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Why French Women Don't Wear Nude Bras

Why French Women Don't Love Nude Bras

PHOTO: Bra with molded shell cups and transparent straps, Passionata patrimony; "Neon" nude bra with molded cups, Implicite patrimony; nude polyamide and Lycra bra with flexible molded cups, Chantelle patrimony; "Anthéa" bra in white microfiber, Barbara patrimony; "Nuage" bra with flexible molded cups, Lejaby patrimony. Photograph by Gilles Berquet for Lingerie Française Exhibition XIX-XXI

We love these fabulous nude bras shot by illustrious French photographer Gilles Berquet. But truth be told, when it comes to everyday bras and lingerie, French women love color. Emerald greens, flaming reds, vibrant fuchsias, deep blues – the French palate is as rich and delicious as a big, hot éclair. That's why you won’t find many (if any) nude bras in the French woman’s wardrobe. In fact, most French brands didn’t even make nude bras until they began to export into the U.S. But there's another naked fact about nude bras that may not be as self-evident to those who love them.


“The nude bra is a staple in every American woman’s wardrobe, but not necessarily for the right reasons,” says lingerie boutique owner Colette. “American women love nude bras because they are hidden. You don’t see them – and therefore there’s no hint of what you’re wearing under your clothes. That’s another reason Americans love molded cup bras: to hide their nipples and make everything look uniform.” Many French women point to our Puritanical heritage as the root of this "nude dilemma." Continues Colette: “American culture is so extreme:  Either you reveal everything to the point emulating soft porn, or you hide everything and try to look the same. There is no ‘middle way’ like we have in France; no celebration of aesthetics as it relates to the body and one’s sense of self. But that’s where color and lingerie come into play.”

Barbara Fall-Winter 2015

Aubade Fall Winter 2015

Chantelle Fall Winter 2015

Lingerie is an aesthetic part of the French woman's overall look -  even if no one sees or knows what's underneath her clothes but herself - and colors are an inextricable part of that look.  But beauty, as they say, is not skin deep. Observes Colette: “I say 'no' to nude. There’s in nothing beautiful about nude. Furthermore, everyone knows that the so-called 'nude' bra only corresponds to one basic skin tone - and how many different types of women of different color exist in the world? Thankfully there are now lingerie companies making nude bras for women of color. In the meantime, why not celebrate color?"

For those American women too attached to their nude bras, there are these wise words from Simone Pérèle fashionista: In a blog post about “6 Shades of Risqué ,” we're reminded that “red is just as invisible as many nudes under white tops.” (Not that you’d want it to be invisible.) “Think of your lingerie as the first layer of your look,” she writes. “A pop of fuchsia lace under a loose white tee is an edgy yet chic combination in spring and summer... a blue-hued bra gives a chic edge to a class white shirt and jeans.”

Empreinte Fall Winter 2015

Simone Pérèle Fall Winter 2015

October 19, 2015 
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