What’s Tanga Underwear?

What's Tanga Underwear?Is a tanga a bikini or a thong? I was doing research for a thong series for Underwear News Briefs and I kept coming across people referring to tangas as a thong style. I always thought of them as a string bikini,. At least that is what Kiniki calls theirs. Women’s underwear seems to refer to them more often than men’s. What I did notice with women’s tanga underwear is there was no consistency. They seems to range from a thong back to cheekies to about a bikini back along with different amounts of side coverage. So I set out to figure out what tanga underwear is.

When trying to find a definition of a tanga I didn’t get a consistent one either. For example one place called it a medium sized panty between a brief and a bikini. That I believe is an incorrect definition. Most say it is between the back coverage of a thong and a bikini. I tried for a dictionary definition, but most referred to tangas as a monetary coin. I did however find the Oxford dictionary defining it as underwear. Here is how it is defined there, “A pair of briefs consisting of small panels connected by strings at the sides.”

Using the Oxford dictionary definition, I’d say underwear with string sides could be referred to as a tanga. It does also say small panels, which works with the back coverage stated above between a thong and a bikini. I think a traditional thong back would fit that definition, but probably not a string back. To answer the question I started out with, I’d say a tanga can be either a bikini or a thong as long as it has string sides. I’m seeing tanga as a descriptor word that helps explain the underwear style better. Below are some example of pairs of underwear that I’d say you could call a tanga bikini and tanga thongs. What are your thoughts on tanga underwear?

Blueline Microfiber String Bikini

Blueline Microfiber String Bikini

Blueline V-String Thong

Blueline Microfiber V-String Thong

Body Aware Italian Tanga

Body Aware Italian Tanga

Body Aware Tanga

A Body Aware Tanga

Kiniki Miles Thong

Kiniki Miles Thong

Kiniki Tri Satin Tanga

Kiniki Tri Satin Tanga

N2N Vintage G-String

N2N Vintage G-String

Prevail Sport Rio Brief

Prevail Sport Rio Brief

Undergear Pocket Thong

Undergear Pocket Thong


7 Responses

  1. T says:

    If I saw the word tanga being used to describe a type of underwear,I would expect it to have string sides,a narrow front pouch and preferably a less than full back rear. Of the 9 examples you have posted above, I would say 5 of them qualify as tangas,but four are definitely thongs.The N2N vintage is not my idea of a g-string.
    In Italy,a g-string is often called a tanga,and the word perizoma can also mean a thong although the actual translation is loincloth.
    I’ve noticed on the internet that many underwear sites,particularly those from the far east,can often confuse and wrongly describe the items they are selling. That’s why it is so important to see the underwear from all angles before you buy.
    On a lighter note….. Rafa Nadal has an underwear contract with Tommy Hilfiger,but have you noticed that EVERY time he prepares to serve,he has to pull at the back of his shorts as if he’s got a massive wedgie? Maybe he’s a tanga wearer and needs Tommy H to design something that doesn’t ride up his butt.

    • T, That is what I always considered a tanga too. It does seem that men’s underwear does stick pretty well to that description. Though ones that call them tangas look to be brands or retailers from Europe. I suppose that is why only the Oxford dictionary gave me a definition that was underwear related. Women’s underwear is all over the place with their description, which my be an American thing. Also could be a misrepresentation of them to try and get traffic off search engines for the term. I do not consider the N2N thong a g-string either. Just another example of not sticking with the definition. Seemed to be a lot of terms related back to the loincloth, when I was researching. Thanks for sharing your view.

  2. Al says:

    In spanish we translate thong as “tanga” probably that help the confusion

  3. Menna says:

    I speak as someone who was in my mid-twenties when the description ‘tanga’ came along. The alternatives at department stores at the time were ‘Traditional’ – covered the navel; French – at the time, loose-fit like a frill; Bikini – settled around the hip with around 2″ visible of material between the waist & leg elastic; Mini – about 1/2″ material between the waist & leg elastic & TANGA – just the waist elastic with a front & back pouch with the rear covering all or most of the buttocks depending on individual ‘cheekiness’ (high-cut knickers were still to be invented). They covered the pelvis for the less manicured look of the day & had enough coverage rear-wise for young women not to be embarrassed at the doctors/hospital. G-strings were something associated with strip-clubs & thongs were something worn on the feet at the beach. (I recall mainstream catalogues like Littlewoods starting to sell basques & backless pants (so no VPL) in the mid-80s). The top right hand pic of the gents leopard print brief has about the same amount of coverage of the tanga’s of my youth.
    The definitions may have changed, I know ‘traditional’ has changed – they are shorter, underneath the navel – very awkward for those that buy them, older people with south-migrating masses and/or the overweight.

    • Menna, thanks your explanations on the styles. Always great to hear how others describe the different styles. I’m sure the definitions do shift some over the years. Tanga is one I’ve just seen used to describe so many different cuts. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Kurt says:

    Never heard of them before the term showed up on an internet survey…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *