You’re not a dummy, so yes - your bum WILL look big in this: Debenhams get real with size 16 mannequins

MP Jo Swinson at the launch of the Debenhams size 16 mannequin range in Oxford Street.
MP Jo Swinson at the launch of the Debenhams size 16 mannequin range in Oxford Street.
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Get real. It’s been our plaintive cry to the fashion industry for SO very long.

Yet still, style is presented to women as something that only looks good on the young and the bony,

On the catwalk, creations are draped over bodies at least a third of the age and size of the women who have enough money to buy the label.

On the high street it’s less extreme, but the subliminal message is the same; our clothes look great if you already do. Their definition of a great-looking woman? One who has not been ravaged by time and has never allowed a Krispy Kreme donut to pass from lips to hips.

Shops, whose customers range from an eight to a 20, treat us like dummies. They clad their walls in images of slender young women wearing their gear - and dress up sleek mannequins, plastic people all moulded a size ten - three sizes smaller than the average British woman. Worse, they’ve taken the computer-generated shape of Lara Croft as inspiration.

Whatever is draped over them looks fabulous; we’re supposed to snatch a version of it in our size and dash to the ‘till like brain-washed zombies. But it doesn’t work. As soon as that garment slips over our eager form, we look in the mirror at belly and bum disturbing the line and we are gutted. Disappointed with ourselves for not being what clothes manufacturers expect. And angry with them for making us feel that way.

So, one big, broad-hipped hooray for Debenhams, who this week became the first high street retailer to permanently introduce size 16 mannequins - the UK’s most common size. In a bid to boost body confidence, the new dummies will soon stand next to their size 10 sisters in all 170 UK stores.

At last, we will be able to see at a glance what how that nifty little number will look on the less than nifty us.

Debenhams are no dummies. The move will increase both loyalty and spending. Research shows women are three times more likely to buy clothes shown on models their size.