G-string underwear is a very minimalist variety of undergarment. The underwear consists of a small triangle of fabric that provides strategic coverage but little else. This small triangle of fabric is held in place by a very narrow strap, or string, which passes between the legs and is connected to another that encircles the waist. Such underwear is most often marketed toward and worn by women, but male versions, while less common, do exist. This style of underwear is most often worn beneath ordinary clothing, but is also not infrequently encountered as part of swimwear.
This variety of undergarment has been worn in many cultures throughout human history. Such minimal garments offer a modicum of support and provide a bare level of coverage that often satisfies decency requirements. The minimal nature of g-string underwear and similar garments made them especially popular in very warm climates.
The importance of sleek lines in fashion has proven to be a driving force behind the growth of interest in g-string underwear in recent years. More substantial undergarments are apt to be visible through clothing that clings to the body, either because it is tight or because it is made of very light fabrics. The visual effect that this combination produces is considered undesirable. G-string underwear, or any other variety of thong underwear, minimizes this issue by greatly reducing the visible profile of the undergarment, which makes for sleeker and cleaner lines in the overall ensemble.
Male g-string underwear is more often intended to serve as a fashion statement than to provide any silhouette-slimming effect, however. This is due mostly to the fact that male fashions have trended away from the sort of very tight and thin garments that would make underwear practical. Modified thongs are often seen as swimwear for men, however.
These varieties of underwear are best-suited for situations that do not involve particularly strenuous activity. Such garments are, due to their very modest size, not particularly durable. They can also be uncomfortable if worn for extended periods of time or while performing any type of physical activity.
In relatively permissive cultures, where the nudity taboo is either minimal or non-existent, versions of g-string underwear are often encountered as swimwear. Such swimwear offers some practical advantages, including the minimization of tan lines. It is also often worn to more effectively display the human form.
Shopping for g-string underwear is relatively simple. In societies where such garments are considered to be acceptable attire, they are widely available in ordinary retail outlets. A greater variety of garment options are available for customers who choose to shop online. Online retail may be the best source of this variety of underwear for residents of countries where these garments are not considered socially acceptable.