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February 09, 2017 3 min read

People tend to be confused when it comes to choosing between dress formsand mannequins. Especially for the beginners, or for those who are new in this niche, it is easy to make a confusion between these two, as they seem like the same thing. However, there are some essential differences between dress formsand mannequins. To help you make the best decision for your needs, we are here to show you some of the differences between them. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to easier decide which one you need – a dress form, or a mannequin.

Presenting the differences

So here you can see a few details about some of the main differences between a dress formand a mannequin. For the beginning, it is important to know the basic details of the dress formsand mannequins. Hence, here you find the description for each of them, to understand from the beginning what is the meaning of each of these two terms.

A mannequin is described as a dummy, or an amalgamated figure, which is generally used in showrooms and boutiques to display garments. It is the perfect substitute for a live human model. The mannequin is available for various age groups, and in standard measurements for each age group and figure.

A dress formis an amalgamated figure that has standard measurements for a certain figure type. It is a great substitute for human torso and it is generally used in manufacturing units, colleges and institutes. A dress form is not a complete human figure. However, it gives required vital stats of a human body. It is truly helpful for checking out measurements for a given figure type, to check fitting and hem lines, as well as to understand the drape of a fabric.


One of the most obvious differences between the dress formand the mannequin lies in the shape. In what regards this characteristic, in most of the cases, the dress form only features a torso shape, without the head, arms and legs. On the other side, the mannequin is available in various shapes, including full body, torso-only, and torso plus limbs. So if you see a torso-only shape, then it is generally a dress form.


Another characteristic that makes the difference between a dress formand a mannequin resides in the material used. In what regards the torso of a dress form, this is usually made of a material that offers a soft and plush feeling at the touch. Generally, dress formsare designed using a soft material that is capable of holding pins and needles. This is one of the characteristics that makes the dress forms particularly effective in the production of custom-made clothing. For example, if you design or re-size a garment, such as a shirt, you can pin it to the dress form to make it stay in place. On the other hand, a mannequin is usually made with a hard shell-like material.


Another main difference resides in the price. Dress formsare simpler, they contain fewer parts, have a simple design, and this makes them cost less than mannequins.

What to choose?

If you’re answering which one to choose, then you should know that it is only you who can give the right answer to this question. Basically, it depends on what you actually need to achieve. However, to help you a bit with the answer, you need to know that usually, dress forms are recommended for professional tailors, fashion designers, seamstresses and others alike. On the other hand, mannequins are more suitable for retail stores and window displays.