These factors result in women's waist—hip ratio WHR being lower than for males, although males tend to have a greater upper-body to waist-hip ratio WHR giving them a V shape look because of their greater muscle mass e.
Estrogens cause higher levels of fat to be stored in a female body than in a male body. The hormones produced by the thyroid gland regulate the rate of metabolism , controlling how quickly the body uses energy, and controls how sensitive the body should be to other hormones. Body fat distribution may change from time to time, depending on food habits, activity levels and hormone levels.
When women reach menopause and the estrogen produced by ovaries declines, fat migrates from their buttocks, hips and thighs to their waists;  later fat is stored at the abdomen. Body fat percentage recommendations are higher for females, as this fat may serve as an energy reserve for pregnancy.
Males have less subcutaneous fat in their faces due to the effects of testosterone;  testosterone also reduces fat by aiding fast metabolism. The lack of estrogen in males generally results in more fat deposit around waists and abdomens producing an "apple shape". Testosterone is a steroid hormone which helps build and maintain muscles with physical activity, such as exercise. On the other hand, estrogens reduce muscle mass. Muscle mass changes over time as a result of changes in testosterone and estrogen levels and exercise, besides other factors.
The aging process has an inevitable impact on a person's body shape. A woman's sex hormone levels will affect the fat distribution on her body. Devendra Singh, "Body shape is determined by the nature of body fat distribution that, in turn, is significantly correlated with women's sex hormone profile, risk for disease, and reproductive capability. Before puberty both males and females have a similar waist—hip ratio. These factors result in women's waist—hip ratio WHR being lower than for males, although males tend to have a greater upper-body to waist-hip ratio WHR giving them a V shape look because of their greater muscle mass e.
During and after pregnancy, a woman experiences body shape changes. After menopause , with the reduced production of estrogen by the ovaries , there is a tendency for fat to redistribute from a female's buttocks, hips and thighs to her waist or abdomen. The breasts of girls and women in early stages of development commonly are "high" and rounded, dome- or cone-shaped, and protrude almost horizontally from a female's chest wall.
Over time, the sag on breasts tends to increase due to their natural weight, the relaxation of support structures, and aging. Breasts sag if the ligaments become elongated, a natural process that can occur over time and is also influenced by the breast bouncing during physical activity see Sports bra. The circumferences of bust, waist, and hips, and the ratios between them, was a widespread method for defining women's body shape in Western cultures for several decades after World War II, and are still used in some North American subcultures for this purpose.
The band measurement is usually measured around the women's torso, immediately below her breasts at the inframammary fold , parallel to the floor. The hips are measured at the largest circumference of the hips and buttocks. The waist is typically smaller than the bust and hips, unless there is a high proportion of body fat distributed around it.
How much the bust or hips inflect inward, towards the waist, determines a woman's structural shape. Body shapes are often categorised in the fashion industry into one of four elementary geometric shapes,  though there are very wide ranges of actual sizes within each shape:. Several variants of the above coding systems exist: A woman's dimensions are often expressed by the circumference around the three inflection points.
For example, "36—29—38" in imperial units would mean a inch bust, inch waist and inch hips. A woman's bust measure is a combination of her rib cage and breast size. For convenience, a woman's bra measurements are used. Height will also affect the appearance of the figure. Since the taller woman's figure has greater distance between measuring points, she will likely appear thinner or less curvaceous than her shorter counterpart, again, even though they both have the same BWH ratio.
This is because the taller woman is actually thinner as expressed by her height to size ratio. The use of BWH measurements for anything other than garment fitting is thus misleading. BWH is an indicator of fat distribution, not fat percentage.
The thin hourglass figure, seen as the bodily ideal of today by some, has not always been the desired body shape. Stone age venus figurines show the earliest body type preference: The emphasis on protruding belly, breasts, and buttocks is likely a result of both the aesthetic of being well fed and aesthetic of being fertile, traits that were more difficult to achieve at the time. In sculptures from Classical Greece and Ancient Rome the female bodies are more tubular and regularly proportioned.
Moving forward there is more evidence that fashion somewhat dictated what people believed were the proper female body proportions. This is the case because the body is primarily seen through clothing, which always changes the way the underlying structures are conceived. This is most easily visible in paintings of nudes from the time. When looking at clothed images, the belly is often visible through a mass of otherwise concealing, billowing, loose robes. Since the stomach was the only visible anatomical feature, it became exaggerated in nude depictions while the rest of the body remained minimal.
Though the classical aesthetic was being revived and very closely studied, the art produced in the time period was influenced by both factors. This resulted in a beauty standard that reconciled the two aesthetics by using classically proportioned figures who had non-classical amounts of flesh and soft, padded skin.
In the nude paintings of the 17th century, such as those by Rubens , the naked women appear quite fat. Upon closer inspection however, most of the women have fairly normal statures, Rubens has simply painted their flesh with rolls and ripples that otherwise would not be there.
This may be a reflection of the female style of the day: Thus Rubens' women have a tubular body with rippling embellishments. It also lifted and separated the breasts as opposed to the 17th century corsets which compressed and minimized the breasts. Consequently, depictions of nude women in the 18th century tend to have a very narrow waist and high, distinct breasts, almost as if they were wearing an invisible corset.
The 19th century maintained the general figure of the 18th century. Examples can be seen in the works of many contemporary artists, both academic artists, such as Cabanel , Ingres , and Bouguereau , and impressionists, such as Degas , Renoir , and Toulouse-Lautrec. As the 20th century began, the rise of athletics resulted in a drastic slimming of the female figure.
This culminated in the s flapper look, which has informed modern fashion ever since. The last years envelop the time period in which that overall body type has been seen as attractive, though there have been small changes within the period as well. The s was the time in which the overall silhouette of the ideal body slimmed down. There was dramatic flattening of the entire body resulting in a more youthful aesthetic. From the s to that trend continued with the interesting twist of cone shaped breasts as result of the popularity of the bullet bra.
In the s , the invention of the miniskirt as well as the increased acceptability of pants for women, prompted the idealization of the long leg that has lasted to this day. In the past 20 years the average American bra size has increased from 34B to 34DD,  although this may be due to the increase in obesity within the United States in recent years.
Additionally, the ideal figure has favored an ever-lower waist-hip ratio , especially with the advent and progression of digital editing software such as Adobe Photoshop.
Each society develops a general perception of what an ideal female body shape would be like. These ideals are generally reflected in the art and literature produced by or for a society, as well as in popular media such as films and magazines.
The ideal or preferred female body size and shape has varied over time and continues to vary among cultures;   but a preference for a small waist has remained fairly constant throughout history. A low waist—hip ratio has also often been regarded as an indicator of attractiveness of a woman, but recent research suggests that attractiveness is more correlated to body mass index than waist—hip ratio, contrary to previous belief.
New research suggests that apple-shaped women have the highest risk of developing heart disease, while hourglass-shaped women have the lowest. This is because body fat buildup around the waist the apple shape poses a higher health risk than a fat buildup at the hips the pear shape. Compared to males, females generally have relatively narrow waists and large buttocks,  and this along with wide hips make for a wider hip section and a lower waist—hip ratio.
Many studies indicate that WHR correlates with female fertility, leading some to speculate that its use as a sexual selection cue by men has an evolutionary basis. That, in turn, may account for the cross-cultural variation observed in actual average waist-hip-ratios and culturally preferred waist-to-hip ratios for women. WHR has been found to be a more efficient predictor of mortality in older people than waist circumference or body mass index BMI.
Over the past several hundred years, there has been a shift towards viewing the body as part of one's identity — not in a purely physical way, but as a means of deeper self-expression. David Gauntlett recognizes the importance of malleability in physical identity, stating, "the body is the outer expression of our self, to be improved and worked upon". During the s, the fashion model and celebrity were two separate entities, allowing the body image of the time to be shaped more by television and film rather than high fashion advertisements.
While the fashion model of the s, such as Jean Patchett and Dovima, were very thin, the ideal image of beauty was still a larger one. As the fashion houses in the early 50's still catered to a specific, elite clientele, the image of the fashion model at that time was not as sought after or looked up to as was the image of the celebrity. While the models that graced the covers of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar in the s were in line with the thin ideal of the day, the most prominent female icon was Marilyn Monroe.
Monroe, who was more curvaceous, fell on the opposite end of the feminine ideal spectrum in comparison to high fashion models. Regardless of their sizes, however, both fashion of the time and depictions of Monroe emphasize a smaller waist and fuller bottom half. The late s, however, brought about the rise of ready-to-wear fashion, which implemented a standardized sizing system for all mass-produced clothing. While fashion houses, such as Dior and Chanel, remained true to their couture, tailor-made garments, the rise of these rapidly-produced, standardized garments led to a shift in location from Europe to America as the epicenter of fashion.
Along with that shift came the standardization of sizes, in which garments weren't made to fit the body anymore, but instead the body must be altered to fit the garment. During the s, the popularity of the model Twiggy meant that women favoured a thinner body, with long, slender limbs.
These shifts in what was seen to be the "fashionable body" at the time followed no logical pattern, and the changes occurred so quickly that one shape was never in vogue for more than a decade. As is the case with fashion itself in the post-modern world, the premise of the ever-evolving "ideal" shape relies on the fact that it will soon become obsolete, and thus must continue changing to prevent itself from becoming uninteresting.
An early example of the body used as an identity marker occurred in the Victorian era, when women wore corsets to help themselves attain the body they wished to possess. More recently, magazines and other popular media have been criticized for promoting an unrealistic trend of thinness. David Gauntlett states that the media's "repetitive celebration of a beauty 'ideal' which most women will not be able to match … will eat up readers' time and money—and perhaps good health—if they try".
The importance of "the body as a work zone", as Myra MacDonald asserts, further perpetuates the link between fashion and identity, with the body being used as a means of creating a visible and unavoidable image for oneself. A study at Brigham Young University using MRI technology suggested that women experience more anxiety about weight gain than do men,  while aggregated research has been used to claim that images of thin women in popular media may induce psychological stress.
Various strategies are sometimes employed to temporarily or permanently alter the shape of a body. The most common include dieting and exercise.
At times artificial devices are used or surgery is employed. Breast size can be artificially increased or decreased. Falsies , breast prostheses or padded bras may be used to increase the apparent size of a woman's breasts , while minimiser bras may be used to reduce the apparent size.
Breasts can be surgically enlarged using breast implants or reduced by the systematic removal of parts of the breasts. As a symbol of youth, firm bust is more desired than saggy. However from certain sizes, small fold is inevitable in order to look natural. The bigger the breasts the bigger fold under them is still not considered unattractive. Shape also changes depending on posture of woman. In practice, this means that even firm natural bust is without convex shape in upper half woman without bra.
Only while wearing a bra or other supportive lingerie, convex shape is present also on the upper half of breast. Nipples should point upwards at an slight angle of 20 degrees. But these are average values of attractive bust not strict criterias. Compared to a men, a women should have wider hips and bigger butt to look feminine. Once more, the shape is more important than size.
Firm round butt cheeks are perceived sexually attractive. Bottom curve of each cheek is rounded and in ideal case also inner curves are slightly rounded give an impression that cheeks are pressing against each other. This results in buttocks having shape of inverted heart. Flat belly is another proof of youth and fitness and therefore considered to be attribute of beauty. Long straight legs are perceived as attractive.
Compared to a men, a women should have wider hips and bigger butt to look feminine. Once more, the shape is more important than size. Firm round butt cheeks are perceived sexually attractive. Perfect Female Body Measurements Now knowing that we have to limit the region where the proportional theory works. After all a 7 foot women with perfect proportions would not be . How to Measure: Women's. Sleeve Length. With arm relaxed at your side and slightly bent, measure from center back neck, over point of shoulder, down the outside of the arm to the wrist.