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How to Buy a Mannequin


June 01, 2016


How To Buy A Mannequin


The first thing you’ll notice when you approach buying a mannequin is the myriad of choices available. Mannequins have evolved from the simple wire forms of the 1800’s, to today’s sophisticated forms that come in all shapes, sizes, finishes, and styles. The ability to customize means the choices are limited only by your imagination. This is why finding what’s right for you can seem time consuming and difficult. We can help you by narrowing down the options, as we assist you in bringing your design concepts to life. Together, we can find the mannequin(s) best suited to your unique needs and vision, based on age range, size, abstract or realistic design, manageability, and overall look.


Age range and size

Mannequins are available to represent almost all ages, from infants and toddlers to middle aged adults, and some collections will have a broader age range than others.

The industry standard size for most mannequins is usually 5-7 for females and 40US for the men, but petite and plus size collections are also available, ranging from size 10 to size 18 and up. Samples of our most popular collections are available at our Montreal showroom.


Abstract Style

Abstract mannequins, (typically those in solid colours without makeup), tend to be less maintenance, have a broader age range, and can be customized with many finishes. They have the most potential to either stand out, or be as low key as possible depending on your preferences. Do you want soft, neutral colours that blend into your displays, or bright, bold colours that catch the eye from a distance?

  • Headless mannequins are probably the simplest and easiest way to cover a large customer base that includes multiple ages and styles. Although they are very popular due to their low cost and ease of use, they can still be used effectively and stand out from the rest to create beautiful displays.

  • Oval heads (or egg heads or alien heads) are a step up from headless in the sense they have no facial features or defined age. Oval head mannequins can have a stronger visual presence and they can show off different finishes and colours more effectively.

  • Semi-abstract mannequins come in endless varieties, and more are being created every day. From subtle facial features to something more exaggerated, a unique look can have important impact on defining your brand. Being able to find a mannequin that represents and compliments your store image, will attract your customer base and display your clothing to its fullest potential, which is every retailer’s dream.

  • Sculpted mannequins are abstract mannequins with realistic features and sculpted hair much like a statue. They can be painted in a variety of ways to achieve different effects, or not at all. Sculpted mannequins are often used where a customer base would be put off by the more abstract forms, or when budgets prohibit realistic mannequins, but they can be a nice bridge between abstract and realistic by offering the best of both worlds.



Realistic mannequins are considered the best way to show customers what your clothing would look like on your vision of an ideal form. As such, a lot of these mannequins are created from the likeness of real fashion models. With the sculpted body as your starting point, you can choose the skin tone, eye colour, make-up style, and hair style/colour to create the perfect specimen for your product, whether it be “young fun casual” or a “dark and sexy formal” look. You have complete control over all of these elements, and a window display using realistic mannequins can be as powerful as any photograph and often more so.



Picking the pose of your mannequins can be as simple as just needing it to fit in a certain space, and as complicated as creating an ambiance (see “How to group your mannequins”). Forms such as sports mannequins, for example, can instantly demonstrate what your product will be used for as well as see it in action. Keep in mind, however, that mannequins with more exaggerated movement can be more difficult to dress, so having staff that are trained and able to do this will be key.



Texture and colour can distinguish your mannequin(s) from the competition, and choosing what’s right for you should be based on a couple of factors––one of which will be the overall style and look of the finish.

A glossy finish has a completely different effect than a matte finish, and either may change a colour’s appearance depending on the colours and lighting in your store. Maintenance should also be a consideration. For instance, much like choosing paint for a kitchen vs. a living room, matte finishes make it easier to repair nicks and scratches, but tend to get dirtier faster and are more difficult to clean than a mannequin with a semi-gloss, or glossy finish.



As the world of fashion is ever changing, and continually improving or trying to outdo itself, so does the world of mannequins. New collections are constantly being created with upcoming trends in mind. Sometimes, being the first on the block to have a new shiny toy can be the push you need to get people in the door. We pride ourselves on carrying some of the best collections in the world, and our goal is to be the first to bring the newest trends to our clients Canada.



With all of the options we have available, you can be confident that when you choose Gender Mannequins you’ll find the right mannequin for you and your store. Please let us know how we can help you, because it will be our pleasure to answer any questions you may have, or send you additional information and brochures upon request.

Happy mannequin shopping!

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