Nude continues to be one of the most favored fashion crazes — nude shoes, nude purses, nude eye shadow, nude lipstick. The question is, exactly what color is nude?
The term ‘nude’ is defined as being naked, or flesh colored. So based on this definition, any apparel (shoes, purses, shirts, etc.) claiming to be nude, must be the color of skin. Hypothetically speaking of course. But, if you are to search “nude colored clothing” in your internet browser, what color is it that you see? Nude? If these shoes and clothes are meant to match the color of one’s flesh, how come they don’t match mine? Here in lies the problem. People come in an assortment of skin tones, yet, the color ‘nude’, in regards to fashion, seems to only focus on one — addressing only one ethnicity.
The ‘Nude’ Truth
This is why I hate the word ‘nude’. Nude is too ambiguous, and relative depending on the person. Let’s identify the color for what it truly is: beige, champagne, sand, tan, cream, vanilla…but not nude. For those wondering why this is a big deal, here’s why: it shows the under-representation and a total lack of regard for those who are not ‘nude’…white. As Elin Weiss phrased it:
“It might seem innocent to refer to the specific beige-like or pinkish colour as nude, but it does mask an unchallenged and assumed belief that whiteness is considered to be the norm…Brown shoes and clothing are labeled brown. It is only shoes and clothing which would be considered nude on a white person that is referred to as nude in the fashion world, thereby accenting the fact that nude is based on the white body and white skin.”
I remember feeling excluded as a young girl because I knew that whatever ‘nude’ shirt or pair of shoes I was interest in, was not made with someone like me in mind. What was meant to blend into my skin, stood out like a sore thumb against my darker skin tone. While I made out okay, what kind of ‘damage’ does this do to a young girl’s self-esteem, knowing that they are not the norm for which clothes or makeup are made for? Luckily, there has been some improvement. In regards to makeup, there is now a more wide range of colors in foundations, lipsticks and nail polishes that can be used to give a ‘nude’ illusion, but even still there is an absence of colors for those of a much darker skin tone. As I’m writing this, I received an email from a well-known magazine letting me know the 10 best nude nail polishes for spring…none of these polishes are nude against my skin tone.
In regards to makeup, there is now a more wide range of colors in foundations, lipsticks and nail polishes that can be used to give a ‘nude’ illusion. However, even still there is an absence of colors for those of a much darker skin tone. As I’m writing this, I received an email from a well-known magazine letting me know the 10 Best Nude Nail Polishes for Spring…none of these polishes are nude against my skin tone.
So to end, ‘Nude’ is not a color. It’s a representation of the majority instead of the whole. Let’s call it for what it is. And while it may not be a big deal, and the least life-threatening, let’s no longer ignore the beauty of diversity. Plus, I think champagne or cream sounds much more lavish anyway.
Until next time,