A swimsuit noted in-universe for its extreme brevity.
While Moral Guardians have been complaining about swimsuits showing too much skin as long as there have been swimsuits, this trope really took off after the introduction of the bikini.
To qualify, a swimsuit must be described or reacted to in terms of how small it is, or how much it shows. For example, if the text claims it's "two postage stamps and some dental floss", or onlookers are shown having their eyes bug out. Sometimes, it can subverted by the female character wearing less common designs such as a sling bikini which technically speaking has more material than a string bikini, but is actually much more revealing on the person when actually worn using the Theiss Titillation Theory.
The swimsuit does not actually need to be worn for this trope — displaying it to someone who sarcastically quips, "Where's the rest of it" or (if it's a family sitcom) declares "No daughter of mine is wearing that!" qualifies.
Note that this trope is not any swimsuit which the audience thinks is unusually small; it must be reacted to as such within the story.
Warning: Most of the image links below are Not Safe for Work.
- A Certain Magical Index:
- In episode 15, Touma's mother wears incredibly scant swimwear, much to his horror and his father's delight. Especially since Touma's seeing her as Index.
- In the beach / pool episode of A Certain Scientific Railgun, Kuroko chooses one of these◊ out for herself. She lacks the typical voluptuous body-type usually seen with this trope, although Rule 34 was quick to pick it up and run with it all the same.
- In the Railgun SS novel, Xochitl asks Saten to get her a swimsuit. Saten gives her one◊ that greatly embarrasses Xochitl with how revealing it is.
- In New Testament Vol. 8, Lessar asks Touma which swimsuit she should buy, the one that is just a bunch of wires in the shape of a bikini or the one-piece that turns transparent when wet. Touma gets flustered but tells her to wear one over the other. The combination makes it look modest.
- In episode 40 of the anime adaptation of Black Clover Noelle is purchasing swimsuit. Klaus who entered the store having heard Noelle scream asks what she and Vanessa were doing there. Vanessa states that they were looking for a swimsuit for Noelle lamenting some that she had offered one of her own swimsuits to Noelle. Along with a shot of what it looked like Noelle exclaims that it was just strings.
- In the anime of Ouran High School Host Club, the host club goes to a (fake) tropical getaway, and the twins' maids try to get Haruhi into a swimsuit. One of the bikinis they show her is made only of several thin strips of cloth, causing her to loudly protest, "That's just a bunch of strings!" It's not clear how one would even put on such a suit...
- The Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann series has an interesting inversion, when the other cast members note that Yoko's swimsuit is less revealing than her normal outfit. Kittan even yells at her that the more skin she shows, the better; he gets her sniper rifle's barrel in his face for his trouble. A few seconds later, every single male in sight gets a nosebleed from resident Kawaiiko Nia's conservative one-piece, despite her being barely into her teens and not much of a body to show off. Kittan immediately remarks, "Truly, it is better to conceal than to reveal." Cue Cross-Popping Veins from Yoko.
- In Buso Renkin, Papillon's swimwear is a black mankini a bit sleeker than the famous lime-green one in Borat and draws this reaction from bystanders. Even adding up all the skin it covers doesn't make it more concealing than a normal Speedo, and since it leaves virtually his whole ass hanging out, other than one narrow strip, with no side coverage whatever, it's as provocative for most audiences as for the characters. In some other non-beach scenes, he wears a particularly skimpy speedo style, but usually covers much more.
- Kasumi's skimpy bikini in the Ranma ½ anime Beach Episode "Battle for Miss Beachside" comes as a shock to her sister Akane, as this isn't what you'd expect from a Yamato Nadeshiko like Kasumi. It still isn't as small as the one worn by Kodachi,◊ however, to her brother's desperation.
- The Kanokon Beach Episode has Nozomu try to pass off three bandages (two little ones and a big one) as a swimsuit. Oblivious as to why the other girls object to it, she (or rather Chizuru) is eventually forced to purchase a more normal swimsuit at said beach.
- Ruby's swimsuit in Rosario + Vampire Season 2, with witnesses saying it's just a string.
- In Higurashi: When They Cry Rei's Pool Episode, Miyo Takano sports an outrageously revealing tiger bikini.◊ Mion even lampshades it, wondering why "it's not against the law to have boobs that big."
- Bleach: In the Beach Episode based on the manga omakes, the women are shopping for swimwear and Isane is mourning the fact all the cute costumes are for shorter women. Her sister Kiyone finds her a swimsuit that she can wear, the catch being that it's entirely too revealing and skimpy for Isane to even contemplate wearing it. Her captain, Unohana, intervenes and takes Kiyone's side, further shocking Isane. Then she reveals the swimming costume she's going to wear... and even Kiyone's jaw hits the floor. Only Isane's and Unohana's swimwear are commented on in-universe.
- In Chapter 27 of Omamori Himari, Shizuku of all people is wearing an extremely skimpy bikini (this also answers the age-old question just how these sling bikinis look like from the backside).
- Yoshinoya models one of these in Hidamari Sketch. Remarkable for a "safe" Slice of Life anime.
- Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: Tatsuko tries to buy one of these, prompting screams of "Stop that exhibitionist!" and "She's kiddie porn walking!" from her classmates as they tackle her to the ground to stop her. Illya's classmates try to convince her to buy a swimsuit that looks like a bunch of strings, but she refuses.
- In Mazinkaiser, Lori and Roll wear a one piece that can be described as "two postage stamps and some dental floss." Of course, it's a Go Nagai series, so what's to be expected of it? Unsurprisingly, Kouji (and his little brother, Shiro) are head-over-heels gaa-gaa over it and Sayaka is none too pleased.
- In Kämpfer, Female Natsuru and Akane are forced to wear these in front of an entire classroom.
- During a couples' costume contest in Mahou Sensei Negima!, for the swimsuit portion, a girl puts on a skimpy piece that gives her partner a Nosebleed.
- In the uncensored version of the second chapter of The Electric Tale of Pikachu, Misty is wearing a swimsuit that is basically a few strategically-covering strips of material. Ash ends up staring so much she belts him in the face with a Shellder.
- Girls Bravo: The rules of Fukuyama's private "Girls Fight!" competition make it mandatory for all combatants to wear progressively smaller swimsuits as they advance in the rankings. By the time of the semi-final match between Kirie and Kosame, they each have to wear thong string bikinis.
- In Freezing, Attia convinces Satellizer to put on a one-piece that looks like a bunch of white straps. She reluctantly agrees, and the boys go wild. They go even wilder when Attia's prank is revealed: the suit's material turns transparent in bright light. She essentially has a Naked Freak-Out.
- Maken-ki!: At the start of chapter 74, Haruko and Ms. Aki find themselves mysteriously transported from the Ooyama's bathhouse, to the surrounding forest, without any clothes. So Aki whips up a pair of leaf bikinis for them to wear. When Haruko notes how revealing they are, Aki figured she'd say so and shows her the grass skirt she made to go with it.... except it was more like a lei.
- In So, I Can't Play H!'s OVA, the school holds a swimsuit contest. Quele tries to coax the shy Mina into participating and makes her try several swimsuits to show her she has nothing to be ashamed of. They are all so skimpy that Mina gets very uncomfortable, and the last one makes her shriek and cover her privates with her hands.
- In the Beach Episode of Burst Angel, all the girls get in swimsuits and Sei wears the smallest of them all.
- In Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, Lucoa gets into trouble twice for indecent exposure at the beach and Comiket due to how much skin she is exposing, and causing her to get dragged out of the scene both times. First time she is wearing a string bikini, second time something with barely more coverage.
Lucoa: The best thing about swimsuits is that you can boldly show off more flesh.
Employee: No, that's not allowed.
- My Love Story!!: For a beach episode, Rinko and her friends are purchasing new swimsuits. Innocent Rinko shows her friends a couple of risque bathing costumes, much to their horror; they help her pick out a more modest but still very flattering suit.
- In Tomo-chan Is a Girl!, when the girls go to get Tomo a swimsuit for the beach, she sees an example of this trope and flips out. She ends up in a fairly modest bikini top and shorts combo but still gets embarrassed, mainly because she would have worn something that covered far more of her body if her friends hadn't intervened.
- Encouragement of Climb: Aoi goes shopping for swimsuits, and each is more revealing than the previous one "It's just strings!" When she picks up the last hangar, "a swimsuit you can't even see!" Then Aoi realizes that it's just an empty swimsuit-shaped hangar.
- Done alarmingly frequently in Archie Comics, considering that it's supposed to be for kids. Artist Dan DeCarlo was an unrivaled master of Fanservice, so there are frequent shots of Veronica being indecent at the beach. One time she even got arrested — as did Cheryl Blossom when she attempted to go topless at another one.
- Gemini Storm's 4th issue reveals that during pool parties, this is the standard uniform for the waitresses.
- In one comic book adaptation of the cartoon version of Beetlejuice, the title character enters Lydia in a beauty pageant. He tries using magic to change her clothes into a swimsuit, going through a few styles, including one that makes her blush and a large sign saying "NOT approved by the Comics Code" appearing to cover her.
- The furry comic Zu has a story called "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka-dot Bikini (Redux)" where a very nice bunny has a incredibly small (and unseen to the reader) bikini that causes everyone to Wild Take at the sexy sight of her. Her boyfriend, a rather easygoing otter, manages to keep his composure, although the sight of her leaning down is a real test of that. At the end of the story, the bunny girl is charmed that he was trying to keep his dignity, but he loses it in a change room when he finally realizes that while everyone looks at her lustfully, only he, himself, will go home with her! At that, he dances with joy at the incredible sex he's bound to have that night.
- In one issue of the "Adjectiveless" X-Men during Marvel Now, the students are relaxing at a beach when they come under attack by a Sentinel. Hellion just happens to be wearing a very brief pair of swim trunks at the time, and acknowledges that they're probably too short. Jubilee (and frankly the rest of the girls) begs to differ.
- Power Girl wore one of these in her 2009 while visiting Atlee's home. She was very embarrassed by its brevity, commenting it looked like a thought balloon, a testament to how skimpy it was considering what she usually wears.
- In Cavewoman: Pool Party, Carrie supplies some swimsuits for the party that don't cover very much:
Carrie: Oh no! They seemed a lot bigger in the store...
Mona: You've got to be kidding.
Carrie: They say "one size fits all" on the tag.
Meriem: Yeah, if you're two feet tall.
- In a Beetle Bailey strip, someone asks Killer at the beach why a girlfriend isn't wearing the swimsuit he bought her. Killer answers that her father has standards: a swimsuit must be larger than a postage stamp.
- In the 9/2/12 strip of Rex Morgan, M.D., June Morgan goes shopping for a swimsuit at La Thong, and the file clerk describes their products as "microscopic".
- In the 2/18/13 strip of Momma (a reprint from the 1980s) Momma's daughter poses in a new bikini, and Momma says, "...when I had you vaccinated there, I never dreamed it would show — that's what I think!"
- An early strip involving an islander "volcano virgin" and her overprotective father plays with the trope: apparently he doesn't mind his daughter sacrificing herself to the volcano, as long as she does it in sensible clothing.
Father: You call that a sacrificial vestment?! I can see right through it!
Virgin: Oh, Daddy, you're so old-fashioned.
- A somewhat later strip (reprinted 6/6/17) has actress Boopsie mistake the bikini she's supposed to wear for a movie for dental floss.
- An early strip involving an islander "volcano virgin" and her overprotective father plays with the trope: apparently he doesn't mind his daughter sacrificing herself to the volcano, as long as she does it in sensible clothing.
- The Legend of Total Drama Island:
- Lindsay's costume for her talent show act (a ballroom dance with Justin) is a repurposed "barely legal" bikini converted to a dance costume by adding sequins.
- During the trust-building challenge, Lindsay shows off a new bikini with a reasonably modest top but a "barely legal" bottom.
- Friendship Is Magical Girls: Rarity's swimsuit during the Pool Scene in chapter 18 is described as being so practically nonexistent that if she were to wear it in public, she'd be arrested for indecent exposure.
- The Racket-Rotter Chronicles: Sinbad ends up with this in the chapter "Pool Predicament", having it described as "less than modest" (and rendering Shark and Dennis nearly speechless). He predictably loses it after jumping into the pool.
- Dungeon Keeper Ami: Discussed in Unwelcome Surprises, about a corrupted Sailor Mercury uniform that's a "net-like collection of loosely connected holes", where it's said that Tokyo has "skimpier swimwear", which gets a raised eyebrow from Cathy.
- In the Discworld, swimwear for women ,very firmly and emphatically, is the Old-Timey Bathing Suit. But Assassins' Guild School teacher Miss Alice Band has seen what swimming costumes are like on the Roundworld (Earth), and loves them. However, Discworld standards of public decency mean that even the modest one-piece costume she wants schoolgirls at the Guild School to adopt — on the grounds of practicality — is viewed with horror as Barely There Swimwear. Alice, who sees nothing wrong with the mizugi as it is known on Earth, is quietly furious about this. note More in the works of A.A. Pessimal.
...necessary compromise between modesty and being able to swim freely. Miss Band had suggested some sort of close-fitting leotard, leaving arms and legs bare, but covering all that society absolutely demanded should not be exposed. The male decision-makers at the Guild had demurred, getting prudish about the notion of legs being exposed to the gaze, all the way up to the thigh. "And something so tight around the body. Showing outlines and, well, everything. Or at least where everything is. That would defeat the object, miss Band!"
- Borat ends with the very hairy male lead in the famous lime green mankini. It actually covers about as much total skin as bikini/Speedo briefs, but it still manages to look perverted as hell by uncovering skin between leg and torso, including much of the buttocks. A reporter discovered that wearing it on public beaches can get you charged with breaking public decency laws — despite technically showing no more skin than other men on the beach.
- This style of swimwear is one of the chief draws of Skinmax-style B-movies like Bikini Carwash Company, Bikini Carwash Company II, The Great Bikini Off-Road Adventure, Beach Babes from Beyond, Savage Beach, Return to Savage Beach, and Day of the Warrior. In Bikini Carwash Company the guys also wear banana hammocks. In most of these, it's more or less irrelevant how much the bikinis cover, because they're going to be coming completely off soon anyway.
- In My Father the Hero, there's a scene where the father meets up with his daughter poolside with her in a white one-piece swimsuit. Imagine his surprise when she gets up and it's revealed to be a thong bottom.... In one version, a much more modest suit is digitally superimposed, which makes the entire scene farcical as the father character overreacts to a perfectly normal swimsuit.
- In Six Days, Seven Nights, David Schwimmer's character remarks, "I thought it was an eyepatch!"
- OK, they're not swimsuits in the traditional sense, but the thong bikinis that Dana Delany's character Mistress Lisa makes the both the male and female guests wear in Exit to Eden count.
- One joke has a girl buying swimwear. After asking multiple times for more and more daring designs, the clerk brings her something that seems to be an empty hanger with a price tag. The girl asks where the bikini is. "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm holding it the wrong way." The clerk turns the hanger around, revealing the bikini, which was hiding behind the price tag.
- In the classic SF story The Wheels of If, the Alternate History-hopping protagonist goes to the beach, and finds that people are wearing nothing but a knit strap around the waist. When he tries to go skinny-dipping, the cops show up to arrest him for indecent exposure ("shameful outputting" ... English in this timeline has much less Latinate influence). Turns out he's in a timeline where it's okay to show genitals and nipples in public, but navels are obscene.
- Mentioned in the last two scenes of Wraith Squadron, when the survivors are enjoying themselves at the beach and the uniform for the day is bathing suits that might generously be called minimal. In the last scene, Commander Wedge Antilles is asked why he's still fully dressed and working, not out in a scrap like his squadron, and says that he'd make them uncomfortable.
- In Citizen Girl, G is given a bikini which she at first mistakes for a necklace, an illusion not helped by the fact that it actually does fit in a jewelry box.
- In Eagle Strike, Sabina's bikini is described as being "made out of so little material that it hadn't bothered with a pattern".
- In the 1980's action series SOBS, two members of the Heroes "R" Us unit strip off to follow the villains into the water. When the chase ends up back on land, one of them realises his colleague is effectively "bottomless" as he's just wearing a thong. When the embarrassed colleague asks for help covering up, he replies, "And deprive all these tourists of a chance to see the Eighth and Ninth Wonders of the World?"
- In Cycle 12 of America's Next Top Model, the final five have a bikini-shoot on a Brazilian beach. The resulting photos had to be blurred for television, particularly from the rear.
- In Spike TV's Manswers, they answer the question of just how tiny a bikini can be before it becomes an issue of indecent exposure. (For women, both nipples and the entire labia of the crotch must be covered. Which means that, if you interpret that to the letter, this can result in some very dinky swimwear indeed.)
- In the short-lived Tony Randall/Swoozie Kurtz sitcom Love, Sidney, Kurtz is talking about a trip she and her five-year-old daughter Patti are going on. She shows Randall an extremely tiny bikini bottom, he says, "That's indecent!" She replies, "It's for Patti!"
- There's an episode of Friends where Ross is dating a college student getting ready for Spring Break. When he sees her extremely tiny string bikini, his response is, "...to wear in front of people?"
- Although it is never seen, during a scene in Doogie Howser, M.D., various characters are offering bribes to the young doctor to be the one he takes on a prize vacation he is going to win. A female character cannot offer to take his shift at the hospital, but she holds up a very small bag and says "I have a bikini which fits in here."
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:
- Will Smith is rendered speechless when a pair of twins mentions that their bathing suits are carried in their compacts.
- In another episode, Will is hyped for a trip to Palm Springs, "home of the dental floss bikini".
- In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode spoofing The Horror of Party Beach, one host segment has Mike doing a "manly beach dance" in a swimsuit so tiny that Crow and Tom declare that he's actually nude (all the viewer sees is Mike's bare back pointed at the camera). At their suggestion, Mike decides to try the next size up... and walks off holding a Speedo that looks like it was made for a Ken doll.
- Perfect Strangers. Jennifer asks Larry if he's packed for their tropical vacation, holding up a skimpy bikini and informing him, "This is all I'm taking. But I hope I won't be wearing it much."
- The news reporter is wearing just a thong bikini bottom in this segment on Haulover nude beach in Florida.
- The song "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka-dot Bikini" describes a girl afraid to leave the changing room wearing just her new swimsuit.
- Also, Gunther's "Teeny Weeny String Bikini".
- In one of his songs ("Temptation Boogie"), Carmen has described a bikini that contains "less cotton than a medicine bottle". No word on how much spandex though.
- Common in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Eventually they just gave up and started painting them on.
- WWE loved to pull this off during bikini contests. If the contest was on PPV, you were surely going to get something like this. Examples:
- Jacqueline was convinced it was impossible for her to lose a bikini to anyone. Cue Sable's bikini at Fully Loaded 1998, which was a bikini bottom and hands painted on her breasts.
- The Kat at Royal Rumble 2000 had a bikini made of bubble wrap.
- Ashley Massaro at No Way Out 2007 showed up in a bikini with two tiny Playboy bunnies on her breasts.
- Torrie Wilson invoked this at Judgment Day 2003 in a contest against Sable. At first she showed up in a normal bikini. When the audience wasn't sure if she was the winner, she removed that bikini to reveal what looked like two strips of dental floss. Naturally she won.
- A hilarious subversion occurred with Molly Holly against Terri. She claimed that King would go wild when he saw what was under her robe. It was a 1950s bathing suit complete with cap, snorkel and flippers.
- The Amazing Bathing Suit from Rune Factory Frontier is described as using far less material than the Cute Bathing Suit, which is essentially a bikini. You don't ever get to see it in-game, since it is kept in gift wrap and any girl you give it to will confess that it is too revealing to wear, but it happens to be the innkeeper Turner's favourite item to receive. He will then comment on how he would attempt to get his wife Rita to wear it.
- Done more for Naked People Are Funny, an unlockable character in LEGO Star Wars is the "Beach Trooper", a Lego figure wearing a blue thong and a stormtrooper helmet. Which, when you consider they're freakin' stormtroopers...
- Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball is especially guilty of this. Some of the bikinis which the girls can wear are so tiny that dental floss would cover more. Of particular mention is the Venus, which is basically a few strips of material and some sizeable gemstones.
- Male example in Persona 4 Golden: Kanji's speedo. As Yosuke puts it, he's seen things he never needed to see.
- In order to be allowed to enter the pool area in Leisure Suit Larry 6: Shape Up or Slip Out!, Larry must fashion a "European-style" swimsuit using only a small hand towel and some dental floss.
- Scarlet Blade features some superlatively revealing swimsuits for the Arkanas.
- The redeem code for the Limited Edition of Oneechanbara Z ~Kagura~ is a sling bikini costume for Kagura. Appropriately, it is called "Dangerous Swimsuit". Thong of Shielding included, free of charge.◊
- Bravely Default has the Bravo Bikini, an article of clothing Sage Yulyana has unsuccessfully tried to get girls to wear. Agnes even wonders aloud if it is counts as clothing when she sees it for the first time, and ultimately doesn't have the courage to don it for a fashion contest. Edea takes a shine to it and uses it in a sidequest later in the game. (It can also be unlocked as an optional outfit!) More
- The Dragon Quest series has a number of swimsuits that are positively scandalous, and are appropriately labeled with names like "Dangerous Bikini". They are even sometimes discussed by the NPCs, with some girls slightly hesitant to don it and others all too happy to flaunt themselves in it, and the men very eager to see the cute girls strut their stuff in it. For the purposes of fanservice a number of these swimsuits can be worn by female party members, changing their sprite to reflect them wearing the Dangerous Bikini.
- In particular, one of your party members will happily comment about Jessica's good looks inside one of the menus if she wears the Dangerous Swimsuit equivalent in Dragon Quest VIII, and has similar remarks for other such fanservice clothing.
- In Dragon Quest IX all female party members are able to wear the Dangerous Bikini, including the player character if you choose to play a female protagonist. Coupled with the full-on Virtual Paper Doll in effect, this can result in the Bathos of your player participating in serious cutscenes and running around in cold climates while wearing naught but a Dangerous Bikini.
- Awesome Series: Dead or Awesome Extreme gives the three players the option of actually playing beach volleyball or relaxing by the pool, then asks what type of bikini they want the player character to wear.
Player Character: Would you like me to wear this elaborate, well-designed bathing suit that shows off none of my body, OR this one that's just a bunch of strings?
Players: [in unison] Isn't it obvious?
Player Character: Well then, you'll just have to actually play the game! Ha haha!
- In Ménage à 3, the bikini worn by DiDi when the Power Trio goes for a picnic in the park is so tiny that it causes all onlookers, including pets, to be Distracted by the Sexy.
- Layla, of Eerie Cuties uses the promise of a moonlight date at the beach and a new string bikini to get Kade to play "bait" for Nina's Evil Twin. The bikini is both very tiny, and not particularly secure against waves.
- One El Goonish Shive sketchbook entry featured an attempt to get Sarah into one. A much later sketchbook entry has since been successful.
- Thelma in Nip and Tuck wore one only at Hortense's insistence. "Where's the rest of it?" (Hortense's was more substantial, but if she had Non-Mammal Mammaries, it would probably be insufficient for decency.)
- In the Futurama episode "When Aliens Attack", Amy wears a literally spray-on bikini top which leads to a memorable exchange:
Amy: There. How do I look?
Farnsworth: Like a cheap French harlot.
- In Moomins on the Riviera, Moomin takes exception to Snorkmaiden's skimpy bikini on the grounds that "It's like you're not wearing anything!" Somewhat hypocritically, considering that Moomin himself is actually not wearing anything at the time.