The Y2K 'exposed thong' trend is having a revival—here's how celebs are styling the retro G-string look

It's wedgie season as the contentious Y2K exposed thong trend is back in the mainstream...

Bella Hadid, Halle Berry and Alexa Demie pictured wearing the exposed thong trend/ in a pink template
(Image credit: Getty Images: (L) Gotham/GC Images/ (M) Steve Granitz Archive 1/WireImage/ (R) Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)

While we've seen a number of 2000s fashion trends make a comeback in recent years, the stars of the world are making a serious case for the 'exposed thong trend'.

Pioneered by the likes of Paris Hilton, Halle Berry and Gillian Anderson back in the noughties—either peeking out over denim jeans and miniskirts or a slip dress—the visible thong look could now warrant a place in our 2023 capsule wardrobe. Well, according to the likes of Dua Lipa and Hailey Bieber anyway.

Along with sheer dresses and the 'no-pants' trend, we're sensing this is the time to get a little bolder with our styling. So, to that end, here's how to incorporate this Y2K revival moment into your closet—along with an inspo guide of all the celebs who already stan the look...

What is the exposed thong trend, exactly? 

As mentioned, the exposed thong trend really broke into the mainstream in the late 90s and early noughties, with stars like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton trailblazing the look. Here are some visuals to give you a good ol' does of 2000s nostalgia...

Gillian Anderson and Halle Berry with the exposed thong trend in the early 2000s

(Image credit: Getty Images: (L) Evan Agostini / ImageDirect/ (R)Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

Basically, the trend involves having a visible thong detail in your outfit. You can either have the hip straps of your G-String visible—over the waistband of your low-rise jeans for instance (in the 00s it was of course those Juicy Couture velour joggers)—or have all three straps exposed. 

How celebs are wearing the 'exposed thong' look in 2023

So, now we've got the gist of this underwear trend, how do we go about styling it in 2023? 

Thankfully, we don't have to look far for some exposed thong outfit inspo, as big names including Bella Hadid and Alexa Demia have recently worn their own take on the retro ensemble...

1. Dua Lipa

Set to star as mermaid 'Barbie' in the upcoming Barbie movie, Dua Lipa is a serious Y2K fashion lover and is a big fan of this particular look, along with the frosted eyeshadow trend.

Here we can see she paired a white thong (like these cult Hanky Panky ones) with a backless, sparkly pink and silver dress (like this 8 Reasons number from Revolve), along with a pair of knee-high, hot pink boots (these ones from Nasty Gal are a dream).

2. Hailey Bieber

Rhode founder Hailey Bieber rocked the exposed thong vibe for New Year's Eve but also famously wore the trend on the Met Gala 2018 red carpet. As we can see, opting for a little black dress is a great option if you want a slightly more subtle but still statement look. Hailey's dress specifically, is very wearable (believe it or not, Walmart has a very sexy version for $25)! 

3. Emily Ratajkowski

Em Rata is also a known stan of this look, having worn a sheer dress and a neutral thong (like this Hanky Panky one from Amazon) combo to the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscars after-party.

4. Alexa Demie

Alexa Demie arrives at the LA Premiere Of HBO's "Euphoria" at The Cinerama Dome on June 4, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

(Image credit: Getty Images: Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)

Naturally, with Euphoria's Y2K beauty aesthetic, actress Alexa Demie turned up to the premiere of season 2 in a very on-theme fit. As we can see, she wore a low-scooping backless dress, accessorized with a diamante string thong.

5. Bella Hadid

Bella Hadid is seen in Tribeca on May 01, 2022 in New York City.

(Image credit: Getty Images: Gotham/GC Images)

Bella proved that you can wear this look during the daytime, pairing her thong look with a pair of low-rise leather pants and a black crop top.

My Imperfect Life's edit of exposed thong outfits

There are a few ways to channel this retro vibe. You can either pair your thong with a high-waist skirt, jeans, or trousers or alternatively, you can opt for a chic backless dress. You could also wear a high-leg bodysuit with a pair of trousers, for that exposed hip/pelvis look but with a tad more coverage.

And if you're wondering where exactly you could wear this look—without a red carpet event to go to—we think it wouldn't look out of place at a party or summer night out.

Naomi Jamieson
Lifestyle News Writer

Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.

Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.