The thong is a variation on the common item of clothing known as underwear. The primary difference between a thong and briefs is that lack of available coverage; rather than spanning the buttocks, the thong contains just one small strip of vertical cloth that at best covers up the fracture of rear end and often disappears into that fissure. Women wear thongs to feel sexy and create a cleaner look, while men enjoy looking at women wearing thongs because it reveals much more flesh than typical panties or bikinis.
Thongs as a utilitarian item of clothing have been worn for millennia among various indigenous peoples across the world. The 1939 New York World's Fair has been attributed as the starting point for the thong as an item of fashion in connection with a mayoral order for New York's strippers to cover up a little for all the tourists. Fashion designer Rudi Gernreich is considered the actual inventor of the thong that hit the beaches of Brazil in 1974.
Underwear unofficially becomes a thong when the material that makes up the rear is no more than 3 inches across. When the material is just a piece of string, most people still refer to this as a thong, though technically this makes it a G-string. Although it is not necessarily wrong to call a G-string a thong, the fashion industry tends to make a distinction between them.
There are actually several different types of thongs. The most common type of thong is a piece of material has 2 or 3 inches of material in various styles. The V-string is similar to a G-string, but connects two strings from the top to the G-string itself. A T-back is shaped like a T. A C-string actually contains no material around the waist and is secured by an internal structure; this type of does away with tan lines except through the crotch area.
In addition to drawing the attention of men, thongs do present several viable benefits over traditional underwear designs. One of the most commonly voiced benefits by women is that wearing a thong creates a cleaner fashion look when wearing tight pants or skirts because of the absence of visible panty lines. Another benefit is the reduction of the need to constantly adjust panties that have uncomfortably ridden up. Thong bikinis reduce unwanted tan lines. Some women even prefer thongs because they take up less storage space than traditional panties.
Doctors advise against wearing thongs more than one day in a row, even more than six hours at a time, without washing them because of the potential for bacterial infections, especially during the menstrual cycle. Gynecologists also recommend that thongs be tossed aside after four to five months use and that women should avoid overnight sleeping in them.
The wearing of thongs in public places is not legal in many places, even on some public beaches, because they are considered a violation of the public nudity laws. For this reason, it is wise to always check with local residents regarding the legal propriety of wearing a thong even on a public beach. In most municipalities, it is against the law to wear a thong in a public venue like a mall or grocery store.
Thongs have been a source of controversy in America since they began becoming popular in the 1990s. A fashion statement know as the Whale Tail, in which women reveal they are wearing thongs beneath their low-rise jeans, has been a source of much contention on high school and college campuses. Perhaps the greatest controversy of recent years has been the decision by the Abercrombie and Fitch to market thongs to girls as young as 9 or 10.