Maybe you're looking for the perfect panties to wear with a clingy new dress, or perhaps you're searching for different underwear styles for a sweet sexy look to debut on a special night. But when you first start shopping, the variety can be overwhelming.
Thong. G-string. V-string. C-string. Tanga. Cheeky. What are they and what's the difference?
If you're overwhelmed by the sheer number of sheer panty styles available, we’ve got your back—and your backside. All-G strings are thongs, but not all thongs are G-strings.
Still have questions? Read on because we're about to demystify all-thing-thongs for you.
The Wide World of Thongs
In broadest terms, a thong is any style of underwear that has front coverage connected to minimal back coverage. If it’s barely there in the back, it’s a thong.
From just a hint of cheek to barely-there-at-all, thongs come in a wide variety of styles and coverage. Although the shapes and cuts can blur together, there are some distinctions.
Traditional Thong – This is the basic thong. It features discreet front coverage, butt-cheek exposing back coverage, and is held together with a modest band of fabric. Thongs can also come in different types of fabric such as a lace thong.
G-String – Like a traditional lingerie thong, the G-string thong, or g string underwear, has fairly discrete front coverage. However, this style of thong features maximum butt-cheek exposure—there’s usually only a small triangular piece of soft fabric material at the cleft of the butt. In some cases, there may be nothing beyond the string. The waistband on a G-string undergarment is also very thin and minimalist, usually only a string—hence the “string” in the name – so no visible panty line is shown. Nobody really agrees on where the “G” comes from, although some guess that it comes from “groin.”
Which is right for you? It all depends on your personal comfort.
Why and When to Wear a G String vs Thong
The choice to wear a thong is yours alone. For some women, thongs are the only choice. For others, thongs are never comfortable. And for many, wearing a thong depends on their overall outfit and goal.
Next, we’ll take a closer look at how thongs and G-strings stack up in three key categories.
Comfort – For many women, the minimalist feeling of a thong is preferable to a wider coverage panty. Comfortable, daily-wear thongs are often made of cotton or microfiber cloth for breathability and durability. If you don’t love the feeling of an everyday thong, it might be because you haven’t found the correct fit or cut yet. Always choose a thong that is secure enough to provide front coverage without being so tight that it presses into your skin. While many find this narrow piece of cloth to be more comfortable than their flossy G string counterparts, others find that the minimal fabric of the G string leads to less movement and chaffing.
Allure – Thongs are indubitably sexy, leaving just a little to the imagination. Many women choose a thong when their partner is going to get a peek beneath their clothing. These sexiest of thongs are often made of lace, satin, silk, or mesh. Here, the choice between a thong and a G string all comes down to the undie that makes you feel powerful and positively alluring. Sexy thongs can range from broader coverage to almost nothing at all. No matter your choice, they’ll look stunning with a coordinating bra.
No VPL – Topping the reasons that a woman chooses a thong is how invisible they look beneath clothing. Going without underwear at all can be distressing for many women but when a larger coverage panty scrunches up beneath clothing it can be distracting, even if nobody else notices (although, sadly, they probably will). Visible panty lines (or VPL) can ruin any look from loungewear to athleisure to businesswear to clubwear. In this category, G strings have the edge thanks to their lack of fabric—but a nude thong can also reduce the dreaded VPL.
Other Thong Styles
While the most popular thongs are the traditional and the G-string styles, a plethora of other thongs exist:
V-String – The V-string is very similar to the G-string. However, with this style, the string waistband dips down between the top of the butt-cheeks, creating a distinct “V” in the back.
Cheekies – Cheekies are the most modest of thongs, sort of a training thong. With broad front coverage, a wide waistband, and some butt-cheek coverage, they exist on the line between bikini-style panties and more risque thongs like the G-string. They can either be plain or are often accented with lace for a flirty appearance.
Tanga – Much like the cheeky, a tanga has modest front coverage, a wide waistband, and a degree of backside coverage—sometimes more than the cheeky. While a cheeky might reveal the lower half of the buttocks, a tanga reveals the upper half.
Brazilians or Rios – A close cousin to both the cheeky and the tanga, Brazilians (also called Brazilian bikinis or Rios) are also on the high-coverage side of the thong spectrum. Featuring a wider waistband and modest front coverage, they get smaller and smaller towards the back. They might be little more than a string at the very back.
C-strings – On the opposite side of the thong spectrum from cheekies, tangas, and Brazilians is the C-string. In fact, a C-string is the most minimal underwear available (after adhesive underwear, that is). Without a waistband at all, a C-string is literally a little structured “C” of fabric that fits across your genitals and swoops between your cheeks.
T-strings – Basically a C-string with only a teensy waistband connecting from front to back, a T-string is the go-to option for anybody who wants that 90’s throwback undies-as-accessories look.1
Where Did All These Thongs Come From?
Thongs aren’t new. In fact, they have quite a long and illustrious past.
Technically, certain cuts of loincloths—one of the earliest recorded garments—could have qualified as thongs.2 But according to undie lore, the first sexy version of the thong originated in 1939 when New York City’s Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia decreed that all nude dancers had to be covered during the World Fair.3
With this diverse family tree connecting the dawn of civilization to the 1930s NYC burlesque club scene, today’s thongs really began their ascent to popularity beginning in the 1970s as bikinis on the beaches of Europe. By the 1980s, thongs were the go-to exercise choice of the Jazzercise set. Since that time, thongs have become a major fashion statement and everyday wardrobe staple, appearing in songs, movies, and celebrity fashion.
Today, it is estimated that more than one-fifth of women between the ages of 17 and 35 wear a thong every day.4
Ready to participate in this lauded tradition? Let’s dive in.
How To Buy A Quality Thong
Knowing how to tell quality from junk is important when purchasing clothing, but especially undergarments. It can be tempting to grab a cheap option—after all, a thong is so so teensy. But think twice before putting your money into something made without care.
Not only will it be less comfortable and attractive, but it will also likely fall apart after only a few wearings.
What to Look For In Quality Undergarments
When choosing a thong, opt for details like:
- Firm elastic at the waistband and leg openings
- Breathable fabric for the part of the undie that falls between your legs
- Uniformly sewn seams without loose threads
- High-quality fabrics like hand-cut lace and organic cotton
- Finely finish details
- Sustainable and Fair Trade production practices
How to Care For Your Fine Thongs and G-Strings
Sure, you could toss your thongs and G-strings into the laundry with your jeans and t-shirts, but they won’t last long with that level of disregard. While you don’t need to baby your undies, you should observe certain basic care standards for them:
Wash – While hand-washing in cool water is the best method to clean your undergarments, we understand that this isn’t always feasible. If you do machine wash your undies, always opt for the Delicates setting on your washer, utilize a gentle detergent, place your intimates in a mesh bag to keep them from snagging on rougher clothing, and never, ever wring them out.5
Dry – Line drying is ideal for delicate thong fabrics. Unlike thicker clothing, your favorite boudoir garments will dry quickly. If you don’t have access to an outdoor line, consider purchasing a small dryer rack for your intimates.
Store – While tempting to toss all lingerie into a heap in your top drawer, you can extend the life of the fabrics and elastic by placing them flat or gently folded.
Along with knowing how to care for your lingerie, it is also important to understand how long your intimates will last before it’s time to toss them and get a new pair. Understanding how long you should keep underwear in your clothing rotation is essential for daily hygiene and overall health.
Get Cheeky with Gooseberry
Gooseberry Intimates are the pinnacle of panties from traditional thongs to sexy, lacy G-strings. Want to start off slow with full coverage while showing just a hint of cheek? Check out our Muse high waist panty. Ready to go bold and barely there? Try the Full on Glam Thong in daring red. Then, complete your set with a stylish teddy or bralette.
We put creativity, quality, and sustainability into every thong in our shop. Whether you’re searching for a demure daytime look or a dazzling date style, all our thongs look and feel luxurious.
- L’Officiel. Why Do We Keep Returning To The ‘90s Whale Tail Trend? https://www.lofficielusa.com/fashion/90s-whale-tail-trend-exposed-thong
History Extra. From Loincloths to Corsets. https://www.historyextra.com/period/ancient-egypt/from-loincloths-to-corsets-a-brief-history-of-underwear-with-horrible-histories-greg-jenner/
ThoughtCo. The Thong. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-thong-199254
Statista. Frequency At Which Women Wear Thongs By Age. https://www.statista.com/statistics/697894/frequency-at-which-women-wear-thongs-by-age-us/#:~:text=Almost%20a%20fifth%20of%20U.S.,women%20in%20the%20United%20States.
The Spruce. How to Wash Underwear and Lingerie. https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-wash-lingerie-and-shapewear-2145796