Thongs have been an active part of lingerie for women since the Wild West. While thongs can be traced back for centuries, they were originally a concept to keep male genitalia confined as women did not start wearing true underwear until the Victorian age.

A rise in saloons, dance halls and dance halls girls came along with the birth of boom towns. Corsets were often attached to a g-string version of the thong in order to keep the bottom edges of the corset from rolling up. Thongs evolved to become an essential part of the female wardrobe. There are four basic types of thongs: the g-string, the t-back, the v-string and the c-string. All of these have variations on the original design, but the core of the garment will still be one of these basic formats.


A g-string has a piece of fabric to cover the front of the female anatomy. This fabric is attached to an elastic strip that connects it to the back of the waistband, fitting comfortably between the buttocks. This form of thong has also been referred to as the Rio thong due to its popularity achieved along Rio’s beaches.

G-strings can be adorned with beading or ruffles to change the appearance of the simplistic garment to suit the occasion or the wearer’s fancy. The g-string, as with all thongs, can be worn as lingerie or swimwear.


The t-back possesses waistband ties at each hip, and it’s favored more for bikini looks than lingerie. Yet, it’s still included in lingerie designs. T-backs have fabric covering the front, and they use a thin strip of fabric, not elastic, to connect to the back of the waistband. The t-back is adorned in a “diaper” fashion, fitting the garment between the legs and then tying the waistband on each side.


The v-string is a variation of the g-string. The v-string possesses a split piece of elastic in the back (looks like a “v”) to attach to the waistband. In theory, this allows for greater movement without displacing the elastic strip that rests between the buttocks. It also keeps the waistband from shifting.


C-strings are the “strapless” version of the thong. C-strings are similar to g-strings in that they cover the front with a piece of fabric, and a thin strip fits between the buttocks. However, there is not a waistband to support the position of the front and back. An internal frame has been designed to remove the necessity of a waistband, yet still keep the garment in place.

References and Resources

The Clothing Dictionary