I guess it says more about fashion than character design, but that belt doesn't even have anything to hold up, and is doing a pretty bad job of holding her top together if that's what it's for.
It's a sword belt - it's holding her scabard, and not much else. She wears a similar but fancier one when wearing the armor and has basically just chosen a fairly loose belt so that her sword rests in roughly the same place as she's used to.


Muscle memory makes it easier for a person to do the same thing that they've always done if the weapon they're using is at the same place as it usually is. This helps her in and out of armour - sending no mixed signals so she'll always be able to draw fastest from that particular point.
Alright folks, I've looked hard to see what would make everyone happy, and here it is. You see I wanted to find a female squall that at least differentiate from her male counterpart in terms of design, but it seems you all preferred close to the original, and so this is the best I could find:

The TM is for Totally Magical.

This quote is taken from your second link:

"Of course, that doesn’t mean plate was like wearing your birthday suit. All that armor still weighs 50 to 70 pounds, some of which is weighing down your arms and legs. Some scientists actually did a study to see how much effort it takes to wear plate armor while running on a treadmill. Unsurprisingly, it’s harder than wearing no armor at all—about twice as difficult in terms of total energy expenditure. It was also harder than wearing the same amount of weight in a backpack. The plates on the arms and legs requires your muscles to work harder to move around."

Perhaps I should amend my comment to say that, armor's functional design is to protect you, and to allow you to easily fight...and that's about it.

The simple fact of the matter is, armor may be designed to be worn for the person it is made to fit, but reality rarely matches the ideal. The ideal is King Arthur's court, where according to tradition, each knight had his own personal blacksmith to keep his armor in good repair (or in Lancelot's case, a goddess as a surrogate mother who made his armor by magic). The thing is, these people expect to get paid (except for Lancelot's adoptive mother).

Everyone has to eat, and not everyone can be a farmer. We all need somewhere to live, and not everyone is a carpenter even in those days, where if you wanted a particular luxury, you usually had to make it with your own two hands. Plain, every day clothes could be bought from a store that used weaving looms, but anything that was fancy or lacey was strictly couture.

Knights had a lot in common with samurai; heavy armor, and they were kept by a master--not always a king, but any lord or baron that had the money to keep such people in employ. In reality, even noblemen didn't have the funds to keep armor for all of the knights in their employ. Knights errant (what today would be called mercenaries, or in terms of samurai, a ronin), were essentially knights in search of master, or making their way without. These were also called black knights (knights were "colored" by their surcoats, and color often defined rank in much the way a martial arts belt does. A mercenary, whatever color surcoat he wore, was simply regarded a black knight--because of the black stains on their surcoats that they couldn't replace and the tears through which the black iron of their armor showed through). They often had to scavenge their armor as they could. A cuirass here, a pauldron there. As such more often than not, a the most common knight was wearing an armor designed for someone else.

This and the fact that most baronies and lordships--anything short of a king--simply didn't have the resources to maintain equipment perfectly. As a result, armor gets treated the same as sports locker room gear. When you have a job to do, it isn't your personal armor you're wearing; it's whatever the outfitter can find that fits and won't fall off.

Another thing to consider, it would be nice if all blacksmiths could be skilled enough to make an armor that fits you perfectly, but only the best can do that, and if there are a thousand rich noblemen hiring and only ten best blacksmiths selling their services, then 990 noblemen will be getting second rate service.

The result is that most of the knights you meet on road--who aren't bearing the king's standard--are wearing ill fitting plate.

I really liked your last links...

A note about women in the army: throughout history, women have served, whether they have been allowed to or not. It turns out that women want to defend their countries and their families just as much as men do. Women have always disguised themselves as men in order to get onto the battlefield, with numerous cases in the American Civil War, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and in wars dating back to antiquity. Mulan may or may not have been a fictional account, but the people they represent are real based on the fact that in any society, women will feel the need to do their part. In many cases, these women have only been discovered after the fact, honored for their part, and then sent home. In many cases they've been discovered and punished. How many cases are there in which the woman was never discovered? In my honest opinion, there is no better disguise for a woman than a medieval suit of armor that hides all trace of gender beneath its steel plates. If anyone got away with it, it was them.

But of course, in 1916, it no longer became necessary for English women to disguise themselves as men. This was when the British army realized it was losing more men to Germany than it was sending out, and granted women the right to serve as soldiers. It became a fact in the United States in May of 1942 upon the realization that there weren't enough men to stand up against the Axis powers. This was when the U. S. Army started using the mixed gender corps. Women had been protesting the Second World War, vocally telling U. S. Congress that they had a combat capable army in the streets of the U. S. that was just sitting there, waiting for action. They got their chances as snipers, bomb disposal experts, field medics, comm officers, aircraft gunners and second wave infantry (even today, the question still hangs as to whether women should be allowed on the frontlines)

So fella's, remember when you draw your female warriors in lacey getups that women have slung everything from Claymore swords to M16 Grenadiers.
You do have some good points, but again, they weren't required to dine in their armour most of the time (probably only when the king had foreign dignitaries around as a show of strength). Most of the time doublet and hose were more than enough - unless you happened to be on the honour guard in which case you ate after/before so as not to be distracted. ;p

@Kaliestro: How about these? Didn't take long to find and they all work well.

The last one is more like ambiguous!Squall. There's a hint of a bustline and the face is more feminine, but it may just be the design of the shirt and a younger, skinnier male Squall. Who knows? I'm not gonna ask him/her with that expression on their face.
It might be a matter of perspective, but that third one, her frame (I think that's the word I'm looking for) seems a little... small.
Women do tend to come in many shapes and sizes - a lot like men. And I'm not just talking over-weight vs skinny. There are as many shades of skinny as there are of large. And most of them are still quite healthy and capable of kicking asses~ ^.^
Just fuck the middle man off and make Squall a hermaphrodite!

oh god i'm horrible
The TM is for Totally Magical.
@Liberty Yes there is that, but just imagine how awkward dinner would be handling the silverware with your gauntlets...especially imagine your visor was bent and kept falling. Actually, I think Monty Python might have covered this.

@zacheatscrackers hermaphrodites have been done on Star Trek. The LGBT community insists it's a cop out so that the show didn't have to have an actual gay episode but still be able to say they did. Then in DS9, they dropped all pretenses and had Jadzia Dax kissing another woman.

<<<< Trekkie for life.

@Liberty again...Now those are some good female Squalls. I like the second one best.
You're magical to me.
Whoa, yeah! That's awesome and extremely cute! :3