Size 16 Mannequins: Yes or No?

It is a well known fact that the average size of a woman in the UK is a size 14/16 and Debenhams are set to roll out mannequins based on this.



Debenhams trialled these mannequins a few years ago and are going to roll them out to 170 stores, they will stand alongside their existing mannequins that are a size 10.

This decision has sparked outrage amongst some people who think that women who are a size 16 are fat, unhealthy and shouldn’t be happy with themselves. Others have commented that these mannequins shouldn’t be in store as they’ll reassure women that it’s OK to be a size 16, and that it is OK to be ‘obese’.

Over the past couple of months I have been on a diet and have lost 21lbs, now a size 14 I still class myself a ‘plus size’ when I go clothes shopping. I see a dress on a mannequin and know it won’t look like that on me, but it doesn’t make me WANT to lose weight, so why would using size 16 mannequins make people WANT to be a size 16? I think shopping can be both a fun and frustrating process for anyone, whether you are a size 6 or 16 and having mannequins that are your size will help you to visualise what might suit you. There are always clothes in stores that we wouldn’t look twice at, until we see it on a mannequin and can visualise what it will look like/ how to style it. I think having mannequins that are a size 16 will help those of us that are plus size to visualise outfits that we may have thought ‘no you have to be a 6 to pull that off!’

I’m not saying being plus size is healthy, but we all deserve to be happy whether we want to lose weight or not. As humans we are all driven by different things, and I think if losing weight is something we want to do, we will regardless of what size mannequins are in stores. I don’t blame Debenhams for rolling out size 16 mannequins, if the average size of women in the UK is a 16, it’s is a HUGE percentage of their target market, so why shouldn’t they make those customers feel comfortable? Everybody needs clothes after all.

Different type of post today, but I felt the need to ramble.

Beth x



  1. The average mannequin back in the 1950s was a size 8, and the average woman was… a size 8. Mannequins were meant to help shoppers get a visual of how the clothing would look on them, not on someone half their size.

    Mannequins have since gotten smaller, while the population has gotten larger. It doesn’t make sense. If the average woman is a size 16, than its only logical that there should be mannequins that help her decide which clothing types would best fits her body. As you say, everybody needs clothes, and its getting to that time of year where it would be a tad chilly to go without them. 😉


    1. Thank you so much for your comment! I was a little nervous posting this as I usually blog about more light hearted things, such as hauls haha!

      It is totally logical! And yes, its a tad cold to be nudists 😉 xx


  2. No idea of the logic used by those against this. Including all shapes and sizes is promoting obesity? Don’t be ridonkulous. Mannequins are a lot taller than most folks too but you don’t see hoards of women on stilts on a Saturday afternoon. Weird.

    Great post and agree with you wholeheartedly! xx


  3. I totally agree with you on this. Why shouldn’t all sizes be displayed? They sell various sizes so why only display a single size which like you said the majority of the market isn’t. I’m a size 10 and i look at the mannequins and know i look nothing like that and the clothes on it will look completely different on me. Nobody has the perfect proportions that a mannequins has. Ha now i’ve started ranting. But i do think its a good idea. Everyone is so pressured to be skinny lately. I think people need reminding skinny does not always equal healthy!
    Sam x


  4. I window shop a lot when I visit the shopping centers, so the first things I see are the mannequins in the shop windows. First impressions are a big thing, and I’m no size 8 or 10. So if all I can see is tiny mannequins with clothes I know will look completely different on me, I won’t be walking in to that shop. There are some shops I feel like I shouldn’t even be looking at because they don’t advertise at all for my size – 14 – which like you say is the average woman’s size in the UK!! I love that you have had a little rant about this subject. I agree with you and think it’s stupid that people don’t think there should be size 16 mannequins incase it makes people want to be a size 16. So having size zero mannequins in my face all the time is ok? That doesn’t make me think at all that I’m not the weight I should be? That doesn’t make less confident girls starve themselves to fit in to those tiny clothes?

    I better stop before I start ranting hehe…

    Great post Hun x

    Elle 🙂


  5. I think plus sized models are a good idea 🙂 I do think though that they should have a mix of both plus sized and the other usual time. I would love for shops to also use petite model things – since I never look the same in clothes as the tall models do 🙂


  6. Size 4 or 16 it should NOT matter every women is great at whatever size as long as it is a healthy size – and a variety should be there so that every women would how the outift would look on them 🙂
    Great Post Beth, love reading ranty post hehee


  7. Big yes to these mannequins! Although I do think they should have them for most size ranges, eg 8-10, 12-14, 16-18 etc to show a true likeness and then use them to show good ways to dress for your body!

    You’re exactly right products won’t always look the same on a size 8 as it would a 16. One of my best friends is a lot curvier than me with a larger bust and hips and it always frustrates me when I borrow things from her that look no where near as nice on me! But equally I know she feels the same about the way I look sometimes.

    I say good on Debs 🙂 xx


  8. You can’t tell if someone’s healthy or not just by looking at them and judging them on face value lots of things contribute, I’m larger than a size 16 and healthy! Women get judged enough on appearances and if something like this can help then why not?


    1. Agreed! There are plenty of women who are a size 16+ and are healthy! If plus size mannequins make women happier when shopping & encourage spend, i’m all for it haha! From the business point of view as well as the consumer! xx


  9. I don’t see anything wrong with this! Being a size 12/14 I know that most dresses or outfits on size 10 mannequins won’t look the same on me.

    I think this is great for women or people who don’t know how to dress for their body shape. Or don’t know what would suit curvaceous women.

    And I’m appalled that people would go as far as to say size 16 women are obese! Not only is that incorrect but is absolutely horrid!

    Its just a shame they decided to do this now and not earlier.

    LFA (lovefromangelic)


    1. I agree! Those people are horrible for saying things like that! Makes me angry haha.
      I also think they should have been done sooner, but it’s nice to see these mannequins are finally being rolled out 🙂

      Thank you for the comment hun! Xxx


  10. Totally great idea, I’m a size 16 and it would help me see a more realistic image of what the clothes look like on me – I know thats a little selfish!

    I ordered a size XL from a well known clothing website last week and when it arrived it was no bigger than a size 12. No wonder why girls have hang ups on their dress size. 😦

    Jen xx


    1. It isn’t selfish at all! We all deserve to have mannequins that are representative of our size! Especially when we fall in the average size bracket!
      I hate sizing in some shops, it’s so annoying! Should definitely be some form of standardisation!!

      Thank you for the comment Jen xx


  11. I am a size 8 and I have no problem with seeing a size 16 model as long as its a healthy body type and in my opinion the mannequins look healthy for their height after all what size is considered healthy for one height is completely different for another. After all if I was to guess the size of the above mannequin I would guess a 12-14. If its about health go to a doctor not the shop floor. Everyone is different what is healthy for one person isn’t for another.


  12. Completely agree with you. It’s so disheartening to go into a clothes shop to see all these pretty outfits on tiny plastic models, knowing that a) it won’t look like that on you and b) doesn’t tend to fit properly on a curvier build.

    It’s not just an issue with the mannequins I have, it’s the entire way high street stores tailor their clothing. What looks beautiful on a slim, less than curvaceous size 10 will look completely different on an athletic or curvier build. The entire industry needs to change.

    Thanks for writing this! Excellent thought provoking post.

    Take Care

    Beth @



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