The Inside Skinny on Online Models

Lindsay Ferrier
Beauty & Style

Gilt GroupeThe New York Times had a fascinating article recently about how models are chosen for online fashion sites and why it matters.

According to the story, last year consumers spent $19 billion on online clothing and accessories, so it's more important than ever for retailers to have just the right models to show off their online merchandise.

What made the article a fun read was to see the image each retailer is trying to project with its models' appearances and personalities.

Gilt Groupe, for example, the invitation-only sale site, uses models with "don’t-you-want-it attitude" to peddle its luxe clothing and accessories, according to the Times. Looking at this Gilt photo to the left, I'm definitely seeing it!

Want to see more descriptions of model types for some of your favorite shopping sites? Keep reading!



Ideeli's models, according to the article, are supposed to exude "friendly warmth."


ShopbopMeanwhile, some sites like Shopbop use the same models for years on end to build consumer recognition and loyalty. Model Elena Greenwell, above, has been modeling for Shopbop for six years now, and is known by many customers simply as "the redhead."


SwirlSwirl by DailyCandy chooses models that are “smart but not snarky, friendly but not annoying, someone genuinely cool, not in a supercilious way, but in an exuberant relatable way,” according to Swirl's Creative Director Eve Epstein.

IDK, it looks like they're channeling Michele Zipp to me ...

The whole article really made me think about which shopping sites' models stand out to me, and why. Of course, American Apparel's barely legal-looking teen models in seductive poses comes to mind because the photos from that site always leave me feeling uncomfortable.

But the model that really came to mind was the one that drives me CRAZAZY on Dillard's has used this model for a few years now and seeing her is like nails on a chalkboard.

DillardsCan you say creepy alien life form?


DillardsCan you say weird, flailing arm for no apparent reason?


DillardsCan you say over-the-top, exaggerated poses?

Good. I knew you could.

You've seen mine, now tell me yours. Which websites' models stand out in your mind, for better or worse? And why?


Images (top to bottom): Gilt Groupe, Ideeli, Shopbop, Swirl, Dillard's

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