Finally! Someone’s Created A Nude Bra That Actually Works For Black Women

Because up until now, the process of finding a ‘nude’ bra that actually works for black skin has been nothing short of humiliating Photograph by Trey Wright


by Hannah Pool |
Published on

In the back of my wardrobe are a number of dresses, skirts and tops that very rarely get to see the light of day. Not because I’m waiting for the right party, dinner date or promotion, but because I can’t find a nude bra to wear them with.

Alongside their seasonal collections, every lingerie retailer worth their D-cup does a stock in trade in black, white and ‘nude’ bras. Except they don’t, not really. Because what they really sell next to all those polka dots and leopard prints is black, white and beige, and if your skin tone is anything darker than a very pale brown, you can forget about finding a nude bra on the high street.

Trust me, I’ve tried and each time I try again it amazes me that a man can walk on the moon but a black woman still can’t pop out in her lunch break and pick up a bra that matches her skin tone.

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Yes, I know there are far bigger infringements on my civil liberties. But I also know that fashion matters, and as a barometer of what the fashion industry thinks of black women the fact none of the major lingerie retailers can be bothered to cater for us is pretty damning.

I mean, seriously, I can get neon pink, electric blue or any variation of animal print, but I can’t get a nice deep brown?


Whether it’s to go under a crisp white shirt or a canary yellow dress, if you are a black woman finding the perfect nude bra, in fact finding any nude bra, knickers or tights to suit your skin, is a nightmare.

Traditional ‘nude’ lingerie stands out like a hideous beige beacon when worn next to black skin, so unless I want to go bra-less (no thank you) or freeze my legs when its cold (ditto), I am left with two options: wear something so bright it looks deliberate or wear black and hope for the best. Either way I am left feeling angry and frustrated, with heavy reliance on colour blocking tights and a load of outfits I hardly ever wear.

Whenever I have a couple of spare hours and want to do a bit of direct action I trudge up and down the high street asking every retailer I can find if they have a ‘nude’ bra that will work for my skin. I am either met with blank looks or, if the woman I’m asking is herself black, I get a conspiratorial, ‘I know, it’s SO annoying.’

READ MORE: If You're A Black Woman Shopping In New York Then You've Probably Been Racially Profiled

Until now, online has not been much better, though obviously be careful what you type into Google. But things are changing thanks to women like Ade Hassan, 30, founder of Nubian Skin, the brains behind a new online lingerie boutique that specialises in lingerie for women of colour.

‘I was sick of having to wear things over a black bra,’ says Hassan, when I ask her why she set up Nubian Skin. ‘Lingerie is the foundation of any outfit. If you have the perfect blouse which happens to be slightly sheer the last thing you want to do is wear it with a black bra. I want to provide lingerie which helps women express themselves through their clothes.’

The range launches with a collection of four shades with cute names such as: Berry (the darkest), Cinnamon (medium-dark), Caramel (medium-light) and Cafe-au-lait (the lightest). Bra sizes start at 30B and go up to a 36DD, knickers are small to extra large and hosiery small to large, but this is just the beginning, says Hassan.

‘One of the biggest questions we’ve had is about sizes. I fully appreciate a lot of women of colour need larger cup sizes, if I could have offered every size I would have but as a start up we have to be very conscious of costs, but we really hope to offer larger sizes soon as possible,’ says Hassan.

Nubian Skin have found an ingenious way to help women select the right colour lingerie – next to the obligatory shots of impossibly beautiful women wearing the collection is a list of matching foundation shades. Each shade looks rich and luxurious rather than a tokenistic afterthought. I couldn’t help but get excited when I spotted several of my favourite foundations listed and saw straight away that my shade is probably Cinnamon (Bobbi Brown Warm Walnut, MAC NW45, Nars Macao). In fact, the feeling I had is the complete opposite of how I’ve felt for years – like I’m being told I don’t matter.

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Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahpool

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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