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Sidestrap Defined
   The sidestrap in a bikini brief is the strap at the side of the waistline which connects the front of the culotte to the back. A sidestrap culotte is a species of bikini which utilizes narrow straps at the sides to connect the front and back. It is typically low-waistlined and exposes the skin on the side of the hip (RV7952, VB8404); sometimes the waistline is lowered to the point of rugage (G8826). It marks several moments in history.

Sidestrap Evolution
   The sidestrap culotte emerges in the early 1970s as the waistline descends toward the legline and the side of the culotte becomes narrower. Sidestrap emerges as a bikini silhouette midway between the nombril and the string when designers discover it as an end in itself. The mature silhouette deploys a separate piece of material, on the order of one inch wide, which stretches from the front of the culotte to the back, and focuses attention that the side of the hip is bare (DB8202, G8848). Experts continue to argue if culottes with strong horizontal sides but without a separate distinct element are sidestraps or not (e.g., G8807, G8819, G8851).
   In retrospect, straps have actually been an integral variable of swimwear for a long time, but before the 1970s strap play is confined to the pinup. The first example recorded in Bikini Science is Brigitte Bardot in the 1952 French film Manina, La Fille Sans Voiles (BB195201). Ursula Andress is another 1950s adopter (WA195410). In the early 1960s Natalie Wood (NW6310) is one of the few brave enough to take up the cause.
   In the early 1970s the sidestrap appears in advertising (PE7410), on European beaches, and on the runways of high fashion. It is also established as a companion to topless, both in women's fashion magazines (E197002) as well as in men's pinup mags (BR197380).
   The almost accidental discovery of the sidestrap provokes an immediate reconciliation with the halter and bra strap. Ursula Andress demonstrates this fashion synergy early on (UA6610). Cheryl Tiegs helps define the style for the Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue in 1974 (CT7410). This matched narrowing is rich with design details that unify the top and bottom of the bikini.
   Sidestrap hits full pace on the American beach in the mid-1980s (WB8409, FL8612). Here it competes for attention with its larger predecessors, as well as its emerging descendents.
   The limits of the species are reached as the sidestrap, pressed to reduce, gets narrower and the straps reduce to strings (VB8404), and the possibilities of side fasteners are introduced. The extreme position is reached in the 1970s with the sidetie culotte, where the strap front and back separate so that they can be tied back together. By the end of the 1970s the string ties at the sides combine the fastening theme and the pure string silhouette is born. The halter follows form, with ties behind the back and the neck.
   In this context it appears that the sidestrap might become extinct. But it doesn't. In a world of string halters it is an alternate brief (VB8402), and in a world of toplessness it is an alternative to the string or the g-string. But it is the emergence of the v-kini in the 1980s that provides the most impetus to remove sidestrap culotte from any endangered species list, largely because of the strap's curving diagonal support utility (FL8608, G8852F), and because the sidestraps can replace parts of the front or back of the culotte with a stronger design focus (e.g., WW8610) and variation (FL8606).

Strap play
   Straps invite attention and that attention is underscored with different colors (G8801-02, AM9410), metal or plastic baubles, and roll and twist action (FL8606).
   Multi-cord sidestraps consist of sides with multiple straps. The number of cords can vary from two (RV7944, Vero8405) or more, and include three (G8852F), four (JE8906), five, and six (GO9165) string cords. These multi-straps may be deployed toward the front (GO9165) and/or the back, Symmetrically placed straps in the front can form what is called a full diamond-head brief (JE9030, LESYA2BS); and half-symmetrical placements can leave half the front bare (VB8408, FL8609). Asymmetrical placements are also found backwards toward the hip, as in these triple sidestraps that leave part of the cheek bare (Vero8411, VB8419, and also VB8408).
   The sidestrap influence also extends to maillot, both with single as well as multiple strap details (WB8411).
   Strong sidestraps can touch the eye.

   Bra and sidestrap nombril bikini.