Despite what many people may say, 26 inches isn't an average waist size for women. In fact, if you're a woman with a 26 inch waist, then your waistline is actually 13 inches smaller than normal.
So, is a 26 inch waist big? No, a 26″ waist isn't big at all and is, in fact, very small and slim. This small measurement isn't bad or undesirable, providing that your 26 in waist isn't indicative of you being underweight or your body lacking in nutrition.
See How You Compare:
- 20 inch waist
- 21 inch waist
- 22 inch waist
- 23 inch waist
- 24 inch waist
- 25 inch waist
- 27 inch waist
- 28 inch waist
- 29 inch waist
Is a 26 inch waist small for a woman?
Is a 26 inch waist skinny for a woman? Yes, in general, a 26 inch waist is small for a woman. Just how small is a 26 inch waist? It depends on the height of the lady. If a taller and shorter woman both have a 26 in waist, then the taller woman's waistline will look slimmer because it represents a small part of her overall body.
On the contrary, while a 26″ waist will appear small at practically any height, it won't look as slim on a short woman because the equivalent waist size will take up more space on her body than on the taller person's body.
So, if you're on the taller side (let's say 5′7″ and above), then your twenty six inch waist will likely look skinny and rather tiny.
But if you're short in stature (let's say 5′3″ and below), then your 26 inch stomach will look small but not absolutely tiny.
How about for men?
Is a 26 inch waist small for men? Yes, a 26″ waist is incredibly small for a man (14 inches below average, to be precise). Of course, having a 26 inch waistline as a man isn't desirable if it's an indication that you're underweight or that your diet is lacking in nutrition.
However, if you have a naturally slim waist and small build, then you might well be able to attain a 26 inch waistline without sacrificing your health in any way.
Some physique athletes, for example, manage to slim their waist to 26 inches when they step on stage for their show.
Admittedly, these individuals represent a minority of the competitors because lifting weights, especially if you train your abs directly, can thicken your waist and increase its measurement without actually making you gain any additional belly fat.
What does a 26 inch waist look like?
On both men and women, a 26 inch waist looks slim and narrow and is usually an indication that you have a naturally slim waist or that you exercise regularly and eat healthily.
For a woman, in particular, a 26″ waist will look even smaller the wider that your hips are. To say it another way, having a slim waist and wide hips gives you a low (and some would say enviable) waist-to-hip ratio.
For a man, having broad shoulders will make your waist look slimmer and may even cause people to think that your waist is 26 inches even when it's not.
Can models have a 26 inch waist?
Is a 26 inch waist acceptable for a model? It depends on the type of modeling that you're doing. Editorial models and runway models tend to have waistlines that are a few inches smaller, but it doesn't mean that there aren't exceptions. 
Indeed, some models may actually have a 26 inch waist or a 26.5 inch waist, especially at certain times of the month or when their stomach is full.
There are, of course, other types of models where it's absolutely fine to have a 26 inch stomach.
Swimsuit models, for example, are generally curvaceous, which is more about having a desirable waist-to-hip ratio than having an especially skinny waistline.
Which celebrities have a 26 inch waist size?
If you've been Keeping Up with the Kardashians, then you might know that Kim Kardashian reportedly has a 26 inch waist.  I've seen people speculate that Kim's waist is a couple of inches smaller, but 26 inches seems realistic (especially considering her wide hips).
Other celebrities purported to have a 26 inch waist are Lauren Conrad and Alexa Chung.
While I don't doubt that any of these fabulous women have a 26 inch waist, it is, of course, possible that many "celebrity measurements" are exaggerated (either by themselves or the media).
With this in mind, you shouldn't feel that you need to emulate the proportions of your favorite celebs (or the proportions of anyone else, for that matter) in order to look attractive.
If anything is correlated with attractiveness, it's your waist-to-hip ratio rather than your actual waist measurement.
What's a good hip size for a 26 inch waist?
As mentioned, your waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) can influence how attractive you look, but it can also affect your health. For example, if your WHR is less than 0.85 as a woman, then that's an indicator that you're in good health and at a low risk for conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
26 inch waist 35 inch hips
If you have a 26 inch waist and 35 inch hips, then your waist-to-hip ratio is 0.74, which is well below the safe upper limit of 0.85. 
It's often said that a WHR of 0.7 is considered most attractive. Indeed, many models have this ratio.
However, research also shows that some men—particularly those from primitive cultures where the risk of obesity is much lower than in the states—actually prefer a higher WHR.  In other words, the ideal WHR varies somewhat from culture to culture.
26 inch waist 36 inch hips
Having a 26 inch waist and 36 inch hips gives you a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.72 and a figure that is definitely more curvaceous than average.
This kind of WHR isn't attainable for every single woman. However, it is a realistic look that some women can achieve by exercising regularly and eating a nutritious diet.
26 inch waist 37 inch hips
If you have a 26 inch waist and 37 inch hips, then you've attained the elusive and greatly desired 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio.
Of course, if your WHR deviates from the 0.7 value, then that's completely fine. Small differences are barely detectable to the eye anyway, and you can still look great if your WHR is quite a bit lower or higher.
26 inch waist 38 inch hips
Those with a 26 inch waist and 38 inch hips have a 0.68 WHR, which is far smaller than average.
You might have these proportions if you're an athletic woman with a small waist and well-developed glutes. Indeed, even if your hips aren't that wide in terms of bone structure, you can always accentuate them by building your glutes and slimming your midsection.
26 inch waist 39 inch hips
You have a 0.67 WHR if you have a 26 inch waist and 39 inch hips. This is significantly lower than the 0.85 cut-off point and is an indication that you have an hourglass body shape.
Your body shape also depends on your bust measurement, but having such a difference in size between your waist and hips is certainly a strong indicator that you have a rarer and greatly desired body shape.
26 inch waist 40 inch hips
If you have a 26 inch waist and 40 inch hips, then you have a 0.65 waist-to-hip ratio.
Although 0.7 is often touted as the ideal WHR, research shows that the figure differs across cultures. Asian men, according to one study, preferred a WHR of 0.6 rather than 0.7. 
How to get a 26 inch waist naturally
First and foremost, it's important to note that not everyone has the genetics to sculpt a 26 inch waist—no matter how hard they try.
On the other hand, there are individuals who are genetically gifted with a skinny waist.
For everyone else, the only way to know if you're capable of getting a 26 or 26.5 inch waist is to get in shape and then take a measurement.
If you're currently overweight (a BMI of 25 or higher), then you need to put your body in an energy deficit so that it can shed fat. You simply cannot lose weight unless your body is in an energy deficit.
This typically involves consuming fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight (although, in some cases, increasing your activity level can also trigger weight loss without you needing to decrease your food intake).
Also consider performing resistance training so that you can gain strength. Working your abs and making them more defined will make your stomach look flatter and tighter. Just don't overdo it (especially with the oblique training); otherwise, you might actually make your waist thicker.
Conclusion: Should you aim to get a 26 inch waist?
Is a 26 inch waist fat? No, absolutely not. A 26 inch waistline is small for an adult, no matter what your build is like.
But just because a certain waist size can be healthy (as long as it doesn't cause you to have a low BMI or suffer from undernutrition) doesn't mean that it's a possibility for everyone.
Some women just don't have the genetics to get a 26 inch waist, and that's fine. Even if your waist is 4 inches bigger, for example, then you're still likely to be classed as slim and healthy.
The reality is that most people don't have "perfect" bodies. And if you asked someone what a perfect waist or body looks like, I'll bet that they'd struggle to give an answer.
So, by all means, improve your body composition via diet and exercise, but don't agonize over specific numbers because most of the time, they don't matter anywhere near as much as you think.
- Luenendonk, M. (2020, May 31). 12 Types of Female Models: Which Type Are You? Cleverism. https://www.cleverism.com/12-types-of-female-models-which-type-are-you/
- Kent, S. (2020, October 21). Kim Kardashian wears size medium in her SKIMS underwear range but has tiny 26 inch waist. Mirror. https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/kim-kardashian-wears-size-medium-22879084
- NHS Oxford Health. (2021). Weight management. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/health/lifestyle/weight-management/
- Marlowe, F., & Wetsman, A. (2001). Preferred waist-to-hip ratio and ecology. Personality and Individual Differences, 30(3), 481–489. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0191-8869(00)00039-8
- Dixson, B. J., Dixson, A. F., Li, B., & Anderson, M. (2006). Studies of human physique and sexual attractiveness: Sexual preferences of men and women in China. American Journal of Human Biology, 19(1), 88–95. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.20584