Thoughts on beige bras, “nude” and being brown skinned

I make no mystery of my hatred for beige bras. There is some cultural bias in that. I get that “nude” bras are very popular in the US, because American tend to take a more utilitarian approach to lingerie. What I don’t get is the insistance that a bra needs to be your exact skin colour for it not to show under clothing, and the endless quest for a “proper” nude bra that follows.

There have been quite a few blog posts, Facebook threads, etc about the lack of nude bras for women of colour and especially Black women. On these social commentaries, there is always a White woman, or several, commenting that they also have a hard time finding a proper nude, because they are too pale (or too yellow toned, or too pink toned…) and that what is sold as “nude” is too dark (or too cold, or too warm…) for them…

I know of exactly TWO bras going up to a K cup (L for the Alana) available in brown as continuity:ย Curvy Kate Daily Boost in Mochaย andย Bravissimo Alana in Mocha… except that Curvy Kate is moving from the Daily Boost range next season to come up with the improved Daily Dream, not available in Mocha at the moment, and Bravissimo is discontinuing the Alana in Mocha this season.

bp-au01mob-smallthumbBravissimo Alana

It never occurred to me to complain that they weren’t the exact shade of my skin.

Actually here is the picture of my hand next to the Alana, which has been my go to nude for the past 5 years or so.

photo-13

It still doesn’t show under my thinner/lighter tops, which is the point of a nude bra. Colours I’ve worn successfully under thin and light coloured clothing without them showing include black, mocha, chocolate brown, charcoal grey, burgundy, purple.

Colours that are guaranteed to show include bright prints (stripes, polka dots and the like) whith high contrast, neon pink, white and… beige. I guess that is why I only bought one beige bra in my whole life and ended up dying it brown.

That is also why I felt sorry for the non-white contestants in Curvy Kate’s Star in a bra having to wear a beige bra in a line up.

Beige bras are not meant to be seen. On my brown skin, they look like something not meant to be there. Like they used to be a different colour and got used and dirty. Like an old band-aid.

I also sometimes read that beige bras are now harder to find that colourful ones and that the dominance of neutrals in large cup sizes is a thing of a past. Ha! Sure there are way more options today if you want to wear something in a pretty colour, especially, but not only, if you’re in the D-G range. But opposing beige to “colours” is not really fair. If you add up all other colours, there will indeed be more bras in the colour pile than in the beige one. But if you happen not to like pink or florals, you’re not in luck.

Let’s try a little game. Checking all the H+ bras currently for sale on the Bravissimo website, let’s see the colours they have:

Black 43

White/Ivory/Cream 31

Natural skintones (which, at the exception of one white bra with a ditsy print, consists of various shades of beige – I guess my skintone is not “natural”) 25

Pink 15

Blue 15

Red 8

Orange 6

Turquoise/aqua 5

Print/Multi 4

Purple 3

Brown/bronze/gold 3

Yellow 2

Green 2

Grey/silver 1

So, what was the point I was trying to make again?

  • Just because you have a hard time finding a beige bra that fits you doesn’t mean that beige bras are hard to find. A bra that fits is hard to find. It might be that the only one you found comes in a bright colour and doesn’t work under certain clothing. I’m sorry about that. But then again if you tried and bought it, you probably like it and still wear it under thicker clothing. If the only bra that fitted me came in beige, it would be unpractical under thin clothing and on top of that it would be ugly to me. Then again, I wouldn’t know because I wouldn’t have tried it in the first place!
  • If you can only afford a couple of bras, I understand that you want them to work under as many clothes as possible. Similarly if you live in a very hot climate, you may wear thin tops on a regular basis and have no use for a bra in a loud print. I get that not everybody as an extensive bra wardrobe and that people have different needs. But in most cases, you only need a nude bra every now and then if at all.
  • A nude bra doesn’t need to perfectly match your skintone to be effective. If your nude bras don’t show under light clothing, congratulations, they work! In that case, please don’t complain that they’re not “really nude” when other women state that they can’t find something that work at all. That is annoying.
  • People need to stop acting as if the only alternative to beige was neon prints. Most bras in very large cup sizes come in beige, black, white, blue or pink. I’m not here to eradicate beige bras, no matter how much I hate them. I know people like them and find them useful and that’s great. But the more options the better. Don’t take the odd orange or green bra as a threat. Seriously, we need more grey bras. They’re quite lovely and elegant.
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6 Responses to Thoughts on beige bras, “nude” and being brown skinned

  1. I would love to see more grey bras too! I think it’s a very flattering color. Elomi is coming out with Anthracite for the Caitlyn, and I think that will be really beautiful. We’re in a pretty warm climate, so flesh-tone bras tend to be in very high demand. Today it’s already 90F at 11:30a.m. with humidity you can drown in, so people want to wear whites and creams with flesh-tone bras. I think the real issue is the thinness of the fabric here. If the shirt is white and just this side of translucent, then anything other than a near perfect match is going to show through. I wish we could see more diversity, but I think there needs to be more education in America about the idea of a true “flesh-tone” color. So many women, regardless of skin tone, are stuck in the beige/black loop (with the occasional white bra fan), and the more awareness there is for needing flesh-tone options the greater the demand will become.

    • astrid says:

      I’ve recently seen a pic of the Anthracite Caitlyn. That’s a great colour! I was actually thinking about your shop, when I mentioned people living in a hot climate. Living in a more temperate place though, I usually only wear a nude bra 3/4 months during the year (and not everyday!). Although it’s quite far from a perfect match, the mocha Alana doesn’t show under my thinnest lightest tops (whereas other options like black or dark grey only work under not too thin white tops or thin bright coloured-tops).

  2. Sophie says:

    Hi lovely! What do you think about Nubian Skin? I love the idea of the brand but it’s so sad they are only concentrating on the core sizes! What if you emailed them and linked to your post? I am sure that would at least raise some interest ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

    • astrid says:

      Thanks for commenting! Nubian skin is great! I understand their focus on core sizes to start with. Full bust bras are harder to develop and they’re still a new company. But yes, raising interest can’t hurt ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Pingback: Elomi Energise K cup sports bra review | Les gros bonnets

  4. Caroline says:

    Good take on bra colours. I’m quite fair skinned and recently bought a beige bra because it fit well and does work for me under white shirts despite being darker than my skin tone. But you’re right, more grey options would be nice and I don’t often see a lot of darker brown shades. My beige bra does the job but it is kind of an ugly colour. At least no one sees it but me ๐Ÿ˜‰

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