String Bikinis: Meaning, Styles & More

What is a string bikini?

A string bikini is a revealing two-piece swimsuit featuring narrow strips of fabric for coverage instead of standard-sized panels.

String bikinis get their name from the skinny straps or strings that comprise the suit. Rather than fully connected panels of material, narrow strips of fabric just cover the most intimate areas. These pieces connect minimally via strings tying at the hips and behind the neck, leaving large areas of exposed skin in between.

The string bikini maximizes skin exposure for a bold, sultry look. Modest two-pieces provide full butt and chest coverage, but the string bikini plays with bare minimum coverage through strategic placement of tiny, unlined fabric triangles and string ties. By nature, string bikinis are skimpy, revealing and show a lot of skin.

Below are the quintessential characteristics of a string bikini are

  • Small top triangles – Triangular cups cover only the nipples and bottom of breasts. Very little fabric means they offer negligible shape or support.
  • String halter ties – Narrow cords tie behind the neck and across the back instead of a full top band. These allow deep plunging necklines while connecting the tiny top pieces.
  • Scant front coverage – With very little lower triangle fabric, most of the stomach, hips and groin show. The front may have a low-slung string tie connecting the side ties.
  • Exposed rear curves – Back coverage depends on personal preference, but typically just a single string runs between the cheeks, exposing most of the rear. Styles with a bit more coverage have an additional lower string.
  • Side string ties – Rather than solid connected side bands, separated triangle pieces fasten via skinny ties resting high on the hips. This elongates the look of the legs.

Types of string bikini tops

Triangle Tops

Triangle string tops have simple triangular cups joined together by thin halter neck ties and back ties. The triangle shape works well for smaller busts, as fuller cups would gape. The coverage also adapts as the ties can be adjusted to lift and cinch the cups higher or looser. Triangle tops often have sliding adjusters on the neck and back ties to customize the fit. Common variants of triangle string tops include:

  • Sliding triangle – Triangular cups feature adjustable slider beads on the neck and back ties. This enables cinching the top tighter or looser without retying the knots.
  • Bandeau tie triangle – Includes a bandeau band beneath the triangles to provide more support and coverage. Straps still tie at the neck and back.
  • Underwire triangle – Has flexible underwire sewn into the base of the triangle cups for added lift and structure. The underwire follows the edge of the fabric.
  • Padded triangle – Triangles contain removable foam pad inserts for adjustable shape and modesty.
  • Push-up triangle – Adds padding that is thicker at the bottom to push the breasts upward and enhance cleavage.

Balconette Tops

Characterized by wider set cups with a curved, sweetheart neckline, balconette string bikini tops work well for C to DDD cup sizes seeking a lifted shape and separation. Straps attached at the outer top of each cup tie behind the neck, while an underbust band joins the bottoms of the cups and fastens in back. Types of balconette string tops include:

  • Halter balconette – Converts the wide neckline into a halter tie that offers more support and adjustability.
  • Multiway balconette – Includes additional tie straps at the bottom of the cups which allow wearing crossed, as a racerback, or wrapped around the waist.
  • Underwire balconette – Has flexible underwire along the scalloped neckline to provide shape and structure.

Bandeau Tops

Tube-shaped bandeau tops lack defined cups and instead wrap snugly around the bust to cover and contain the breasts. Detachable halter straps are often included for conversion into a standard string bikini. Bandeau tops stay in place well for smaller cup sizes but can pose a slipping risk on larger busts without straps. Common bandeau variations include:

  • Rouched bandeau – Contains ruched or gathered sections of fabric to stretch with curves while slimming the midsection.
  • Shirred bandeau – Features rows of ruffle pleating across the tube which allows the fabric to expand and increase coverage.
  • Boned bandeau – Has flexible boning or sturdy piping lining the top edge and/or vertically through the front to prevent rolling or sagging.

Types of string bikini bottoms

V String

As the skimpiest option, the front of a V-string bottom narrows to form a thin “V” shape, while the back tapers to just a single string splitting the buttocks. This G-string inspired cut leaves little to the imagination. The sides sit high on the hips, increasing exposure. Common V-string variations:

  • Crochet V-string – Features an open, netted crochet construction for a bare yet boho vibe.
  • Floss G-string – With backs reduced to floss-thin cords, these proffer the least coverage possible in a bikini.
  • Hardware V-string – Hip ties and rear center strings may include metal rings, clasps or sliders for decor.
  • Micro V-string – Uses ultra-thin strappy sides and back for a barely-there look. Great for preventing visible panty lines.

Tie Side Bikini

The quintessential string bikini style with basic hip-tie sides that knot over the pelvis. Tie sides allow adjustable tightness to achieve the desired level of coverage, lift and cleavage. Standard cuts offer moderate rear coverage while Brazilian tie sides expose more cheek. Types of tie-side string bottoms:

  • Mid rise tie side – Hits around the natural waistline for a bit more coverage and security.
  • Low rise tie side – Drops lower on the hips to elongate the legs and show off hip bones.
  • Slider tie side – Adjustable slider beads on the straps let you tighten or loosen as needed without redoing the bows.
  • Banded tie side – Adds a slim waistband that fastens in back for smoothing and tummy control.

Pros and cons of string bikinis

String bikinis cater to confident exhibitionists unconcerned by judgment. The daring aesthetic and bare skin suits those wanting to make a sensual statement. However, they also require a certain comfort level with putting your body on display.


  • Flaunts curves – Fully reveals the natural contours and cleavage of the breasts, hips, and rear for a head-turning silhouette. The minimalist look puts your best assets center stage.
  • Lengthening effect – With little lower body fabric, the hips and legs appear longer and leaner. This helps proportionally balance boyish or petite figures.
  • Showcases daring style – The audacious nature makes a bold fashion statement for those wanting to flaunt an uninhibited, confident aesthetic.
  • Ideal for sunbathing – Maximum skin exposure allows getting an all-over, even tan with minimal or no tan lines.
  • Minimizes panty lines – The lack of fabric eliminates visible undergarment lines under tight clothes.


  • Overexposure risks – Sudden movements may lead to accidental glimpses of intimate areas due to minimal coverage. Fabric shifting while active is likely.
  • Discomfort – Lack of fabric can cause chafing. Dental floss-like strings also tend to dig into hips. The lack of breast support can be an issue for larger busts.
  • Highlight tan lines – What little fabric exists creates stark light and dark contrasts on the body.
  • Not family-friendly – Many public beaches prohibit excessively revealing swimwear. Most parents do not consider string bikinis appropriate around children.
  • Requires grooming – No stray hairs can be visible given the exposure. Consistent bikini area maintenance is essential.

How should a string bikini fit?

As one of the skimpiest swimsuit styles with little fabric, finding the right string bikini that stays secure despite active wear is key for both comfort and avoiding wardrobe malfunctions.


  • Top cups should fully encase breasts without spilling overhang or loose gaping fabric. Tops ties should not cut tightly into the neck and back.
  • Bottom coverage depends on personal preferences, but the inner fabric should not be visible at the sides nor ride up to create discomfort between the legs.


  • Triangle top widths and bottom coverage should compliment a woman’s bust-waist-hip bodily dimensions. Those on the slimmer, smaller-chested side suit tiny triangle pieces while fuller figures balance more coverage below.

Fabric tension

  • Ties and strappy tanga side straps require firm knots and multiple bows to avoid becoming loose, though the tension should not bite sharply into soft skin.
  • Much of the swimsuit’s stability depends on the right balance of tautness across the chest, around the ribs below breasts, over the shoulders, and around the back and hips.

Should I wear a string bikini?

Body Type

Good for: Lean, toned, petite, small-busted figures. Boyish frames. Taller women seeking elongating effect.

Downsides: Heavy hips, thicker thighs or soft bellies. Larger busts needing support. Broad shoulders overpowering tiny triangles.


Requires: Laser hair removal or serious bikini line grooming. Consistent self-tanning. Calories tracking to stay svelte.

Avoid if: You dislike ongoing body maintenance or have fluctuating weight.


Positives: Flaunts sensuality and skin for the uninhibited. Allows supreme tanning. Thrilling sensation of “nearly naked”.

Negatives: Anxiety over nip slips or dislodged bottoms. Tan line challenges. Chafing discomfort between cheeks.


Embrace if: Exuding confidence, sensuality and fearlessness. Craving attention. Wanting to ignite romantic situations.

Rethink if: Fearing judgment about age, weight or body imperfections. Concerns over visible panty lines.


Ideal for: Pool parties, tropical vacations, Vegas, swingers clubs. Hedonistic environments embracing sensuality.

Avoid: Public beaches and parks banning thongs. Around children. Visiting conservative cultures valuing modesty.

Typical price range for string bikinis

The typical price range for women’s string bikini tops and bottoms falls between $15 to $60 per piece from mainstream retailers. Lower-end string bikinis made of basic nylon/spandex blends retail for $15 to $30 per piece. These are commonly found at stores like Target, Walmart, and Amazon. Mid-range string bikinis from swimwear brands like CUUP and J Crew cost $30 to $80 for the tiny tops and bottoms. Higher-end designer string bikinis can reach $80 to $200 or more per piece.

Celebrities who have worn string bikinis

Reality TV star Kim Kardashian frequently rocks tiny string bikinis, like a black halter thong in Mexico. Pop singers like Rita Ora and Iggy Azalea also showcase their curves via itty bitty string suits, as photographed on yachts and tropical getaways. Other music artists like Nicki Minaj and Cardi B sport bold metallic and neon string bikinis that contrast gorgeously against their skin.

Several Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover models have posed in string and microkini variations. Leggy models Hannah Jeter, Kate Upton, and Nina Agdal dazzled in skimpy triangular tops with barely-there bottoms, heightening their sex appeal. Other catwalk queens like Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and Brazilian model Alessandra Ambrosio also aren’t afraid to don very risqué suits.

Young starlets hitting the beach scene like Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens and Kendall Jenner often opt for triangle halter tops with side-tie bottoms to flaunt toned abs and hips. These It-girls aren’t shy about putting every inch of flawless skin on display. Country-pop singer Jessie James Decker also rocks petite halter tops and low-rise bottoms to show off her curvy build.

Veteran bombshells Elizabeth Hurley, Christie Brinkley and Demi Moore prove that age is no factor when sporting string bikinis well into middle age thanks to supreme confidence and enviable figures.

Sophia is a Los Angeles-based writer who covers pop culture, gender, media, history, and plus-size fashion. With her keen eye for detail and a unique perspective, Sophia's writing captures the essence of the world around us, bringing it to life through her words.

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