Today we’re going to go over different thong terminology and styles. I’m sure everyone knows this, but let’s define a thong. Webster dictionary defines thong as “an article of swimwear or underwear consisting of a narrow strip of material that passes between the thighs and connects with a waistband.” The part of the thong that passes between the thighs and cheeks is called the tail or you can call it a backstrap. Also some call it the string. You may also hear the term whale tail, which refers to a thong back sticking out above your pants. There are several different styles of thongs and the back styling is what normally differentiates them. To make things more confusing some names are used to represent the same thong style. Add on to that people use the same name to represent two different styles.

Let’s see if we can make some sense of it all. Below we have a graphical representation of the break down of thongs that we’ll be going over.

Thong Styles

As you can see we have thongs broken down into 7 possible subgroups. We see these as the main ones, but there are different variations out there. Brands are always trying to come up with something new or mixing styles together. The t-back subgroup is broken down further into 4 more groupings. You probably could argue that Cheekies and Tangas aren’t thongs, but we decided to include them. They could involve some fabric between the cheeks. Let’s get into the different thong styles.

T-Back Thongs

T-Back ThongsT-Back thongs are thongs that when you look at the back they look like a T. We have T-back thongs broken down into 4 subcategories: Traditional, V-string, G-String, and Rio.

Traditional Thong

Traditional ThongThis is the thong that most likely would come to mind when someone says thong. The tail width is usually around an inch wide. Typically the sides are of similar width giving a uniform T appearance when looking at the back.

V-String Thong

V-String ThongNormally a V-string has a triangular piece of fabric at top back that sits at the top of the butt. Then the sides are strings. The pouch and triangle fabric in back are connected with a string the same width as the sides.

G-String Thong

G-String ThongA thong with a string waistband. Then the pouch is connected to the waistband with the same sized string. Considered the skimpiest thong type.

Rio Thong

Rio ThongWhen you hear Rio with any underwear cut, think less fabric. A Rio thong has a thinner tail and sides than a traditional thong. Also the pouch is more of a u-shape and provides enough coverage to just contain the package.

Y-Back Thong

Y-Back ThongThis one is also called a Y-String. The tail of this thong branches out to connect to the waistband creating a Y. It creates a triangle at the top of the butt with no fabric in the triangle. Some times g-strings are called this too, since you can get the Y look when pulling the sides high on the hips.

V-Back Thong

V-Back ThongWith a V-back thong, the waistband doesn’t connect to itself. Each side is connected to the base of the pouch. Then the sides are usually sewn together where they attach to the pouch a little to create at least part of the tail. Then you get a v effect. These have also been referred to as Y-backs and V-strings too.

Jock Thong

As the naJock Thongme implies it’s a jockstrap and a thong joined together. You have the traditional thong strap between the cheeks and then the two straps of the jock.


CheekieThis is a thong wannabe, The backs are typically look like a wide v-shape. You get fuller coverage at the top and at the bottom the back slips between the cheeks showing them off. Sometimes described as a third back.


C-String ThongThis is a thong that has no sides. It has a flexible frame that allows you to slide it on between the legs. Kind of holds on to you like a paper clip does paper. If you lay the c-string on it’s side it looks like the letter C.


Tanga ThongThis term seems to be not well defined or at least used loosely in the underwear realm, especially in women’s. Typically people define it as somewhere between the coverage of a thong and a bikini. Now the Oxford Dictionary defines tanga as “A pair of briefs consisting of small panels connected by strings at the sides”. A lot of British underwear brands/retailers call their string bikinis tangas. Their coverages range from a little less than a bikini back to around a half back. But by that definition, anything with string sides with front and back fabric could be considered a tanga, so we’re included it as a possible thong style.

Do you consider a Cheekie a thong? Is a Tanga a thong style in your book? Did we miss a thong style? Comment below and let us know. Feel free to also comment and expand upon the post.


Hi, I'm Nate from The Bottom Drawer. I’m a husband and father that just happens to be avid about bikinis and thongs. The craze started in my late teens and continues.


  1. Never knew thongs were so technical! I’ve always been a fan of the traditional. Never liked the Y-back or jock thong.

    • Took a while to decide what to actually include. So many different names used interchangeably for same styles and different styles too. I think what we came up with makes sense. Never tried a Y-back or jock thong. They never really appealed to me. Neither does the C-String.

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