A string bikini is a type of women’s swimsuit featuring triangle tops and bottoms connected by thin strings.
The name comes from the visual effect created by the thin straps, making the swimsuit resemble “strings” more than continuous pieces of fabric.
String bikinis provide minimal coverage and are considered one of the most revealing swimsuit styles.
The classic string bikini design has triangular top cups that cover the breasts and are connected in the back by a thin strap around the neck and another around the mid-back.
The back strap can be adjusted to tighten or loosen the top. The bottoms have a triangular front panel and thin side straps that tie at the hips.
Unlike a traditional bikini which has more fabric for coverage, the string bikini uses bare minimum fabric connected by strings.
This skimpy design provides an overall look of nudity while still technically covering the most private areas.
History of the String Bikini
String bikinis first became popular in the 1970s as beach fashions shifted to increasingly small and revealing designs.
They were considered quite daring at the time and mainly worn by young women looking to push the boundaries of swimwear.
Through the 1980s and 90s, string bikinis gained wider acceptance and became a beach and poolside staple.
Their scandalous reputation faded as even more extreme swimsuit styles emerged.
The Rise of Skimpy Swimwear
The introduction of the string bikini in the 1970s coincided with the sexual revolution and women’s liberation movements.
As society became more open to displays of skin and sexuality, swimsuit styles pushed new boundaries.
The string bikini emerged at a pivotal time when women were gaining more freedom over their bodies and choice of dress.
Lean, California beach figures popularized by the likes of Cheryl Tiegs showcased these daring new designs.
Key early string bikini styles like the Rio by swimwear brand Vixen and the Peek-a-Boo by Fredricks of Hollywood featured tiny triangles connected by slim strings.
These influential looks paved the way for string bikinis to gain wider acceptance beyond the counter-culture beach crowd.
By the 1980s string bikinis were no longer seen as quite so risqué or taboo. Pop culture and media embraced their sexy image, cementing their place as a lasting swimwear staple.
Sensual and Flattering Effects
The appeal of string bikinis is the sexy, barely-there look.
The lack of fabric provides maximum exposure to the sun for tanning purposes. Many women also like showing off their figures in these revealing designs.
The styling can highlight a woman’s curves and create an overall sensual effect. While they may seem risqué compared to average swimsuits, string bikinis give women the freedom to be daring and adventurous with their beachwear.
They allow for playful flirtation in the sun-drenched environment of pools, beaches, and tropical vacations where such swimsuits feel appropriate.
Complementing Body Types
An important aspect of the string bikini’s appeal is its ability to flatter and compliment certain body types.
For slender, toned figures, the tiny pieces help create the illusion of longer legs and a streamlined physique.
The adjustable strings allow creating proportions that balance and elongate the body’s frame. For curvier figures, adjustable ties and minimal fabric provide ways to enhance assets while camouflaging trouble spots.
A halter-style necktie on the bikini top gives a lift and showcases the bust. High-cut legs and low-rise bottoms make legs look mile-long while concealing tummies.
Tying at the hips emphasizes a woman’s natural waist. The overall skimpy look flatters athletic body types.
For petite women, the sheer fabric leaves more skin visible, lending a taller appearance. The versatility of string bikinis in both styling and coverage makes them uniquely capable of accentuating a wide range of body shapes.
Functionality and Wearability
Of course, the minimal coverage of string bikinis also necessitates caution for many wearers.
Bikinis with more fabric tend to offer greater support, containment, and coverage of private areas. The skimpy triangle tops may require frequent adjustment to avoid wardrobe malfunctions.
Sudden movements like running, rough waves, or waterslides can further test the limits of coverage.
Wearers must check frequently to ensure all bits are properly in place. The G-string backs of some string bikini bottoms leave the rear almost fully exposed. Sitting requires extra care to avoid overexposure.
Clever Design Features
Although string bikinis are designed with thin straps for a bare look, the straps serve important purposes.
Tying allows customizing the fit at bust, hips, and back to tailor each piece to the wearer’s body.
Straps across the back, neck, and hips provide anchoring points so the swimsuit stays on. Without these connectors, the tiny triangles would completely fall off.
The adjustable ties also help modify coverage and lift for the desired look.
Style and Personalization
String bikinis come in an array of colors, prints, and textures to suit each wearer’s personal style.
Bright solids and bold prints make a vibrant style statement. Earth tones and black create a more sultry effect.
Metallic fabrics add shine. Strings may also feature beads, charms, and hardware for extra embellishment.
Many tops offer removable padding for comfort and shape.
Premium bikinis use luxury details like gold accents and fine materials for an upscale look.
Mix and Match Styling Trends
There are endless options for creative mix-and-match style pairings with string bikini separates.
Contrasting bright, colorful tops with neutral bottoms is a popular look.
Pairing busy prints like florals with solids avoids clashing. Lace and crochet string bikini tops add interest when combined with plain bottoms.
High-waisted, retro-inspired bottoms balance skimpy triangle tops. Sporty athletic tops work with cheeky bottoms for a casual beach vibe.
Halter neck and front-tie tops provide extra lift and support. Jeweled accents or hardware on strings draw the eye.
Crisscross and cage-style strings offer more coverage while maintaining skin exposure.
There are no set rules – the interchangeable pieces allow finding a unique combination to flatter one’s figure and express personal taste.
While traditionally a women’s style, string bikinis have expanded to the men’s market as well.
Male versions feature a low-rise v-shaped front with string sides and a thong or g-string back.
The male cuts are generally more modest in size and coverage than women’s string bikinis. They cater to men who want a provocative yet flattering look for showing off their physique.
Sizing Tips for the Perfect Fit
Finding the right size string bikini is important for comfort, coverage, and support.
Tops should fit snugly without digging into the skin or gaping at the bust.
Bottoms should fully cover the front and back without sagging. Strings may require frequent tightening and adjusting to maintain the ideal fit.
Trying on multiple sizes is recommended, as swimsuits tend to fit differently than regular apparel.
Proper fit will lead to better performance through active use in the waves or pool.
Getting accurately measured and finding the best size string bikini takes some trial and error.
The most important measurement is across the fullest part of the bust to determine cup size. Bottom coverage varies, so hip measurement may be less crucial.
Tops should fit snugly but not dig in, allowing some gapping since less movement is tolerated. Bottoms should fully cover while standing, sitting, and moving since they can shift position.
Trying on multiple sizes is recommended – go up or down a size if pieces feel too loose or tight. The back tie strings allow tightening or loosening coverage as needed.
Focus on an overall look that feels secure and flattering; resist oversizing. Properly fitted string bikinis will feel more comfortable and functional than one may assume based on their revealing aesthetic.
Men’s String Bikini Styles and Designs
Male string bikinis come in various cuts tailored to the masculine physique.
The front pouch may feature an inner lining for support and enhancement. Side strings sit higher and closer to the hips for coverage compared to low-slung women’s ties.
The back side provides more coverage as well, with moderate rear exposure.
Thong variations offer more cheek, while brief cuts keep the look semi-modest. Some tops extend into a racerback for stability and a smooth athletic vibe suited for sporty beach activities.
Prints and colors tend to be more bold and graphic. While skimpier than traditional men’s swim briefs, men’s string bikinis balance exposure and function.
They allow showing off muscular definition while maintaining a masculine aesthetic.
The styles flatter without fully baring all like more radical male swimsuit designs.
The Bottom Line
String bikinis hold a unique place in swimsuit fashion. The style allows wearers to show off sensuality balanced with athleticism at beachside activities.
For many, the thrill of flaunting so little on the shoreline provides a sense of excitement and confidence.
While string bikinis require extra care and adjusting, their barely-there look continues captivating wearers around the globe.
They embody a sexy, free-spirited attitude that draws people to the beauty of fun in the sun.