As you can see on our waist circumference chart, a 23 inch waist is nearly 16 inches smaller than average for a woman.
While it's true that many of us have waists that are too big, this doesn't mean that you need to sculpt a 23 inch waist size, which is unachievable for the vast majority of women. Learn why in just a moment.
See How Your Waist Stacks Up:
What does a 23 inch waist look like?
A 23 inch waist looks very small and slim. To put this into perspective, a 23″ waist is normal for a 6 or 7-year-old child (now you can see why it's unrealistic). So for an adult, a 23 in waist is absolutely tiny.
Now, whether or not such an appearance is desirable is down to your point of view.
But let's face the facts as well: The majority of women simply don't have the genetics to sculpt a 23 inch waist while remaining healthy.
Granted, there are a handful of ladies with very slim waists, perhaps somewhere close to 23 inches.
However, very few of us could get our waists down to 23 inches even if we greatly restricted our calories, which is not recommended unless you need to lose weight.
Is a 23 inch waist small?
Yes, a 23 inch waist is very small indeed. This is especially true when you consider that many women (and men) actually have 23 inch upper legs! So a 23 inch stomach is tiny beyond belief.
Now, you might have heard rumors of various celebrities who are purported to have a 23 inch waist size. But let me ask you this: Have you actually seen these people measure their waists?
No, you haven't. While many celebs sculpt their chiseled bodies through hard work and dedication in the gym, many of their measurements are greatly exaggerated, the female waist being a prime example.
How small is a 23.5 inch waist?
A 23.5 inch waist is extremely small, about as small as it gets. The average Victoria's Secret model has a 23.6 inch waist, and most women aren't Victoria's Secret models. 
Indeed, only a few of those with the genetics and desire to be a model in the first place actually have the right proportions and look to be a well-known fashion model.
Yet, for the average woman or teenage girl, attaining a 23 inch waistline or a 23.5 inch waist is completely unrealistic because it would mean slimming down to an unhealthily low body weight.
Why sacrifice your health to achieve a look that 99.99% of women don't have anyway?
If your waist is currently too big (over 31.5 inches), then you can slim your waistline by following an exercise routine and consuming a healthy diet.
There's no need to go to extremes, though; stick to a diet that enables you to maintain a healthy body weight, and follow an exercise regime that you enjoy and which you can stick to.
Is it possible to get a 23 inch waist and 36 inch hips?
While there are some models who do have a 23 inch waist and 36 inch hips, such proportions are extremely rare.
Indeed, a woman who only has a 23″ waist would obviously be very slim and thus likely have significantly smaller hips than 36 inches.
Although you might never be able to get a 23 inch waist yourself, you may still be able to achieve a similar waist-to-hip ratio if you naturally have wide hips and a slim waist.
Additionally, performing glute-building exercises like squats and hip thrusts can increase the size of your hips without building your waist.
Conclusion: Are there any downsides to having a 23 inch waist?
Although there are a minority of women who have a 23 inch waistline due to their genetics, having such a slim waist could also be a sign that you're underweight.
If you restrict your food intake in the hope of achieving an unrealistically slim waist, then you could suffer from undernutrition because you won't be getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet. 
Additionally, being obsessed with making your waist slimmer is a sign that you have body dysmorphic disorder. So it can be comforting to know that most women have a waist that's 16 inches bigger than our 23 in waist example.
- Goldberg, C. (2020, January 3). Victoria’s Secret Models Got Thinner Over 23 Years Of Fashion Show, Study Finds | WBUR News. WBUR.Org. https://www.wbur.org/news/2020/01/03/victorias-secret-models-thinner
- Fact sheets - Malnutrition. (2021, June 9). World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/malnutrition