fashion

This is why we need to talk about Meghan's 'nude' stockings.

Hi there. My name is Nama, and I’m a writer, a mum, a daughter, a friend. You know, like lots of women.

And also like lots of women, I am a proud woman of colour.

The time has come for me to speak out about something that’s annoyed me about fashion for years, which not many people have cared about until recently. And that’s ok, because it’s ‘just’ an issue for a minority – it’s not a world-ending problem.

But this year, it’s an issue that’s become an international discussion, which is actually part of a much broader issue, and we have the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, to thank for that.

You see, Meghan has been making a fashion faux pas – according to some. She’s insisting on wearing nude stockings and it just doesn’t make sense.

Doesn’t Meghan realise that she is not a white woman?, is basically what some people are asking. Can’t she make the effort to find stockings that match her skin tone?, they want to know.

The lighter colour of the Duchess of Sussex’s stockings has been noted, for example, at Prince Charles’ 70th birthday garden party (as opposed to the gala of this week) earlier this year in May, as seen in this tweet:

So, it’s not enough that Meghan has attempted to stick to royal protocol and not have bare legs – but it’s also a matter of why did she bother if she couldn’t get it right?

Meghan’s inappropriate stockings happened again this week at the Remembrance Day service in London – where not only was the Duchess sporting strange-coloured nude stockings that did not even match her skin tone, one of her feet also seemed to have a ‘stain’ on the stocking.

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Oh, the horror.

"We are not amused with this aberration." The 'stain' can be seen on Meghan's right foot. Source: Getty

Had she spilt her drink? Stepped in a puddle? All that anyone knew is that the 'stain' was obvious to the world, and would not have happened if Meghan had not insisted on wearing "shiny" (as one person called them) nude stockings.

It caused enough of a sensation for the very important matter to be discussed on Twitter.

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This is why we now need to join the chorus and talk about Meghan's stockings.

Here's what the concerned citizens don't seem to realise: your nude is not the same as my nude, or Meghan's nude.

Remembrance Day was a formal occasion, so Meghan wanted to reflect that by wearing stockings. But, even though she's the Duchess of Sussex, it is likely that her options were very limited.

Twenty years ago, when I began my career as a lawyer, it was a major faux pas to have bare legs in the office - but I just couldn't find any nude/flesh/sheer stockings to match my skin tone.

Eventually, I gave up, and just wore black opaque tights. Fast forward twenty years, and I now don't even do that - I just wear bare legs. (On occasion I wear fishnet stockings, but that's a story for another day.)

But the problematic definition of nude doesn't just apply to hosiery; I also struggle to find underwear that is nude for me. The 'nude' is usually cream or light pink - and that shows up under my t-shirts as much as a black bra does. So most of the time, I wear a singlet under my clothes so that my bra doesn't made its own fashion statement.

This issue of limited nude applies, of course, to make up. Most 'nude' lipsticks are different to my nude lipstick. Look at the below photos to see what I mean:

This is me wearing a nude lipstick - that is 'nude' for me. Source: supplied.
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But this is what that lipstick looks like on Caucasian skin - it's not 'nude' at all. Source: supplied.

So, it's apparent to me the real issue is that Meghan isn't finding it easy to get her bejewelled hands on 'flesh' stockings that don't look 'wrong', simply because they might not even exist.

In the Twitter thread, I was very pleased to see that one woman, a British journalist by the name of Meadhbh McGrath, saw a reasonable explanation as to why Meghan's faux pas was not, in fact, her fault at all - but a result of the current fashion situation for millions of women:

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She gets it: there is, quite simply, a lack of diverse 'nudes' in the fashion industry.

It will change one day, and slowly, that change is happening - look at Rhianna's Fenty beauty range, for example. In the interim, if Meghan's choices really bother you that much, you could search for some in her tone, and send them to her.

That would be helpful.

But you don't need to do that for me. I'm quite happy with my fishnet stockings - when the occasion arises - thank you very much.

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