Wearing White? Go Nude.

March 21, 2014 | By | Comments (18)

It may be pretty obvious that neon green is not the optimal color choice for undergarments worn beneath a white top or skirt. Less obvious, but also not the right choice, is white.

White fabric on white fabric creates a double-opaque effect that makes your underpinnings just as obvious as wearing a bright color beneath light shades. Instead, opt for nude hues as close to the color of your skin as possible (extra points for smooth fabric); no variation in tone from your skin to your underwear results in your blouse (or skirt) looking perfectly smooth and discreet.

See the best bras for every shape.


  1. Louise

    What should I wear if my skin isn’t white?

    March 21, 2014 at 11:28 pm
  2. lisajohnsonsawyer

    Thank you for a great post!
    Bras are harder to find that people think!! I’ve always gone nude under white. But, WHY does the younger gen think it’s so sexy and underappropriate to wear every color in the book under white? It is like bras have become accessories. ??
    Again, love the post and especially the link! Thanks.

    March 22, 2014 at 8:03 am
  3. Kierah

    Thanks Louise…when white privilege meets fashion, huh?
    Darker skinned black people have been wearing black under white clothing for a long time so it’s not “pretty obvious” to us. There aren’t a whole lot of “nude” options for us.

    March 22, 2014 at 2:38 pm
  4. Louise

    Kierah, their inner thoughts might be slipping through. Recently they’ve posted a few ageist things, and now this. I don’t know what to think, but I am reconsidering my subscription.

    March 22, 2014 at 3:51 pm
  5. Louise

    Well of course I know what to think. I’m done with Real Simple.

    March 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm
  6. guest

    Louise and Kierah, you can still wear “nude”,just buy a shade that you would consider nude, not the pasty/granny-stocking shade I would have to buy ;) (I’ve seen a shoe store that had 10 shades of “nude”, the right one for about every skin color..was it Louboutine?)
    I agree though, white priviledge. I am so sorry you have to deal with that :(

    March 22, 2014 at 5:08 pm
  7. Susan Pitchford

    Echoing what “guest” said: Sorry this is such a drag. My first thought on reading the piece was, “some white girl hasn’t twigged to the fact that we aren’t the only people on the planet.” Real inSensitive.

    March 23, 2014 at 1:42 pm
  8. Emily

    The article says: opt for nude hues as close to the color of your skin as possible. If your skin color is lighter, pick a lighter color. If it’s darker, pick a darker color. Nude = naked = not specific indicating that everyone should buy a tan bra.

    Another tip: don’t buy a “nude” bra in a shiny fabric because if your picture is taken with the flash on, there is a good chance that the shiny fabric will also show through (learned this when I used to dance and lots of pictures were taken!)

    March 23, 2014 at 3:52 pm
  9. Valentina

    Louise and Kierah, really?
    There are plenty of companies who make nude colors even for the darkest hues, now. Nude does not have to do with being white or light skinned. They make caramel nudes, they make palest skin nudes…they make coffee color nudes.Nude means NAKED…and before you assume with your ignorance that I am white or racist. I am neither. Get over yourselves.

    March 23, 2014 at 7:38 pm
  10. Brad E Wakeman

    I think the hint of racism in the article stems from the color of the bra depicted in the photo, which suggests Caucasian nude. . . . As Emily explained, the article is written with racially neutral terms. Perhaps a picture that includes multiple colors of bras (e.g. white, peach, brown, black, etc.) to represent “nude” would have been more effective (and less offensive).

    March 24, 2014 at 12:52 am
  11. rebeccadaly

    Thank you all for your discussion here and for bringing up so many important points. As Valentina and Emily mention, nude is used here is not to reference specific shades of beige or tan, but to mean whatever shade is closest to your own naked skin tone, whatever that may be – as Kierah and Louise very importantly point out, if your skin is darker, a black bra may work very well for you, making that first sentence incorrect. This post was never intended to be exclusionary or cause offense – thank you all for pointing out that it may have come across that way, and please let me know if there is anything I can do to continue to make our language more balanced. (As Brad suggests, I’m also switching out the accompanying image to one that includes more than just one “nude” tone.)

    March 24, 2014 at 11:43 am
  12. MeeJay

    *sigh* I’m pasty white who can never find a good match in “nude”. I just adapt the advice to fit my situation, why does it have to be about race??

    March 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm
  13. LJ

    MeeJay and Valentina, it’s about skin color because in 99% of the stores and magazines, “nude” means beige. The fact that the picture and article needed to be changed speaks to that. Heck, Crayola even had to put out a special pack of crayons to reflex that their “flesh” colored crayon excluded a majority of the world.

    Thanks, Rebecca, for stepping up quickly and making the adjustments. And thanks for adding a link to a shop where I might be able to find a good brown bra! Because if you go to the main affordable brands’ websites (i just did), you’ll see almost no brown (not beige or caramel) bras. And it’s worse when you’re in the brick and mortar stores.

    March 24, 2014 at 8:53 pm
  14. Louise

    Rebecca, Thanks for your thoughtful reply and for updating the original post. I love the new opening line with neon green and the image. Thank you and I’m sorry for getting angry about it.

    Also thanks to everyone who commented here. Some of you have really made me examine how I think about these things. Yes, I assumed nude meant a pinkish beige, having never seen the others. The stores around me don’t have darker tones called nude (I went out shopping Sunday to see if I’d missed them.) I’ve learned from you about the color but also about thinking in general. Thank you for all that.

    Kind Regards, Louise

    March 24, 2014 at 11:11 pm
  15. rebeccadaly

    Hi Louise! Thank YOU, again, for bringing up your points and creating such an important and dynamic conversation – it is so wonderful to have such engaged and thoughtful readers. Keep it coming!

    March 25, 2014 at 2:57 pm
  16. Donna

    You can thank Sex in the City for starting this trend and moms for not teaching their daughters modesty for its continuation.

    March 29, 2014 at 9:43 pm
  17. nicaw

    It’s all about education, from every point of view. Nude has meant a shade/color that’s pale to beige to tan. Typically if you mean a color such as brown (the color of my skin) there is no nude brown.

    Thank you for bringing this up and highlight it. Choose a color close to you skin tone is the perfect way to describe the color of undergarments you should wear under white.

    Rebecca, as the author of this piece, I also grateful for the way you responded.

    April 2, 2014 at 5:35 pm
  18. acatlady

    Choosing a color close to your skintone (there is a pretty dark bra in that picture, too). Come on! Racism in this post? Why is everything about race? Get over it. And the younger girls do use their bra color as a fashion statement. They purposely wear them with the straps showing as well, in all sorts of colors. I never would but after watching my granddaughters, it doesn’t bother me anymore.

    April 3, 2014 at 7:05 pm

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