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The mannequin styling crime: forcing clothing fit

Shirt Pinning
Shirt Pinning
By\Dodai Stewart

Sometimes inexperienced visual merchandisers make huge mistakes that affect the clothing styling message of a brand. One of those mistakes is forcing the styling and fit of clothing. Corporate visual managers create very specific visual instructions with diagrams, pictures, and notes to guide the visual merchandiser on how to build the visual presentation of the store, including its windows. This not only teaches the visual merchandiser to execute the implementation, but, also creates uniformity among the stores in the chain.

Every clothing collection brings new ideas, colors, shapes, fit, and styling. All the latter combined tells a story and a message. When visual merchandisers ignore the history behind a clothing collection and brand message, ignores the appropriate styling of mannequins and store presentation. That causes a confused communication among the brand, clothing collection and its message.

A classical mistake is to pin relaxed shirts or any other kind of top to make it look tight on the body of the mannequin. If the shirt has a relaxed fit, it must look relaxed on the mannequin. This not only forces the garment fit, but also, confuses the customer who tries it on. Customers expect the garment to fit as advertised on the mannequin. And the reality is that it will never fit that way, creating customer dissatisfaction.

Another mistake is styling mannequins the way visual merchandisers like, when creating additional mannequins outfits out of corporate visual guidelines. This is a great opportunity for visual merchandisers to show in depth knowledge in the field that can promote them, at some point, to leading positions within the company, but some miss this point. Usually, flagship stores with lot of square footage need visual merchandisers to create concepts and mannequin styling based on the clothing collection. To be successful doing that, you need to understand and analyze the clothing collection, garment textures and fit, color connection, brand, customers and use this information as the based for new concepts and mannequin styling.

The bottom line when styling is to style realistically to give the right impression to shoppers about a garment to protect the identity of the brand and the look and feel of a clothing collection. Do not commit mannequin styling crimes, forcing the clothes to fit differently. Protect your brand!