White is often the most avoided of colours when on our periods. The taboo of wearing white jeans, skirts, and even our bed sheets are often something that we want to keep white and are notorious for getting ruined due to a leak or a drip or one tiny dot to make them less than desirable to wear; so we just don’t wear them when we’re menstruating, or at least not until you’re over halfway through.
And yet, some of our top international female athletes around the world are forced within uniform regulations and rulings to wear white, no matter the time of the month, and be expected to still focus solely on the game in hand!
WEARING WHITE ON YOUR PERIOD
74% women reported their menstrual cycle negatively affected their active & sporting performance.
75% had never discussed their menstrual cycle with their coach
72% received no education regarding exercise and their menstrual cycle*
So why are we also still making them wear white - just to add to the stress?!
Wimbledon’s strict dress code was written in the 1880s, when any form of sweat on an athlete’s clothing was considered improper and rude, the all-white attire was believed to minimise the visibility of sweat while helping the players stay cool, according to SBS.
As beneficial as it may be to help players stay cool in hotter temperatures, its impact on female players seems to outweigh any benefits, with some athletes even turning to birth control to skip their period around the competition.
“I’ll probably go on the pill just to skip my period for Wimbledon,” British player Heather Watson recently told the BBC. “That’s the thought process and the conversation girls have around it.”
In early 2022, Recreational tennis player Gabriella Holmes, 26, and footballer Holly Gordon, 28, organised a campaign to protest the famously strict Wimbledon ‘All white’ dress code. Asking those at the top to consider altering the rules to adapt to the times and allow female competitors to wear darker coloured undershorts when on their periods.
Former British doubles player Anna Smith, who now works as a coach said, “When you’re on your period you don’t want anything to happen, and having it happen on the biggest stage at the biggest tournament in the world isn’t something that you really want to have to worry and think about as well as trying to perform your best.”
Finally, in November 2022 Wimbledon announced that it was allowing female athletes in the tournament to wear coloured undershorts starting from 2023. Sally Bolton, chief executive of the All England Club, said in a statement. "It is our hope that this rule adjustment will help players focus purely on their performance by relieving a potential source of anxiety."
This campaign and conversation sparked other areas of female sport to stand up and make changes to white uniform regulations to accommodate menstruation into the reality of female professional sport.
In March 2023 the Ireland womens rugby team made the similar statement call to permanently replace their traditional white shorts with navy alternatives, in response to player concerns of wearing white while on their periods. Hoping that it will help women at all levels of rugby feel more comfortable on the field so they can get on with performing at their best.
Additionally the Orlando Pride Soccer team and the UK Manchester City soccer team to opt for darker coloured shorts for their female teams!
Hoping that it will help women at all levels of sport feel more comfortable on the fields and the courts, so they can get on with performing at their best. This growing conversation is what is needed in female sport, bringing more decisions in this way of female athletes changing their white kit shorts to darker colours for their own improved enjoyment and liberation in sport.
WHAT TO WEAR DURING YOUR PERIOD TO PLAY SPORTS/COMPETE
Sport on your period is infact good for you & your period!! Unless you’re a trained professional athlete you may want to avoid any high impact sports or high intensity training while menstruating, however, gentle exercise is good for you, your cramps, your hormones and your PMS symptoms.
But what do you wear? Disposable pads are made up of a majority of plastic, so you do not want to be sweating in those for a 10km run or playing a game of tennis. And making your bodies muscles hold in a tampon while trying to relax through a gentle yoga flow is not ideal either, never mind the drying affect tampons have on your vagina.
Instead, the best option is to opt for natural, breathable period underwear. Period underwear absorbs your flow as you bleed freely, meaning you don’t have to worry about a sweaty pad moving or sticking to your legs, or a tampon string tugging out of place.
Rosaseven natural breathable period underwear is made from TENCEL™ Lyocell & organic cotton, so is naturally moisture wicking to wick the sweat away from your skin and keep you comfortable and dry, as well as naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, so no unpleasant odors or smells, leaving you and your body to breathe and relax, focus solely on the task in hand and enjoy the exercise & endorphins that come with it.
Rosaseven period underwear comes in different flow levels so you can find the one that’s right for you on that day of your period’s flow level, then just put them on and forget about them - enjoy the game, the run, some yoga or even just watching sport on TV - we won't judge!
You can read more on the best exercise for your period here on our previous article on the topic.
* The results of a global survey (of over 14,000 women) conducted by Irish sports and data science company Orreco in partnership with Strava, the social network for athletes, and St Mary's University Twickenham.