The rolldown is a culotte with a waistline above navel, and with either a rising legline reminiscent of a v-kini (JD89C0), or with a pantaloon legline that bisects the thigh. The rolldown is also called a de roulè, a French word literally meaning "to roll." The essence of the species is in its dynamic ability to be manipulated into varying degrees of exposure by rolling the waistline down and the legline up. Construction from single layer of Spandex makes the culotte thin, easy to manipulate, and seductive.
Thus although apparently very covered up, the rolldown dares the bikiniite to adjust her exposure below the waist to whatever extreme she is prepared to advance, pressing the limits to hairage and rugage and buttage. Only a naive novice would wear a rolldown in its extended position, for any allumeuse would know to not only roll the culotte down the waist, but to roll up the hips toward tanga as well.
Some writers embrace de roulè because, like the adjustable, the rolldown provides freedom-of-choice in a politically correct era. But one is not completely sure that a garment which demands the wearer "dial in the tease" isn't in fact a competition to see just who can out-sass whom. It takes the "right stuff" to "push the edge of the envelope" and test the limits of decency. Rolldown is not for amateur bikiniites. Like the side-gathered culotte of the 1960s, is not a static garment; it is played in the field.
The rolldown emerges in the late 1980s on the beaches of Brazil but quickly spreads to the topless beach of France and French Caribbean, as well as to America and the rest of the world. Because it provides the mechanics to adjust exposure, it provides, in a single garment, the continuum of exposures from the v-kini to tanga. The bikiniite who elects to bear the silhouette carries with her the pressure to put it to work.
During its evolution swimsuit designers sometimes misunderstand rolldown as a decorative vehicle for waistband details (LE9041), missing its true intent as a freedom-of-choice and striptease vehicle. Older bikiniites tend to view the species as a vehicle which can extend their tan on the beach yet retain their modesty at the bar. Younger bikiniites understand the power of "the next inch" and know better.
The essence of the rolldown can be manifest in other culotte species including miniskirt (SM8519), shorts, leggings (JE8901), and, of course, montante, discussed in detail below. These uses are adverbial--that is the garment is not in itself a rolldown, but it is being modified de roulè.
Rolldown can be coupled with all species of soutien-gorge, but they make a particular good companion with the tube bandeau, especially when the tube can have its own width adjusted.
The Maillot Rolldown
De roulè is also a concept that can be applied to maillot, however that when a is rolled down to the waist the wearer is rendered topless. Which explains the popularity of maillot rolldown on topless beaches. This particularly rich social and design environment is detailed in the maillot rolldown section.
The Relationship to Montante
A rolldown is easily confused with a montante, if only because a montante, like a rolldown, tends to present a waistline above the navel, and be subject to rolldown. The difference is largely one of intent, and to some extent this intent is embedded in the construction of a the two different species. A montante contains a strong elastic basis--often a wide waistband--with the intent of gripping the body and providing it with shaping foundation. The rolldown acts in just the opposite manner and consists of thin Spandex that is easily rolled down without bunching and which provides no support.
Reality, of course, is a continuum between the benefits of exercise and the benefits of exposure (JE8907A, JE8907B).
Bandeau and culotte de roulè