A thong is a staple in the underwear drawer for its ability to disappear under clothes. This slim-cut piece of fabric provides minimal rear coverage, making it the go-to for avoiding panty lines even underneath tighter outfits.
So, what is a thong? Beyond their basic description, they serve a functional purpose. Whether it’s under a pair of white linen trousers or a bodycon dress, it stands as a solution for a smooth, line-free look. Their growing variety and adaptability have made them an indispensable part of contemporary fashion, catering to a myriad of styles and preferences.
Subset CEO Cayla O’Connell Davis explains, “Thongs differ substantially from the majority of underwear styles on the market due to their unique design in the back. They are typically characterized by a thin strip of fabric that runs between the cheeks, serving to eliminate visible panty lines and thereby making thongs a popular choice under form-fitting clothing.”
In the next sections, we’ll break down the varieties and tips for wearing thongs comfortably because, let’s face it, the right fit is everything when it comes to this skimpy piece of cloth. From the barely-there G-string to wider-backed cuts, understanding how to choose and wear, it can elevate your wardrobe options and ensure you feel good in whatever you decide to throw on.
Meet the experts:
Cayla O’Connell Davis is the co-founder and CEO of Subset. Originally launched in 2018 as Knickey, the brand creates sustainable innerwear designed for daily wear. Its range includes thongs, hipsters, bikinis, briefs, and more, all made using low-impact fabrics and ethical manufacturing.
Types of Thongs
The traditional thong remains the quintessential style for daily wear, providing essential coverage while remaining discreet under most clothing. Its familiar ‘Y’ shaped back makes it a versatile option for those venturing into the world of minimal coverage undergarments.
Best for: A seamless look with everyday comfort.
G-strings take minimalism a step further, paring down the fabric to a bare minimum. A thin waistband and a small triangular piece of cloth allow for wear under form-fitting dresses or trousers without any hint of a line, making them a staple for sleek silhouettes.
Best for: Outfits where traditional underwear might be noticeable.
T-backs are close relatives of the G-string, distinguished by their rear strap configuration that provides a no-show finish without sacrificing hold or comfort. This style is compatible with low-rise bottoms, ensuring the back strap sits below the waistline of pants or skirts.
Best for: Low-rise jeans and pants where a traditional waistband could peek out.
V-strings feature a unique design where the waistband forms a “V” as it meets the rear fabric, offering a flattering fit that’s both functional and a touch more decorative than its G-string counterpart.
Best for: Bodycon dresses and slinky fabrics that demand a smooth rear contour.
Cheeky thongs offer a playful balance, giving more coverage than a traditional thong but less than a bikini. The back cut scoops under the cheeks, enhancing shape while maintaining the line-minimizing benefits.
Best for: Those seeking comfort with a hint of flirty style.
High-waisted thongs combine the benefits of a traditional thong with a nod to vintage fashion. Sitting above the natural waistline, this style smooths the midsection while preventing panty lines, ideal for those high-rise fashion moments.
Best for: High-waisted skirts and pants, providing a smooth and stylish foundation.
Thongs play a crucial role in contemporary fashion by offering a solution to wearers who prefer close-fitting clothing. Their primary function is to prevent the appearance of panty lines, which is essential for maintaining the smooth outline that modern styles often demand. While the undergarment itself is fundamentally practical, they’ve also emerged as a statement piece. Exposed thong straps have become a trend, deliberately shown above the waistline of pants or skirts as a fashion statement reflecting the wearer’s boldness and flair.
“Thongs are great for everyday wear, or special occasions when the outfit necessitates. They’re perfect under tight-fitting garments like yoga pants or a bias-cut silk dress, where panty lines might be a concern, as well as under light-colored fabrics. Ultimately, thongs are the most versatile style in the underwear arsenal and can be a comfortable everyday option or a confidence-boosting choice for special occasions,” O’Connell Davis shares.
Materials And Comfort
The comfort of a thong hinges on the right choice of material and thoughtful design. Breathable cotton, luxurious lace, and stretchy synthetic fabrics cater to different needs, from everyday wear to special occasions. Advances in fabric technology and garment design have also improved the wearability of the undergarment, such as tagless designs and flat seams that prevent chafing.
In terms of construction, the focus is on a snug fit without constriction and enough coverage where it counts. The latest styles can feature laser-cut edges or adhesive instead of traditional seams, offering an experience so smooth, they’re almost like a second skin.
Material composition significantly impacts comfort and durability in thongs, but also in all underwear styles. Underwear is commonly made from synthetic materials that trap moisture, don’t breathe, and foster bacterial growth,” O’Connell Davis tells us. She continues, “While lace may add a touch of interest to a thong, it can be delicate, inflexible, hard to wash, and create unwanted irritation.”
Meanwhile, the selection process should consider the occasion, desired comfort level, and the outer garments it will be paired with. The right material and design can make a significant difference, providing both confidence and comfort.
Care and Maintenance
For the longevity and hygiene of underwear, proper washing and maintenance are key. Hand wash thongs with a mild detergent or opt for the delicate cycle in a mesh lingerie bag to prevent snags and stretching. Avoid bleach and fabric softeners, as these can break down the fabric elasticity over time.
After washing, air-dry the undergarments by laying them flat on a clean towel or hanging them up to dry, which helps maintain their shape and fit. Replace your thongs every six months to a year, depending on their condition and frequency of use, to ensure support and hygiene.
Finding The Right Fit
The key to comfort lies in the correct sizing; it should conform to the body seamlessly, with no discomfort. Accurate measurements are essential—consult size charts to ensure a precise fit. Material choices vary by occasion: breathable fabrics for daily use, moisture-wicking for exercise, and finer materials for special attire. Also, look for reputable brands that prioritize construction and material quality, often reflected in customer feedback and brand reputation.
“The comfort and functionality of low-rise, mid-rise, and high-rise thongs vary based on both personal preference and their accompanying outfit pairing. Low-rise thongs sit lower on the hip, making them ideal for hip-hugging garments,” O’Connell Davis notes. “Mid-rise thongs offer a balanced fit, while high-rise thongs provide more coverage in the front and back and can often feel more substantial as a result. Generally, matching the rise of your thong to the rise of your pants or whatever you are wearing over them will result in a more comfortable fit. “