From The Archive: Teaching Fashion: Off-Figure Fashion Styling Assignment

This was originally posted by Ellen on March 25th, 2011. It is a wonderful example of practical industry skills that can be taught to students.

There was a great response to my last post on teaching fashion styling. So, I’d like to share a recent assignment with you.

Off-figure styling is styling of fashion goods, just not on a person. Anyone that has experience with this will testify that off-figure styling is much harder than on-figure styling. Off-figure styling is widely used in catalogs, websites, and magazines. The major types of off-figure styling are: lay-down, stacks, hanging, wall, and mannequin.

My students were assigned to create two or more of these types of off-figure styling during an hour of class time. I provided materials—batting, felt, t-pins, quilting pins, packing paper, dress-forms, hanging racks, tack board, sticky tabs. They provided clothes, accessories, scissors, and hangers. They worked in teams of three. All had a FABULOUS time!

Lay-down styling. Simply, clothes and accessories are arranged flat on the floor for the photograph.

Stacks. Clothing is stacked—typically in a folded state, but I’ve also seen rolled.

Hanging. Typically, garments hanging from a rack. Choice of hanger is very important to conveying the right image. Also, keeping the hangers from moving can be a real trick!

Wall. Clothing is styled by pinning to a wall. It is similar to lay-down styling, but can give the clothes a more life-like appearance.

Mannequin. Clothing and accessories are displayed on some type of body form.

Off-figure styling is a great skill for students to develop. Even if a model is not available, students can document their clothing designs. Off-figure styling is also a great skill for merchandise presentations. I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my classroom.

Related Articles

1 Comment

  • monica January 03, 2012 03.52 am

    I have a few questions. What kind of surface is used for wall pinning? It looks like cork board. Are there special pins needed for this? Is cotton batting better than tissue paper for filling?


Leave a Comment

Monthly Archive


Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at :, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.