Lessons In Self Love

The Unexpected Essential I’m Taking to Fashion Week

Better yet, it fits in my mini Louis Vuitton bag. In collaboration with The Flex Company.

By: Hannah Baxter
Photography: Paige Campbell Linden

For anyone like me, who loves all things fashion and beauty, the spring and fall shows are the highlights of each season. They’re also, somewhat unfortunately, extremely busy and *stressful* for everyone in the industry. Since I’m the type of person that gets anxious when a group chat can’t decide on dinner plans, I do everything in my power to plot out my fashion week schedule down to the quarter hour. But in some bizarre twist of fate, every year I get my period, and all my fail-proof organization goes right out the window. I have to rethink not only my schedule to make time for a bathroom break, but also the outfits I’m planning to wear for the street-style photographers to capture (meaning white pants are a definite no). Plus, hauling around at least three tampons takes up a lot of space in my impractical (but trendy!) miniature handbag.


Luckily last month, after I kept complaining about dragging tampons around, a fellow editor recommended a new product for me to try—the FLEX Menstrual Disc. She told me it’s the only period product that doesn't plug the vaginal canal—like tampons or menstrual cups, which make the body stretch to fit the product and often worsen cramps and bloating. Since I usually wear at least one pair of my favorite vintage (read: non-stretch), high-waisted jeans or a tight pencil skirt throughout the week, I want to avoid both of those period side effects at all costs, but still feel protected. My friend swore that tampons weren't my only option, and the leak-free seal would  keep even my favorite white jeans totally safe.

After throwing out my tampons for good, my cramps have disappeared, and any tell-tale period bloating is completely gone. And if I find myself so busy jetting from show to show that I don’t have time to run to the bathroom—which, in all honesty, happens more than I care to admit—FLEX is safe to use for up to 12 hours. Since I'm definitely guilty of leaving in a tampon for an entire day, FLEX is is much more conducive to my crazy schedule, even after Fashion Week is over.  Plus, if I want to bring a backup, it’s so slim that it fits perfectly in whatever purse I choose—right next to my most glamorous sunnies and extra phone charger, aka my other fashion week essentials.

I will admit, when my friend recommended FLEX to me a month before the spring shows, I was extremely hesitant at first. I didn’t want to risk making a mess or struggling with a hard-to-use product. I’ve relied on tampons for over ten years, so why make the change now? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I thought. Well, she told me that tampons were invented in the 1930s (by a man; sigh), and there hasn’t been a whole lot of innovation to the design since then. Thinking about my body twisting and conforming over an object that wasn’t created with the curves of my anatomy in mind really stuck with me. I mean, I’ve bought shoes that were two sizes too small because I just *had* to have them, and I always throw them out because they’re not comfortable. Why would I subject my vagina to similar pain? Better yet, FLEX is hypoallergenic and made without harmful industrial chemicals like BPA or phthalates, so it won’t disrupt my body’s pH, which can lead to odor and yeast infections. Not fun.

All this was great, but my friend really sold me on the idea when she said that FLEX was safe—and effective—to use during sex. Since it doesn't plug the vaginal canal, I can have mess-free sex on my period and neither my partner or myself can feel it. Hey, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so just in case my period decides to stick around for the last day of Fashion Week, I’m excited that it won’t interfere with any of my other V-Day plans. *Wink wink*.