Thong (clothing)

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Woman wearing a G-string style thong Pinagbuyutan Private Beach.jpg
Woman wearing a G-string style thong

The thong is a garment generally used as either underwear or as a swimsuit in some countries. It may also be worn for traditional ceremonies or competitions.

Clothing Covering worn on the body

Clothing is a collective term for items worn on the body. Clothing is typically made of fabrics or textiles but over time has included garments made from animal skin or other thin sheets of materials put together. The wearing of clothing is mostly restricted to human beings and is a feature of all human societies. The amount and type of clothing worn depends on gender, body type, social, and geographic considerations.

Swimsuit clothing worn for swimming

A swimsuit is an item of clothing designed to be worn by people engaging in a water-based activity or water sports, such as swimming, diving and surfing, or sun-orientated activities, such as sun bathing. Different types may be worn by men, women, and children. A swimsuit can be described by various names, some of which are used only in particular locations, including swimwear, bathing suit, swimming costume, bathing costume, swimming suit, swimmers, swimming togs, bathers, cossie, or swimming trunks for men, besides others.

Ceremony Event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion

A ceremony is an event of ritual significance, performed on a special occasion. The word may be of Etruscan origin, via the Latin caerimonia.

Contents

Viewed from the front, the thong typically resembles a bikini bottom, but at the back the material is reduced to a minimum. Thongs are almost always designed to cover the genitals, anus and perineum and leave part or most of the buttocks uncovered. The back of the garment typically consists of a thin waistband and a thin strip of material, designed to be worn between the buttocks, that connects the middle of the waistband with the bottom front of the garment. [1] It is also used as a descriptive term in other types of garment, such as a bodysuit, bodystocking, leotard or one-piece swimsuit in the context "thong backed".

Bikini two piece womens swimwear

A bikini is typically a women's two-piece swimsuit featuring two triangles of fabric on top, similar to a bra and covering the woman's breasts, and two triangles of fabric on the bottom, the front covering the pelvis but exposing the navel, and the back covering the buttocks. The size of the top and bottom can vary from full coverage of the breasts, pelvis, and buttocks, to more revealing designs like a thong or G-string that cover only the areolae and mons pubis, but expose the buttocks.

Anus Opening at the opposite end of an animals digestive tract from its mouth

The anus is an opening at the opposite end of an animal's digestive tract from the mouth. Its function is to control the expulsion of feces, unwanted semi-solid matter produced during digestion, which, depending on the type of animal, may include: matter which the animal cannot digest, such as bones; food material after all the nutrients have been extracted, for example cellulose or lignin; ingested matter which would be toxic if it remained in the digestive tract; and dead or excess gut bacteria and other endosymbionts.

Perineum Region of the body including the perineal body and surrounding structures

The perineum is the space between the anus and scrotum in the male and between the anus and the vulva in the female. The perineum is the region of the body between the pubic symphysis and the coccyx, including the perineal body and surrounding structures. There is some variability in how the boundaries are defined. The perianal area is a subset of the perineum.

One type of thong is the G-string, the back of which consists only of a (typically elasticized) string. [2] The two terms G-string and thong are often used interchangeably; however, they can refer to distinct pieces of clothing. Thongs come in a variety of styles depending on the thickness, material or type of the rear portion of fabric and are available for both men and women throughout most of the world.

G-string strip of cloth passed from front to back between the legs, attached to and supported by a cord or band around the waist

A G-string is a type of thong, a narrow piece of fabric, leather, or satin that covers or holds the genitals, passes between the buttocks, and is attached to a waistband around the hips. A G-string can be worn both by men and by women. It may also be worn in swimwear, where it may serve as a bikini bottom, but may be worn alone as a monokini or topless swimsuit. G-strings may also be worn by exotic or go-go dancers. As underwear, a G-string may be worn in preference to panties to avoid creation of a visible panty line, or to briefs in order to enhance sex-appeal.

A tanga is a pair of briefs consisting of small panels connected by strings at the sides. There are tanga briefs both for men and for women. The style and the word come from Brazil.

Briefs are a type of short, snug underwear and swimwear, as opposed to styles where material extends down the thighs.

Nomenclature

Example of tangas Tangapants.jpg
Example of tangas

The origin of the word thong in the English language is from Old English þwong, a flexible leather cord. [3]

Old English, or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest historical form of the English language, spoken in England and southern and eastern Scotland in the early Middle Ages. It was brought to Great Britain by Anglo-Saxon settlers probably in the mid-5th century, and the first Old English literary works date from the mid-7th century. After the Norman conquest of 1066, English was replaced, for a time, as the language of the upper classes by Anglo-Norman, a relative of French. This is regarded as marking the end of the Old English era, as during this period the English language was heavily influenced by Anglo-Norman, developing into a phase known now as Middle English.

Many languages borrow the English word string to refer to this type of underwear, usually without the G. Another common name is tanga (or sometimes string tanga), especially in the German Tanga. A frequent metaphor, especially in Brazil, is dental floss; in Brazil a thong is called fio dental (Portuguese for dental floss); in English, the term "Butt floss" is sometimes used. In Lithuanian it is "siaurikės" ("narrows"), in Italian "perizoma" or "tanga", in Turkish "ipli külot" ("stringed underpants"), and in Bulgarian as "prashka" (прашка), which means a slingshot. In Israel the thong, mostly the G-string, is called Khutini (חוטיני), from the word Khut, which means String. Similarly, in Iran, it is called "Shortbandi" (شورت بندی) in which "short" (from English: Shorts) means "briefs" and "bandi" means "with a string". A Puerto Rican Spanish slang term, used by Reggaeton artists, is gistro. Australians often colloquially refer to the G-string as a g-banger or simply banger.

Lithuanian language Language spoken in Lithuania

Lithuanian is an Eastern Baltic language spoken in the Baltic region. It is the language of Lithuanians and the official language of Lithuania as well as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.8 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 200 000 abroad.

Turkish language Turkic language mainly spoken and used in Turkey

Turkish, also referred to as Istanbul Turkish, and sometimes known as Turkey Turkish, is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around ten to fifteen million native speakers in Southeast Europe and sixty to sixty-five million native speakers in Western Asia. Outside Turkey, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia. Cyprus has requested that the European Union add Turkish as an official language, even though Turkey is not a member state.

Bulgarian language South Slavic language

Bulgarian is a South Slavic language spoken in Southeastern Europe, primarily in Bulgaria. It is the language of Bulgarians.

Some names for the thong reference the bareness of the buttocks, as seen in the Spanish word colaless (the origin is probably connected to the term topless but in reference to cola, colloquial term for butt in South American Spanish), and in other names the "T"-like shape of the back is highlighted. In Chinese, the T-back is commonly called dingziku (丁字褲/丁字裤) which literally means 丁 character pants (or roughly, T-letter pants). In Korean, it is called 티팬티 (T panty). However, there are several usages of the term T-back in English as well (e.g., children's literature author E. L. Konigsburg's T-backs, T-shirts, Coat and Suit).

Thong vs. G-string

According to the Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion, "The G-string, or thong, [is] a panty front with a half- to one-inch strip of fabric at the back that sits between the buttocks", [4] and Knickers: a Brief History says: "Minor tweaks to the cut earned these skimpy panties different titles—from the thong, which has a one-inch strip of fabric down the back, to a G-string, which, as the name equivalent of Spanish suggests (hilo dental), is more like a string of fabric akin between the teeth." [5] Striptease: the Untold History of the Girlie Show says: "The thong [is] an undergarment derived from the stripper's G-string", [6] and according to Americanisms: the Illustrated Book of Words Made in the USA a G-string is "a thong panty consisting of a small triangular piece of fabric supported by two elastic straps. Attributed to strippers circa 1936". [7] The Heinemann English Dictionary defines "thong" as "a pair of underpants or swimming costume in a very skimpy style like a G-string". [8]

History

The thong, like its probable predecessor the loincloth, is believed to be one of the earliest forms of human clothing and is also thought to have been worn mostly or exclusively by men. It is thought the thong was probably originally developed to protect, support, or hide the male genitals. The loincloth is probably the earliest form of clothing used by mankind, having originated in the warmer climates of sub-Saharan Africa where clothing was first worn nearly 75,000 years ago. Many tribal peoples, such as some of the Khoisan people of southern Africa, wore thongs for many centuries. Much like the Japanese fundoshi, these early garments were made with the male genitalia in mind.

According to some fashion historians, the first public appearance of the thong in the United States was at the 1939 New York World's Fair. This resulted from Fiorello LaGuardia, the Mayor of New York City, ordering the city's nude dancers to cover themselves. [9] Jacques Heim's and Louis Réard's original bikini from 1946 (that introduced the term bikini) had a culotte with a thong back.

Modern thong

Fashion designer Rudi Gernreich, who in the mid-1960s created the first topless swimsuit, which he called the monokini, is credited with introducing the modern thong in 1974 [10] [11] [12] [13] when he designed a thong bikini in response to a ban on nude sunbathing by the Los Angeles City Council. [14] [15]

Sunrise Florida v2.jpg
Thong 2.jpg
Woman wearing a T-back thong in Sunrise, Florida, USA, 2006

Attitudes toward the wearing of g-strings vary geographically and across societies, as is usual with highly revealing clothing. Prior to its entrance into mainstream fashion, g-strings were primarily worn by exotic dancers. In the modern Western world, g-strings are more commonly marketed towards females but are worn by both sexes. During the 1980s, thongs were worn on stage by pop stars such as Cher and Madonna. [15] By the late-1980s, the style (for females) had made its way into most of the Western world; thong underwear became more popular through the 1990s due to TV shows such as: Baywatch , where numerous females were recorded wearing thong swimsuits.

In the 1990s, the thong began to gain wider acceptance and popularity in the United States as underwear (and, to a lesser extent, as swimwear), especially with women, but also men. In the US and Europe, the wearing of thongs by men was once mainly limited to the dance belt, the posing pouch for bodybuilders and the realm of male strippers. Men's thongs are now more widely available and commonly worn as day-to-day underwear or swimwear. While some major retailers such as Kmart sell men's thongs, [16] they are not marketed as strongly to men as they are to women. In Europe, thongs have been commonplace for many more years both as underwear and swimwear.

In the 2000s, some people wore thongs with low-cut hipsters and deliberately exposed them over the top of their trousers, producing an effect popularly known as a whale tail. This led to many thong designs intended to be worn in this manner, which were adorned with jewels and motifs on the back. In the early-2000s, thongs made up 31% of the women's underwear market. [15] However, in the late-2000s, the exposure of a thong above one's trousers became less popular and the trend turned to the wearing of lower-riding thongs that hardly show above trousers, except when bending or twisting.

Market research in 2011 placed the number of French women who wear thongs as their preferred underwear style at 25%, down by 5% from 2008. [17] [18] By 2016, sales of thongs in the UK were on the decline with Marks & Spencer, a major UK lingerie retailer, reporting that they made up fewer than 10% of knickers sold. [15] Many reasons exist as to why people may choose to wear thong underwear or swimwear, such as prevention of visible panty lines, [19] prevention of underwear "riding up" so one need not pull at one's underwear in public, comfort, fashion consciousness including the feeling of being more adult, [15] and minimization of tan lines. [20]

Design and variety

String thongs
BacksSides
StrapTie-sideStrapless
Low
coverage
Underwear - V back, strap sides.png
V-string, T-front
Underwear - string back, tie sides.png
T-back
Maebari
Medium
coverage
Underwear - triangle back, strap sides.png
G-string
CStringIllustration.svg
C-string
High
coverage
Cheeky

Types of thongs include the traditional thong, the G-string, and the C-string. There are a number of intermediate kinds of thongs between full rear coverage and a string rear. As designs become more risqué there are also types intended to expose genitals as much as they conceal them. Other styles include the Cheeky, V-string, T-front and T-back. The naming of the intermediate styles of thong is debatable, different vendors use the words somewhat interchangeably. Thongs are available in a wide variety of materials, including silk, latex, cotton, microfiber, satin, nylon, lycra/spandex, and lace. There are also novelty designs for both sexes, featuring shapes to conform to the genitals or provide humorous visual effects.

The most significant difference between thongs designed for men and women is the shape of the front part of the garment. Often, but not always, thongs for men will feature a vertical seam to create shape and space for the male genitalia, and the pouch may be made of stretchy material (usually cotton-Lycra or microfiber) for an ergonomic fit. The equivalent section in women's thongs is normally flat and seamless. However, the fabric is usually thicker in the area where it covers the vulva (by incorporating a cotton gusset).

G-string

The G-string style consists of an elastic string (also a narrow piece of cloth, leather, or plastic) that connects the front/pouch and the waistband at back, worn as swimwear or underwear mostly by women, but also by men. Since the mid-1920s, strippers and exotic dancers in the West have been referring to the style of thongs they wore for their performances as G-strings.

Etymology

The origin of the term G-string is obscure. It may simply stand for 'Gusset' as the G-String is in effect just a gusset on a string. Since the 19th century, the term geestring referred to the string which held the loincloth of American Indians [21] and later referred to the narrow loincloth itself. William Safire in his Ode on a G-String quoted the usage of the word G-string for loincloth by Harper's Magazine 15 years after Beadle's and suggested that the magazine confused the word with the musical term G string (i.e., the string for the G note). Safire also mentions the opinion of linguist Robert Hendrickson that "G" (or "gee") stands for groin, which was a taboo word at the time. [22]

History

The g-string first appeared in costumes worn by showgirls in Earl Carroll's productions during the Jazz Age. Linguist Robert Hendrickson believes that the g stands for groin. [23] The Oxford English Dictionary reports that the G-string was originally a narrow strip of fabric worn by Indian women. During the Depression, a "G-string" was known as "the gadget". [23] During the 1930s, the "Chicago G-string" gained prominence when worn by performers like Margie Hart. The Chicago area was the home of some of the largest manufacturers of G-strings and it also became the center of the burlesque shows in the United States. [23]

Other variants of women's thongs

C-string: As narrow as a G-string, but without the supporting "string" around the wearer's hips/panty line, leaving just a sideways C shaped piece between the legs. This is held in place firmly by a flexible internal frame. Since there is no material around the waist, the C-string completely eliminates the panty lines which thongs and other underwear create. C-strings are also designed for use as beachwear, which reduces the tan lines that would have been left by the side straps of even a G or V-String. [24]

Cheeky: A more conservative style called a cheeky covers a little more area, but exposes the bottom part of the buttocks. Some cheekies are used as undergarments while others function as bikini bottoms.

T-front: A type of G-string in which the string reaches also the front part. It provides no coverage while still maintaining the basic hygienic underwear functions. Usually it is built by strings only, sometimes with more fabric or lace around the waist. Certain designs cover the string with pearls for decoration and stimulation reasons. [25]

Men's thongs

A kowpeenam is a traditional thong worn in India, by some men as a loincloth or underclothing. It is made up of rectangular strip of cotton cloth which is used to cover the genitals with the help of the strings connected to the four ends of the cloth for binding it around the waist of the wearer. It is used by wrestlers in the game of Kushti or traditional Indian wrestling in the Akhara (wrestling ring) and also during practice sessions and training.

A fundoshi is the traditional Japanese undergarment for adult males, made from a length of cotton. Before World War II, the fundoshi was the main form of underwear for Japanese adult males. However, it fell out of use quickly after the war with the introduction of new underwear to the Japanese market, such as briefs and trunks. Nowadays, the fundoshi is mainly used not as underwear but as festival ( matsuri ) clothing at Hadaka Matsuri or, sometimes, as swimwear.

There are many other varieties of fundoshi as the variations on the principle of a loincloth are almost infinite. For example, the mokko-fundoshi (literally "earth-basket loincloth" because it looks like the traditional baskets used in construction) is made like the etchyuu-fundoshi but without a front apron; the cloth is secured to the belt to make a bikini effect. The kuro-neko fundoshi (literally "black cat fundoshi") is like the mokko-fundoshi except that the portion that passes from front to back is tailored to create a thong effect.

A jockstrap (also known as a jock, jock strap, strap, supporter, or athletic supporter) is an undergarment designed for supporting the male genitalia during sports or other vigorous physical activity. It was created by Chicago sporting goods company Sharp & Smith in 1874. [26] Technically it is not a thong, as there is no narrow strap that passes up between the buttocks. A jockstrap consists of a waistband (usually elastic) with a support pouch for the genitalia and two elastic straps affixed to the base of the pouch and to the left and right sides of the waistband at the hip. [27] The pouch, in some varieties, may be fitted with a pocket to hold an impact resistant cup to protect the testicles and/or the penis from injury.

A dance belt is a type of thong designed to be used in the same manner as an athletic supporter, but for male dancers (especially in ballet). [28] Its purpose is to protect and support the dancer during dance activities without being seen through outer garments, such as tights, leotards, gym leggings or shorts. Thongs tend to offer better support for the male anatomy than do other underwear styles (as well as eliminating contact between the genitals and inner thighs) and is one of the reasons why men and boys may choose to wear them. [29]

Controversy

As thongs pass between the buttocks and, in women, may be in close contact with the anus and labia, concerns have been raised that they may become damp and act as a conduit for germ transfer, increasing the probability that the wearer may develop urinary tract infections, such as cystitis. [30] [31] [32] However, research suggests that wearing thong underwear does not have a statistically significant effect on the occurrence of bacterial vaginosis [33] or yeast infection. [34]

In 2002, a female high school vice principal in San Diego, California, physically checked up to 100 female students' underwear as they entered the school for a dance, with or without student permission, causing an uproar among students and some parents and eliciting an investigation by the school into the vice principal's conduct. In her defense, the vice principal said the checks were for student safety and not specifically because of the wearing of thongs. [35] [36] [37] [38] [39]

Of particular controversy is the retail by several outlets, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Argos and Etam, of thongs for children as young as seven, due to their previous association with nude or erotic dancers. This controversy spawned a great deal of attention for Abercrombie, including a chain letter that received wide circulation. [40] Media attention was drawn to the phenomenon when a British primary head teacher voiced concerns that pupils as young as 10 were wearing thong underwear to school. [41]

Thong swimsuits are banned or strongly discouraged in some places, including most Muslim countries such as Iran. [42] [43] Areas in the United States include such locations as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina [44] and Kure Beach, North Carolina. [45]

See also

Related Research Articles

Lingerie historically, linen and lace components of a womans wardrobe collectively; now generally elegant undergarments

Lingerie is a category of women's clothing including at least undergarments, sleepwear and lightweight robes. The specific choice of the word often is motivated by an intention to imply the garments are alluring, fashionable or both.

Leotard One-piece garment that covers the torso

A leotard is a unisex skin-tight one-piece garment that covers the body from the crotch to the shoulder. The garment was first made famous by the French acrobatic performer Jules Léotard (1838–1870). There are sleeveless, short-sleeved and long-sleeved leotards. A variation is the unitard, which also covers the legs.

Loincloth cloth worn around the loins, often as the sole article of clothing in warm climates

A loincloth is a one-piece garment, sometimes kept in place by a belt. It covers the genitals and, at least partially, the buttocks.

Panties form of underwear designed to be worn by women and girls

Panties are a form of underwear primarily worn by women. Panties can be form-fitting or loose. Typical components include an elastic waistband, a crotch panel to cover the genitalia, and a pair of leg openings that, like the waistband, are often made of elastic. Various materials are used, but are usually chosen to be breathable.

A jockstrap is an undergarment for protecting the testes and penis during cycling, contact sports or other vigorous physical activity. A jockstrap consists of a waistband with a support pouch for the genitalia and two elastic straps affixed to the base of the pouch and to the left and right sides of the waistband at the hip. The pouch, in some varieties, may be fitted with a pocket to hold an abdominal guard to protect the testicles and the penis from injury.

<i>Fundoshi</i> traditional Japanese mens undergarment made from a length of cotton

Fundoshi(, ふんどし) is the traditional Japanese undergarment for adult males, made from a length of cotton. Before World War II, the fundoshi was the main form of underwear for Japanese adult males. However it fell out of use quickly after the war with the introduction of new underwear to the Japanese market, such as briefs and boxer briefs.

Dance belt a kind of specialized undergarment commonly worn by male ballet dancers

A dance belt is a kind of specialized undergarment commonly worn by male ballet dancers to support their genitals. Most are similar in design to thong underwear.

Subligaculum undergarment worn in Ancient Rome

A subligaculum was a kind of undergarment worn by ancient Romans. It could come either in the form of a pair of shorts, or in the form of a simple loincloth wrapped around the lower body. It could be worn both by men and women. In particular, it was part of the dress of gladiators, athletes, and of actors on the stage. Leather subligacula have been found in excavations of Roman London.

Cache-sexe Garment

A cache-sexe is an item, often a small garment, that covers its user's genitals. The most common style, seen in Western G-strings and Japanese Fundoshis, has a triangle of material attached at the corners to straps or strings around the waist and between the legs, that fasten the triangle over the genitals.

French knickers are a type of women's underwear or lingerie. The term is predominantly used in the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia to describe a style of underpant that is similar in look to a pair of shorts. French knickers are worn from the hip, concealing some of the upper thigh and all of the buttocks. The garment features an "open leg" style that allows for a more comfortable fit and the straight-cut leg cuffs can be designed with or without trimming. The fabric is often bias cut.

Undergarment clothes worn under other clothes

Undergarments are items of clothing worn beneath outer clothes, usually in direct contact with the skin, although they may comprise more than a single layer. They serve to keep outer garments from being soiled or damaged by bodily excretions, to lessen the friction of outerwear against the skin, to shape the body, and to provide concealment or support for parts of it. In cold weather, long underwear is sometimes worn to provide additional warmth. Special types of undergarments have religious significance. Some items of clothing are designed as undergarments, while others, such as T-shirts and certain types of shorts, are appropriate both as undergarments and as outer clothing. If made of suitable material or textile, some undergarments can serve as nightwear or swimsuits, and some are intended for sexual attraction or visual appeal.

Bikini variants any of various styles of swimsuits based on or influenced by the bikini

The bikini has spawned many stylistic variations. A regular bikini is a two-piece swimsuit that together covers a female's crotch, buttocks, and breasts. Some bikini designs cover larger portions of the wearer's body while other designs provide minimal coverage. Topless variants are still sometimes considered bikinis, although they are technically not a two-piece swimsuit.

Kaupinam

Kaupinam, kaupina or langot is an undergarment worn by Indian men as a loincloth or underclothing, usually by pehalwan exercising or sparring in dangal at traditional wrestling akharas. It is made up of rectangular strip of cotton cloth that is used to cover the genitals with the help of the strings connected to the four ends of the cloth for binding it around the waist of the wearer. It is used by wrestlers in the game of Gushti or traditional Indian wrestling in the akharada and during practice sessions and training.

Underwear fetishism Sexual fetishism relating to undergarments

Underwear fetishism is a sexual fetishism relating to undergarments, and refers to preoccupation with the sexual excitement of certain types of underwear, including panties, stockings, pantyhose, bras, or other items. Some people can experience sexual excitement from wearing, while others get their excitement when observing, handling, or smelling the underwear worn by another, or watching somebody putting underwear on or taking it off. Some may steal used underwear to get satisfaction. Not only does this include physical contact with the garment(s), or their wearers, but also includes arousal by printed or electronic image with depictions of underwear.

Sling swimsuit

The sling swimsuit is a one-piece swimsuit which is supported by fabric at the neck. In practice, sling swimsuits provide as little or even less, coverage as a bikini. Monokini types also exist. The sling swimsuit is also known by a variety of names including "suspender bikini", "sling bikini", "suspender thong", "slingshot swimsuit" or just "slingshot". It is so named because of its resemblance to the Y-shape frame of a slingshot. It is sometimes listed as a bikini variant. When designed for or worn by a man, it is often called a "mankini".

The T-front is a garment generally worn as either underwear or as a swimsuit where the string reaches also the front part. It provides no coverage while still maintaining the basic hygienic underwear functions. T-fronts leave part or most of the genitals uncovered. The back forms usually a thong which typically consists of a thin waistband and a thin strip of material, designed to be worn between the buttocks, that connects the middle of the waistband with the front string of the garment. It is also used as a descriptive term in other types of garment, such as a bodysuit or leotard in the context "T-front thong".

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