A basic toolkit for new models

Over time a model develops their own style. They get to know what looks good on them and what style of work they are best suited to. Everyone has to start somewhere however so here are  a couple of suggested lists by professional models of the sort of ‘basics’ every model ought to have. Your list may vary of course but at least this advice from successful  models will help get you started. First though a few general tips from the photographers point of view.

  • Make sure all labels are removed from you modelling clothes. These pesky things can be a real irritant to remove later if overlooked during a shot.
  • Keep your modelling clothes for modelling. In particular lingerie, which soon looks ‘tired’ after regular use.
  • Shoes for modelling should NEVER be worn normally. Some poses show the soles and if they are scuffed up it spoils the shot. Oh and remember to remove labels from the sole!
  • Photographers hate cheap fake tan or strap marks showing.
  • Make sure you buy clothes that fit well rather than make you feel good because they are a certain size! Bulges round tight bra straps and the top of pants do not look good in print.

Fi Stevens list of Basic clothing:

Fi Stevens is a former Page 3 model, now retired from modelling.

Plenty of shoes in prime condition but at the very least:-

  • Plain black heels
  • Plain white heels
  • Black knee high boots

As many different varieties of lingerie as you can possibly fit in your bag for a lingerie shoot – because if you don’t bring it, you’ll wish you had! So to start….

  • black,
  • white (simple set and something with detail), pink,
  • blue,
  • yellow,
  • orange (whatever suits colour wise – if you’re really pale skinned, white won’t look as good as when you have a tan)
  • lacy,
  • patterned,
  • vest & pants sets,
  • suspender belts in various colours – but if all else fails, get a black one as that will go with everything black you have (which is often more!)
  • stockings – fishnets in various hole sizes, plain, hold-ups and ones that can be attached to suspender belts. Ensure these are free from holes, ladders BEFORE packing away – and keep them in a small plastic bag so they don’t get caught on bra hooks/shoe heels.
  • Note: Make sure your lingerie is ALWAYS in a matching set
  • Loop the knickers over the bra hook and then close the fastening – voila! you never lose the matching pants!

Basic clothing for simple fashion work.

  • LBD – Little Black Dress – it can be dressed up or down.
  • Dark jeans
  • Light jeans
  • Plain white t-shirt
  • Plain black vest top and t-shirt

If you are not sure on what to bring to a shoot ask for examples of the kind of thing they are looking for.

Xena’s suggested clothing list

xena is a full time model who works to a range of fashion styles. These are her suggestions.


  • Casual fashion set. (Jeans, white/black shirt, other casual tops).
  • High fashion set. (High fashion trousers, cropped trousers, shorts. Tops to match the bottoms e.g. embroidered or detailed).
  • Little Black Dress. (As mention, invaluable)


  • Matching black lingerie set.
  • Matching white lingerie set.
  • Make sure they are PLAIN. As detailed lingerie will be obvious underneath tops, skirts, dresses etc….
  • At least 2 lingerie sets e.g. the ones you buy, but rarely wear as they are for “special occasions”.
  • Any other relevant undergarments you may consider suitable to wear with items you are taking.
  • Stockings, suspenders, hold ups, fishnets.


  • Boots,
  • black killer heels,
  • flat casual shoes,
  • wedges.
  • Any other shoes that you accompany with specific outfits. (Make sure footwear is clean & polished & labels are removed from soles).


  • Beads, pearls, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, rings, earrings.
  • Hair accessories, slides, clips, headbands etc….
  • Belts, chain belts.
  • Any other items/props (I have random things in the boot of my car) Like duck tape & rope & a heavy chain)… Hmm sick weirdo in the house…


Be sure to have any hair removal treatments at least 24 hours before the shoot. This will ensure that any redness or swelling has subsided.

If you use any false/spray tans please make sure they are fully developed & there is no tan residue left on your skin. Also if you regularly use tans. Be aware of the “patchy time”. If on the day of your shoot you will be at this tan stage, make sure that exfoliation is completed the night before.

Take a dressing gown or old top & bottoms set to wear. This is for set/make-up changes, to avoid marking your garments.

If you use an MUA on your shoots. Take along your own make-up as well, in case you forget to tell them you have any allergies eg. Lanolin.. Lots of people are allergic to this! Also most MUA’s are happy to share tips on how to use the full content of your make-up bag.
(Lists taken from ‘The good model guide’ on net-model.com)