Something that's NOT a cheap black dressmaker form for the display of bridal gowns...or, how to stand out from every other bridal salon that your bride will visit before she picks her dress.


Do you feel like your store looks exactly like every other bridal retailer you've ever been in?

One of the first stores that I worked at doing "display" work was a bridal salon. This was many years ago, and back then, all of the mannequins in their spacious front windows were realistic (as were most mannequins at the local department and speciality stores).

Now, most full mannequins are abstract, and especially in the case of bridal retailers, most stores use inexpensive black "dressmaker" forms. Now, we love black dressmaker forms (honestly, we don't...but they are really useful, and a value for the price!) but, sometimes, they can be a little...predictable. Does your store use them? And here's the real question — do all of your competitors' stores use them too? Do you want to stand out from those competitors? Here's a couple of tips to keep your store just a little more distinctive...

Brocade dress form with millinery bridal head for veils

One Custom upholstered forms.

These are pretty awesome, although somewhat expensive (definitely expensive compared to imported black dressmaker forms). We highly recommend these damask forms for use with bridal and formalwear, and the best thing about them? They can be custom upholstered to match the rest of the salon. We just did a set of these for a bridal retailer in a Tiffany Blue damask. We also supplied them with extra yardage, and they made upholstered, button — tufted panels for their front windows, as well as using the very same fabric to upholster a set of antique gilt opera chairs that were used next to the forms to present accessories. It looked amazing — and most importantly, it conveyed the style of the store to potential brides.

You can send us your fabric, and we'll tailor it into dressmaker forms to match the rest of your store, if you like. NOTE: you should give us a call and send a sample of the fabric before ordering, please — just so that we can make certain that it's of an appropriate weight and content for use on our forms.

Gold female form used for display of bridal gowns and other clothing.

Two: Gold (or silver, or pearl white, or any custom color you want) 3/4 form/mannequin with abstract head, designed for bridal.

Personally — I love these. You want to keep it simple, yet still have something that has some presence? These armless 3/4 women's forms are perfect for bridal (and for lingerie, but that's a different post...). They come on simple floor bases (you want simple, since no one is going to see it, and you don't want a fancy base to get in the way of the underskirts). These forms are adjustable on their bases, so any length of skirt looks appropriate.

The only drawback to these? They are not pinnable, and so gowns must be clipped in the back if they are too large.

We can make these in any color, so if your retail space is all done in shades of, say, rose and mauve — send us color samples (we suggest paint sample cards from your local Lowe's or Home Depot). We'll do the rest.

Three: And of course...there is an awful lot to be said for the Kleinfeld's look... elegant, realistic mannequin...that helps a bride visualize herself in a particular dress (This particular dress is from Paloma Blanca). Realistic mannequins are somewhat more difficult to dress, wigs need to be refreshed about once every 18 months, and good mannequins are expensive (and don't even consider it if you're not using a good one — you're much, much better off with a simple yet effective black dressmaker form than you are with a cheap and graceless realistic mannequin).

The best thing about good mannequins, like the one shown below? Your store immediately stands out from all of the other venues that your bride is likely to visit.

Realistic female mannequin Susan C2 designed for bridal and lingerie display

January 29, 2018