Yeah, Let’s Start Calling Our Gross Period Underwear ‘Leisurée’
Regular bras and lace thongs are out, bralets and boy shorts are in, and a wellness blog has invented a brand new word for all of this new, unsexy lingerie: leisurée!
As is the case with most retail portmanteaux, I have received this news thirdhand from a string of blog posts.
But despite reading all of the breathless news of this topic I could possibly find on Google, I still don’t really get what leisurée means besides “the underwear equivalent of mom jeans” or “the only underwear your boyfriend will hate.” So let’s do a deep dive on the etymology of this new panty concept, shall we?
It all started at underwear startup Lively, whose founder’s publicist bellowed news of the nascent word to the wellness blog Well + Good. That blog post made it into the Digg reader or Google Alerts email of a Business Insider writer, and that’s how it got to me.
Now, I want to hate on leisurée for being a dumb made-up word. But guess what? So is lingerie. And technically so is every word. They don’t just grow on trees, you know. They all come from somewhere, and then they end up in America, where we bastardize them.
Don’t believe me? French people call underwear for both sexes, not just women, lingerie (cue your 12-year-old boy cousin bellowing, “gaaaaay!”). But in the English-speaking word, we opt to 1. mispronounce the word, sure we all think we sound French while saying it but trust me we’re butchering it, and 2. only let girls have it. We took a French word for undergarments, pronounced it however the fuck we wanted after too many Pépé Le Pew cartoons, and made it gender-specific. Lame of us.
So leisurée is that, plus athleisure, Well + Good tells me. And athleisure is a combination of workout clothes and — do-nothing clothes? I still haven’t figured it out.
It’s pretty American, right? We are the only country that could let companies make workout clothes both less functional and more expensive, creating a nationwide craze for $200 yoga pants. Isn’t exercise supposed to be the opposite of leisure? Aren’t you supposed to wear your shitty clothes to exercise? That’s what I always thought, which is why I don’t do it, and why I don’t own much activewear or athleisure.
Anyway, back to leisurée. What is it?
“Leisurée is the lingerie equivalent of activewear,” Well + Good says. “In other words, it’s underwear that’s comfortable enough to hang out in,” Business Insider says.
Activewear that’s comfortable enough to hang out in. I think that would make it… passivewear?
So if athleisure is for hiding your laziness, and lingerie is women’s underwear, then it follows that leisurée is women’s underwear you can use when you feel like doing absolutely nothing and don’t give a shit about your appearance. It’s not underwear for activity. It’s not underwear for sexytimes. It’s underwear for not giving a fuck.
In conclusion, I would argue that this means leisurée is also a handy euphemism for period underwear. I mean, when are you 1. lazy, 2. trying to hide it, and 3. not tryna rise from the couch all day? And unlike your garden variety hangover, you need a certain type of underwear to get you through it? It’s period time, baby.
Ipso facto, the leisurée found at Lively, Victoria’s Secret, etc., might just be code for “period underwear.” And not the useful kind like Thinx, but the kind you can stain and loll around in without worrying.
Finally, someone in the clothing industry gets it.