Shopping for a “nude” is one of the most frustrating experiences. Many brands don’t understand that beige is not the only “nude” color out there. Fortunately bodywear brand, Nude Barre, does. The company works to transform what the world knows as nude – from a singular shade into a neutral rainbow.

Nude Barre’s current assortment consists of hosiery, lingerie, and base layers. Every item the budding brand offers comes in a broad range of shades to shop so that everyone can find their nude. Today, the brand can be found at several major retailers including Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, and Nordstrom.

In celebration of Black Business Month, 21Ninety would like to introduce you to Nude Barre’s founder Erin Carpenter.

Baring It All With Erin Carpenter, Founder of Nude Barre

21Ninety: What inspired you to create Nude Barre?

Erin Carpenter: When I began my professional dance career there were absolutely no stockings that would match my skin tone. This led to embarrassment when I was told regularly to sit out of class for not meeting the “nude” requirement. 

Knowing that I was not the only Black professional dancer (and consumer) experiencing this, I saved $3,000 to begin my mission of fighting colorism by offering the most inclusive range of body wear. Revolutionizing the way consumers shop for “nude” hosiery by creating the destination to offer the most inclusive range of shades and sizes.

Prior to founding Nude Barre, I had the vision to act as a mixologist, customizing and dyeing products the shade of each customer’s skin tone. That’s actually where the name Nude Barre comes from. 

21N: We noticed that every color (for every item) is named after a specific time of day. What was the inspiration behind Nude Barre’s color naming system?

EC: I developed Nude Barre’s standardized, signature shade range to represent the nuances in richness and undertone. I wanted to ensure that the shades would remain consistent with scale and maintain the richness not offered by other brands on the market. We noticed that all of the “nude” focused brands were using names related to foods and desserts. Nude Barre wanted to stand out, therefore, the shades are named in times (e.g. 12AM – 12PM). Because performance can be anytime of day. 

21N: What items does Nude Barre have in store for the future? 

EC: We are hoping to launch more underwear, bodysuits, lounge wear, and potentially nipple covers. But, this is all still in the works.

Nude Barre’s Dedication to Community

21N: How do you hope consumers feel while wearing Nude Barre’s pieces?

EC: I hope that while consumers wear Nude Barre they feel seen, represented, and cared about. Nude Barre challenges the notion that complexion determines worth, and has created a safe space that celebrates visibility, healing and education through a diverse community. I have always approached Nude Barre with true representation in mind – to have a shade for everyone.

21N: We noticed that on the Nude Barre site, the brand does more than sell bodywear. How do you hope Nude Barre impacts its current and future community beyond the physical lingerie?

EC: I host ongoing social conversation, on Instagram live [#JoyOfHue] and our blog Side Barre. I invite guests to join me in discussing finding joy in their life and with their bodies. We discuss topics like colorism, breaking barriers, and Black maternal health. Side Barre is an intimate conversation reserved for self-reflection and all things personal. Every human is welcome to tune in. 

Courtesy of Nude Barre

Insights From Carpenter to Future Black Business Owners

21N: As we celebrate Black Business Month, what lessons have you learned as an entrepreneur that you think other Black small business-founders could benefit from?

EC: Always be ready to learn and stay humble. You have to be humble enough to ask for help. The market is constantly changing, so you have to be flexible and open to learning new things. There isn’t a moment in entrepreneurship that you wake up and know everything. 

21N: What has been the hardest part about being a Black woman breaking into the bodywear industry?

EC: The hardest thing has been navigating the field with limited resources. Many of my competitors and peers in bodywear have more resources than I do. So, I have to find ways to acquire customers in different ways. Most of the time, Black founders are under-resourced. So, this is where we have to be humble enough to ask for help regularly.

Nude Barre 12 AM Footed Opaque Tights

Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom

Nude Barre’s 12 AM Footed Opaque Tights can be worn at any time of day. The sleek tights feature a high waist with an elastic waistband. These stretchy nylon-spandex tights are available in 13 colors in sizes small/medium to 4X/5X.

Nude Barre 10 AM Camisole

Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom

Nude Barre’s 10 AM Camisole is a partially-lined lightweight layer that you can wear alone or under your favorite sweater. The fabric boasts body-hugging stretch. And, it has adjustable straps for a custom fit. Shop 13 shades in sizes small through x-large.

Nude Barre 10 AM Mesh Wireless Bra

Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom

Nude Barre 10 AM Mesh Wireless Bra lightly smooths as it supports. This semi-sheer mesh bra has adjustable straps as well as a double hook-and-eye closer. Plus, its deep V silhouette lets you wear it with ease under almost every top you own. Nine colors are available in sizes small to x-large.

Nude Barre Seamless Bikini

Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom

Say goodbye to panty lines with Nude Barre’s Seamless Bikini. This underpinning glides over the hips and rear with seamless edges that don’t dig into your skin. These soft panties also have a cotton-lined gusset. 13 shades are available in sizes small to x-large.

Nude Barre 12 AM Fishnet Tights

Photo Courtesy of Nordstrom

Nude Barre’s 12 AM Fishnet Tights add a stylish edge to any outfit. These fishnets are the strong yet soft counterpart to the opaque tights. Available in 12 shades, shop your size from small/medium to 4X/5X.

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