Browse around for retro swimsuits, sexy bikinis and tips to enjoy your next beach holiday.

Posted on Friday, February 10, 2012
Girl wearing a blue slingshot bikini sitting on a beachtowel

If you want to catch everyone's attention on the beach or by the poolside, then wearing a slingshot bikini is probably your best option next to going all-out naked. Also known as the suspender bikini, slingshot maillot, suspender thong, or simply sling bikini, it bares just as much skin, or even more, than a regular bikini does.

Slingshot string bikini

Basically, the sling bikini is just like the traditional bikini bottom. But instead of the straps going around the hips, they stretch straight up across the torso to cover the nipples, go around the neck, then reach down the back to end as a thong between the buttocks. The bottom is cut very high up on the hips and normally covers just the pubic area, while the sides of the torso and a large part of the breasts are exposed because there's hardly anything covering them.

There are several variations to the slingshot bikini. Some have the bottom's straps going around the hips in addition to straps that go around the neck. Then there are the designs that cover even a smaller amount of skin; they're basically just pieces of string attached to tiny scraps of cloth that barely cover the genital area and the nipples.

Borat wearing his mankini costume promoting the movie at a beach in Cannes, France

The most iconic image of the sling bikini is probably the one where actor Sasha Baron Cohen wore a neon green one -- also known as a "mankini" -- at a beach in Cannes, France, to promote his movie Borat. The trend caught on and today, quite a number of men are buying Borat-inspired slingshot swimwear.

It is the sling bikini's tendency to expose the breasts and other areas of the body that makes it very popular in glamour shots that are published in swimsuit magazines, swimsuit calendars and the like. In real life, though, it's more likely to be seen at private or all-adult beaches and in areas in the world where exposure of a great amount of skin is a non-issue, like South America and some parts of Europe.

However, calling a sling bikini a swimsuit isn't very accurate if you think about it, since it's hardly practical or suitable for swimming. This is because the straps tend to slip out of place when the person wearing it is moving in the water.

But setting aside the issue of functionality, a slingshot bikini is the way to go for women -- and men -- who have the right build to carry it off, and who are looking for heads to turn their way on a sunny day at the beach or pool.