Should I Choose a Mannequin or Dress Form?

June 30, 2016 2 min read

Can't seem to choose between a mannequin or dress form? They may appear similar to the naked eye, but there are subtle nuances between the two that shouldn't go unnoticed. Whether you're a retail fashion store owner, a professional tailor, visual merchandiser, seamstress, etc. you'll need to think long and hard about which type is right for you. Now, let's take a closer look at the differences between mannequins and dress forms.


One of the distinguishable differences between mannequins and dress forms lies in the shape. Dress forms almost always feature a torso-only shape, without the arms, legs and heads. Mannequins, however, are available in a wide range of different shapes, including full body, torso plus limbs, and torso-only. Granted, there are always exceptions to this rule, but you'll generally find dress forms are limited to torso-only shapes.


Another key difference between mannequins and dress forms is the material. If you've ever felt the torso of a dress form, you may recall it feeling soft and plush. This is because they are designed with a soft material that holds pins and needles, making them particularly effective in the production of custom-made garments. When you're designing or re-sizing a shirt, for instance, you can pin it to the dress form so it will stay in place. Mannequins, on the other hand, are made with a hard shell-like material.


Because they contain fewer parts, dress forms typically cost less than their full-sized mannequin counterpart. If you're on a budget, you may want to choose a dress form for this reason. However, if you're a business owner with the available funds to spend, a mannequin may prove to be a better choice.

There are also professional dress forms otherwise known as seamstress mannequins or sewing mannequins. These are made with industry-grade high quality materials that can make these products quite expensive. However there are many visual merchandisers that love this look to show off clothing so that is something to think about as well. 

Which One Should I Choose?

Now for the million-dollar question: should I choose a mannequin or dress form? There's really no easy answer to this question, as it depends on what you are hoping to achieve. With that said, mannequins are typically the best choice for window displays and retail stores, whereas dress forms are used more by professional tailors, seamstresses, fashion designers, etc. Keep this in mind and choose the variety that's best suited for your particular needs.

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