR, your agency or even the police and a lawyer if necessary, if it arises.
Document, Document, Document.
Never blame yourself or feel intimidated.
6.Work, work, work, work,work?
If you work full-time in an environment when you are solely there for fitting and it appears that others around you are toiling, please understand that they would love to have your job.
You are vital to the production and design team and at times I have experienced people underminding this position.
I am blessed to have this position. This job does free up my time to work on other projects. I finished my book and I am looking forward to many more blog posts.
Use your time wisely.
Overall, love what you do and do what you love. Ciao