Why is it that until recently, ‘skin tone’ consumer items from stockings, to bras, to underwear and even band-aids only came in one shade? Multitudes of skin tones have existed for millenia, but it’s taken the world an undue amount of time to catch up and truly cater to the range of skin tones that people possess.
According to Neilsen, African-American consumers will have an estimated $1.3 trillion in terms of buying power in 2017, while Hispanics currently have a collective buying power of $1.2 trillion. Asian-Americans are slated to reach $1 trillion in terms of buying power by 2018. Add the fact that women in all of these groups drive household spending, and the potential for profit is too big to ignore.
In their never-ending quest to increase and defend market share and create loyal customers, companies have finally started producing for a wider variety of customers, and the $13 billion bra industry is no exception.
|1. Elomi Raquel Side Support Bra||2. The Lilyette Enchantment Minimizer Bra||3. Wacoal’s Women’s Full Figure Basic Beauty Underwire Bra||4. Goddess Keira Banded Satin Bra||5. Chantelle Women’s Rive Gauche Full Coverage Unlined Bra|
|Cup: Not padded||Cup: No Padding, molded||Cup: Not padded||Cup: Not padded||Cup: No Padding|
|Style: Full-coverage/side support||Style: Full-coverage||Style: Minimizer||Style: Full-coverage||Style: Full-coverage|
|Band: Wide, very supportive||Band: Wide cut||Band: Wide, very supportive||Band: supportive, but can slip||Band: A little Stretchy|
|Fit: Consider going down a size in cup||Fit: True to size||Fit: Consider going up a size in cup||Fit: Consider going down in cup & Band||Fit: Cup runs large, need to convert sizing|
|Best attribute: Supportive AND sexy||Best attribute: Value for money||Best attribute: Very comfortable once broken in||Best attribute: Great value||Best attribute: Looks beautiful|
|Best for: All Rounder||Best for: All day, casual wear||Best for: Casual Wear||Best for: All Day||Best for: Short outings, Seducing someone|
|Rating: 4.5/5||Rating: 4/5||Rating: 4/5||Rating: 4/5||Rating: 3.5/5|
|Sizes: DD-JJ, band sizes 34-44||Sizes: C-G, band sizes 32-42||Sizes: D-H, band sizes 32-44||Sizes: DD-N, band sizes 34-46||Sizes: C-I, band sizes 32-44|
|Check availability||Check availability||Check availability||Check availability||Check availability|
The Search for the Skin Tone Bra
Today’s review is a round-up of 5 bras made by companies who acknowledge other different shades in the rainbow and also cater to plus size women. Before I dive in to my review, I must say that finding candidates for this list was a lot harder than I expected, as there always seemed to be a piece of the puzzle missing. When I found a cute skin tone bra with a style that I liked in a range of colors, I often found that its ‘big-size’ offerings stopped at a DD, or a band size that was relatively small. When I found a bra that looked excellent and supportive and came in large sizes, there were only a few colors.
By the time I finished writing up my list, I realized that the skin tone bras that I picked were mostly full-coverage, which shows that there still is a lack in diversity when it comes to bras for different skin tones that also caters to larger sizes. I’m still on the hunt for a good, supportive t-shirt bra that I like that comes in my color. I’d be absolutely ecstatic if my beloved Freya Rio came in my skin tone, but it doesn’t. Suffice to say, though great progress has been made, there is still a long way to go when catering to this niche of ours.
5. The Chantelle Women’s Rive Gauche Full Coverage Unlined Bra – Full Review
This bra made the list because it is one of the prettier bras around that go all
the way to an H cup. Let’s face it, the larger bras go in size, the fewer options aesthetically-pleasing options we have. This bra comes in hazelnut, cappuccino, chocolate, amongst some other bright colors.
It looks great, it’s got full-coverage and solid side structure
The texture of the bra means it will likely be seen through some clothes, band could use more hooks. The fit of the underwire might make it feel uncomfortable after long periods of time.
Short outings, Seducing someone 😀
My rating: 3.5/5
4. Goddess Keira Banded Satin Bra – Full Review
With a name like Goddess Keira, I have to say I expect something extremely
bold and empowering. This bra has been a big hit for Goddess, and it comes in different styles, as well as inclusive nude colors like fawn and chocolate. This was the bra with the biggest range of sizes on the list, going all the way to a 46N.
Range of sizes, natural shape, nice material, good value for money
Main seam is prominent, can show through clothes. Band can slip upwards during the day
All-day wear, lounging
My rating: 4/5
3. Wacoal’s Women’s Full Figure Basic Beauty Underwire Bra – Full Review
The Wacoal bra comes in chocolate and cappuccino as well as a naturally-
nude color, and several other more playful colors as well, and is available up to an H cup.
Comfort, comfort, comfort! And also a wide band that feels supportive.
Strap are very narrowly-set, might not suit wide-neck tops. Unlined, so nipples may show through.
Lounging, all-day wear, casual wear
My rating: 4/5
2. The Lilyette Enchantment Minimizer Bra – Full Review
I have to say I liked this bra because it reminds me of one of favorites that I own. It goes all the way to a G, and even though it’s a minimizer (a class I associate with utilitarian, plain looking old-school Playtex bras), it looks quite nice and smooth.
Comfortable overall. It’s unmolded, meaning your breasts can fill out the cup with a natural shape. It has a wide-winged back strap which helps to provide a smoothing effect on the back.
Long underwire, the gore may stick out if you have narrow-set boobs.
All-day wear, lounging
My rating: 4/5
1. Elomi Raquel Side Support Bra – Full Review
This bra goes all way to a double J, and is a funky take on a full-bra. I like that through the use of a nice lacey-looking material, they managed to make the bra look eye-catching without much adornment, making it easy to wear under clothes.
Soft cup creates natural shape, well-distributed, balanced support
Straps can loosen throughout the day, a little bit conical from the side view.
Day to night. Can be worn to work, out at night, and is comfy enough to wear on a lounging day too.
My rating: 4.5/5
I had to add in two companies whose bras didn’t make the cut, but that I hope to wear one day. Both of them have made it their goal since day one to have inclusive skin tone color ranges and have produced a lot of beautiful brassieres.
Naja is a company that entered the scene recently, in 2014. The company strives to make nude bras in a lot of inclusive skin tones, so you have a high chance of finding a skin tone bra color that’s in your ballpark, as opposed to just having to settle for black. The only reason this company didn’t make my top 5 is because while the largest cup size they cater to is a DDD, they don’t offer a wide range of band sizes in the higher cups. As 38 F/G cup, I’m out of the running, but their bras are so pretty and the company has built a great corporate social responsibility profile, so I had to mention them.
Another company that deserves an honorable mention is Nubian Skin. They
carry four diverse shades for darker skin tones, and I love, love, love the fact that they even include a foundation matching guide on their website. Let’s face it, it’s very difficult to tell whether or not you are a mocha or a cinnamon when looking at your typical computer screen.
The reason it’s not in the top 5 though is because even though they go up to a 40 in band size, many of their styles run small in the band. The only really supportive style I felt comfortable with that came in an F + cup was the Midnight Bra, a balcony bra, and even then the biggest band size they have is a 36 in those upper cup sizes, putting me out of the running again. The company has said though that they are working on increasing their range of sizes, so fingers crossed that this will change soon. If you are smaller framed though, their cup range does go all the way to a G, so they might be worth checking out if you’re in the market for a skin tone bra.