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How to buy a Dress Form
So you’ve decided you want to design clothes. Obsessively flipping through the pages of Vogue just doest cut it anymore. Waiting in Sample Sale lines downtown while passive aggressively disagreeing on a friends LBD choice gets exhausting. Why not you say, design your own?
Fashion courses, fabric shopping, sewing classes, digital design, sketching, research and marketing could all be useful tools. But when is the right time to buy your lady in waiting? Your right hand gal, your wing woman, your muse…your mannequin. Finally deciding its time to purchase your very own dress form or mannequin is a big step. Like taking the training wheels of your bike or finally being comfortable with a bare face and bold red lipstick. You are woman. You…are…designer!
So lets look at your options. Because these babies can get expensive and God only knows how long it will be until you finally make a profit at your designs.

First ask yourself what the purpose is for. Do you need a form to pin, drape and fit on? Is this a product to solely display merchandise at trade shows and events? Are you working with tops, bottoms, dresses, or swimwear? Do you work with children, plus or mens clothing? Or do you need a custom form for your body? All these questions should be answered before the first search begins.
Finding a basic mannequin to display your garments is simple; Ebay, Amazon, Store Supply, Pier One, and TJ Maxx all sell affordable simple forms raging from $39-$150. You could even browse the local Good Will or Salvation Army and maybe come up a great find. Just make sure you bring your tape measure to get the basic stats of the form. You don’t want to purchase your form and then take home to an ill fit for all your clothing. Its always better to buy a slightly smaller form and bulk up with shoulder pads, foam or tape.
If you are looking for a more in depth and fully loaded dress form to pin, fit and drape, check out in downtown LA. Joe the owner is friendly, knowledgable and amazing with students and fashion newbies. He also helped create the TV show Fashion Star and other memorable garment related shows. His forms are custom French/European with collapsable shoulders starting at $599. He also can supply children, men, custom and plus forms.

If your more interested in being green and a good deal check, out where the owner reuses old mannequins and dress forms. Located in the Bay Area, they rent and sell everything from realistic mannequins,to arms, legs, heads and full body forms. They have a great start-up story and TONS of merchandise to check out. Whatever you decide on make it special! This form will be with you for a long time. You might blossom into a wildly successful designer with thousands of forms and business across the world, but you will always remember and cherish your first.


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