The sling swimsuit, also known as a "suspender bikini", "sling bikini", "suspender thong", "slingshot swimsuit" or just "slingshot", is a one-piece swimsuit which provides as little, or even less, coverage (or as much exposure) as a bikini. Monokini types also exist. When designed for or worn by a man, it is often called a "mankini".
Usually, a slingshot resembles a bikini bottom, but rather than the straps going around the hips or waist, the side straps extend upwards to cover the breasts and go over the shoulders, leaving the entire sides of the torso uncovered, but the nipples and pubic area covered. Behind the neck, the straps join and reach down the back to the buttocks to become a thong. The variation of sling swimsuits that has the straps simply encircle the neck and another set of straps pass around the midriff, instead of the straps passing over the neck and down the back, is called a pretzel swimsuit. Even more "risqué" European designs include the bodyform-suspender (by German manufacturer Nixxxe) and other open bust and/or crotchless variants such as the "peekaboo" slingshot (by Spanish manufacturer the-Bikinis) and "ouvert" sling bikini (by German manufacturer Tangaland).
Mankini is a type of sling swimsuit worn by men. The term is inspired by the word bikini. It was popularized by Sacha Baron Cohen when he donned one in the film Borat. The buzz around the film started building during the Cannes Film Festival in May 2006, when Baron Cohen posed in character on the beach in a fluorescent green mankini, alongside four models. A garden gnome in the 2011 film Gnomeo and Juliet was also shown wearing a mankini, which gets referred to as a Borat-Mankini by newspapers.
Corresponding to the advent of Lycra, sling swimsuits first emerged in the early 1990s, and are more popular on the beaches of Europe including Saint-Tropez, Marbella, Mykonos and Ibiza. Suspender-like straps that run between the breasts and around the neck held the suit up were introduced in the mainstream in 1994. News reports said that within a week of putting the suit on their racks, New York's major stores had sold 150. By season's end, the tally sold was 3000 plus, at $24 a suit.
- Jenny Pate, History of the swimsuit, Article Dashboard
- NIXXXE.com - Bodyform-Suspender
- Tangaland - Ouvert Sling Bikini
- Josh Friedman & Lorenza Munoz, "Fox scales back `Borat' movie's opening; The comedy will first be shown in 800 theaters, down from 2,000, amid a lack of awareness", The Los Angeles Times, page C1, 2006-10-25
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- Fashion Correspondent, "Itsy bitsy teenie weenie... trivia think swimsuits. If two-pieces and t-backs are all that come to mind... think again", Miami Herald, page 1G, 1995-07-15