Mannequins Buying Guide

By Sam Iontton02/05/2023

By Displaysense's Lucy Eagland

When customers go into a retail store, they can often be overwhelmed by the volume of garments. They cannot see the fit or all the details of the clothes when they are folded on a shelving unit or on a hanger.

Mannequins give customers a better look at the product, showing it off in all its glory. They work as the “silent salespeople” of your store, drawing customers in and showcasing your key items and best collections.

There are plenty of styles to choose from but here we break down the key ones that you will come across.

Four white female faceless mannequins wearing clothes such as a blue blouse and yellow sweatshirt

Egghead Mannequins

Egghead mannequins are currently the most popular display mannequins on the marketplace. The faceless style is simple and doesn’t detract from the clothing collection on display. They also offer the merchandiser the opportunity to personalise the mannequins with wigs, hats and other accessories.

Ghost Mannequins

Incredibly popular with both photographers and retail, ghost mannequins come with a removable v-section and neck partitions creating a 3D “floating” effect. Without the mannequin form, customers can visualize the clothes on themselves without distraction.

Headless Mannequins

Headless mannequins are as you would expect, headless. With no head, these shop mannequins direct the attention towards the clothing and keep them the sole focus of the customer’s attention. With very little extra detail, the mannequins are easy to maintain and the simplicity makes them timeless.

Display Torsos

For certain retailers, such as lingerie companies or jewellers, a full body mannequin is unnecessary and display torsos are a much better option. As store mannequins, they have a much longer shelf life as they are a classic style but they may not have as great an impact on customers. They are also good for retailers with limited space or smaller businesses who may be travelling with the mannequin torso.

Adjustable Mannequins

To create a unique and visually exciting display, an articulated mannequin will give you a variety of poses to suit your needs. The level of adjustability will vary between mannequins but the pose can be secured in place with locking joints.

Abstract Mannequins

If you are looking for an eye-catching and dramatic looking mannequin, an abstract mannequin could be for you. These can vary from dramatic make up looks to futuristic characteristics. Whilst these mannequins will attract attention, these types of styles can go out of fashion quite quickly and can require maintenance when it comes to painted features.

Sports Mannequins

Athletic body mannequins are often posed to look in motion or to reflect a particular sport. The use of these action mannequins helps customers envisage themselves wearing or using a particular item and brings a level of excitement to displays.

Buying Considerations

When buying a mannequin for your store there are a few key things you should consider;

  • Brand image- Customer often use mannequins as a visual guide as to what will look good on them and so the better your mannequin reflects your customers, the more likely they will be to convert sales. Male, female and child mannequins are all available and come in a variety of shapes and styles.

  • Style- You can find mannequins in a range of styles that range from realistic to abstract, sports to plus size. They are one of the most valuable visual display tools but they should go hand in hand with the image of the store.

  • Materials- Material is important due to the weight of the item. Fibreglass and plastic mannequins have become increasingly popular due to their lightness and durability but wood, resin and metal mannequins are also available. If your mannequins are going to be regularly moved, a lighter material would be preferable.

  • Finish- The majority of mannequins will come in either matt or gloss. Matt finishes are currently very popular as they are resistant to glare but they are more easily marked than their gloss counter parts. As with picking the style of mannequin, the finish should be in keeping with your store design.

  • Footwear- Mannequins are attached the base via a spigot. If you wish to add footwear, you will need a mannequin that has a calf spigot but this can prevent tight trousers from being added. If footwear is not required or your preference is to be able to display trousers, a foot spigot will be the better choice. Some mannequins do offer both calf and foot spigots for more flexibility in displays.

  • Longevity- As with everything in fashion, styles and tastes change. As mannequins are an investment in your business, you’ll want to consider how long the style will be relevant. The more classic and simple the styling, the longer your mannequin is likely to be in fashion.


Why should I buy a mannequin?

Mannequins are advocates for the store and the customers. The fashion world is very aspirational and mannequins stand as the link between that world and real life. Usually dressed in the best clothing a store has to offer, customers to make an emotional connection and this can influence shopping trends and increase sales.

What size mannequins should I buy?

When thinking of the overall dimensions of the mannequins, this will all depend all the amount of floor or window space you have. Mannequins can come in a variety of poses so you should always carefully measure the display area.

When it comes to dress sizes, you’ll want to pick a mannequin that best reflects your customer base and brand image. Mannequins come in a variety of shapes and sizes from the standard size 10 to plus size and maternity.

I don’t know where to buy mannequins, what should I look for?

Mannequins are a very important part of your visual merchandising strategy and are an investment in your business. Therefore, make sure that they are created with high quality materials and come with a warranty.

How do I dress a mannequin?

Using a steamer, make sure all clothing is crease free. Detach the torso from the legs and place onto a towel to prevent marking. Turn the bottom half upside down and separate the legs if you are adding trousers or shorts. Add any undergarments first, followed by trousers and shoes (if they will stay in place.) Turn the right way up, reattach the torso and place the mannequin on its base so it is freestanding. Detach the arms and remove the hands. Slip the arms into the sleeve of the upper body garments and reattach to the torso. Once both arms are done, push the hands back into the arms. Make sure all price tags are hidden and add any additional accessories before putting pride of place on your shop floor or window display.