Shopping fo’ “realz.”

22 Jun

Being a stylist in Chicago and working with more ad and editorial clients than anything else, I find myself shopping for real people more than models.  In comparing the two, shopping for models is a breeze; women are typically a 2 or 4, men are a 15.5 to 16 shirt and 32/34 pant, pretty much across the board.   As you know, “real” people’s body parts grow in different directions and at different rates.  They may be one size in one area, but completely different in another.  The key to shopping for these mystery bodies that you haven’t seen pictures of yet or have met in person is to ask the buggers out of them with questions before you hit the stores.  Just getting their sizes is never enough because most people are married to the wrong size and don’t even know it.  Here is my questionnaire that has never done me wrong.

  1. What is your height and weight?
  2. What is your pant, shirt, jacket and dress size?
  3. Shoe size?
  4. What body feature do you like to emphasize, if any?
  5. What body feature do you like to camouflage, if any?

For editorial, I have a couple of more questions for the talent.  This is because if I’m shopping for someone who is featured in a magazine, I really want them to love what they’re wearing and to really feel like themselves, but better.  I don’t want to put someone in an Opening Ceremony dress when they shop at Ann Taylor.  The story is about them, so let’s keep the clothes about them too.

  1. Where are your favorite places to shop?
  2. How would you define your style?
  3. What could you never see yourself in?

The last thing that I have learned the hard way is to never go by the comp cards given by the talent agency.  ALWAYS call to reconfirm their sizes.  I once had a “real” talent gain 40 pounds since his comp card was taken and clearly wasn’t the same size anymore.  Yikes!  You can always avoid this headache by calling first.  It’s always the little things….

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