Looking for mannequin tips and tricks for boutique clothing stores? Then, you’ve come to the right place!

Retail mannequins are a good way to improve the visual merchandising of a boutique store. 

In this post, we will share several mannequin tips and tricks for boutique clothing stores so you can generate more sales. 

You’ll also learn how to source affordable yet visually appealing mannequins, understand what they’re made from (fiberglass or plastic?), and get advice on choosing the perfect type for your shop. 

You can also check out our curated collection of stylish mannequins here.

Table Of Contents:

Sourcing Store Mannequins

So, you’ve decided to start your boutique and need some mannequins. But where do you begin? 

Finding the right supplier is crucial in this process.  An online search will obviously return lots of options, but no need to search beyond our online catalog for the top selling mannequins available at fair prices.

Also, exploring local thrift stores or garage sales can be surprisingly rewarding—you might just find vintage mannequins.

Considerations When Sourcing Mannequins

Purchasing mannequins isn’t just about finding a deal—it’s also about making sure they fit your store’s aesthetic and customer base.

  • Type: Realistic vs abstract—do you want detailed features or minimalistic forms?
  • Material: Fiberglass vs plastic—what works best considering durability and price?

Keep in mind how these choices will impact not only the look of your store but also its functionality—for example, maneuverable limbs allow more outfit versatility.

New Versus Used: Weighing Pros And Cons

If your budget is tight, used mannequins could be an option. Sites like OfferUp often have second-hand items at lower prices than new ones.

Some cons? They may come with scratches or missing parts. 

But, there’s nothing a little DIY touch-up won’t fix if it means scoring a great deal, right?

Starting a boutique and need mannequins? Don’t sweat it. Find your style on online marketplaces or even local thrift shops. Remember, it’s not just about the price, but also fitting your store’s vibe and customers’ taste.  Click To Tweet

Understanding the Cost of Mannequins

When it comes to setting up a boutique, the cost of mannequins must be taken into consideration. Several factors influence the cost of mannequins.

The Material Matters

Fiberglass and plastic are common materials used in making mannequins. Fiberglass models usually cost more because they offer greater detail and durability.

Type Affects Price Too

Different types of mannequins also come with different price tags. 

1. Realistic – pricier due to their intricate details. 

2. Abstract – be cheaper but can still make an impact.

Don’t Forget About Customization Costs

If you want something unique for your store, like custom poses or finishes, this will add to the overall cost, too. 

But remember – investing in good quality displays could mean higher sales figures in the future.

Sourcing Mannequins: New vs Used

You don’t always need brand-new pieces. Pre-loved units do just as well at half the price. 

Websites like eBay often have second-hand options available. These can help keep costs low if you’re starting out or operating on a tight budget.

Setting up a boutique? Remember, mannequin costs may vary based on the material, type, & customization. Good quality could mean higher sales. Consider pre-loved options to save bucks. #BoutiqueTips Click To Tweet

Understanding What Mannequins Are Made Of

Mannequins are composed of different materials, each possessing unique advantages. The two most widely seen materials for mannequins are fiberglass and plastic.

Fiberglass mannequins are a top pick for high-end retailers. One advantage of fiberglass is its surface that’s easy to paint, making customization easy to match any store vibe or season. 

However, plastic mannequins are crafted from polyethylene or PVC. They might face color fading over time when exposed to sunlight.

Below is a table for further comparison:

Fiberglass Mannequin

Plastic Mannequin


Durable but Fragile

Tough Against Bumps & Falls


Intricate Detail




Less Realistic 







In the end, it all comes down to what fits your store’s needs and budget. You can even mix both types of mannequins for a more dynamic display.

The Environmental Factor

In recent years, there’s been an increased focus on sustainability within retail industries. According to research, approximately, 80% of corporate leaders identified a rise in customer loyalty as a significant advantage of practicing retail sustainability. 

Retail stores are now considering eco-friendly options such as paper mache or biodegradable plastics when choosing their display figures. 

The Crafty Route: DIY Mannequins

If you want something truly unique for your boutique clothing store – why not consider making your own? With just a few supplies like duct tape or papier-mâché over wireframes, you can create custom forms tailored specifically to showcase your merchandise at its best.

Here are the steps to take when you want to make your own mannequin: 

  1. Gather materials – You’ll need things like duct tape, an old t-shirt that fits snugly on the person being modeled, poly-fill stuffing for volume, and PVC pipe for structure. 
  2. Craft your mannequin – Have someone wear the t-shirt while another person wraps them tightly (but comfortably) in layers of duct tape. 
  3. Cut and stuff – Once fully covered, except for around their necks and arms’ edges (for safety), carefully cut along one side so they can safely remove it. This serves as a mold of their body which can then be filled with poly-fill stuffing or similar material until firm but flexible.
  4. Add Support – Add support by inserting PVC pipes inside before sealing up all openings using additional duct tape. 
  5. Add finishing touches – Paint it if desired or dress it immediately.
Mannequins bring your boutique to life. Choose between detailed fiberglass or flexible plastic. Go eco-friendly with biodegradable options, or get crafty and DIY. Click To Tweet

Choosing the Right Type of Mannequin

Selecting the right mannequin is crucial for showcasing your boutique’s style. But, how do you choose?

Fiberglass vs Plastic Mannequins

As stated above, using fiberglass or plastic mannequins has its own advantages and disadvantages. 

Abstract vs Realistic Mannequins

If you want to focus on clothing rather than personality traits, abstract models with minimal features work great.

A realistic model, though costlier, offers human-like details that could draw in customers who prefer seeing clothes on ‘people’ rather than sculptures.

The Gender Question

Alt text: Male mannequin wearing a red coat. 

You need both female and male mannequins if your store sells unisex apparel or separate collections for men and women.

Picking the perfect mannequin for your boutique is key. Choose between realistic fiberglass or durable plastic, abstract or lifelike forms. And don’t forget about gender. All in service of showcasing your unique style and merch effectively. #BoutiqueTips Click To Tweet

Mannequins vs Forms

The world of retail display is vast, and it’s crucial to understand the differences between mannequins and forms. They may seem similar at first glance but serve different purposes.

1. Mannequins 

  • These are full-bodied models.
  • These showcase outfits in a life-like manner.
  • These have realistic proportions.
  • These provide customers with an accurate visual representation.

2.  Forms

  • These are simplified versions of mannequins. 
  • These are often only consisting of a torso or bust. 
  • These are made from materials like foam or plastic. 
  • These work well when you want to highlight specific clothing items.

Here are some examples:

  • Dress form –  emphasizes dresses’ shape and flow while being easy to dress up due to its mobility.
  • Pant form – showcases pants effectively by focusing attention solely on the product.
  • Jewelry form –  makes accessory showcase more elegant than ever before.

To decide which one suits your boutique better depends heavily upon what type of apparel you’re selling as well as your brand identity. 

For example, high-end boutiques tend to use lifelike mannequins because they add more sophistication, whereas casual stores lean towards using simple yet effective forms that don’t steal focus away from the products themselves.

Mannequins give a lifelike preview of outfits, while forms spotlight specific items. Your boutique’s vibe decides what works best. #RetailTips #BoutiqueBusiness Click To Tweet

Clothing Mannequin Effectively

Mannequins can show off outfits in ways that hangers or shelves simply cannot.

The way you dress your mannequin matters. An outfit might look amazing on a person, but if it’s not displayed well on a mannequin, customers might overlook it.

Fitting The Clothes Properly

Here’s how you can fit clothes properly:

  1. Always ensure clothes fit properly on your mannequins. Loose clothing makes the outfit appear ill-fitted which may discourage potential buyers.
  2. Pin back excess fabric to create a tailored look without altering the garment. This technique is commonly used by stylists to get that perfect fit.

Cohesive Outfits And Accessories

Alt text: Dressed-up mannequins displayed in the window display of a store. 

Your store isn’t just selling individual pieces—it’s selling complete looks. 

When dressing up your mannequins, remember to add accessories like hats, scarves, bags, or jewelry where appropriate. 

This gives shoppers an idea of how they can put together their own outfits with items from your shop.

A cohesive color scheme also creates visual harmony which can draw more attention towards them.

Master the silent sale. Dress your boutique mannequin with precision for a tailored look, and complete it with accessories. Your customers will be drawn to these ready-to-wear outfits. #BoutiqueTips #FashionForward Click To Tweet

Styling Your Mannequin’s Hair

The way you style your mannequin’s hair can influence customers’ view on the outfits.

  • wig with natural fibers gives a high-end feel, but it needs regular care to maintain its look. 
  • Synthetic wigs are easier to manage and often cheaper.

Picking the Right Wig Style

The hairstyle should match the fashion genre of your store. 

A chic bob for trendy boutiques or long waves for bohemian stores might work best.

Pro Tip: Try matching hairstyles with outfit themes—a sleek updo for business attire or beachy waves with summer dresses adds charm.

Maintaining Your Mannequin’s Hair

Here are some tips to maintain your mannequin’s hair: 

  1. Use wide-toothed combs. 
  2. Avoid heat-styling tools as they can damage them.
  3. Wash, condition, and detangle regularly.
  4. Handle them gently.

Dressing Up Bald Mannequins

If you prefer bald mannequins but want some variety, try using hats or scarves. This gives a fresh look and also promotes your accessory line.

So, whether it’s wigs or accessories, the right hair styling can make your mannequins stand out and drive more sales.

Up your boutique’s game. Styling mannequin hair can shape customer perception and boost sales. Choose wigs that match your store vibe, or accessorize bald ones for variety. #RetailTips #FashionBiz Click To Tweet

FAQs in Relation to Mannequin Tips and Tricks for Boutique Clothing Stores

How to dress mannequins in retail?

Dress your mannequin in the latest styles that showcase your store’s fashion trends. Make sure it fits well, and use accessories for a complete look.

How do mannequins increase sales?

Mannequins create visual interest and inspire shoppers by modeling clothes. They help customers visualize how they might look wearing the items on display.

Do mannequins help sell clothes?

Absolutely. A mannequin model presents outfits in a flattering way, attracting customer attention which can lead to increased sales of displayed garments.

What is the ghost mannequin technique?

This is a photography method used in fashion to create the illusion of invisible or ghost mannequins while showcasing clothing. This involves taking multiple shots of a garment worn by a mannequin and later editing the images to remove the mannequin, leaving only the clothing to provide a clean and professional look. 


So, you’ve learned several mannequin tips and tricks for boutique clothing stores. 

mannequin display can surely level up the visual merchandising of your boutique store.

In this post, we discussed sourcing mannequins, identifying their materials, and weighing up fiberglass versus plastic.

Also, you now know how to choose between different types of mannequins or forms. 

Dressing them effectively? You’re covered! 

Styling their hair? Not an issue anymore!

Remember these mannequin tips and tricks for boutique clothing stores – they’ll help draw customers in and boost those sales figures.