For many trans women, developing a feminine figure is a key milestone to feeling comfortable with their body. We all focus a lot on the boobs (they’re great!), but I hear from many people who are pretty unhappy with their waists and hips.
Fortunately, there is a easy way to give yourself a more feminine figure through waist training.
What exactly is a ‘feminine figure’?
So, we throw that term around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Well, breasts are certainly a large part of it, but generally it’s defined by the ratio of waist circumference to hip circumference, or waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), measured with a tape. Women typically have an WHR below 0.8, while men typically have a WHR closer to 1. The ‘ideal’ WHR for women is around 0.66; the classic 36-24-36 measurements.
Interestingly, your specific measurements matter very little; its the visual proportion of waist vs hip that is important. So even if you have small hips for a woman, you can still get a more feminine figure by reducing your waist circumference.
Anatomically, men have larger waists because their ribcage is broader overall, and especially at the two lowest ribs, pairs 11 and 12. Luckily, these ribs are also the ‘floating’ ribs, in that they’re only connected at one end (to the spine). Because of this, they’re very flexible and can be moved quite easily.
The big squeeze
The most effective way to reduce your waist circumference is to gradually ‘train’ your 11th and 12th pairs of ribs to reduce the circumference. You do this using a corset or waist trainer that applies mechanical pressure to move your ribs and hold them in a new, narrower position. Over months, the cartilage will adjust and keep your lower ribs in their new position, resulting in a permanently smaller waist.
When you first start using a corset or waist trainer, you’ll see immediate results, in that your waist will be temporarily smaller. This can be a big confidence boost and look great. Then you take it off, and everything goes back to normal 😔. But, over weeks and months, you’ll slowly see a reduction in your waist that is more permanent.
The typical rule of thumb is that your waist will shrink to about half what you set your waist trainer at. So if you have a natural waist of 32 inches, and train your waist to 26 inches, eventually you’ll have a waist around 29 inches without any compression.
How long can it take? It depends, but generally weeks or months to see improvements. But the key is in consistency – the more you use it, the faster your results will be.
What kind of results can you expect? That also depends on how big your ribcage is. If you have a barrel chest and 44” band, you probably aren’t going to get down to a 26” waist. That said, as I mentioned above, what you are shooting for is a waist-to-hip ratio below 0.8, which is attainable for most everyone.
Is it dangerous? Generally, no. From a volume perspective, you’re not really changing the internal dimensions of your thorax an appreciable amount (maybe 5%), so there’s not really a chance you can damage your internal organs. If you go nuts and try for a 15” waist, you probably should consult a doctor first.
Tip 1: Lose weight
Ok, normative assumptions of femininity and all that aside, if you want a smaller waist, you’ll need to manage your weight. This is doubly important for trans women, because we’re fighting against what’s called the android fat distribution pattern. This just means that a lifetime of testosterone has trained your body to store extra fat in their hips and stomach (the spare tire). If you have a lot of excess fat, you’ll be increasing the size of your waist a lot more than equivalently sized cis women, because that is naturally where your body stores fat.
Luckily, if you are on HRT, your fat distribution will change over time to reflect a more feminine ‘gynoid’ pattern (mostly in the hips and butt). But that takes years. So for now, if you want the best results, you need to reduce your weight to slim down your waist.
Unfortunately, despite all the ads saying differently, wearing a waist trainer alone won’t help you lose any weight. You’ll need to reduce the amount you eat and increase exercise to make any progress on those love handles.
Tip 2: Find the right waist trainer
There are lots of different options to choose from. Some women prefer custom made corsets made of fancy material like silk. The downside of corsets is they require a lot of time to put on and a fair amount of care to keep in good shape.
Others prefer a more practical approach – I fit into the later camp. I use a pretty simple latex waist trainer for day-to-day wear; its really comfortable and provides an even pressure. There are three sets of hook and eye closures you can use to progressively tighten before needing to size down. It looks great under everything but tight fitting T-Shirts.
I also use a cheap and flexible waist trainer for more athletic activities. The elastic makes is comfortable during the day, and the Velcro means you can easily adjust the compression to be more or less depending on how you’re feeling. It can be a little bulky under tight fitting clothing, and in that case the latex trainer above is a better option.
One of the key things to watch out for is placement. The waist trainer will be more effective, and more comfortable, the higher up you go. You really want the top to sit right under your boobs. You should be able to bend over comfortably without the bottom digging into your hips or lower abdomen. Most of the compression should be focused on your lowest ribs, not your waist or hips.
Tip 3: Go slow and gradual
Done right, waist training doesn’t hurt. The trick is to go slow and gradual and progressively reduce the size of your trainer and increase the amount of time you wear it. Ideally, you’ll wear the waist trainer for 6-8 hour a day most days until you achieve the circumference you’re looking for. But you’ll need to work up the compression to get to that point.
I used a pretty basic schedule of time and compression, shooting for 5 days on, two days off.
- Week 1: 1 hour per day, light compression
- Week 2: 1.5 hours per day, light compression
- Week 3: 2 hours per day, light compression
- Week 4: 2 hours per day, medium compression
- Week 5: 3 hours per day, light compression
- Week 6: 4 hour per day, medium compression
- Week 7: 5 hours per day, medium compression
- Week 8: 6 hours per day, medium compression
After week 8, you can see where you are and either increase to 8 hour per day, or focus on tighter compression to reach your desired waist size.
I hope this helps! Waist training is one of the easiest ways to get a feminine figure, and if you do it right, it is immensely satisfying.