Skip to main content
The M Dash

Live with purpose.

7 Questions with Erin Carpenter, Founder of Nude Barre

The bodywear brand founder shares her go-to dinner outfit, the bad career advice she ignored, and the #1 topic that’s been on her mind lately.

By Madeleine Kim | Photo Illustration by Yan Ruan and Yujin Kim

In our 7 Questions series, we ask successful women rapid-fire questions that give us a glimpse into their hearts, minds, and wardrobes. For this week’s feature, we spoke with Erin Carpenter, the founder of inclusive bodywear brand Nude Barre.

Erin didn’t always plan to become an entrepreneur, but the idea for Nude Barre has been with her since an early age. As a dancer, she was always required to have “nude-toned” tights, underwear, and dance shoes for her classes and performances. But most of the time, the only “nude” tone those products came in was beige, so Erin had to dye her tights and pat makeup onto her clothes and shoes to match her skin. Once, when she was a teenager, she wore her tights as-purchased, without dyeing them, and was kicked out of class because the “nude” color didn’t match her skin tone. Her experience was not unique: This lack of inclusivity was (and largely still is) standard across the dance and fashion industries.

As a teen, Erin often wondered why brands didn’t make options for other skin tones and thought that more shades of tights and undergarments would appear in the market as time went on—but they never did. So she took matters into her own hands. After completing extensive market research, and with the enthusiastic encouragement of her parents, Erin founded Nude Barre in 2009 to fight the colorism she’d experienced from the fashion industry for her entire life.

We asked Erin to send us a photo of the place where she does her best thinking. She likes to spend time here on the weekends, while the kids are napping, to reset, reflect on the week, and plan ahead. 


What’s the last text you sent?

“Lots of traffic, can’t find parking.” I sent the same thing to three different people. Cut and paste. I’m all about efficiency.


What’s your favorite thing to wear out to dinner?

A jumpsuit. But I’m definitely a germaphobe, so if I use the bathroom at the restaurant, I’m holding it up.


What’s the best book you read this year?

Fair Play by Eve Rodsky. I’m a huge fan. It’s totally awesome.


What’s the most underrated thing you’ve spent money on?

A good humidifier that’s easy to clean. I feel like, as I’m getting older, my skin is drier and I get thirsty in the middle of the night. A humidifier makes a big difference.


What’s the worst career advice you’ve ever received?

That you cannot be an artist and an entrepreneur—they cannot be the same person. In the early days, when I was pitching Nude Barre to the very first angel investors, that constantly came up. People would say, “Well, are you going to quit dancing? Are you going to quit participating in the arts?” And I would say, “No, I don’t feel like I need to.”


What’s one topic you can talk about for 10 minutes straight?

Anything about baby motherhood. I’ve been in baby mode.


Complete the sentence: When women succeed…

…we all win.

Written By

Madeleine Kim

Madeleine Kim is the Senior Brand Manager at M.M.LaFleur, where she started out as a stylist. She loves developing styling-focused content and creating newsletters that bring the M.M. community together.

See more of Madeleine's articles

Read on.

Back to Top