The Journal

Nicole’s Personal Take on So-Called “Nude”

by Gail O'Hara April 27, 2017

We got the chance to reach out to Nicole Williams from boutique brand marketing consultancy Breakfast with Alice, and we asked her what the changing landscape of “nude” means to her.

When I think back to my adolescence, I have just a few defining “bra memories” that spring to mind. Some were positive, such as the time my mother took me to buy my first bra and conveyed the wonderful message that I wish all mothers would tell their daughters: “It’s about how it makes you feel.” Another involves the horrific public outing that my new post–summer vacay boobs were primarily the product of a box of Kleenex (aah, seventh grade).

And then, the uncomfortable teenage discovery that the so-called “nude” bra—a color that was supposed to “blend with your skin tone” for a barely there appearance—didn’t actually exist in my personal chocolatey shade.


Standing in the unmentionables department of my local department store, I can recall being surrounded by bras in typical colors: boring and prudish white; sultry black; and “nude” (a shade that recalled the flesh-colored shade of Crayola from my childhood).

It was almost as if the industry was implying that I—and other women who look like me—didn’t matter. That our skin colors were wrong or not worth representing. And that message wasn’t exclusive to my undergarments drawer; it seemed to be echoed everywhere from the makeup counter and hosiery department to the Hollywood big screen.


So what is a girl to do? Well, it has meant years of avoiding awkward nudes that never failed to disappoint. Nudes that would show through my lightest garments and dramatically contrast against my deep complexion.

But there is hope. New players have come on the scene, with beautiful and empowering missions to deliver a versatile range of options that suit a variety of skin tones. Brands such as Evelyn & Bobbie are bringing a full range of complexion tones to customers so we can all breathe easy knowing that our bra matches our own pigment.


And while I haven’t taken a plunge into the new nude pool just yet, I find myself feeling excited and hopeful about what the future brings. As trivial as it sounds, it’s more than just a bra… it’s a small notch in the broader conversation about equality. It’s a step forward that will positively impact the next generation of young women of color and hopefully convey to them that they are beautiful and their versatile shades and tones are to be celebrated and embraced.

This new nude may just be the first nude that I’ve ever owned! It only took until 2017... but hey, better late than never.

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