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Pinning Clothing So It Fits the Mannequin Better Is The Devil's Work

Illustration for article titled Pinning Clothing So It Fits the Mannequin Better Is The Devils Work

Recently inside a certain store — let's call it, uh, Pineapple Commonwealth — a casual browsing turned into a frustrating discovery: Everything on display had been pulled, cinched, pinned and manipulated to create incredibly misleading illusions. These people were selling a pack of lies.

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Illustration for article titled Pinning Clothing So It Fits the Mannequin Better Is The Devils Work

The fronts of the garments looked great! But the backs revealed elaborate hocus-pocus.

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Were the sweaters baggy or fitted? Were the tops fit and flare or straight columns? It was impossible to tell.

Illustration for article titled Pinning Clothing So It Fits the Mannequin Better Is The Devils Work

Oh that's cool how that jacket sweeps away from the waist — OH WAIT IT DOESN'T.

Illustration for article titled Pinning Clothing So It Fits the Mannequin Better Is The Devils Work
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Wow, that dress really hugs the hips… Hang on a sec.

Illustration for article titled Pinning Clothing So It Fits the Mannequin Better Is The Devils Work
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This was happening in the mens' section as well. You might think, wow, my brother could use some nice slim-fitting shirts that are not too baggy… Hmm.

Illustration for article titled Pinning Clothing So It Fits the Mannequin Better Is The Devils Work
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These tees are so snug! Except… Maybe not?

Although the person in charge of visual displays is clearly an enthusiastic and aggressive employee, it's unclear if the con job is really his or her fault. Maybe the store mannequins are rather thin. Maybe the samples available for display are too big. And it's not as though this issue is confined to Pineapple Commonwealth. Most retailers have pinned garments on display. Models and celebrities in photoshoots are always wearing pinned and clamped clothing, and even when garments are not pinned, they are often Photoshopped to look like they fit better. And! When models are deemed too thin, they get flesh Photoshopped on and ribs edited out. Basically if you want to know what the hell you are looking at and how it will fit you, you're outta fucking luck. (Yes, of course, trying something on helps, but if you're attempting to decide if you should even take the time to try it on, based on the visual display, Hera help you.)

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And let's not forget that some stores refuse to be inclusive, sizing-wise; and that standardized sizing is a joke. A Small at Old Navy is a Medium at Abercrombie & Fitch; if you have a 31-inch waist, you're a Medium at LL Bean, but a Large at Hollister won't fit you. A couple of years ago, the New York Times reported that women’s plus-size clothing makes up only 17% of the women’s apparel market. If the average American woman is a size 14, a hell of a lot of people are completely underserved. Basically, between the pinning and the Photoshop and the sizing, it's a swirling maelstrom of routine and pervasive flim-flamming. How does anyone ever find anything to wear?

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DISCUSSION

fluterdale
FluterDale

I don't want to be That Guy ... but here goes.

It isn't the person in charge of visual displays. It's all persons in charge of all visual displays. Throughout grad school, I had the dubious pleasure at working across two brands, at three different stores: all mannequins are significantly smaller than the clothing offered by those stores. On the same token, most stores don't receive enough of the smallest sizes, so they instead dress mannequins in the next size up - often a small or medium, rather than an extra small.

To keep Ms. Mannequin from looking a hot mess, the pins are necessary. That's why most retail employees are reluctant to sell you an item off of the mannequin; it's probably full of holes, pins, and in some cases, weird stuffing. It's a pain to redress the mannequin, sure, but you're going to get a damaged or defective item.

All the stuff about sizeism and "resizing" our expectations applies, sure - but this isn't limited to Pineapple Commonwealth or one overzealous employee. It's a flat-out retail Thing.