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If they so much as breathe, they'll be totally naked.

A swimsuit noted in-universe for its extreme brevity.

While Moral Guardians have been complaining about swimsuits showing too much skin as long as there have been swimsuits, this trope really took off after the introduction of the bikini.

To qualify, a swimsuit must be described or reacted to in terms of how small it is, or how much it shows. For example, if the text claims it's "two postage stamps and some dental floss", or onlookers are shown having their eyes bug out.

The swimsuit does not actually need to be worn for this trope—displaying it to someone who asks "where's the rest of it" or declares "no daughter of mine is wearing such a thing!" qualifies.

Note that this trope is not any swimsuit which the audience thinks is unusually small, it must be reacted to as such within the story.

Compare Thong of Shielding. Contrast with the Old-Timey Bathing Suit.

Examples of Barely-There Swimwear include:

Anime and Manga

  • A Certain Magical Index
  • The Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann series has an interesting inversion, when the other cast members note that Yoko's swimsuit is less revealing than her normal outfit. Kittan even yells at her that the more skin she shows, the better; he gets her sniper rifle's barrel in his face for his trouble. A few seconds later, every single male in sight gets a Nosebleed from resident Kawaiiko Nia's conservative one-piece, despite her being pre-adolescent and not much of a body to show off. Kittan immediately remarks, "Maybe less skin is OK as well." Cue Cross-Popping Veins from Yoko.
  • In Busou Renkin, Papillon's swimwear draws this reaction from bystanders. It's actually more concealing than a normal Speedo, but it's the way he wears it that makes it provocative. Also, the standards of a normal speedo are the only metric by which it covers a lot. By any other measure, it's incredibly brief.
  • Kasumi's skimpy bikini in the Ranma ½ Beach Episode "Battle for Miss Beachside" comes as a shock to her sister Akane, as this isn't what you'd expect from a Yamato Nadeshiko like Kasumi. It still isn't as small as the one worn by Kodachi, however.
  • The Kanokon Beach Episode has Nozomu try to pass off three bandages (two little ones and a big one) as a swimsuit. Oblivious as to why the other girls object to it, she (or rather Chizuru) is eventually forced to purchase a more normal swimsuit at said beach.
  • Ruby's swimsuit in Rosario + Vampire Season 2.
  • In Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Rei's Pool Episode, Miyo Takano sports an outrageously revealing tiger bikini. Mion even lampshades it, wondering why "it's not against the law to have boobs that big."
  • Bleach: In the Beach Episode based on the manga omakes, the women are shopping for swimwear and Isane is mourning the fact all the cute costumes are for shorter women. Her sister Kiyone finds her a swimsuit that she can wear, the catch being that it's entirely too revealing and skimpy for Isane to even contemplate wearing it. Her captain, Unohana intervenes and takes Kiyone's side, further shocking Isane. Then she reveals the swimming costume she's going to wear... and even Kiyone's jaw hits the floor. Only Isane's and Unohana's swimwear are commented on in-universe.
  • In Chapter 27 of Omamori Himari, Shizuku of all people is wearing an extremely skimpy bikini.
  • Yoshinoya models one of these in Hidamari Sketch. Remarkable for a "safe" Slice of Life anime.
  • Tatsuko of Fate Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya tries to buy one of these, prompting screams of "Stop that exhibitionist!" and "She's kiddie porn walking!" from her classmates as they tackle her to the ground to stop her.

Comic Books

  • Done alarmingly frequently in Archie Comics, considering that it's supposed to be for kids. Artist Dan DeCarlo was an unrivaled master of Fan Service, so there are frequent shots of Veronica being indecent at the beach. One time she even got arrested—as did Cheryl Blossom when she attempted to go topless at another one.
  • Gemini Storm's fourth issue reveals that during pool parties, this is the standard uniform for the waitresses.

Comic Strips

  • In a Beetle Bailey strip, someone asks Killer at the beach why a girlfriend isn't wearing the swimsuit he bought her. Killer answers that her father had standards: a swimsuit must be larger than a postage stamp.

Films -- Live-Action

  • Borat ends with the excessively hairy male lead in one. It actually covers more than normal male swimwear, but it still manages to look perverted as hell. A reporter discovered that wearing it on public beaches can get you charged for breaking public decency laws—despite of technically showing less skin than other men on the beach.
  • This style of swimwear is one of the chief draws of Skinmax-style B-movies like Bikini Carwash Company, Bikini Carwash Company II, The Great Bikini Off-Road Adventure, Beach Babes from Beyond, Savage Beach, Return to Savage Beach, and Day of the Warrior. In Bikini Carwash Company the guys also wore banana hammocks.
  • In My Father the Hero, there's a scene where the father meets up with his daughter poolside with her in a white one-piece swimsuit. Imagine his surprise when she gets up and it's revealed to be a thong bottom....
    • In one version, a much more modest suit is digitally superimposed which makes the entire scene farcical as the father character overreacts to a perfectly normal swimsuit.
  • In Six Days Seven Nights, David Schwimmer's character remarks, "I thought it was an eyepatch!"


  • One joke has a girl buying swimwear. After asking multiple times for more and more daring designs, the clerk brings her something that seems to be an empty hanger with a price tag. The girl asks where the bikini is. "Oh, I'm sorry, I'm holding it the wrong way." The clerk turns the hanger around, revealing the bikini—that were hiding behind the price tag.


  • In the classic SF story The Wheels of If, the Alternate History-hopping protagonist goes to the beach, and finds that people are wearing nothing but a knit strap around the waist. When he tries to go skinny-dipping, the cops show up to arrest him for indecent exposure. Turns out he's in a timeline where it's okay to show genitals and nipples in public, but navels are obscene.
  • Mentioned in the last two scenes of Wraith Squadron, when the survivors are enjoying themselves at the beach and the uniform for the day is bathing suits that might generously be called minimal. In the last scene, Commander Wedge Antilles is asked why he's still fully dressed and working, not out in a scrap like his squadron, and says that he'd make them uncomfortable.
  • In Citizen Girl, G is given a bikini which she at first mistakes for a necklace, an illusion not helped by the fact that it actually does fit in a jewellery box.

Live-Action TV

  • In Cycle 12 of America's Next Top Model, the final five have a bikini-shoot on a Brazilian beach. The resulting photos had to be blurred for television, particularly from the rear.
  • In Spike TV's Manswers, they answer the question of just how tiny a bikini can be before it becomes an issue of indecent exposure. (For women, both nipples and the entire labia of the crotch must be covered. Which means that, if you interpret that to the letter, this can result in some very dinky swimwear indeed.)
  • In the short-lived Tony Randall/Swoozie Kurtz sitcom Love, Sidney, Kurtz is talking about a trip she and her five-year-old daughter Patti are going on. She shows Randall an extremely tiny bikini bottom, he says, "That's indecent!" She replies, "It's for Patti!"
  • There's an episode of Friends where Ross is dating a college student getting ready for Spring Break. When he sees her extremely tiny string bikini, his response is, "...to wear in front of people?"
  • Although it is never seen, during a scene in Doogie Howser, M.D., various characters are offering bribes to the young doctor to be the one he takes on a prize vacation he is going to win. A female character cannot offer to take his shift at the hospital, but she holds up a very small bag and says "I have a bikini which fits in here."
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Will Smith is rendered speechless when a pair of twins mentions that their bathing suits are carried in their compacts.
  • While doing this news report from Haulover Beach, which is clothing optional, the reporter wears only a thong bikini bottom.


Print Media

  • Common in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Eventually they just gave up and starting painting them on.

Pro Wrestling

  • WWE loved to pull this off during bikini contests. If the contest was on PPV, you were surely going to get something like this. Examples:
    • Sable's bikini at Fully Loaded 1998 was bikini bottom and hands painted on her breasts.
    • The Kat at Royal Rumble 2000 had a bikini made of bubble wrap.
    • Ashley Massaro at No Way Out 2007 showed up in a bikini with two tiny Playboy bunnies on her breasts.
  • Torrie Wilson invoked this at Judgment Day 2003. At first she showed up in a normal bikini. When the audience wasn't sure if she was the winner, she removed that bikini to reveal what looked like two strips of dental floss. Naturally she won.

Video Games

  • The Amazing Bathing Suit from Rune Factory: Frontier is described as using far less material than the Cute Bathing Suit, which is essentially a bikini. You don't ever get to see it in-game, since it is kept in gift wrap and any girl you give it to will confess that it is too revealing to wear, but it happens to be the innkeeper Turner's favourite item to receive. He will then comment on how he would attempt to get his wife Rita to wear it.
  • A few Easter Egg scenes in Lego Star Wars 2 have the "Beach Trooper", a Lego figure wearing a blue thong and a stormtrooper helmet.
  • Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball is especially guilty of this. Some of the bikinis which the girls can wear are so tiny that dental floss would cover more.


Western Animation

  • In the Futurama episode "When Aliens Attack", Amy wears a literally spray-on bikini top which leads to a memorable exchange:

Amy: There. How do I look?
Farnsworth: Like a cheap French harlot.
Amy: French?!

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