5 Tips for Wearing Thong Swimwear in Real Life

Anyone who's brave enough to take on the thong swimwear trend that emerged last summer has my admiration. Thong swimwear first came onto the fashion scene in the ’80s, but over the course of the last year, it’s become a common style that you’ll see on just about every beach, TV show (watch two seconds of Lindsay Lohan's Beach Club and you'll see what I mean), and Instagram feed. Why?

"Thong swimwear has always been popular in markets such as Brazil, Colombia, and Italy,” explains Lily Russo, co-founder and creative director at Beach Flamingo. "They’re countries where people spend the most time on the beach, so for many women, getting the least tan lines is top on their list. However, they’ve been given more visibility through social media by the likes of the Kardashians and Emily Ratajkowski. As such, they have gained popularity.”

Indeed, like so many trends, thong swimwear was reborn thanks to Instagram, and it seems the shops are preparing for it to be in demand for high summer. While Beach Flamingo hasn’t reported a particular increase in sales of thong swimwear just yet, Lily predicts this is because many of us are still too tentative to try it—myself included. The trend is about to go mainstream, so with Lily's help, I’ve decoded how to make thong swimwear work in real life.

Keep scrolling for our top tips, followed by a serving of A-list inspiration. Then, finally, shop our edit of the best thong swimwear around.

Consider a one-piece.

"While there’s no denying that thong bikinis are easier to come by than one-piece iterations, they do exist. Keeping your top half covered up will make you feel less on show or vulnerable as you initially try the thong look.” 

Pack a backup.

"For your first thong swimwear foray, why not take a spare pair of bottoms with you? That way, should you not be feeling them, you can make the switch and carry on with your day. That, or give them a test run at your hotel pool where you can easily head back to your room to change before you venture to beaches further afield.”

Use straps to your advantage.

"If you’re worried about not having enough support, look for bikini bottoms with thicker waist straps. They’re particularly helpful if you’re less confident about your stomach area.”

Floss isn't your only option.

"Thongs are usually associated with string-like straps, but you can choose another type that covers a little more so that you feel comfortable and will still show off your peachy bum.”


From Emily Ratajkowski to countless Victoria’s Secret Angels, thongs have fast become the celeb swimwear of choice. 

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Bella Hadid takes to the ocean with three thong-bikini friends in tow. 

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Naomi Shimada takes accessorizing to the next level by coordinating her thong bikini with her summer hat. 

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Candice Swanepoel proves thong swimwear can look chic in Tropic of C's polka-dot bikini. 

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Felicity Hayward shows us how to do printed thong briefs. 

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Emily Ratajkowski helped kick-start the thong swimwear trend last summer. 

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Leomie Anderson puts her spin on the trend with a neon Brazilian-cut thong bikini. 


This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK. Now, let's see the other swimwear trends that will be popular this year.

Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over twelve years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content for Who What Wear UK since 2018, covering runway reports, emerging trends, long-form features, self-styled shopping stories, and columns, including her edit of the best new-in buys. She ensures the highest editorial standards are met across the site, works closely with influencer talent on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media. Previously, Maxine appeared on TV in her own fashion segment and has interviewed countless celebrities—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o. 

Prior to Who What Wear UK, Maxine’s career began when, after completing her first-ever internship, she was offered a position on the Look magazine fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. She went on to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as InStyle.co.uk’s fashion writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others. Maxine works remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh.