Mannequins vs. Dress Forms vs. Racks vs. Other Solutions

July 01, 2016 3 min read

As a retailer, it is important to know what are the differences between the main display solutions used, especially for apparel stores. Your goal, besides making a sale is that of connecting with your customer and give him or her an accurate and beautiful representation of the clothing you sell.

If you are undecided what the best display solution for you is, we have prepared this article to state the advantages of each option.


You must know by now that mannequins provide the most accurate representations of the human body. That is the main reason for which they are so appreciated, bought and used in retail, especially when it comes to apparel.

The main advantages of using mannequins in your store are:

  • They can have different colors that can add a touch of elegance or playfulness to your store. It depends purely on the types of clothing you sell and on your store décor.
  • Mannequins can have different sizes so you can make customers with any kind of body type feel welcome while also increasing the chances of purchase.
  • They help customers get an idea of how the clothing item will look on them or the person they're buying it for.
  • Easy to maintain and clean. If you need any help in this area, look up our Mannequin Maintenance & Care Best Practices.
  • They can be used inside the store, in window displays and even outside. You just have to pay attention to weather conditions.
  • They come with a wide range of poses to help you create stunning window displays and can also suit any kind of attire.

If you feel as if mannequins are the best choice for your business, but are not completely sure which one is the perfect one for you, read our 18 Styles and Types of Mannequins For Your Store and check out our amazing product selection.

Dress Forms

Display dress forms are the best alternative to mannequins even though they are not as effective. They do however leave more to the imagination of the customers and perhaps allows some to visualize better.

There are also professional dress forms that are used mainly for fashion design and tailoring. However due to the industrial nature of the product, they are also used to display clothing in many fashion stores because of the beautiful look of these products. Professional dress forms come in different sizes and shapes whether you need a half body or full body, male or female.

The professional dress form is another great option to choose. 

So what are the main advantages of using dress forms to display your merchandise? Let's find out:

  • They leave more to the imagination.
  • They can display mostly blouses and dresses.
  • There are specialized forms that allow you to showcase pants.
  • They have adjustable height.
  • Dress forms can be used only inside the store and in window displays.
  • They have very interesting patterns and colors so you can match them to your store décor.


Clothing racks have been around for a very long time and while they don't show off the human form, they allow for a more efficient showcasing of clothing in terms of space and storage.

The advantages of clothing racks are:

  • Keeps clothing perfectly straight.
  • Allows for more to be stored so you can keep various sizes of the same item together.
  • They can be placed anywhere because they come with stands or are designed for slatwalls.
  • Customers can feel the material easier or view the tags.

Other solutions

There display solutions involve display tables, shelves, baskets and so on. Each have their own set of advantages and can work for different types of retail stores, not just for apparel.

Display tables

  • Can hold multiple products of different kinds and variations.
  • They can keep apparel neatly folded and at the hands of customers, being free to touch and choose the right size.


  • Have basically the same functions as display tables, keeping things organized.
  • It keeps products at the level of the eyes. For apparel they are usually combined with racks.


  • They are perfect for smaller items, and the ones that are on sale.
  • They are generally kept at a lower level, such as the knees or feet of the customer.

If you want to learn more about apparel display solution we invite you to read our Common Apparel Display Solutions article to help you decide which is the perfect one for you.

If you have already decided on mannequins or dress forms we invite you to browse our selection and find the perfect one's for you and your business.

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