Naked and Afraid
Finding a nude to match your skin tone.
Image: Christian Louboutin
By Aonika Laurent Thomas
Stacey, my beautiful sister-in-law, reached out to me to help her with a dress dilemma. Stacey found a dress she loved, but the nude lining didn’t match her skin tone. She feared it wouldn’t look good. In fact, it’s almost impossible for women of color to find nude clothing, shoes, and accessories to match our skin tone. As a fair-skinned woman, I had taken this for granted. Apparently, the fashion world did, too.
We hear the word nude and think of matching our skin tone. Christian Louboutin was one of the first to recognize that women came in all shades by introducing his famous red-bottom shoes in more hues, from fair to chestnut. We thank you.
But what about dresses? For example, finding a lace dress with a nude underlay can be a problem if your nude isn’t, well, beige. I searched high and low for a dress with an underlay that would match Stacey’s skin tone. No luck. Our options were to use the dress with the same color, use a pale pinkish nude underlay, or get crafty. So, I took the dress-of-choice to the tailor and had the underlay removed. We then replaced it with a fabric that we dyed to closely match Stacey’s skin. Just like that, we solved the problem.
Unfortunately, not all of us are the crafty sort. Let’s be honest—most women wouldn’t want to incur the added expense of tailoring. Instead, they simply wouldn’t purchase the dress. We should have the option to order a dress with an underlay shade that matches our nude for the same price. This is something designers should think about. Women of color are starving to be considered, and brands will reap the reward. Just ask Christian Louboutin.