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Mannequins With Back Fat Are Coming to a Store Near You

Are manufacturers planning an homage to Kim Cattrall’s role as a "realistic" department store dummy in the 1987 film Mannequin? (Answer: No.)
Published
no more skinny mannequins

Whether today's manufacturers are planning an homage to Kim Cattrall's role as a department store dummy in the 1987 film Mannequin remains to be seen, but the days of mass produced, cookie cutter mannequins are waning — and in their place will be more "realistic" mannequins.

These more authentic-looking models are designed to better represent a larger base of shoppers whose proportions and body types have never traditionally been reflected by headless forms. These new models are also what store owners are banking on to inspire shoppers to buy more apparel and thereby boost sales.

"Warts and All" Mannequins Coming to a Store Near You

The latest trend in mannequins is realism, to the point of adding "back fat," droopy bosoms, and yes, even pubic hair. Boston.com reports that a wide variety of stores, from H&M and American Apparel to Saks Fifth Avenue, are embracing this new trend for realistic mannequins. The idea is simple: by using mannequins that have features and proportions that are more in line with what real people look like, shoppers can get a better idea of how a garment will look on an average body.

This is great news for shoppers who are tired of buying items that look great on a store window's dummy, only to hate how their selection looks on themselves. But in addition to being able to better estimate fit, there's also a psychological component at play here. For those who are insecure about their looks, shopping in a store with "normal" mannequins might prove to be a less intimidating experience. Stores with a reputation for thin, judgmental salespeople might see an uptick in sales from new customers who finally feel at ease among mannequins that look like them.

Other Interesting Mannequins Trends Are Emerging

The realistic model movement isn't the only recent change to the mannequin marketplace. In fact there are a number of interesting developments in the way stores are designing and deploying their mannequins.

Back in December, a New York City CBS affiliate reported that a growing number of stores were installing mannequins with facial-recognition cameras hidden in in their eye sockets. The point of these mannequins was to help owners track shopper demographics. However, some consumers found these mannequins to be an invasion of privacy.

Additionally, Business Insider Australia recently ran a story about a robotic mannequin that can be adjusted to perfectly mimic a person's body shape and size. This technology could be implemented in stores, and to aid shoppers who are afraid of buying clothes online. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that one-third of online apparel purchases are eventually returned by consumers because of poor fit, so it makes sense to implement "smart" mannequins in order to lower that figure. Robotic mannequins could be used by retailers and designers alike to provide more accurate fit data to consumers who are buying their clothes online.

Readers, do you even pay attention to mannequins in a store when you're shopping? Will a mannequin's appearance make any difference to you when you're picking a store to shop at? Tell us what you think in the comments below!


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Contributing Writer

Tucker Cummings is a freelance writer based in New England. She's also written for Yahoo! TV and Tapscape. Follow her on Twitter @tuckercummings on Twitter for her musings on tech, TV, writing, and current events.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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8 comments
egad
I actually think this is great news. It's about time mannequins in the US became more realistic. The average American woman is a size 14 while mannequins are like a size 2. Even "What Not to Wear" had begun using a size 12 mannequin for their clothing suggestions for makeovers with women who were around that size or more. I don't think the online version will work too well. It would require too many measurements to get an accurate reading.
Greg the Gruesome
@zucchinibrain

Your comment reminded me of a couple of stores on a commercial thoroughfare near my home that sell women's apparel from Latin America. These stores have mannequins that are very voluptuous in their window and even though the mannequins are fully clothed, I'm glad I don't have to answer questions about them that a kid might ask.
Greg the Gruesome
@phillip9

You might be surprised how fat a person* can look and still be considered healthy by doctors. Furthermore, while it is ideal for a person who is overweight (by health standards) to lose weight and not regain it, it may be preferable for a person to remain a bit overweight rather than to repeatedly lose and then regain weight (i.e., the former may be the lesser of two evils).

*Every human is different; your mileage may vary. Consult your doctor, yadda yadda yadda.
Pilm
Great, in America even the mannequins are getting fat!
phillip9
I think this would be a type of enabling. They are making "unhealthy" the norm. They are not trying to help anyone, they just want to sell their product.
zucchinibrain
In my local sears, the mannequins are often not clothed..,(its like they have just given up as a store sometimes).., which makes me strangely uncomfortable when I walk through with my kids.., weird huh..., but at least the ultra skinny, unrealistic models with barbie figures are distorted enough that I can usually walk through without too much of a scene...,
I know its weird, but I hope they start keeping them clothed if they look more realistic...,
dealnews-Lindsay
@Mariago The pubic hair mannequins were (unsurprisingly, probably) at an American Apparel in NY, so I imagine shock value was the motivation there...
Mariago
I think it will be nice to see what an outfit will actually look like on a real person. So many of the mannequins are so tiny, they are almost school-child sized, so it is impossible to have any idea what the clothes are really like. Oh, and the mannequins are so small that more than half of the time, the shirts/dresses are pinned in the back, totally changing the shape of the item.
I do NOT want to see pubic hair on a mannequin, though...what is the point of that?
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