Fashion Whale Tail Skirts Are Back, Apparently This season, VPL is the star of the show. By Amber Rambharose Published on May 17, 2023 @ 11:41AM Pin Share Tweet Email Photo: Getty Images Every once in a while, the InStyle team gets talking about a trend and nothing can stop us. This week's fixation: the whale tail skirt. Some call it the split waist skirt. Others simply refer to it as a skirt with suggestive cutouts. Naming it the "thong waistband skirt" gave us the ick, and describing it as the "whale tail skirt" gave us the giggles (but seems to be most common). No matter what you call it, this style of skirt is set to have a major moment. Really, it was only a matter of time before the visible underwear trend — which first took off in the late '90s and early Y2K eras — made its way from pants (like the Versace pair that Bella Hadid wore on the Spring/Summer 2020 runway) and dresses (Hailey Bieber rang in the new year in one) to skirts. Getty Images This time around though, the whale tailing feels different, as fashion expert and writer Emily Kirkpatrick points out. "When this trend first came around in the early aughts, this look was all about making the exposed strap look incidental like it was a wardrobe malfunction rather than a considered styling choice," she tells InStyle. "In this current iteration of the trend, that pretense has been dropped entirely and the only rule of styling your exposed thong is making sure it’s worth being seen." I Can’t Stop Thinking About Kendall Jenner’s Perfect Black Thong Given the recent shift towards naked dressing in general, the whale tail skirts du jour are relatively tame, especially when seen on a skirt with a printed pattern that can clearly be seen on the split waist section as seen on the Jacquemus skirt below. Kirkpatrick points out that this integrated thong look is a part of the whale tail 2.0 revival. "Celebrities are wearing a lot of clothes that have the G-string already built in to the garment, and thongs that are bedazzled or adorned in a way that makes it clear they’re an integral part of the outfit — not just an afterthought," she shares. In other words, buckle in. Because thongs aren't just peeking out, they're taking center stage. Getty Images Shop Similar: For Love & Lemons Mona Midi Skirt, $78 (Originally $144). While a bit of thong has long been considered a cheeky addition to a red carpet look, there's something about the seamlessness of a whale tail skirt — whether it's created by a one-piece skirt or a matching skirt and thong à la Kylie Jenner earlier this spring — that adds a bit of intentionality to the look. It's not just a whale tail, you know? It's fashion. Even if you're not a Jenner or Bieber, there's no reason not to hop onto the whale tail skirt trend. In fact, whale tail skirts are uniquely suited for curvy folks. If you want to ease yourself into the look, we recommend opting for a whale tail skirt in a classic color as part of a monochromatic look — a sneak attack thong moment — so that eyes will be on the entire 'fit rather than just the flossy bits. Whether you opt for a mini whale tail skirt or a maxi option, another way to tone down the thong of it all is to choose a skirt that has a thin, strand-like fabric at the split waist instead of a classic G-string-style strap. You can also try a skirt that suggests a thong with clever cut-outs at the waist. Given how this trend has been gathering steam, you've got plenty of options. Jacquemus Shop now: Jacquemus Asymmetric Striped Skirt, $531. And hey, if skirts aren't your thing, you can always pull an Emily Ratajkowski and yank your thong up until it's literally front and center of your 'fit, regardless of what you're wearing. Bike shorts? Go for it. Jeans? Save the whales and let your underwear sit high and proud. Go off.