Plus Size Bra Shopping: Nude Bras for Brown Skin
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Ever since the initial launch of Nubian Skin, there's been an increased level of coverage dedicated to brands making undergarments in shades of nude which look natural on a variety of skin tones. In addition to the several pieces on TLA alone (here, here, here, here and here), a quick Google search revealed countless articles on the topic and brands aiming to solve the problem. I've been very excited about the level of attention the issue and the brands have received, but disappointed that most of the write-ups haven't included more options for bras in larger band sizes or mention of the fact that these lines don't include larger sizes. I'm finding myself with the same feelings in light of the recent press surrounding the launch of Naja, who have branded themselves with the tagline "nude for all" (up to band size 40). I appreciate the strides towards inclusiveness, but wish to see them occurring simultaneously on multiple fronts.
I've been equally disappointed by the fact that up until recently, "nude" bras in my size were only available in one color and the lack of powerful marketing imagery inclusive of fat bodies. I personally desire access to have undergarments that could successfully disappear under clothes.
Since my initial disappointment, a few things have changed:
- I've read and learned more about smaller businesses in the lingerie industry. Learning about the nature of the industry has helped me refine my personal understanding and expectations. What it hasn't done is change the simple fact that there is a demonstrable gap in the market. I also continue to feel that my body is afterthought to be tended to after core customers are served or that my body is a financial risk that most brands (big or small) don't feel is worth taking on. I do understand that small brands often have limited resources, so I believe that it is important to also question bigger brands that already create bras in larger band sizes on the lack of a "nude undergarments for all" ethos.
- Nubian Skin has extended their band sizing. However, this only extends the brand’s sizes up to a 40, so while this is progress, I'm still sized out and the FAQ on their website states that many styles run small in the band. I wouldn’t be able to even attempt to try the line until they expand their sizes. It's worth noting that the brand has launched a plus-size hosiery line but I'd rather have a bra than hosiery. I imagine many others would probably feel the same way and while we appreciate the acknowledgement of larger bodies and the commitment to hearing the feedback from prospective customers, I’m continuing to patiently wait my turn for bras and knickers. If you haven't already, please consider taking the survey and requesting larger band sizes.
- Other larger companies that sell bras in larger band sizes have started producing bras targeted towards those with brown skin. The variety of shades generally isn't as wide as what a brand that specializes in this would offer, but it's something. It's also worth noting a huge part of the appeal of brands like Nubian Skin or Naja is getting to see models in a variety of skin colors wear the product. At several points during my search, I realized that the visual marketing component is mostly missing from the "a nude for everyone" experience in bras available in larger band sizes. Several brands used white models to sell their few lone brown bra options. This is less of the fault of the companies that produce the bras, but the stores that sell them. I would love to see the same imagery the aforementioned brands produce replicated on larger bodies.
With all of this information in the back of my head, I decided to seek out options suitable for me. My only requirements were that the bra was available in at least a 44 band size and that it could function as a nude on skin that is brown. While I'm disappointed I couldn't find more options that replicated the aesthetic of brands that carry only smaller bands, I am impressed at the relative rate of growth. Many of the options presented below didn't exist a year or two ago.
While I have previously expressed negative feelings about Cacique, there aren't enough options elsewhere in this category for me to ignore this option.
The above bra, along with a this option in Cafe Mocha (a color that seems flexible based on the wearer) are the only items that really stood out to me.
Torrid's offerings are quite promising and if your band size is sold out online, it may be worth checking your local store. I appreciate the variety of colors offered, even if I'm a bit disappointed in Torrid's choice to not market these bras as nude through their model choice.
Nordstrom's options were limited. The bra above and the Cate by Elomi in a shade called Pecan were my favorites of what was available.
Bare Necessities had a few winners as well. In addition to the Raquel by Elomi (featured at the top of the post), I was also fond of this Cate Side support bra in Pecan.
While this bra by Goddess from HerRoom.com isn't my favorite from an aesthetic standpoint, the rich color and band sizing made it worthy of mentioning.
I was pleasantly surprised by the number of options I found on Amazon. While some of these items were found elsewhere, Amazon had sizes in stock that were sometimes unavailable at other retailers. While this option from Natori was my favorite, I also found options up to band size 48 (this one by Glamorise and this one by Elomi), band size 50 (this one by Bali) and one at a very budget friendly price point (band size up to 44).
I ended up deciding to try the bra from Cacique as it was one of the options that suited my personal preferences more. I'm pretty happy with the color, but I'm not sure that this will be a permanent solution for me. I definitely wish that there were more options available, especially options that are a bit sleeker in appearance. I was also surprised by the relative popularity of bras in this shade range that were minimizer bras. Do you feel the need to have a nude bra? What styles would you like to see in colors like these? How would you feel if someone made a line of "nudes for all" style bras exclusively in larger bands?