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Mannequin Style & Buying Guide

Mannequin style guide

Posted on 20, February, 2015

Last Modified on 24, March, 2017

Looking for the perfect way to feature apparel in a window display or on the store floor? Mannequins have a realistic human form and attention-grabbing design that's ideal for showcasing clothing. Why keep clothes folded up on a rack when customers can see what they look like before they buy? Designers and manufacturers also use mannequins to show off their latest creations at trade shows and fashion expos. Even tech companies use body forms to demonstrate how wearable technology like smart watches, VR headsets and activity trackers are worn. We have a wide assortment of mannequin styles to choose from to meet this high demand, accommodating any business from the local tailor to a multinational department store chain. What will make your clothes look best?

Realistic

Realistic mannequins are one of our most popular lines because of their lifelike facial features and appearance. These forms have a flesh tone and often come with a natural looking wig to give customers an accurate representation of your apparel.

Male mannequin with wig
Abstract figures offer a modern look.

Our selection of realistic mannequins includes male and female forms in both adult and child sizes. All of these have highly detailed faces and features such as eyebrows, lip coloration and even different eyelash styles between men and women. Realistic forms also have fully formed hands and feet for featuring jewelry, watches and footwear.

Plus size mannequins are continuing to grow in popularity. These figures show realistic body sizes, not just the skinny, picturesque models often seen in advertisements. Many women feel they can relate more to these figures' size and they give a better depiction of how clothes will fit. Body image is a huge factor when deciding which mannequins to use, and it can leave a bad impression with customers.

Abstract

Gloss Mannequin
Abstract figures offer a modern look.

Abstract mannequins feature a distinctive look and shape that's popular in designer stores. These figures have an attractive gloss finish and a smooth head without facial features. Retailers often use abstract mannequins to feature trendy clothing and new lines of apparel as the sleek combination of a glossy finish and featureless face help keep the focus on the wardrobe.

Abstract forms are offered in a number of different finishes to match any décor. Metallic gray mannequins give off a futuristic vibe while glossy white has a neutral appearance that still catches the eye. For a more muted presentation, choose one with a matte finish that will give more attention to clothing. Abstract mannequins excellent for retailers looking for a more contemporary motif.

Partial

Partial displays include mannequins that are missing arms, legs or even a head. This style is excellent for featuring specific accessories, like a watch or a bracelet, where just one body part is required. These dress forms come as standalone heads and torsos in a variety of shapes and finishes. Partial mannequins have a smaller size that allows them to be placed directly in display cases or on countertops. Highlighting specific items instead of piecing together an outfit offers a few distinct advantages. This allows you to make a centerpiece out of an accessory without other articles of clothing that could distract from it. In addition, customers can visualize any outfit of their choosing to match the single hat or necklace that you put on display.

Art & Controversial

For some, a simple generic mannequin is not enough. As the saying goes "There is no such thing as bad publicity." Some retail companies have taken this to heart, especially when it comes to mannequins. American Apparel recently displayed controversial displays that were more raw and realistic than your average body display. Several lingerie stores have taken heat for mannequins so skinny that their rib cages were visible. These companies gained a negative public perception, but also gained them a ton of exposure that would not have had previously.

Another option to stand out without offending anyone or fostering a negative image, is to have artists custom create mannequins. There are many artists who work exclusively with mannequins to create artwork on a human-shaped canvas. Something creative that’s never be seen before is a sure fire way to get more customers in the door.

With all the options floating around out there, it’s easy to be flustered when trying to make a decision. Take the time to analyze all aspects of your store and clothing line to figure out your exact needs. From there use this guide and figure out exactly what kind of mannequins you need!