Models are beautiful. It's kind of the reason they became models in the first place: because they outshine, without even having to try, the majority of the population around them. Always the hottest person on the bus. Always the most looked-at in the supermarket queue.
They're slim and they're beautiful and they exemplify a look that the ordinary millions strive for. Which begs the question: why do they always always always look like they're in severe emotional and physical pain?
The "My Period Cramps Might Actually Kill Me Does Anyone Have Ibuprofen"
You know this one, because it's the pose that looks the least like any way an human might ever stand, ever. Hands on hips, elbows pushed out like broken wings. Hunched over at the midriff with the skull thrust forward and knees ever so slightly knocked. Yep, she looks like she might be about to vom all over her 3am fried chicken, but notice the other details: the positioning of her hands also makes her waist look miniscule. The tops of her arms are lengthened and tightened, so you can see muscle but no fat. The lollypop effect of her head makes her entire body look smaller.
So even though, looking at her, you feel like there's a distinct possibility that she might have endometriosis, she also looks fabulous. It's all SO confusing.
The "Alas, Alack, My Husband Is Gone And My Soufflé Collapsed"
There are a lot of angles in this one: if you were a child studying triangles, you'd find a lot to work with in this editorially-favoured pose.
One hand: on the hip. The other: thrown dramatically across the forehead, as if feeling for a fever. The legs are crossed at the ankle. The end result is a woman who looks like she's just found out the ship has sunk, the battalion has failed to return, the car has crashed and the croissants are burned.
But also: she looks delicate and forlorn and waifish. And the positioning of the limbs means that the garment can take centre-stage. Legs look endless. Hair is displayed to full advantage. And thus, alas alack leads directly into "Here is where you can buy the garment that is making me look so marvelous".
The "Why Do They Never, Ever Face The Camera?"
The only models you'll ever see facing camera head on, as if about to charge, are the ones who are so well known that they've got nothing to lose. Why? Unfortunately, it's because it makes you look fat.
Think about it: you're exposing all of the widest parts of your body to the camera, and with the camera's ability to add weight, you're dancing into a model's worst nightmare. The phrase here is "quartering out", which means adding a three-quarter turn to every single pose. This decreases your vulnerability, and reduces the size of everything else. Watch for it. You'll see it everywhere, now.
The "Clutching Pearls"
This is the pose that turns you into a long, tall drink of gin and Slimline tonic; the pose that turns you into a column of a person. And when you consider that the majority of models are leaning towards the six foot end of the spectrum, the result is something truly sculptural.
Employing the quartering out technique (always), one hand rests at the collarbone, as if making sure a really expensive necklace is still there, while the other goes almost, but not quite, into the crotch. The result is something a little ethereal and worried, but look where your eyes go: to the collarbone and to the torso. "What is she hiding?" you think. "I want one" you realize. "Where do I get one?" you ponder.
The "Ballet Hands"
Now, this is an interesting one: have you ever noticed what models do with their fingers? Unless they're modeling rings or cuffs, the hands are nearly always nothing more than an addendum to a pose – but they can really screw up a look if done wrong. Fists look weird, bringing the hands to the face can look staged and 80's.
So, they use a technique called ballet hands, and if you've ever seen ballet then you know what the reference is. Fingers slightly parted, and all crooked very gently at the joints. Soft and natural, as if caressing a face. This enables the hands to be in an image without looking fake or staged – and never draws attention away from where the focus should be.