I’m a strong supporter of men playing female characters and female playing male characters. What better way to empathize with the opposite sex than to put yourself in the figurative mind and body of one?
However, I often notice that men, for some reason, have trouble with bra sizes. And weights. And statures of women. So I wanted to help out a bit in that regard!
Firstly, we’ll look at something that’s fairly obvious: using a human female system, muscle is more compact than fat, and your height will greatly affect your overall body proportions. These proportions and weights don’t correlate to drastically smaller or taller races and only applies to fairly humanoid characters like elves.
Starting at 5’0″, a woman’s ‘average healthy’ weight (according to BMI) is typically in between 100 pounds (which is petite) to around 125 pounds (which is a bit fleshier, but still light). For every inch of height she gains, to keep proportionate as a general rule, add five pounds. That is, if you want a very thin 5’9″ character, 145 pounds is fairly petite. 125 pounds for a 5’9″ character is borderline underweight. This isn’t exact and should be used only as a very general guide.
To quote from Wikipedia, “Height will also affect the appearance of the figure. A woman who is 36-24-36 at 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m) height will look different from a woman who is 36-24-36 at 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m) height. Since the taller woman’s figure has greater distance between measuring points, she will likely appear thinner or less curvy than her shorter counterpart, again, even though they both have the same BWH ratio and the same weight. This is because the taller woman is actually thinner as expressed by her lower BMI, or body mass index, used to measure body weight in relation to height.”
Body Mass Index is a troubled system, and it has flaws, however since we’re looking for a guideline, I’d suggest playing around with it to see where your character might fit. It will /not/ work for muscular characters, however, and I advise against using it.
Secondly I’d like to talk about the female form. Women have more fat than men and are physically unable to go below 12-14% body fat without estrogen blockers and testosterone or steroid injections. This is because women store a lot of fat in their breasts and their hips/thighs, mostly for pregnancy reasons. Most women’s ‘average’ breast weight is about one pound per breast, so if you’re planning on having an unrealistically busty character, compensate for that accordingly. Busty Heart’s breasts are said to weigh 20 pounds each.
The moral of this story is: if your character has huge breasts, remember that they have weight. The skeleton, flesh, skull, brain, and internal organs combined must also be accounted for.
Breast sizes are very confusing to people who don’t have a need for a bra. And, honestly, for people that do wear bras it’s hardly any less frustrating or confusing. Most stores will ‘fit’ you for your bra size because of this.
There’s two components. The first is the number, and then the letter. The number denotes your ‘band’ size, and the letter denotes your cup size.
For instance, a 34B breast means that below her breasts, her ribs are 32″ (34-2), and her breast size is 34″ (2 inches larger than her rib size of 32″).
The general rule is:
Less than 1/2 inch = AA cup
1/2 to 1 inch = A cup
2 inches = B cup
3 inches = C cup
4 inches = D cup
5 inches = DD-E cup
6 inches = F cup
So keep in mind, the number component doesn’t tell us how big the breasts are – just how big the rib cage is! It’s the letter that tells us how busty she is. Keep in mind that this isn’t exact, simply because of the fact that different stores and vendors have different sizing schemes. A woman might be a 36C in one store and a 34B in another store. Also, with some brands, a 32C will fit a woman wearing a 34B (for example) and is often used for vanity purposes. As with all women’s clothing, there’s no consensus about sizing, and so use this as a general guideline and not an exact science!
On to the waist!
This is a 16 inch waist, made that way by years of 24/7 corset training. This shape is, for the most part, unattainable by those not doing waist training. The average woman’s waist is somewhere in between 24″-30″.
And the hips!
Females tend to hold a lot of flesh in their hips and ass area. The ‘hips’ measurement actually takes in the fullest part of the woman’s ass, and not at the hip bone, so keep that in mind. 33″ – 42″ is the sizes that most traditional clothing companies cater to.
So, in summary:
Most women’s fashion is made for women with the following sizes:
Fullest part of the bust: 32″ – 39″
Smallest part of the waist: 22″ – 31″
Fullest part of the hips (aka the ass): 33″ – 42″
Most bra stores hold sizes of:
32AA – 40D, with larger breasted women often needing to go to specialty stores and spend a ton of money on a good, supportive bra. Most women who are above a C-cup find it uncomfortable to walk around without a bra, and physical exercise pretty much requires a full-support bra to keep the woman from feeling intense discomfort and pain.
Boobpedia – Note that some of their breast sizes don’t follow any logic I can find, but it’s helpful to demonstrate the look of natural larger breasts and the women that carry them compared to fake breasts. Natural breasts ‘hang’ and react differently than fake breasts, for instance.