The sidetie is culotte in which the front and back of the culotte are fastened together at the side of the brief by a knot, tie, or some other fastening device. A most obvious and mature example is the sidetie string culotte (DB8201), but in fact, ties on the side of the swimsuit have a rich history and development.
Halfway between a sidegather and a string, a sidetie represents an important erotic escalation over the nombril or the sidestrap for the simple reason that a knot is a fastening device. And as a fastening device it has the potential of being easily unknotted as well, either unwitting, through cunning to adjust the tightness of the suit, or via "play".
Vogue would exalt that the sidetie allows "for better suntans," but smart young women learn how to tie double knots, if not square ones as well.
The Deep History of Sidetie
The deep history of the sidetie lie in the late 1940s and early 1950s in a variation called the lattice-side culotte, but it is not until the sides of the culotte narrow sufficiently to enable the sidegather and sidestrap does the pure sidetie silhouette emerge.
All of the attention on the side of the bikini brief stimulate a rich practice of tieology, and as the front and back of the culotte separate in the fastening details acquire more importance and became part of the focus of the play of the swimsuit.
This separation and the first hints of the sidetie culotte emerge in pinup literature in the early 1950 (US5056). The sidetie remains a pinup mainstay into the early 1960s, as starlets (L196210), cover girls (PB6210), and European bikiniites (PB6230) push the limit with lowered waistlines (MB6510). By the late 1960s rugage exposures are pushed to the max (EQ6810). Thus, not only is the sidetie culotte perilously low, showcasing not only the dimples in the small of the back and base of the spine, but perhaps also a wisp of pubic hair in the front.
The side of culotte goes into play in the mainstream after the early 1970s when knots and fasteners become vogue (RS7605-06). Sideties appear on bikinis when the fabric at the side narrows to the point where a separate cord (RV7928) or an overlap of fabric (WB8503), a) is all that draws the front and back together. The culotte is not yet a pure string, but as the waistline further recedes and the front and back are forced to separate the side itself becomes only a string, and the sidetie continues to provide a fastening role (RS7501). Of course a string culotte can be made without a sidetie, but the tie is such a natural part of the string that it is, for all practical purposes, it is a native component of the silhouette (DB8201, FI8312, Vero8407, VB8407, VB8416, FL8602)
Because ties can play in both the top as well as the bottom of the bikini they provide a design vehicle rich for repetition. In the 1950s and 60s, when the sidetie works with a tail of fabric, a natural resonance is with a bandeau that ties together in the front or the back, as Bridgett Bardot demonstrates (BB5810). By the 1960s ties at the center of the emerging string halter resonate with ties at the side of the brief (MT6910). Many other examples exist and the Bikini Scientist with a keen eye will find many examples, including a section on tieology in general.
Be aware that sideties can take many forms, including rings (WB8420), string closures (TD6710), and many other shapes. Also, don't be fooled by faux sidetie, which makes the suggestion without the possibility of commitment but helps reduce the possibility of accidents. Worn by the serious sometimes, and sometimes hard to tell faux or not (FL8603).
Narrow neck straps and narrow sidestraps go together in this late 1960s early 1970s silhouette.