The perfect woman’s figure (1938)

Original publication: LIFE magazine Date: Aug 15, 1938
Categories: 1930s, Beauty & fashion, For women, Magazines
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This is ideal figure that modern women want

Most women in the US would like to have a figure like 20-year-old model June Cox. Miss Cox is 5 foot, 6-3/4 inches tall and weighs 124 pounds. According to life insurance statistics, she should weigh 135 pounds.

The perfect 1938 figure must have curves, but it differs from the perfect figure of past decades in relationship of curves to straight lines.

In the 1890s, women had full bosoms, round hips. In actual measurements, they probably were no rounder than Miss Cox, but they seemed so because they were shorter, and tightened their weights into an hourglass effect.


As the American girl stressed sports, she grew taller and flatter. The boyish form became the vogue.

With the recent return of the romantic influence in clothes, the soft feminine figure is again back in style. Now, though, the ideal figure must have a round, high bosom, a slip but not wasp-like waist, and gently-rounded hips. Because US women sit so much — in autos, at bridge tables, at desks and in the movies — big hips are their most serious problem.

On the whole, though, they have the sort of figure that prompted dumpy Elsa Maxwell to say, “No French woman should be seen on the beach by her lover — all American women should.”

The ideal measurements: 34-24-34


Head: 21-1/2 inches

Neck: 12 inches

(Article continues below)

Upper arm: 9-1/2 inches

Bust: 34 inches

Waist: 24 inches

Wrist: 6 inches

Hips: 34 inches

Thigh: 19-1/2 inches

Calf: 13-1/2 inches

Ankle: 8 inches

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Source publication: LIFE magazine

Publication date: Aug 15, 1938

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