G-strings… remember them? They were an essential part of the noughties wardrobe—a vital-yet-teeny-tiny pillar of the support system in which our low-slung (probably laced-up) jeans could thrive, our handkerchief tops could be cut high to reveal plenty of stomach and hip, and our tight-fitting double-mesh dresses from Morgan could be as slinky as possible. The all-important thong rose to fashion fame partly out of necessity but it was also a signifier of coolness—so much so that an exposed one (aka a whale tail, as it was coined back then) was something to be proud of. The look was so desirable that key lingerie brands such as Gossard even created versions with little diamanté trims for the very purpose of them being seen.
It was a raunchy time for celebrity style—Christina Aguileira’s chaps, Britney Spears’s crystal bodysuits and the many see-through dresses of British glamour girls—and the look did filter into the mainstream, albeit a slightly softer incarnation. But then the inevitable trend-buck came and lingerie span a 180 to revert back to bigger pants and more practical, comfortable options. To this day, VPLs are still not the sacrilegious faux pas they once were, and our butts are all the happier for it.
But something unusual is afoot in the world of fashion—it looks like G-strings are back on the horizon, in myriad forms and already being adopted by A-listers, high fashion designers and influencers alike. Except this time there’s a significant difference: Many of the thongs we’ve noticed around the internet are actually attached to the clothes featured. It’s like a sassy sibling to cut-out dresses, only you’ll find the look across trousers, skirts and jeans too. It seems to be the absolute antithesis of the uniform we’ve come to adopt over the past year (trackies, puffer, chunky boots) but perhaps that’s the very reason this small tweak is taking off big-time.
It’s a design detail that certainly divides opinion, but with high-profile brands such as Givenchy and Versace backing the look for spring/summer 2021, and the idea already cropping up on our IG feeds, it would appear that stylish women across the globe are willing to give it a go. Hailey Bieber and Dua Lipa are two notable fans, but this isn’t a trend reserved only for the rich and famous. Fashion insiders are keen to go there too—take Camille Charriere’s very elegant option of string-detailed trousers from Nensi Dojaka with a ribbed knit and Chanel bag. This particular pair of pants signals the fact that are even more iterations are actually coming through from up-and-coming or cult-followed indie brands such as Surface TV, Dion Lee and Surpriya Lele, meaning the trend is reaching far and wide when it comes to its potential adopters.
While I personally find myself recoiling away from the look, Lauren Eggertson, Who What Wear’s senior fashion editor in the US, has been charting its rise for a few months now and feels compelled to experiment. “I love any trend that really pushes the boundaries and gets people talking, therefore I am all about this new thong movement,” she tells me. “I will admit I was a little bit shocked to see how quickly it manifested amongst the influencer and celebrity crowd. This trend really is just a small detail tacked onto a garment, but it’s one that speaks volumes, and that’s why I love it.”
When we crowdsourced a response from our followers on Instagram last week, over 2000 readers responded with their initials thoughts on this controversial trend. The verdict wasn’t entirely clear-cut but an overwhelming 89% were not for the idea this spring.]
Should you be one of the 11% who are interested, Lauren has some styling advice for you: “I really think it will come down to the garment. I love the idea of wearing a dress with this trend incorporated into it for a more formal occasion like Dua Lipa, but I also fancy a casual pant version with a baby tee and Converse.”
Scroll to see how the trend is shaping up for 2021, but keep going for a trip down memory lane to see how the look was worn back in the noughties.
How the G-String Trend Looks in 2021
Kim Kardashian wearing a thong-detailed dress from Givenchy, fashioned by its new creative director, Matthew Williams.
For spring/summer 2021 Versace’s beachy collection sliced up their black dresses and skirts to feature cut-out sides.
Hailey Baldwin was onto this trend perhaps before the rest of the world, wearing this naughty-nice pink gown to the Met Gala in 2019.
Dua Lipa is the most recent star to hop aboard the thong train, choosing this “naked” black dress for a recent holiday.
Model Bella Coheen takes a matchy-matchy approach with her triangle top.
We’ve noticed a correlating off-shoot of this trend for wearing high-cut bodysuits or high-cut knickers with low-slung bottoms. Model Duckie Thot is often first onto a trend, so consider this a heads up.
This all-leather look from Dion Lee’s S/S 21 collection manages to be casual and yet entirely provocative all at once.
Here’s Hailey again, this time trying out a different idea for size—what better way to make a baggy tracksuit stand out, hey?
Lizzo is the queen of many things, but she’s also consistently leading the way for radical fashion trends. Her black criss-cross number is the kind of cut-out style dress I’ve seen more and more of over the past few months.
Actress Alexa Demie playing peekboo in a snakeprint number back in 2019.
What the Thong Trend Was Like in the Noughties
Halle Berry’s criss-crossed pink and red mini was the perfect look-at-me choice for an event like the MTV Movie Awards. Classic 2000s.
Britney’s hip-grazing trousers often featured little cut-out details like this.
Ah, the halcyon days of Jordan and Peter! Many a star opted for see-through frocks around this time—it was a surefire way to get noticed, and a perfect canvas for a trending thong.
It’s 2002 and Bai Ling is wearing all the hallmarks of a noughties outfit, including the #1 shoe choice, cowboy boots.
Tara Palmer Tomkinson’s It girl ensembles always left an impact.
Model Patricia Clauson promoting Gossard’s decorative G-string collection. And a fairly clear reminder of how far we’ve come in terms of PR stunts and advertising since 2005…
Kate Hudson’s see-through low-cut dress certainly required minimal underpinnings. This is from 2005 but I could imagine this on the red carpet’s of tomorrow.
Rihanna allowing that red lace to do all the talking for this outfit in 2005—a year in which this trend appears to reach its peak.
Next up, see more of the year’s top (and easier) trends here.
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear
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