Shop-Window Dummies? Fashion, the Body, and Emergent Socialities

In fashion, the body we (the public) mostly see is a mannequin or shop dummy (Entwistle and Wilson 59).  What does that tell you about the fashion and a human body?  It has been neglected.  It’s easy to see this, go to the nearest shopping mall and observe the mannequins.  They’re plastic, typically a solid color, are about 6 feet tall, usually a size 0 waist, and probably don’t have a head.  Key word is “probably”, I have seen mannequins with their heads they just have blank stares or are missing other body parts (arms, legs, feet, etc.)

They’re missing a few essential parts…

Mannequins aren’t realistic – we get it, but they make clothes look good!  How many of you tried on something because it looked good on the mannequin?  I’m going to go out on a limb and say just about everyone.  I know I personally do not have that kind of body but I always fall for it.  It’s a vicious cycle…  Spain banned skinny mannequins, click here to read more.

Do you think these clothes would fit a regular sized woman the same?

The thing that separates us from mannequins is…well, many things but unlike mannequins we are individuals who are all unique in our own way.  We have the ability to invent or reinvent ourselves.  I find this mind-boggling.  I’ll use a personal example to better explain…  When I was in high school I dressed very “tomboyish”.  My hair was always pulled back in a ponytail and I wore a lot of t-shirts and jeans with minimal makeup.  My clothing then evolved to reflect the music I was into at the time, which was screamo and metal.  I wore lots of black and white, Converse, heavy eyeliner, and had pyramid studs on just about everything.  After I was done with high school I decided to reinvent myself…  I got clothes from Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, J. Crew, Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters.  I wouldn’t have been caught dead in these stores or would have worn the colors I wear now back in high school.  This “reinvention” of myself was also due to the fact that fashion and adornment change over time (Entwistle and Wilson 66).  Things happen like growing up, our budget changes, our priorities change and our style changes.  Do you think you’ll be wearing the same clothing in ten years?

Madonna is notorious for always reinventing herself…

If you’d like to read more about Madonna’s style evolution click here.


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