Display window

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Arch-headed display windows of a heritage listed shop front from 1847 at Sværtegade 3 in Copenhagen, Denmark

A display window, also a shop window (British English) or store window (American English), is a window in a shop displaying items for sale or otherwise designed to attract customers to the store.[1] Usually, the term refers to larger windows in the front façade of the shop.[2]


The first display windows in shops were installed in the late 18th century in London, where levels of conspicuous consumption were growing rapidly. Retailer Francis Place was one of the first to experiment with this new retailing method at his tailoring establishment in Charing Cross, where he fitted the shop-front with large plate glass windows. Although this was condemned by many, he defended his practice in his memoirs, claiming that he "sold from the window more goods...than paid journeymen's wages and the expenses of housekeeping.[3] Display windows at boutiques usually have dressed-up mannequins in them.

Window dressing[edit]

Displaying merchandise in a store window is known as "window dressing", which is also used to describe the items displayed themselves.

As a figure of speech, "window dressing" means something done to make a better impression, and sometimes implies something dishonest or deceptive.[4]


  1. ^ "Shop window_СollinsDictionary".
  2. ^ Holiday window displays can help lure shoppers, study says
  3. ^ Patrick Robertson (2011). Robertson's Book of Firsts: Who Did What for the First Time. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9781608197385. Retrieved 2013-02-07.
  4. ^ Pearsall, Judy (2002). Concise Oxford English Dictionary. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.