A brief history of the G String – let’s get to the bottom of the story

April 27, 2020

A brief history of the G String – let’s get to the bottom of the story

Dental floss, scanty panty, thong, string pants, gadget, g-banger, tanga-- the list goes on. After doing a bit of hilarious research, I can now tell you there are literally thousands of other names for the sexiest of underwear (most of which cannot be repeated here). Also, my targeted ads and browser history are really never going to be the same.

Feel free to indulge us and play the ‘Thong Song’ on repeat as you read.

The G String is actually one of the earliest types of human clothing (ok, it was a loincloth, but really similar). It was worn mostly by men, possibly as far back as 75,000 years ago, likely resulting in a very different look from Kendall Jenner's 2017 Met Gala dress.

Weirdly, no one actually knows for sure what the G stands for or where it came from. Though some people say it might be ‘groin,’ so let’s move on quickly from that. 

The G String’s cheeky reappearance in the 1930s

New York City lore tells us that the G String exists now because of the 1939 World’s Fair.  Apparently, NYC Mayor Fiorello La Guardia was worried that all the international tourists flocking to the city would be scandalised by New York’s fully nude strippers. So, the ladies got together and created their grand solution: a tiny strip of cloth to cover up just the crucial bits and so they were able to keep flaunting what their mama gave them, without technically disobeying the new laws.

Keep in mind, this was at a time when normal underwear for women were puffy, cotton, knee-length bloomers.

The G String was exclusive to strippers until designer Rudi Gernreich famously invented the thong swimsuit in the 70s, a time when women were being encouraged to explore their sexual side and break through the taboo.

Fast forward to the 1980s

As fashions started to demand tighter and tighter pants, women started to consider VPL (that’s ‘visible panty line’ for those of you born after the year 2000). The 1980s were all about tight tight tight—lycra and spandex that showed off those gym bodies. Basically, women needed underwear that could stay invisible under their hot pink gym leggings.   

Frederick Mellinger, founder of the famous undies brand Frederick's of Hollywood, introduced the G String to the masses, marketing it as the Scanty Panty. It first came out as more of a sex toy, alongside the crotchless and edible undies, so not exactly mainstream. (Unless you generally wear crotchless or edible underwear under your everyday jeans-- in which case, you do you, girl).

Cher flashed her cheeks onstage in the late 80s, but it actually wasn’t a performer who made them go mainstream- it was an American White House intern in the 90s.

How Monica Lewinsky brought G Strings and thongs to the world

Remember how US President Clinton got impeached for lying about an affair with his intern? (if you don’t, its ok—that’s pretty much it). Well according to reports at the time, it all allegedly started when she flashed the straps of her G String, which were showing above her trousers, hidden under her jacket.

People went crazy.

Enter "The Thong Song" by American R’n’B star Sisqó—which peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100.

(Thought you’d escaped it? This is for you.)

"She had dumps like a truck, truck, truck/Thighs like what, what, what/All night long/Let me see that thong"

And now you'll definitely have that song in your head for the rest of the day. #sorrynotsorry

G Strings, celebs, and the 2000s

As any good millennial will tell you, those G String straps were pretty much the reason low rise jeans came back into fashion.

Remember the whale tail? Famously flaunted by celebs like Christina Aguilera, Victoria Beckham, Mariah Carey, Paris Hilton, and Britney Spears. They were even spotted on the red carpet. You knew it was a really fancy one if it had diamanté-covered straps. (Just me?)

Either way, by 2003, the G String was the fastest growing segment of women's underwear, and "full-bottomed" underwear were almost obsolete.

Then in 2015, the New York Times reported that thong sales were down 7% and fuller coverage underwear were making their comeback.

Nowadays, there’s room for all the different cuts—but our three faves are always going to be our G String, Boyleg and Brief.

Now that you know more about G Strings than you ever thought you would, feel free to head on over to our Insta and tell us if you ever sported the G String above the jeans look.

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