This post is long overdue, and it’s one that I’ve been nervous to publish.
I’ve loved fashion ever since I could remember. When I was three years old, my mom went to Hecht’s without me (do you remember that store? What a throwback!) and I gave her side eye. Sorry, mom. I made clothes for my barbies with cut up fabric. My game of choice growing up was playing dress up in my mom’s old gowns. And of course, I launched my very own fashion blog back when I was in college.I loved every single thing about fashion.
One thing I didn’t love about the fashion industry? Growing up, it definitely did not cater towards little ol’ me, a woman of color. The only prominent supermodels that somewhat looked like me growing up were Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks. They were both beautiful; however, I for sure did not grow sleek, straight hair out of my head. I chemically straightened my hair to achieve a western standard of beauty from age 3 to age 18 and fried a good bit of it off in the process. I was in a pre-professional dance program in high school, and I struggled to find affordable stage makeup that matched my skin tone, or that would show up super well on my skin. I grew up feeling something was wrong with me because the fashion industry didn’t cater to me.
When I was in my dance program, and I was also required to buy “nude” bodysuits for quick changes if we were performing in public, outdoor venues. Bodysuits only came in one shade of “nude,” and it was beige. It looked pretty ridiculous on me considering that my skin tone is the farthest thing from beige. My mom figured out how to dye my bodysuits growing up and ended up doing the same for the other women of color I danced with. We were forced to make it work since the products we needed in our skin tone just didn’t exist.
Fast forward to 2017: ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in my life, I was able to get my hands on an affordable nude bra that matched my skin tone. There are makeup brands out there that offer 40+ shades of foundation. I’m wearing protective styles now so that I can rock my natural, super curly hair soon. And yes, I checked out Discount Dance Supply, and slowly but surely, they’re offering nude leotards in more shades as well. Growing up, I honestly never felt beautiful or integrated into the industry as a woman of color, but I’m incredibly thankful that things are turning around.
Aerie asked me if I wanted to check out their new Real Me Collection back in August, which offered bras and undies in all shades of nude, along with more vibrant tops and leggings that are perfect for lounging around or running errands in. I was so stoked that I could find a nude bra in my shade, I almost cried. I’ve been waiting a long time for this, and I hope the industry continues the trend of being more inclusive.
P.S.: My shade at Aerie is called “Confidence.”