Thong Swimsuits Are Headed For Butts Near You

Photo: Patrick Demarchelier
It may be too early to declare a favorite celebrity vacation squad of the summer, but so far Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Hailey Baldwin have everyone — even Bradley Cooper’s gloriously motley crew — beat in one department, and that’s dress code.
Their answer to the mandatory family vacation T-shirt? Thong bikinis, of course. The trio turned heads during a yacht trip earlier this summer, posing on jet skis in cheeky numbers that scrapped last year’s retro, twee swimwear trend in favor of something decidedly more Baywatch. The look: high-sitting, hip-bone-revealing suits that limit butt coverage to a few inches of fabric (and varying degrees of wedgie).
Kendall and Bella aren't the only It girls to embrace the barely-there bikini bottom, either. Emily Ratajkowski’s Instagram is a veritable gallery of beach bum. We’ve seen the sun-kissed posteriors of every single Kardashian-Jenner sister, which is only fitting since they’re pioneers of both curve-accentuating fashion and the selfie pose (arched back, booty to cam) that wears it best. Kate Hudson, Rihanna, Chrissy Teigen, Serena Williams, and Ireland Baldwin have all let us see that thong, too. Even Sisqo has taken note of the trend and, earlier this week, released a remake of his 1999 panty anthem, “Thong Song.”
But before collectively gasping over a scantily-clad tush, let’s remember that the annals of the thong bikini date back to the ‘70s. The style is generally attributed to designer Rudi Gernreich — that rascal — who also created other teeny-tiny trailblazers like the monokini and the pubikini. Models Jerry Hall and Lisa Taylor sported Gernreich’s scandalous designs for Vogue in 1975, but the style caught more traction on the beaches of Brazil — until Baywatch’s plunging one pieces recaptured America’s attention.
Is this year’s Baywatch revival movie to thank for the beach thong’s return? My money’s on no, though Kendall and Kylie’s just-launched swim collection for Revolve boasts a very Pamela Anderson-reminiscent red suit.
Some considerations as you shop: The look is as much about the elongating, deep-V front as it is about the butt stuff, so if you’re not into revealing pubic hair, the Brazilian-inspired look requires a wax to match. On the other hand, for women with ample booty like myself, high-sitting straps feel more flattering and freeing than the butcher’s twine that is ‘90s love-handle-hugging-low riders. But it’s not an all-or-nothing trend: I’m currently writing this from a beach (call it research), and while few women are G-string-clad, I’m definitely seeing more tuchus than I did this time last year.
Are you ready to take the plunge? Scroll through these epic beach thong moments to get inspired.