20 Sep

Visual Merchandising 102: Layering on a Mannequin

We’re going to level with you. Dressing a mannequin looks like a quick and easy task for you or your store employees. But the reality is… it’s tough and frustrating. Not only is it challenge, but there’s a downright art to it. Summertime styling can be simple, with tank tops tucked into shorts and minimal accessories. But autumn and winter styling, on the other hand, poses a new set of challenges with outer layers and chunky knits. Here are three handy tips for layering a mannequin with fall and winter fashions.

1. Make a mannequin plan-equin

Before you even start unscrewing arms and styling your mannequin, you should create a blueprint of the look you want to achieve. This doesn’t mean you have to put pencil to paper (but you can!). The more thought you put into the look, the better your finished product will be, and it’s less likely you’ll damage any of your products in the process. Make a list, sketch an outfit, look on the Internet for inspo — whatever it is, just make a plan! You’ll want to think about under layers peeking through, the final look with outer layers, where a scarf would lay, tucking, rolling, etc. And remember that dressing a mannequin is an art — so even if your final product looks different from your original design doesn’t mean it doesn’t look fantastic. Now, wash your hands so that your garments stay fresh and keep reading!

2. Style it up

Gather your items, grab your list and display your sketch or inspo photos. Now it’s time to start dressing the mannequin. We like to work from the bottom up, as the top of the mannequin often requires the most fussing and arrangement. For our example, will be referencing a weekend-appropriate outfit of a plaid, flannel button-up, a military-inspired jacket, infinity scarf, a watch, skinny and cropped denim, and booties.
We like to begin from the bottom. Slide on the skinny denim. Because their cropped jeans, there’s no need to roll of the cuff. If your denim is full length and you wanted a cropped look (or if the pants don’t fit the mannequin), feel free to cuff or roll. Whichever you choose will depend on the overall vibe of the outfit. Because fall-ready fabrics are often bulkier, you’ll then want to move on to your lightest or base layer. Button the plaid shirt, place the infinity scarf, then layer on the jacket. Put the watch on tight so that it doesn’t slide around. Grab both the button-up and jacket sleeves and roll so that the button-up shirt peeks through and so that the watch is visible. Fold the collar of the shirt over the jacket to give a cleaner look. Give the button-up top a French tuck into the denim. Finally, place the booties at the base of the mannequin and shift them until it looks balanced.

3. The finishing touches

A common mistake of an amateur mannequin stylist is not steaming the clothing after completing the mannequin’s outfit. Even if clothing is steam or ironed beforehand, wrinkles and visible creases can happen in the process, making the overall look outfit sloppy and undesirable to shoppers. The simple solution? Invest in a steam and get all the wrinkles out before you put that mannequin on display!
Another common no-no we see is lack of styling, and it’s not just about pinning clothing so that they fit the mannequin. What we mean is: put out all the stops as if you were wearing this outfit. Would you French tuck that blouse to show off the Western-inspired belt? Would you roll your denim to draw eyes down to those flirty kitten heels? Would you roll your sleeves to show that casual chambray button-up peaking out from under your cozy cardigan? These are all styling tips to consider while outfitting your next mannequin.


How do you like to dress your mannequins for autumn? Start with some of our new fall styles, then share in the comments below!

1 Comment
  • Johnnie. M. Tribble

    I m. Interested. In. Doing. Fashions.

    September 22, 2018 at 7:06 pm Reply

Leave a reply