Model Off Duty Style: A Pro Tells Us How to Get the Look


In our Devil Wears Prada brainwashed minds, models carry “It” bags and wear stacked heels that never get stuck in subway grates or cobbled roads– they are fundamentally very well-dressed, photogenic robots.

However, there is more to being a model than having a naturally edgy look that seems immaculately styled. Models need to be dressed well enough to inspire trends, but simply enough to be a canvas for designers’ and editors’ visions. Executive director of Models International New York, Catherine Fellows explains what a model should really wear to be both on-trend and ready for castings.

SC: Do models really wear heels around the clock? Should models wear heels to castings?

CF: Most models carry their heels in their bags and slip them on right before they walk into a job casting waiting room. In my opinion, they should wear them as much as possible. If it’s their job to walk in them, they should want to seem as elegant as possible. This is difficult for some younger models who have never worn them before– but practice makes perfect. Also, never visit an agency without them on– bookers will send them home to get them.

SC: Ideally what should a model wear to a casting? And what about her hair and makeup?

CF: A model should always look hip and stylish– she is the walking representation of all things fashion. However, models should let their natural beauty shine through as well. You don’t want your outfit, accessories, hair, or makeup to be the first thing other people notice about you. Keep it simple. Jeans and a cool t-shirt, maybe one accessory to show personality, natural makeup, and hair should be perfect. Pieces should also be fitted so that the casting director can see her amazing figure.

SC: What are five basics that a model should have in her wardrobe?

CF: Nude underwear for shoots, the perfect pair of jeans for castings, skinny fitted black pants for nights out in the city, a bikini for casting snapshots, and a baggy ex-boyfriend’s t-shirt for fun.

SC: What should a model always have in her bag?

CF: Nude, black, and white underwear, a bikini, a makeup compact for touch ups, a hair brush, a BlackBerry or iPhone, an appointment book, a pair of high heels, a ponytail holder, a Metrocard (NYC), her portfolio and comp card, an umbrella for rainy days, and a good book for when she’s traveling or waiting anywhere.

SC: In your opinion, who epitomizes the Model Off Duty look?

CF: She should be “on duty” even when she’s “off duty,” because you never know who you will run into. But, Kate Moss and Keira Knightley both have idealistic “off duty” looks. They have the, “I didn’t try too hard to look this fantastic, but I’m still super cool anyway” look.

Outfit details: Black leather jacket by Vince; Blue skinny leg jeans by American Eagle Outfitters; Rose gold ballet flats by Old Navy; Slate high heel platform by Pour la Victoire; Silver feather ring by Robert Lee Morris for Elizabeth and James; Grey and white ombre scarf by EILEEN FISCHER.

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