Friendly looking “plus size mannequins”
Beauty supplies need them
Mannequins help customers to understand the clothes and hair products better as to the fit. You can guess an actual fit without trying on actual merchandise, so many beauty supplies employ mannequins to promote flagship products.
To make the products more appealing to customers, mannequins at beauty supplies are typically of skinny figure. In fact, people often describe someone with no extra body fat and having great proportions as “looking like a mannequin.” The same goes to the fashion models on runways. Anorexia has been a continuous talk in the modeling world, which preferred skinny models with long arms and legs having no curve, relying on a belief that skinny bodies produce better fits for clothes.
This is a long standing stereotypical “beauty standard”. Now, the trend is shifting since the global sportswear brand Nike introduced plus sized mannequins two years ago. On Oxford Street in London, England, they placed mannequins sized to fit large sized clothes. This goes hand in hand with the body positive movement which says everyone should be proud of their body however it looks.
In fact, very few women have a skinny body like a mannequin. Many women try hard to have a slim core and straight legs, but not everyone can achieve the same result due to the genetic disposition and bone structure.
There was a body profile photo shoot boom where you take a picture of yourself in a top shape. To have that photo shoot, many went on a strict diet and intensive workout, which led to many side effects. Now the trend is disappearing because of them. Some of the side effects are anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, yo-yo weight loss, menstrual cycle irregularities, and hair loss. Experts agree that the body profile picture can’t be worth sacrificing your long-term health.
As many women give up on the self-imposed strict standard and focus on their own beauty, fashion brands are following the trend. You can find plus size models on a runway and larger sized mannequins at Target, American Eagle, Nordstrom, and Nike.
As the demand for plus size mannequins increases, more and more companies make them.
What about beauty supplies? Only 1 out of 10 beauty supplies in Georgia we visited had plus size mannequins. The nine beauty supplies still greeted customers with unrealistically skinny mannequins only. While at the stores, we saw many customers who are so focused on finding their sizes that they barely looked at the mannequins. Most of them would wear bigger sizes than the mannequins.
When asked if they take the mannequin’s fit into account for purchasing, a customer said, “I don’t expect I would look just like that.” A follow-up question was “would you like to see plus size mannequins at beauty supplies?” And she said, “wouldn’t a few plus size mannequins max out the space filled with so many products? But yes, I would like to see that. It would be helpful.”
Most of the customers at beauty supplies are Black women who shop for hair products and clothes. Nonetheless, as opposed to hair mannequins that have body features close to Black women, many clothes mannequins have body features of skinny White women. Body features you need to consider when shop for clothes is various, but one of them is the color: would it match your skin tone or help define your skin tone. Having more realistically sized mannequins may make customers feel comfortable. A small change can bring a butterfly effect.