Last year, as the fashion world time-traveled to the early 2000s, visible thongs, also known as whale tails, started popping up everywhere from street style to the runways. While, over the course of 2021, the once-controversial trend received multiple stamps of approval — including from celebrities like Bella Hadid, Jennifer Lopez, and Beyoncé — this year, a new look emerged: peeking boxers.
The spring 2022 runways were filled with low-rise jeans and mini skirts that hung so low that you could clearly see boxer-like shorts peek through. Take, for example, the viral Miu Miu spring 2022 mini skirts that were accompanied by underwear waistbands featuring the brand's logo. The same went for Collina Strada’s lineup, which included equally tiny skirts, worn over visible white boxers and paired with baby tees. Then, there was Coach, which showed boxers worn with midi wide-leg jeans.
From the exposed lingerie of the '80s to bralettes worn as tops at festival fashion's heyday in the 2010s, visible underwear has long been a part of fashion’s lexicon. Over the past few years, the trend has returned full force as red carpets have returned, ushering in an era of see-through naked dresses that allow for fancy lingerie to steal the spotlight. See: Zoe Kravitz’s 2021 Met Gala dress by Saint Laurent worn over a bedazzled G-string and Megan Fox’s 2021 MTV VMAs look made up of a corseted dress and a nude thong.
But, this year, the skimpy G-strings and thongs have been replaced by more comfortable alternatives like bloomers, high-waisted granny knickers, and boxer-style shorts. In turn, designers used the opportunity to unveil underwear that provides more coverage for those who have reservations about the shrinking skirts and baggy jeans that drop so low, they threaten to expose a lot more than may be deemed appropriate for Sunday brunch.
Because the reality is that, while we emerged from lockdowns ready to shed lockdown layers and bare it all — cue the return of the party dress and going-out tops — some were not so ready to leave the comfort of pyjamas, loungewear, and baggy underwear for skimpy dresses and visible thongs. This is happening at the same time as gender lines in fashion are blurring.
While low-rise continues to, well, rise in popularity, the peeking boxers trend is one way to embrace its arrival without baring it all.