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Mannequins: everything you need to know


Vital (if silent!) members of your sales team, mannequins are essential for helping your customers visualise themselves in the clothes you’re selling.

So, choosing the right mannequin for your display is crucial. Read on to find out everything you need to know about mannequins.

Where did mannequins come from?

With their origins in the Industrial Revolution, the mannequin appeared in shops towards the end of the 19thCentury, when department stores became popular.

Before then, they were used by doctors in the 17th century, and were even popular as decoys in Ancient Chinese warfare.

The word is French, and comes from the Flemish ‘manneken’, which means little man or figurine.

The earliest mannequins were made from papier-mâché, before being replaced by wax.

Now, they’re usually made from tough plastic or fibreglass.

How do I choose the right mannequin for my store?

Before choosing a mannequin, there are several things to consider to make sure you make the right choice and maximise the sales potential of your display.

Firstly, think about the mannequin’s appearance. Picturing your typical customer, consider whether they’re an adult male, female, or child.

Think about their average size, and what sort of mannequin skin tone would complement the style of clothing you sell. How will you style it?

Would you prefer a mannequin with detailed facial features, or is that not important? Do you plan to buy wigs to customise each mannequin, or is a headless mannequin fit for purpose?

Remember, mannequins come in a range of sizes, styles, and colours, so you have plenty of choice to personalise your display in a way that appeals to your target customer.

Next, carefully assess the space you plan to use your mannequin in. How much room do you have, bearing in mind the position and pose you plan to use? For example, will your mannequin be standing upright? Pointing into the distance? Sitting down in a picnic setting?

All of these considerations will inform the type of mannequin you choose to create your display.

Finally, consider any other practical aspects of your mannequin choice. Will it stay in situ in your store, or is it likely to be moved around the store, or even transferred to different stores regularly?

What sorts of mannequins are there?

Luckily, there’s a huge choice out there when it comes to choosing a mannequin for your fashion store, so you can always find a solution that’s perfect for your needs.

Full body female mannequins

If your clothes shop specialises in women’s clothing, a full body female mannequin could be the ideal way to demonstrate how your garments look and fit.

Female mannequins come with or without heads and facial features, so you can pick the best option for your display. You can also add wigs to your female mannequin if you want to really customise it and bring it to life. Every display is unique, so you can also select different mannequins to suit your themes. A mannequin in a sitting pose can give customers an insight into the fit of your clothes, and make displays more realistic and eye-catching.

Full body male mannequins

Full body male mannequins are perfect for displaying men’s clothing in your shop. Choose from matt or gloss finishes, and think about whether you’d like a male mannequin with or without a head, facial features and wigs.

You can also opt for different colours, including black, white, and grey.

Full body child mannequins

For helping customers visualise how children’s clothing will look and fit, there’s no match for a full body child mannequin. Available in a range of realistic poses and different colours, you can also decide whether to add a glass base to stabilise your display.

Heavy duty yet easy to dismantle for transportation, full body child mannequins come in a range of sizes to enable you to show how garments suit different age groups.

Child mannequins come with or without facial features, and you can buy wigs separately to complete the look.

Headless mannequins

Headless mannequins can draw attention to your clothing and come in both male and female forms. Suitable for all kinds of retail environments, headless mannequins can be upright or in a range of different poses, and are available with or without a display base.

Torso and half body mannequins

Torso mannequins are a common choice for sportwear or lingerie retailers, as they can showcase items in a space-saving and versatile way.

If you plan to transport your mannequin between different locations around your store or multiple stores, a torso mannequin is a light and portable option.

Available with or without a stand, torso mannequins can be used in shops, museums, sporting venues, and market stalls.

Highlighting a certain garment is a breeze when you opt for a lower body mannequin. Made from tough plastic, they’re ideal for showing off lower body items like socks and belts.

Metallic mannequins

A metallic mannequin can inject a touch of glamour into your shop window! Made from virtually indestructible recycled plastic, metallic mannequins are a sure fire way to attract passing footfall or stop browsing shoppers in their tracks.

Available in chrome, pewter, and silver, they’re bound to make a striking impression in your store.

Hanging body forms

Hanging body form mannequins come in children’s, men’s, and women’s options.

With an open back and removable hanging hook, you can use them in various retail displays and move them around as you like. Made from tough plastic, they’re available in different colours to suit your products and display themes.

Typically, hanging body forms are popular with market traders, exhibitions, or smaller retail spaces where owners still want to bring their clothing to life. They’re also ideal for lingerie and swimwear displays, as they feature the torso area.

Where to buy mannequins online

Now you know a little more about the mighty mannequin, you may be wondering where you can buy them online. Luckily, we have a large range of mannequins available to buy online. Plus, you can enjoy free delivery on orders over £99. Browse the full range of mannequins and dummies here.