The design variations of the side of the bikini brief--in particular the connectivity issues between the front and back of the culotte--are manifest in species that range from the sidegather to the sidetie. One of these approaches is the sidering culotte, in which the closure is accompanied with a ring--essentially a circle (or sometimes ovoid or square) piece of steel, plastic, or occasionally fabric provides the connecting link between a separated front and back fabric. By definition the rings cannot be opened or closed, for if they are the species is classified as a sidetie or sidefastener, which give the garment a different topology.
The reduction in the bulk of the bikini is a gradual process which occurs everywhere in the costume. One place to economize on the fabric is the side of the briefs, especially as they began their progression from nombril in the1950s (SS5120) to more lowered designs in the 1960s (typified by Raquel Welch, e.g., RW196905), and their eventual reduction toward string, starting in the early 1970s (WH7250) and continuing throughout the decade (BF197640, E79P68). The sidering culotte evolves as legline meets waistline and side of the brief came into play (LB830N). The ring exposes a gap of flesh and hints at a vehicle of closure which will soon emerge (WB8420). But once a true fastening device evolves at the side of the brief the sidering becomes extinct.
None the less, the idea of rings is not lost. Rings reemerge in the post-sidetie string bikini era of the 1980s, both with narrow sidestrap nombril silhouettes (EP8460, SM8506) and can be quite playful. They combine rings with the emergent species, as with this sidestrapped microkini with small rings toward the forward (AV198210). This v-kini plans the rings to the center (KP880L), and v-kini can also ring the side position.
Rings dressed up aren't forgotten about in the 1990s (KH9016) or the new millennium either (BEA550). Lindsay Lohan demonstrates a very low-cut sidering that also incorporates a sidetie (LAA674).
In tanga rings enjoy some special placements, not only at the predictable sides (JE9161C, DW95), but also in the center front, or center back (CB7501, JE9376) of the culotte.
Siderings encourage the bikini designer to explore relationships to soutien gorge, where the rings in the brief can echo a motif of rings in the top. This exercise can play many ways, including the spider halter (BF197640), the side (SS5120), or more naturally, center-ring bandeau (KP880L), bra (WG7303), and halter (RW196905), where rings provide a centeredness that contrasts nicely with the left-right symmetry of the human figure.
Rings are also manifest in a variety of maillot silhouettes, including the center-ring maillot cutout (BZ6805, CK6810), the legline-meets-armhole maillot (WS8515) and the miokini, both in joined tankini montante silhouettes (NY8410, FI8821), as well as high-leglined styles (FL8614). In these designs the rings emerge as a way to connect tops and bottoms of maillots.
In summary then, the Bikini Scientist must keep an eye out for rings.