After choosing which style of mannequin you want – realistic, abstract, headless or bendable – the next important consideration is the pose of the mannequin. The pose relates to both the position the mannequin and the type of support stand it is on (foot rod, butt rod, calf rod).
This post discusses factors to consider for selecting the right pose for your mannequin. The support stand is discussed in another posting in our “How to select the right mannequin for your business” series on our
Large retail stores have the luxury of having a stable of mannequins in different poses so they can dedicate specific mannequins to displaying a particular style of clothing. Smaller retailers have to be more selective and make sure they get mannequins in poses that can serve a variety of purposes.
Since your mannequin will convey a subtle message about you and your merchandise it should not only be functional to use, but evoke the image or fantasy that complements your clothing. For example, if you are displaying sportswear you might want the mannequin to have an active pose. A mannequin used to display lingerie might be in a sensual pose and a mannequin wearing evening wear will have an elegant pose.
A mannequin in a wide leg stand is great if you are displaying something billowy and flowing or have detailing on the leg that you want to draw attention to. But this same wide-leg mannequin may not be functional if you are displaying a tight pencil skirt.
If you are displaying a grouping of mannequins together in a window display, then it is much more visually appealing to having the mannequins in a different poses. A row of mannequins standing upright with arms at their side is boring no matter how interesting the clothes are they are wearing. Instead choose mannequins with slightly different poses – hands on their hips, behind their back, touching their chest or seated.
The pose of the mannequin can impact the ease and speed of dressing and undressing the mannequin. Seated and reclining mannequins add dramatic impact to a visual display, but are more time consuming to dress. They are best used for dresses and gowns, not pants.
However if you are selling fitness attire then it would be worth the extra effort to dress a mannequin that is in a seated lotus position pose.
The arm position can also make it easier or more challenging to dress. If the arms are crossed in front or back or if the hands are on the hips you will have to remove the arms entirely to dress the mannequin. If at least one of the arms is straight down or slightly bent you can often dress the mannequin without having to take off the arms, or at least only take off one arm.
How the pose is constructed is a factor many people overlook in their buying decision. Most mannequins detach at the arms and the wrists so you can remove their hands. But some styles of headless and abstract mannequins do not detach at the wrists.
The primary reason why mannequins do not detach at the wrists is a theft prevention measure. Mannequin hands are often stolen because people think that hands are interchangeable (they are not). They steal a hand to replace a broken hand on mannequin they own. Others steal hands as a prank.
Another reason for hands that don’t detach from the arms is it reduces the chances of the fingers getting broken. When staffers are constantly detaching hands from the arm, the joint fittings can loosen and the hand will gradually fall off the mannequin causing the fingers to break.
If you are displaying garments with tight fitting long sleeves, you will want hands that detach from the mannequin. Otherwise it is probably not much of a factor whether the hands detach or not, especially if the fingers are fairly close together so that you can slide a slightly tight fitting sleeve over it.
Some mannequins are constructed as all one solid piece, only their arms and hands detach. This doesn’t present an issue if you are displaying dresses or coats. But it can be a little cumbersome (but not impossible) to maneuver the entire mannequin from its base when putting pants or panties on. Also if you plan on taking the mannequin to a trade-show, you will need an oversized box to ship it (which will be costly) as well as a roomy car to transport it.
A mannequin that separates at the torso and has legs that separate at the crotch or one leg that separates at the upper thigh allows maximum ease and flexibility. This style mannequin can easily display a range of garments from tight fitting jeans to dressy dresses. The fact that this mannequin can break down into small segments also makes it easier to transport if you take the mannequin to trade-shows.
The final item to consider with the mannequin pose is the position of the foot. Even if you not putting shoes on the mannequin, sometimes the height of the heel of the mannequin can be have a subtle effect on how the clothing looks on the mannequin. This is not so much an issue if you are photographing the mannequin versus putting it in a store window.
If you are selling athletic or casual wear, then you want a mannequin in a flat foot pose so you could put tennis shoes or flats on it. And you’d want a mannequin in a high heel pose if you are displaying stilettos. There are some mannequins that have a split between their big toe so that you put thong like sandals on them. And if you are buying used mannequin it is common to find all the toes of the mannequins chopped off – a trick that visual merchandisers do to make it easier to put shoes on them.
Many mannequins now come with formed shoes on their feet or a formed heel to give the illusion of having shoes on. While this gives the mannequin a more finished look when wearing clothing, you can never remove them should you ever want to display other shoe choices.
This guide was written by Mannequin Madness, www.MannequinMadness.com mannequin liquidator that carries new and used mannequins from a variety of manufacturers. All of the images in this posting are of mannequins that we have had or currently have in our inventory.