Whether you're chocolate or ivory, cafe au lait or cinnamon-hued, a bevy of 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 this holiday. When paired with velvety blues and full-bodied burgundies, nude accessories can finish off a long, lean look without clashing with the sparkles.

"Switching a black or metallic shoe for a nude tone instantly refines a look," said Randi Edelman, marketing director of the Bala Cynwyd Saks Fifth Avenue. 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 was best for them - the idea is that a shoe the same color as your skin elongates your silhouette.

And even though many of us can't afford the $800 to $1,500 slivers of sophistication dubbed "nude," we can proudly wear our Nine West, Michael Kors, and Steve Madden pumps in brown shades - as long as we buy them in the fall. Thanks to Louboutin, I'm sure flesh-colored collections will eventually become year-round offerings.

Until then, we can rejoice that makeup has fully embraced the nude trend.

"Nude serves two purposes: To give women a natural look like they aren't wearing makeup," said Jean Godfrey-June, executive beauty editor at Lucky Magazine. "But nude is also very polished and sophisticated."

Thanks to the technology of so-called BB creams (short for beauty or blemish) and CC creams (color-correcting), nude foundations are light and adjust to skin tones in a matte fashion, said Godfrey-June. Foundation is just the beginning.

Two years ago, Urban Decay introduced an eye-shadow palette appropriately named Naked. This holiday season, the company released Naked 3, a grouping of 12 pigments featuring ivories and browns, as well as blues and mauves for the perfect subtle accents.

As part of its "16 Shades of Beige" promotion, Clinique introduced in early December eight nail polishes with in-the-buff names. The collection complements eight skin-tonal eye shadows.

With today's nude makeup, follow yesterday's rules: A nude lip and eye are the epitome of clean and sophisticated, but use a blush or bronzer on cheeks so you aren't dominated by monochrome.

A bold eye takes a nude lip. A bold lip takes a nude eye - add a little sparkle in the creases with that berry pout.

Now everyone can look good nude.

215-854-2704 @ewellingtonphl