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Let’s get nekkid

Last week, I spent my birthday morning Tweeting photos from changing rooms. I was trying (in vain) to find the perfect ‘nude’ dress. Just to clarify, we’re not talking bum and breasts on parade (for once). Nude happens to be “earthy neutrals and flesh-tones” – y’know, blush, “breige” (yes, it’s a colour), cafe au lait, bleached rose…. cream, and variants on that theme, basically.

Nude is a trend that looks absolutely beautiful on a magazine cover. It’s chic, it’s subtle, it’s romantic and girly-with-a soupcon-of-sexiness. Put it on a real woman and the results are rather different; corned beef pins and a pale peach shift dress do not a sexy lady make.

This is a trend that needs some hardcore effort putting in, but looking at the nude dresses and separates available right now, it is well worth your while. We mere mortals may never achieve the Shakira look (eyes right – and steady as she goes, boys) but we can give it our best shot, Goddamit.

The most important thing to address is skin tone. It’s true that the darker your skin, the better nude looks – but we are definitely not going to be smothering ourselves in Fake Bake. Orange and nude is not happening; I have banned it henceforth (imagine the stains!). And Amercian Tan tights are also on the blacklist. Natural skin tone is the thing to work with, and even if you’re as pale as Miss Havisham with food poisoning, there is a nude shade out there for you. I promise.

Very pale, creamy shades will drain an ‘English rose’ of any colour she does have, and be particularly careful with pinkish hues if you’re prone to skin redness. In general, the paler you are, the richer the neutral tone you should look for – so this cream maxi dress is going to flatter you senseless and this pale grey feather number scores big for blondes. Nude dresses with a contrast trim can also break up the look, pampering your palor.

Mid-tone skin types shouldn’t feel like they are playing it too safe if they opt for mid-nude shades – this gorgeous white/nude lace dress at ASOS, for example, is outageously pretty, as is this blush nude baby from pret a portabello.

Darker skin tones can whoop it up with a variety of nude shades. This very special sequinned number by Mango would be just as successful as this beaded bubble dress. And for ultimate nude sex appeal, this black and nude minx dress by Start will be nothing less than ‘aye carumba!’ on darker skin.

Hair colour is also a concern, but after my extensive research (two dresses in H&M, one in Topshop and a dubious cropped jumper) I can inform you that even a bright red barnet can take on nude and bounce out of the ring with a champion’s trophy belt (what?). If copper can hack it, any hair colour can.

So go for broke, and if you want to mix and match your nudity, may I recommend this bonza jacket in antique cream, nude peep toes by Guess, tidy ruffle top, yummy lace skirt, and cheeky vest – wardrobe staples for SS10 (not all to be worn at the same time, in case you thought I’d gone a bit scatty).

As for me, now I know for sure redheads can get away with it, I’m going nuddy crazy. I’ve got my eye on this gorgeous lace jacket from Next, and thanks to a tip-off from Shoppulse this sheer shift dress from Toppers WILL be mine.

Then all I’ll need to make my new, naked life complete is a bottle of Chanel’s Particuliere (please ring me Debenhams waiting list – pleeease!)

Bare is bold – and that’s a fact.

Penelope does it beautifully – quelle surprise.

Written by Johanna Payton