Thursday, October 6, 2011

Plus-Sized Mannequins... or Not.

Have you ever seen a cute and figure-flattering outfit on a mannequin and decided to buy it for yourself?

Recently, I read an article about how plus-sized mannequins at department stores are actually about a size six... and how normal-sized mannequins are so thin that they would be considered anorexic and unable to have children if they were alive.  While I cannot find the same article I first read, I merely Googled "too thin mannequins" and came up with several similar results.

Mannequins are made to be unusually thin and "attractive" so that consumers will see them and think, "Oh, that's how I'll look if I wear these clothes."  In fact, some of the mannequins I've seen wear blouses with tags hanging out that have large sizes, but the blouse is tucked in or safety-pinned in the back until it's form-fitting and looks fantastic.  It's a deception.

Ali and I decided to visit a popular department store and take a look at the plus-sized mannequins to see if they were made to be skinnier than most plus-sized women or just the right size.  What we found is that the mannequins were thin and fit, but they were larger versions of the average-sized mannequins.  For example, while the average mannequin might be 4' tall, these plus-sized mannequins were over 5' tall.

I posed with one of the plus-sized mannequins.  Her jacket hides most of her waist, but as you can see from her legs, she really isn't that much wider than I am... and I don't wear plus-sized clothes.  However, the mannequin, even without a head, is taller than I am by a couple of inches.  I'm a little over 5'1.

When Ali placed her leg next to the plus-sized mannequin, other than the fact that the mannequin's legs were insanely long, there wasn't much of a size difference between them... and Ali also does not wear plus-sized clothing.

We came across a mannequin that was wearing a size 16 blouse.  The mannequin looked rather thin to be wearing a size 16 and when we inspected her a little further, we discovered that the back of her blouse was discreetly safety-pinned so that the blouse was form-fitting on her slender frame.
These mannequins aren't plus-sized.  They're taller and thus slightly larger versions of average-sized mannequins.  How can they accurately model plus-sized clothing when they aren't plus-sized themselves?

The world constantly tells consumers what is beautiful and what isn't.  Even mannequins are made to be unnaturally skinny in order to look "more beautiful" than they would if they were proportioned normally.  To be honest, it makes me sad.

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