Cody Maher noticed bikini bottoms were shrinking a few years ago. “First it was a subtle cut, then a Brazilian,” said Ms. Maher, a 30-year-old real estate agent in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. And with the fabric covering women’s clothing gone, I began to consider getting a thong swimsuit. The Own: “I was like, ‘Everybody’s wearing it, I mess it up, I don’t care.'”
Her sister, Cassidy, 24, said she started wearing a thong bikini a year or two ago because she thinks the cut made her “look a little bit better.” She also loves the lack of tan lines, which is a sentiment many women repeat. “I feel uncomfortable sometimes,” Cassidy said. “But I start to feel more confident when I see other women wearing them.”
Some attribute the latest wave of chains and straps to swimsuit-wearing celebrities, incl Time to challenge the contract they have on the transferAnd Kim kardashianAnd Kendall Jenner and Kate Hudson. “Thongkini is Hollywood’s favorite swimwear,” popsugar announce. “Expect plenty of thong, string, and cheeky cuts,” Rolling Stone books.
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, G-strings and thongs are different. G-strings feature a thin strap that runs between the hips and is attached to the waistband. While the thong still offers a T-back look, it has a triangle of fabric on top, covering the space between the buttocks and lower back. Another category called Brazilian bottoms provides more coverage than flip flops; These are light and high-cut, elongating the leg and exposing most of the buttocks. But all of these differences point to one thing: the skin is there.
Major retailers, including Victoria’s Secret and Billabong, offer G-string and thong swimwear as part of their 2023 swimwear collections.
While the thong has ancient origins — and iterations of the gown have appeared all over the world — the style first appeared in public in the United States in 1939 prior to the New York World’s Fair, after the city’s mayor, Fiorello La Guardia, ordered that showgirls perform covered rather than completely naked (as they were both Common and controversial at exhibitions in this period). The 1939 mandate was part of the mayor’s larger war against manifestations of “filth and corruption”: in 1937, Mr. LaGuardia endorsed Banned 14 comic theaters citywide This led to the police shutting down these strip clubs for the first time in the city’s history. ban was disputed He soon made his way to the New York Supreme Court, where attorneys for burlesque clubs unsuccessfully tried to force the city to reissue their licenses.
Decades later, on the West Coast, another legal strike against flesh-shows prompted swimwear innovation: In 1974, when the Los Angeles City Council banned public nudity, Austrian-American designer Rudi Gernreich hit back. The invention of the thong bikini.
“The thong is my answer to the ambivalence of our society: nudity is here; many people want to swim and sunbathe themselves naked; as Mr. Gernreich said in a statement in the 1970s: According to Vogue“Brazilian swimwear, sumo wrestlers’ mawashi and thong sandals as references” for the style.
The same conflict outlined by Mr. Gernreich would eventually drive Series G all the way to the US Supreme Court.
The Court ruled on the issue of G-strings in Barnes v. Glen Theater Inc. in 1991 and in City of Erie v. Pap’s AM in 2000. In both cases, exotic dancers who wanted to undress completely argued that laws requiring them to wear G-strings violated their First Amendment rights. But the justices upheld the legislative requirements, in rulings that have been “widely derided as failings in terms of First Amendment logic,” according to Amy Adler, a law professor at New York University.
The court considered female nudity to be a threat to social order and upheld the G-series “as a solution to crime, disease and anarchy,” Ms. Adler said. The dress is about dualities—something of “fantasy and dread,” she said, at once alluding to and concealing women’s sexuality.
In recent years, a number of North Carolina municipalities have relaxed restrictions and imposed nudity laws to accommodate the increase in scantily clad beachgoers. (So far, municipalities have been in South Carolina She refused to follow suit, though Calls to get rid of thong law.)
For now, the legal dispute over thongkinis appears to be limited to the two states of the Carolinas. Thong bikinis are legal in most parts of the United StatesHowever, laws vary by city and county. In Florida, for example, long swimwear is prohibited in state parks, including some parts of the state’s beaches.
Legality aside, many women say cutting helps them make peace with their bodies. In the past, skimpy swimwear was often considered the prerogative of women with traditionally “perfect” bodies, but today, women of all shapes and sizes are embracing G-string bottoms, thongs, and other sizes.
Nikki Sutton, a paralegal from Atlanta with two children, explained that she ordered a white thong bikini before a trip to Puerto Rico because she wanted to “feel sexy for a second.” Even though she recently gained 15 pounds, she said, she decided to rock the thong anyway because it would push her outside of her comfort zone and force her to be “completely content” with her body exactly as it was, “with every bit of it going on—inches, Weight, everything.
“That’s what thongs do to me,” she said. “It’s empowering and forces me to feel more comfortable in my own skin. I have to walk with a certain level of confidence, whether I feel that way or not.”
Ms Sutton said she hopes flaunting what she sees in public will encourage other women to feel comfortable in their own bodies, no matter their shapes or sizes.
Wearing a G-string is “liberating,” said Laura DiBiase, a 32-year-old college counselor from Los Angeles, because it symbolizes “owning your body.” Ms. DiBiase said her adoption of the style was related to her personal fitness journey: As she started going to the gym more, she became more confident and started wearing G-string bikinis, which in turn boosted her confidence.
But some see style as a double-edged sword.
“There are only certain bodies that are marginalized — fat bodies, older bodies, bodies with visible disabilities,” said Celine LeBeouf, professor of philosophy at Florida International University. “There can be something liberating about claiming those clothes that people say you shouldn’t wear because of your body. But then you fall on the other edge of self-embodiment.”
Mary Heredia, a 49-year-old medical technician from Boynton Beach, Florida, said she wears a thong swimsuit because “I want to tan my ass.”
She added that the last time she wore one was 20 years ago, on vacation in Cancun. Reflecting on her body today, she said, “I’m overweight, but guess what? I have two kids. This is my normal body.”