March 10th, 2011
Celebrity Style, Shopping
Wardrobe Query: Nude Shoes for Brown Girls
By Claire

K.T. wrote in saying, “Spring is coming, and I’m interested in nude pumps! Can you do a spread on the best nude pumps for women of color? I know that our color ranges majorly, but I’m always seeing nude for lighter complexions, but not enough options for medium to darker. I’m a NW47 / Gabrielle Union type complexion. Do you have any suggestions for my shade of beauty?”

That’s an interesting question, K.T. Though ‘nude’ presumes that the shoe matches your skin tone exactly (thus making the shoe look like an extension of your leg), many celebs still wear light beige/nude shoes that aren’t particularly matchy-matchy.
Whatever your skin tone or preference, we’ve got you covered:

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60 Responses to “Wardrobe Query: Nude Shoes for Brown Girls”

  1. Tasha says:

    The reader’s comment kind of has me confused. What does skin color have to do with lack of nude shoes. Nude is IN and you see a wide variety of nudes that fit any desires. Kelly Rowland above is wearing the same type of nudes that I’ve seen Beyonce wear.

  2. [...] Friends with 0 Comments Manolo says, here are the few links which may perhaps amuse…Nude Shoes for Brown Girls.Zombie Stompers!I love the way I feel when I’m tossing bobbins. /**/ About Manolo the [...]

  3. BOOBOO says:

    I love my nude pumps! I am fair to light skin and I bought I pair frm Target that looks alot lik those Prada pumps but i paid 30! They are my Go To pumps for a colorful fit:) I think they would fit any skin tone

  4. yusufswifee says:

    I have one pair of nude pumps that I wore last weekend…loved it…not my skin tone, but I had on tights anyway. Closer to the warm weather I do plan on buying another nude that is closer to my skin tone for that whole “extended long leg” look. Besides, what else will I wear with all the coral/pastel prints. Leaning toward the Steve Madden, Russh choice. Great post.

  5. Adrienne says:

    This post has made me add nude pumps to my “Spring Must Have List” :)

  6. Cara says:

    I recently bought a pair of nude Steve Madden Kattrina pumps and although I haven’t wore them yet I love the shoe! I was also worried about matching my skin tone exactly BUT I quickly got over that and realized it’s not actually necessary.

  7. Cici says:

    Ive had nude pumps since last spring so Im ahead of the game, but Nude has nothing to do with matching skin color IMO. I am a NC50 in MAC and I love flesh tone, taupe, peachy colors whether it’s a nail color or a pair of pumps. Nude just means neutral.

  8. zimbabwechic says:

    I bought light nude pumps and i love the way they look even though i’m darker, I was kind of iffy at first but the tone of the nude doesn’t matter.

  9. dyshaun says:

    Nude is neutral, no? Did we really pull out the foundation colors? LOL

    LOVE THIS BOARD!!!! One could even use a blush-y tone if you like.

  10. Brittany says:

    I think Nude was/is supposed to mean blending in with your skin color not as in neutral. If she was looking for a neutral shoe, then she would’ve said so.

  11. KT says:

    Wow, I’m KT and I’m so happy to see this post!
    Yeah, I did mean my skin color, not as in a neutral. I see neutral shoes all day long, but I really wanted to extend my leg length with a shoe that blends in to my skin complexion. It’s kinda like wearing nude panty hose (if ppl still do that). What’s nude for Heidi Klum would look crazy on me. My “nude” is brown.

    Anyway, I’m off to shoe shop! Thanks for the links.

  12. dyshaun says:

    Okay and…I think the consensus still is that women of color… medium to dark skins can choose almost ANY color on the market (AND look good)…hence the umpteen pictures ^ there.

    If you dont get an exact color match (you want the illuison of no shoe?), the one MUSt is height. Thats how you get the long line.

  13. Cmoni says:

    Great Post! I <3 Solange's dress does anyone know where to find it and where to get it or something similar. Thanks

  14. pintsizedinFluence says:

    Solange’s dress is GORGEOUS!!

  15. yay says:

    Well thank you for this post! I’ve been wondering the same exact thing as the reader because I wanted a nude shoe. I told my friend and the first thing they said was “Um, isn’t that shoe supposed to match your skin?” Then I figured I’d seen Kelly Rowland wear it, so I could too. After I did Google search on it, a lot of results said that it should match your skin for the elongated look. From this post, it doesn’t seem like it matters though, so I’m still going to get my nude shoe! :)

  16. MIA says:


  17. Monie says:

    I was just telling my boyfriend the other night that i don’t see many nude shoes that match my skin tone! good post!

  18. Pocahontas1 says:

    OMG! This post was BEYOND helpful! I spent about three hours yesterday searching the web to find the perfect pair of nude pumps! Now I’m in “nude shoe heaven” Thanks a bunch!!!

  19. lola says:

    I 99% sure Solange’s dress is BCBG from last spring/summer. It prob won’t be in full line stores but u may luck up and find a version at their outlet store

  20. lissa says:

    umm just find a brown shoe… whats the big deal?

  21. tara says:

    the reader asked for nude shoes for darker skin tones…im assuming she wanted one that matched her skin…but again most of the options displayed are a lighter beige-y nude… not our mocha nude… i understand any skin color can wear any nude pump, like these celebs pictured are doing.. but to me it seems the reader asked specifically for darker nude just saying

  22. WaliyyahS says:

    Nude pumps are in no matter the actual color, doesn’t have to match your skin tone honey. A lighter gives a nice contrast to your skin anyway.

  23. Brittany says:

    Thank you Tara. Somebody gets it!

  24. Vanessa says:

    Wait- what the hell does nude pumps have to do with skin color???? C’mon now- Nude is a color like black red and blue. If you’re a darker complexion and for some reason want ur shoes to match ur skin (side eye)- i mean buy BROWN SHOES.

  25. taylormay says:

    yay finally lol! i recently bought some (i’m like gabbie union’s color) from Dollhouse Women’s Zwilo Platform Pump,Tan

  26. Madpet says:

    Great question. Last Spring I was a little disappointed when I walked into Aldos (same goes to Victoria Secret and their “nude” underware) and saw that their “nude section” wasn’t close to my complexion at all. It was basically for the white girls. Kelly’s look above looks ok, but the look wouldve been even better if her shoe was closer to her skin tone. JMO

  27. I want nude pumps now :)

  28. jillibooboo says:

    nude will always be a “beige” color, regardless of what color you are

  29. Jen says:

    The reader just wanted shoes closer to her skintone. I don’t see why people have to get so technical.

  30. Grace says:

    I really don’t understand all of the hoop-lah re: this very reasonable request. In theory, “nude” should match the wearer’s complexion. It just so happens that those who have defined the term in the fashion industry tend to have lighter skin. It’s similar to those likening “fair” complexions/make-ups to lighter skin when “fair” is actually a subjective term that could have just as easily been used to refer to dark skin if there wasn’t such a cultural bias./end rant

    Last season, I purchased tan/light colored shoes but am pleased to find some darker options that more closely match my skin.

  31. binks says:

    Okay where was I because i need some info on my Solange look here! But I agree Nude has always been hard to define especially in terms of fashion but it is something that suppose to match your skin to a tee. To me some of the shoes I see in this “nude trend” looks more beige than nude. But again it is all a matter of perspective

  32. Claire says:

    Hey Guys! Hopped up off the flight, saw all these great comments. I tried to provide options for every tone of brown. Solange’s dress is BCBG, we blogged about it here:

  33. Annie says:

    Solange’s dress is from last season’s BCBG Maxazria Runway collection. As the commenter abover stated, it’s no longer in the stores but I found a couple on eBay. That’s where I purchased mine. Can’t wait to wear it in Miami for my birthday! =)

  34. Chose says:

    I’m still working on the pump game but I got a really cute pair of nude gladiator sandals by Chinese Laundry.

  35. lilimarlene1 says:

    Ladies, as a white woman how could I get a pair of pumps to match me to a t? I couldn’t because they sure wouldn’t be nude, they’d be white, like Nicole Kidman. Nude is nude, not to match your skin. I mean, right? What Vanessa said!

  36. esme says:

    i’ve always been irritated by the fact that the “nude” trend caters to people with lighter complexions and tends to mean light beige. it’s like back in the day when light beige crayons were called “flesh tone” as though lighter skin tones were the default skin color. it extends to other areas like “skin” colored band-aids and panty hose, that would only match the skin color of white people. it’s a way of subliminally insinuating that lighter skin tones are the default skin tones and all other (darker) skin complexions as other. the “nude” trend should most certainly include darker neutrals and i totally think k.t. was right in calling attention to the fact that it doesn’t. brown pumps WOULD look nude on her. that being said, i think wearing lighter neutral tones compliment dark skin as well.

  37. esme says:

    to further illustrate my point about the “nude” trend not taking darker complexions into account:

  38. Kay says:

    Hope I can post this link here but this is a GREAT example of a darker skinned girl with nude colored pumps that match her skin.

  39. Beelle says:

    To me the term is relative. Nude refers to skintone, kelly rowland’s and Ciara’s pumps aren’t nude to me. Period.

    Its pathetic that the default skintone for nude is stuck in the beige range but whatever. It’s a result of the twisted logic of the fashion industry.

    I have nude pumps that match my dark skintone that I got from Dolce Vita. I love them, sturdy and with a platform. For us darker ladies, it tends to be touch and go but the shoes are out there. We just have to do a bit more digging, like with makeup!

  40. Madpet says:

    Grace, Beelle, and Esme said it best.

  41. Natasha says:

    Ciara and Kelly, I love them both. However, the photos are simply a representation of how celebrity doesn’t equate to style. I lived in Italy for a while and one of an Italian woman’s staple is a nude shoe.

    Nude/Neutral shoe is defined as a color that flawlessly combines with your skin tone (this is NOT a race issue) it is reality – what is your skin tone bammmm get a shoe that matches. It is a very sophisticated look and also elongates the silhouette. Do it ladies quickly – it is an effortless and timeless look the you cannot beat!

  42. nikki says:

    I never thought that wearing a nude colored pump was supposed to match your skin tone. I thought the idea (fashionably) was for the shoe to act as a “neutral” when worn. If that were the case, women with a skin tone of Ciara could wear tan colored pumps, darker women would wear brown colored pumps. The color on the box does not have to say “nude” for the shoe to match your skin.

  43. Bre says:

    Nude is a shade, not a color. Therefore, there can’t be a nude shoe that matches everyone’s complexion. If that was the case then white women’s ‘nude’ would be white and darker women’s ‘nude’ would be brown/beige.

  44. KT says:

    I can’t understand all the commentary on the term “nude.” To me, it’s a no-brainer. Nude isn’t a specific color, it’s whatever applies to you. Nude isn’t only tan or taupe or beige or pink, or whatever. That’s like saying a nude lip is only one shade. That’s insane!

    Anyway, I think a lot of readers said it better than I. I’m glad to see that I’m not alone for wanting a shoe that matches my skin, not just compliments it.

    Perhaps, I should’ve said “flesh tone.” Maybe then, it wouldn’t have engendered so much controversy. :)

  45. Lisa says:

    I see both sides. For me, I have a pair of skin tone cole haan pumps that are a rich chocolate color, they extend my leg line and work beautifully with several outfits. I also have a beige pump that has the same impact as Kelli’s shoes pictured. I think both are essential for the wardrobe and two snaps for people who have shoes that do double-duty. In addition, is it just me or are stone-colored shoes amazing! I have a pair that I work endlessly. Awesome post Claire!

    ~Lisa Ella

  46. esme says:

    nikki..who do you think wrote the dictionary? don’t you think defining nude as the color of a white person’s flesh is not only racist but extremely myopic ? why is white the default skin color EVEN IN THE DICTIONARY? besides that is one of many different dictionary defintions, so why accept a definition that upholds the status quo?

    also, there can be nude shoes that matches everyone’s color, neutral tones that match the wide arrray of complexions that exist, but thus far nude has ALWAYS been described as a light beige color. if light beige stopped being referred to as nude, but instead where described by what they actually look like, like beige or light beige, then it would be easier to include other (darker) neutral tones in reference to the “nude” trend.

    trust me change can happen: 1962 marked the beginning of real political correctness, however, with the “voluntary” name change by the Crayola company of “Flesh” to “Peach.” The company acknowledges on its website that this was done “partially as a result of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.”The next change occurred in 1999 after teachers complained that “some children wrongly perceived that the crayon color ‘Indian Red’ was intended to represent the skin color of Native Americans.” It became “Chestnut.”

  47. charlie says:

    When you are nude/naked, what color are you? It’s relative to the consumer; esme is is right, a peach shoe is not nude for most black people.

  48. EgyptianBella says:


  49. EgyptianBella says:


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