What you need to know about “period fashion”

When you hear someone request “period clothing,” they might not be talking about Austen-era gowns. No, these days they just might be talking about an incredibly important trend that’s sweeping the nation — a trend is here to stay for as long as women are menstruating. Yup, THAT kind of period.

“Period clothing,” are garments that are friendly to the fact that women have, you know, bodily functions, Mic notes.  We bleed. We sweat. We chafe. Yet all of these things are taboo, hidden from society, something we have to deal with on our own — and often, our clothes make it harder. Why don’t retailers market clothing that is friendly to our menstrual cycles?

Well, some have. Companies like Dear Kate are revolutionizing women’s fashion by providing women’s underwear that has a moisture-wicking, stain-releasing layer for women on their periods. The company has even taken it a step beyond with yoga pants; both the underwear and pants all come in sizes up to 3XL.

“. . .we are reimagining what women can expect from our underwear,” Dear Kate CEO and founder Julie Sygiel told Winter Moon. “[I] questioned why such an essential piece of clothing wasn’t subject to the same level of high tech development we now expect from our sports bras.”

Although Dear Kate is one of the leading companies since it’s been around since 2012, there are certainly others that are following in its footsteps. Take, for example, Panty Prop, which just launched last month and has underwear equipped with an elastic band in the crotch area to secure a pad. The material surrounding the elastic is equipped with moisture-wicking technology to take care of any sweat or leaking.

“Every day, you’re putting on an undergarment on,” founder Crystal Etienne told Mic. “Women are just putting their foot down and saying, ‘I need something comfortable!’. . .I just want to make sure that when women wake up in the morning, they know that they’re good. I want to give them that peace of mind.”

There are also companies like FemmeCloth, which provides handmade, reusable, and ultra-cute products for periods.

But why now? As Mic notes, the taboo surrounding the period has been real and pervasive; after all, it’s only been a little over forty years since the National Association of Broadcasters lifted the ban of television advertising for feminine hygiene products. However, just last month, Underwear company THINX came under fire for using the word “period” in their advertising — and for juxtaposing women wearing the product with period-related imagery, including a grapefruit that looks like a vagina and an egg yolk spilled across the counter (a reminder of spills many women have experienced over the years).

It’s a revolution that doesn’t look like it will be losing any steam. We’re now talking about our periods openly. Literally billions of us menstruate, and we’re finally starting to get comfortable saying something about it.

“There’s been this explosion of all of a sudden, we’re gonna make it not taboo,” Sygial told Mic. “I’ve gotten whiplash from the change in response to being a period underwear company. Years ago, it was like, ‘No way, gross, ew!’ And now, people are like, ‘Wow, that’s so crazy, that’s so interesting!’”

Period fashion no longer just refers to clothing from past eras. Period clothing celebrates the future of clothing, and the future of feminism. Gender equality is at the forefront of the conversation, and instead of hiding our periods, we can celebrate them. They’re not something to be whispered about; they’re something that enable this human race to go on. And shouldn’t we have clothes that celebrate that, too?

Related reading:

I tried wearing “period underwear” (and it was awesome)

These ads might be banned for using the word ‘period.’ Let’s talk.

(Image via Dear Kate)

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