Accessories, cosmetics in the many shades of flesh

By Elizabeth Wellington Published: January 2, 2014

— Whether you're chocolate or ivory, cafe au lait or cinnamon-hued, beauty and fashion items exist in your perfect shade of nude.

This year, companies from Clinique to Christian Louboutin have released a plethora of products, from nail polish to pumps, in a range of tones.

This influx is significant: Until recently, “nude” collections seemed to offer only shades of ecru and peachy pinks.

Women of color have been buying brown since the '70s, but they were often forced to wait until their skin tones were in style to stock up.

Now that brown is perennial, all of us can grab a flesh-toned shoe or bag, even in midwinter. When paired with velvety blues and full-bodied burgundies, nude accessories can finish off a long, lean look without clashing with holiday sparkles.

Refined accessories

“Switching a black or metallic shoe for a nude tone instantly refines a look,” said Randi Edelman, marketing director of the Saks Fifth Avenue in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. Saks is selling a lot of nude products this season, from Yves Saint Laurent peep-toe slingbacks to Azzedine Alaia clutches. “The good news is that these holiday looks can take you right into spring.”

You know how we love a seasonless accessory.

It was Kate Middleton who brought nude shoes back into the spotlight two years ago when the princess popularized L.K. Bennett's nude pump.

This October, in a much appreciated nod to women of color, king of the red-bottom shoe Christian Louboutin released a collection that included five styles, from peep toes to slingbacks, in five shades, from fair blush to rich chestnut.

The company also released a smartphone app so women could figure out which nude is best for them — the idea being that a shoe the same color as your skin elongates your silhouette.

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