This Controversial Swimwear Trend You'll See On Every Beach This Summer

Anyone who's brave enough to take on the thong swimwear trend 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 cossie style that’ll you’ll see on just about every beach, TV program and Instagram feed. Why?

"Thong swimwear has always been popular in markets such as Brazil, Colombia and Italy,” explains swimwear expert Lily Russo. "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.”


(Image credit: @jeannine.roxas)

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.

Still, Russo believes many of us are still too tentative to try it—myself included. What is different from last year, however, is the style's sudden omnipresence on the high street. The trend is about to go mainstream, so with Russo's help, I’ve decoded how to make thong swimwear work in real life.

Keep scrolling for our top tips on how to wear the thong swimwear trend. Then, finally, shop our edit of the best thong swimwear around.

1. Fake It

"No one feels confident during their first day on the beach,” admits Russo. "Chances are, it's been a year since you were last there, which is why I always recommend getting a spray tan before you head off. Even a subtle glow will make you feel more at ease in a bikini or swimsuit.” 


(Image credit: @emmahoareau)

2. 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.” 


(Image credit: @emrata)

3. Pack a Back-Up

"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.”


(Image credit: @amaka.hamelijnck)

4. 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.”


(Image credit: @claire_most)

5. Floss Isn't Your Only Option

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

Shop Thong Swimwear

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Maxine Eggenberger
Deputy Editor

Maxine Eggenberger is Who What Wear UK’s deputy editor and has over thirteen years of experience in fashion journalism. She been creating engaging and elevated style content specifically 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, leads the editorial team in their SEO strategy and keyword planning, works closely with the beauty team on content initiatives, represents the brand at industry events, and regularly contributes to social media, including her own Who What Wear UK TikTok franchise, French Style Fridays. Previously, Maxine appeared on ITV's This Morning 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 at Look magazine, she was offered a position on the brand's fashion desk. She accepted, leaving university a year early in the process. Her passion and natural talent for writing and styling meant she swiftly rose through the ranks to become the title's fashion news and commercial content editor, with a stint as’s fashion and beauty writer along the way. She later served as Look’s acting Editor in Chief, overseeing both print and digital, before embarking on a successful freelance career, working with Grazia, The Pool, and Marie Claire amongst others.

Maxine is based remotely from her countryside home near Edinburgh where she spends her downtime renovating her house, walking her dogs, hosting friends and trying to master the art of making Old Fashioned cocktails.