Never heard of one? Neither had I until today. Its name might suggest it is a type of sushi or a knockoff Tamagotchi, but it is, in fact, this marvel of modern fashion:
Well, at least, that's the JCPenney variety. Kohl's and Target seem to have a similar understanding of what a monokini is, as does Google's image search*.
Wikipedia, on the other hand, has this to say:
A monokini, sometimes referred to as a unikini, is a woman's one-piece garment comprising only the lower half of a bikini, leaving the breasts uncovered. The term monokini is also used for any topless swimsuit, particularly a bikini bottom worn without a bikini top. [Source has accurate photo, so beware]Wa-oh! So apparently, historically, monokinis are these...
...and nothing more. Yet somehow the name has been co-opted by your friendly everyday swimsuit designers to refer to bosom-shielding one-piece suits with the sides cut out.
Honestly, I thought the things were hilarious before I even realized the history of their name. Why do we women do this to ourselves? We use beach season as an excuse to wear spandex underwear in public, except -- oh, right, most of us feel completely uncomfortable and self-conscious doing that. Um, duh. But wait! Maybe there is a way to feel a little more covered, a little less naked, and still make every man who sees you drool. Just get a one-piece suit and cut out the sides! Zesty! Now what can we call it? We'd better include the "kini" suffix so the sensuousness of the bikini is not lost. Surely the etymology of "bikini" involves the fact that it's two-piece and "bi" refers to two, right? (Yes, surely it must have been named for that, and not US nuclear tests on an island named by local Marshall Islanders. Ahem.) Anyway, the side-missing suit is just one piece, so what prefix means one? Might as well use the one that's also used as an abbreviation for an infectious viral disease! MONOKINI!
And let's definitely not take ten seconds to do a Google search and make sure the name's never been used before for any other kind of swimwear. Impossible!
So what do you think? Monokini hot or monokini not? (The new-fangled one, not the spandex panties.)
*Even without SafeSearch, amazingly.