A long time ago, mannequins described human models showcasing clothes in a fashion show. Today, mannequins are human-like figures used by retailers to display clothing and accessories. Some people refer to mannequins as “Judy” for females and “James” for males. Whether you call them dolls, dummies, forms, or figures, you need them in your boutique.
Research shows clothes sell 70% better worn on a mannequin than those hanging on a rack.
The Purpose of Mannequins
Mannequins are like your silent sales representatives. How you style them can turn window shoppers into customers. They attract, influence, and up-sell customers, which can lead to higher profits for your store.
It would be rare for a customer to shop with a personal stylist. Since many customers do not know how to get their best look, they look to celebrities, models, and, yes, mannequins for ideas. Styling your fashion mannequin like an expert can guide your customers in choosing flattering, fitting pieces. Mannequins show customers how the clothes and accessories fit a body.
Types of Mannequins
Before you start styling your mannequins, you must choose the best type for your boutique. Entering a women’s boutique and seeing male mannequins dressed in women’s clothes will not equal sales. Your mannequins must represent your customers.
Customers must be able to see themselves wearing what is on display. Answer the following questions to help you choose the best type:
- What is the race of your customer?
- What is the gender of your customer?
- What is the age of your customer?
- Are your customers active or sedentary?
- What is the size and shape of your customer?
Suppose your customers are African American, active, sporty females between 30 and 40. Choose poseable female African American mannequins—style one in athleisure in a yoga pose and one in a running pose. You want to show that the athleisure outfit is versatile and flexible, regardless of size and shape.
There are even more questions to help you narrow down the types of mannequins you should buy:
- Do you want them to look realistic or abstract?
- Do you want them to have heads and limbs or just the torso?
- What is your budget?
- Where will you place it in your boutique?
The next decisions are about the standout wholesale clothes to style your fashion mannequin like an expert.
Standout Clothes for Your Fashion Mannequin
Clothes to style your mannequin must meet specific requirements, such as fitting the mannequin’s form, representing fashion trends and seasons, and accurately displaying the functionality of the clothing. Below are some tips on the clothes that will stand out.
- Attract attention to your mannequin by displaying colorful outfits that wow customers. For example, rather than displaying neutral tops and bottoms, chooses graphic t-shirts, patterned sweaters, or items made with standout fabrics, like velvet.
- Display your newest clothing. It may seem natural to style a mannequin with clothes that have not been sold. You may think if your customers can see them on display, they will be more likely to buy. However, this is not true. Always style your mannequin with the latest trends in your clothing line. Hot new trends include shackets, tiered ruffle dresses, and crop tops.
- Add bold accessories and statement pieces. If you choose a solid-colored top, you have the backdrop for a great piece of art. In this case, the art is jewelry. Don’t be afraid to hang your most unusual piece of jewelry on the mannequin to get that standout effect.
- Layering lets you display multiple items of clothing and accessories at once. Don’t just throw a bunch of items on top of one another. Carefully create a layered look. Start with the bottoms, then a top layered with another top, sweater, or vest. Add jewelry, headwear, shoes, handbags, kimonos, scarves, and anything else that grabs the customer’s attention.
Take Your Mannequin to the Next Level
Once you style your mannequin with standout wholesale clothing, you can work on where and how to pose it. You want your mannequin to catch your customer’s attention but not block them from getting into or around your boutique.
Tell a Story
Store windows are great if you have one. If not, create a space to showcase your clothing. Don’t just stand them in the corner. Instead, make your mannequins tell a story about the clothing. For example, if you are selling winter coats, create an outdoor winter scene with your mannequins in their coats. They could be having a snowball fight, skiing, or sitting around a fire drinking hot cocoa. Get creative with your storytelling but make it realistic to something your customer would enjoy.
Some retailers place clothes on a mannequin and let them hang, creating a saggy, oversized look. That’s not how your customers want to feel. Avoid this by using clips and pins to fit the clothing to your mannequin’s body. They should look tailored and complement the body form. You may need to try different poses to find one that best fits the mannequin.
Let There be Light
Mannequins sitting in a dark corner get no love. Lighting is crucial when displaying standout wholesale clothes. This does not mean going out and buying the brightest bulb on the market. Instead, your lighting needs to reflect your desired look. If you display a nightgown, create a scene where your customer will wear the gown. Use lighting to enhance the scene.
If you display outerwear, create a bright space that makes customers feel like they are outdoors. Lighting should be used to give an extra oomph to the clothing. Get creative and explore all lighting options, such as string lights, disco balls, colored bulbs, paper lanterns, etc.
Wholesale clothes, whether mini-skirts, kimonos, leggings, or cardigans, must be wrinkle-free, lint-free, and stain-free. If clothing gets dirty or frayed, replace them. To show customers how they can stand out, your clothes must stand out.
Using these tips, you can start styling your fashion mannequin like an expert today.