The suit of the summer is the buttkini: The hip-bone-baring bikini bottom that sits somewhere between a full coverage and a G-string. As far as I can tell it’s the most infuriating bathing-suit cut to date: offering neither the bold statement (and simpler tan line) that comes with a thong-cut, nor the relief from bikini waxes that comes with a full-coverage bottom. It’s basically a high-maintenance permanent wedgie.
Aside from an extra half inch or two of fabric in the back, the buttkini separates itself from butt-bearing bathing suits that have come before it with a full-coverage, extremely high waist that appears to be right on the verge of cameltoe. Still confused? Allow the Kardashians to demonstrate: This is a buttkini. This is a thong.
So far, the buttkini has mostly been seen on celebrities who can make anything, even this modest-thong, look good. Emily Ratajkowski wore it, Chloe Bartoli wore it in Cannes, and of course Kylie Jenner has worn it across photo shoots and pools. And that’s what the buttkini is for: posing. Attempting to move in this suit will only bring you pain.
Recently, I tried on a buttkini for myself. It wasn’t comfortable. Any time I moved one of my legs — to step closer to the mirror, to adjust my straps — the bottom shot between my cheeks and boom! Wedgie. But if I got into Instagram-posing position (back to mirror, lower back curved, looking over shoulder) and stood perfectly still, it looked okay. If I was the kind of woman who went to the beach to stand still, this bathing suit may have been a legitimate option for me. But I’m the kind of woman who likes to swim and drink beer and even occasionally play a water sport. I’m also the kind of woman who enjoys free movement of her limbs. The buttkini might be made for the gram, but I’m not.
Despite the fact that the buttkini is in no way a practical option for anyone who actually enjoys participating in the joys of summer weather, we’re likely to see a whole lot more of them on our Instagram feeds this year. Who can we blame? The Baywatch revival? The peach emoji? The return of the ‘90s? Most of the other ‘90s-revival trends are at least *comfortable* (shirts under dresses, Birkenstocks, flannel for all occasions). The buttkini is decidedly not and therefore fits perfectly in line with other fashionable trends in 2017. The buttkini might be the bathing suit we deserve.