Model Pro Tips #3: Basic Wardrobe MUST-Knows

Photo: Hien Nguyen

Photo: Hien Nguyen

Modeling Pro Tips- the third installment!

How are you all liking these so far? Please send me an email ( or a DM (IG: @ash_lie.noelle) with any topic requests! I'm not sure what next week's topic will be yet- I have about five of them written out. However, when I did the poll this past week there were a TON of votes for an interview with a photographer, so maybe that is what I will do. 

Tonight I talked about basic wardrobe pieces that I have and that I think every model should have in their collection. I have no clue how some people can get by without these things!! I also covered where to purchase these items, how to keep your shoot wardrobe fresh, and some do's and don'ts. PSA, this talk is geared towards female models- I don't have any male models following these talks right now that I have seen. Round two- let's do it!

You're a model. You sort of need things to wear? Unless you're a nude model? Not going there though. Totally different topic for another century. LOL.



It's super important to have the staples in your wardrobe, whether you're a seasoned model or just starting out. This talk was carefully written after learning through the years what I absolutely needed for my job. Thankfully, I made all of the mistakes and learned the lessons so you can just sit back, read this blog post, and then hit Walmart tomorrow and grab what I list for you. Easy.


Staples (you NEED these):

1. Black T-shirt, tank top

2. Black leggings

3. Basic pair of heels (probably black) that you can walk in

4. Plain jeans (not ripped)

5. Swimwear that fits you and looks flattering

6. Some sort of activewear


Now for the lowdown on these pieces:

I joked about a casting call gone wrong in the live talk. I showed up to a casting call in Denver (TERRIFYING) in typical casting call attire- all black... tank top, leggings, and heels. Well, they didn't specify what we were supposed to come in, so there were girls in jeans and denim jackets, floral dresses, western apparel (?) etc. Literally outfits that were all across the board. I think there were maybe one or two other women dressed in typical CC attire like me, but WOW did I stick out like a sore thumb. Back to my point though- you need need need that all black outfit for casting calls. That's usually what I wear when I meet with casting directors (and sometimes clients) as well. It isn't distracting and keeps the focus on my face and figure. 

SHOES! Have at least one solid, go-to pair of heels for shoots. Your feet aren't always in the shots, depending on what you're shooting. I prefer to shoot in heels 1) because it helps your posture and 2) it forces you to flex your calves. If I'm shooting barefoot or in flats, I'm more than likely on my toes. This is the way I've been trained to model and it's what I believe looks "good." Know how to stand and walk in your heels, as well as know how to fall over in your heels. Think I'm joking and that's funny? It is funny, up until the moment that you roll your ankle, I imagine. I rock myself out of poses all the time, but have found that it's best to sort of hop in the direction that I'm tipping over in order to recover. (Sidenote: Would a video of this be helpful?)

Jeans, jeans, jeans. I feel like they get such a bad rep ever since the rise of the yoga pant. However, I have done a ton of shoots in jeans (hello, commercials) and it's important to have a pair that are plain and don't appear worn down. No rips, no sparkles. No patches that your grandmother sewed on when you were 11 years old. 

Swimwear can be a tricky one, but some castings require swimwear submission photos. Find a set that is flattering on you. Try different styles- especially in bottoms. One of my favorite places to get swimwear for shoots is Bikini Doll/DOLL Swimwear. They are pricey, but oh so worth it. 

The last of the essentials is an activewear set. Something totally simple will do! Have this on hand in case you need to send in for a fitness shoot or get called to a fitness shoot last minute. I know that you're wondering if you could just use the sweaty, haggard workout bras and shorts that you just wear to the gym right about now. I wouldn't. You don't want to be shooting worn out looking outfits. They don't photograph well, unless you're going for a sweaty vintage look, maybe. (Joking. Have an outfit ready that you don't work out in). Take a trip to good ol' Walmart for this. Walmart is my go-to spot for fitness attire for shoots! 


Alright, we've covered the essentials. What to add next? It depends on what type of gigs you are getting. I'm all across the board in print and commercial, as well as the shoots with independent photographers, so here's what I have ready:

1. Casual outfits- tees, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, different jeans and pants.

2. Business and business casual- Suit coats, dress pants, dress skirts, many tops.

3. Dresses- Summer, cocktail, formal, short, long... you get it. 

4. Lingerie- I have a plethora (too much) but I like giving photographers options. 

5. Swimwear- Mix and match pieces mean that you have way more combo options. 

6. Fitness apparel- Sports bras, tops, leggings, shorts, shoes. 

7. Outerwear- Fitness outerwear, it's cold in general outside when I'm on set outwear, more formal outerwear, skiing outerwear (because I had to borrow this from a friend when I kept being cast as a skier/snowboarder this past winter- SO fun! Thank you Sarah and Kristina!!!)

Whoa, Ashlie. That looks like a money-pit...

Remember- if you want to make modeling your job, you don't want to spend a lot of money. Where can you find the extras for cheap? Let me help. 

For casual and business casual: Target, Walmart, Forever 21

For dresses, rompers, cocktail attire, tops: Amazon, Target, Walmart, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe.

For lingerie: Amazon!

For fitness apparel: 6PM, Walmart, Amazon, Target

For swimwear: Amazon, Walmart

For outerwear: I've had luck with Nordstrom Rack

For shoes? You're sort of on your own for that one, kids. I have a bit of a shoe problem. I shoot in $4 white Ked-type shoes from Walmart when I act in commercials, but I do glam shoots for independent photographers in my favorite $700 Louboutin's (DO NOT TELL MY MOTHER). I work promo jobs in black boots that cost me (I think) $40 from Target. (Sidenote: If you are going to be working as a promo model... a solid pair of black boots are an ABSOLUTE MUST. DO NOT SKIMP ON THESE. Shop around, try multiple pairs on. Invest. Your feet will thank you (and me) after a 10 hour tradeshow day). 

Whew, you survived the first part of the talk. I did too. That was long. 

Onto the wonderful BASIC TIPS section of the talk.



Here are some of the things I have learned over the years that are all wardrobe related. Remember these and you'll have a fabulous wardrobe, which makes a shoot so much less stressful.

1. Outfits should be taken care of when they are not being worn. Hang them up nicely. Put them in protective bags (I do this because I'm a freak about my more expensive pieces).

2. Want to spice up your wardrobe real quick? Call a model friend and see what they have. Trade pieces. Donate some of your "older" pieces to make room for new "stuff."

3. Buy a small travel steamer and steam your clothes before the shoot and at the shoot. It makes SO much of a difference to have steamed, wrinkle free wardrobe!! I am known to steam other people's clothes on set and even flew my steamer to a music video shoot with Modiv in Seattle. Here, I've done the work for you. Click HERE to buy the little steamer I own. You're welcome. LIFE CHANGING!

4. Avoid logos! Seriously. Avoid buying clothes for shoots that have logos on them. Clients hate logos, and you will learn to as well. 

5. Re-use your outfits a few times so that you can get your money's worth out of them. I have a huge lingerie wardrobe that I bring with me so that photographers can choose what they would like to shoot. Sometimes I shoot in a piece three or four times before I retire it to the "to-be-worn-only-for-boyfriends-now-(?)-graveyard." Brutally honest, but that's where they go after I'm done shooting with them. Onto the next life. And sorry, creepy men who email me. You cannot buy these things. Quit emailin. 

6. Change out of your wardrobe before leaving a shoot so that 1) you don't get stalked (it happens- more likely with a shoot out in public), 2) you don't spill the pizza you're eating post-shoot in the car on it, 3) you can wind down mentally after the shoot. I don't know about you guys, but I am pumped after shoots and it takes me a while to settle down. Changing out of wardrobe helps. Also, pizza sauce stains. Sometimes the things we love hurt us the most. 

7. Back to the model safety talk AND the injury prevention talk: Do not accept dirty clothes from anyone (photog, client, weird man who wants to pay you to wear something he bought you at a shoot (???? Happens...), etc.). You don't know where it's been. #diseases.


That's it, you guys. Week three is wrapped. Please send any questions that you may have, and I'll see you on the live chat next week for week four!









Ashlie Wynne