Research has shown that the majority of women are more Nigella Lawson than Nadine Coyle, wearing either a 14 or 16 dress size.
So the introduction of size 16 mannequins in Debenhams’ windows will be welcome news for many women with a fuller figure.
Like most retailers, Debenhams currently uses size 10 mannequins in all its window displays, but at CastleCourt in Belfast yesterday three new plus-size mannequins were unveiled, wearing the recently launched Principles by Ben de Lisi range.
Accompanying signage reads “I’m a size 16, do you want to see more of me?”.
And it seems the answer to this question is “yes”.
In a straw poll carried out yesterday morning, the verdict among female shoppers was a resounding thumbs up.
Belfast grandmother Anne Marshall said the introduction of the size 16 models was a “brilliant” idea. “As a woman with a fuller figure I often think I would love to design clothes for people like myself because so many times, designers get it wrong,” she said.
“It’s good to see the fashion industry taking the issue seriously and it’s only right that mannequins should be size 16 if the average size of a woman now is 14 to 16.”
Medical receptionist Linda McCann (50) said she would like to see more shops follow suit.
“As a size 16 myself, I know you can beat yourself up about not being as slim as the shop mannequins are, so I think this is a great idea,” she said.
“It proves that it is normal to be that bit bigger.”
Fashion retailer Alison Campbell said size 16s sold well in Belfast stores and that the industry needed to take into account that more women were larger now than the standard size 10.
“I think it’s brilliant that these mannequins have been unveiled. It might be a gimmick, but it’s a good one, because so many women are now size 14 or 16 and the industry needs to stop centring its marketing campaigns on skinny figures,” she said.
Mother and daughter Deirdre and Aine Rooney were also impressed with the plus size mannequins. “The clothes look really well on them and would definitely make me want to go in and have a look at them,” said Deirdre.
“Using plus size mannequins will give normal women a boost.”
Aine, a size eight Irish dancing teacher, said: “I think it’s a great idea too and might take the pressure off people who are desperate to be skinny if they see that it is normal to come in different shapes and sizes.”