What does nude clothing, lingerie and hosiery mean to you? Well, we guess the answer would differ according to your skin tone. For people of colour, ‘nude’ means shades of white, which, ain’t ever gonna match darker skin tones. So why don’t brown-skinned women get to do nude, too?
For as long as we’ve been wearing lingerie, underwear which matched the tone of our skin has been a rare find. For me, taupe or coffee-coloured granny bras were as close as I could get. This meant that if I wanted to wear white shirts or tees, I’d have to find a white bra to go underneath, while my white-skinned friends could choose ‘nude’ bras in, albeit limited but close enough shades to their skin tone. They got bras which (more or less) matched the tone of their skin, giving their outfit a streamlined look while I was forced to wear… white or taupe. For the record, I do not have taupe-coloured skin. And don’t get me started on nude tights.
And it’s not just underwear. Make-up, accessories and clothing all use ‘nude’ to describe a colour scheme that more often than not lies somewhere between cream, beige and tan– pale hues definitely more suited to white skin tones than darker tones.
That’s why when Nubian Skin launched last year, the Planetfem crew cried with joy! Finally some fashonable, gorgeous real NUDE colours for different tones of brown skin reflecting the diversity of shades and bra sizes.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘Nude’ is defined as…”Of a pinkish-beige colour:nude tights“. This obviously does not describe tones of brown skin so why are the fashion industries still using it as a colour? Check out this funny Buzzfeed video below in which some African American women try on ‘nude’ fashion. Hilarious but also quite insulting and if you think about it, exclusive and somewhat racist. Wake up world!