I receive a lot of email about nail polish. Do you need it? What colors are appropriate for the office? Are acrylics okay for work? So I thought I would address a few nail lacquer-related issues today.
At-Home Manicures. First, let me say that I do my nails myself. Getting a manicure or a pedicure is a nice treat, but it is not something I spend money on regularly. Especially since with just a few tools I can do a decent job at home.
Bare Nails. When life gets busy, the first thing I stop doing is painting my nails. So over the past year, they’ve been bare more often than not. I don’t think this is a problem as long as they’re trimmed, clean and well-groomed.
Short vs. Long. I like my nails on the shorter side. It makes typing and texting much simpler. Plus, I think it gives me the ability to wear bold nail polish colors without overstepping the bounds of what is too much for work.
Acrylics. This is a tough one for me to answer. A decade ago, I wore long acrylic nails, but stopped because the upkeep got to be too much for my wallet. Then, I started reading Johanna Cox’s former blog, and heard her pontificate on the evils of the French Manicure, and I’ve never looked back.
I think a set of shorter acrylic nails is fine for work, but when you get past a certain point, they become inappropriate. I’m also terrified of women who wear them long and filed into points, like at any moment they might go all Wolverine on me.
Lastly, I think some people, especially men, see acrylic nails as a sign of being high maintenance. So they might not be the best thing for a job interview.
Colors. Which colors are appropriate for you to wear depends entirely on where you work. I’ve always been lucky in that none of my bosses ever cared what color I painted my nails, though it’s not like I was walking around with lime green tips with daisies painted on them.
For most offices, I think that sticking to a palette of pinks, reds and purples is a safe bet. If you work in a very professional setting (suits every day, nylons mandatory, etc.), I would not even think about going really dark or choosing something that is a bit out there. But if your office is just moderately dressy, I think you can get away with a bit more color, provided the rest of your attire is strictly professional.
Belle’s Favorites. I don’t find time to paint my nails as often as I would like, but I love (LOVE) nail polish. And I own a lot of it. Boxes full, actually. Here are some of my favorite colors.
Nudes, Greige and Brown: Best nude polish? Hands down, Deborrah Lippman Modern Love. Just a hint of mauve makes it perfection. My favorite greige is Chanel Particuliere (though Butter London, Fash Pack is a close second). And since I have olive skin, I love a chocolate brown nail. My favorite hue is China Glaze Call of the Wild.
Purples: For me there is only one dark purple polish and that is NARS Purple Rain. It is everything. If you prefer toulene-free polish, Butter’s Branwen’s Feather is the closest I’ve found to the NARS. And if I do go for a light purple polish, I want something ashy and violet like Butter’s No More Waity Katey.
Reds: My favorite poppy-colored red is Essie Lollipop. I also love Head Mistress for a grown up red and Essie Leading Lady when I want some sparkle. Should I need more of a burgundy, the first polish I fell in love with at age 19 is still my favorite: OPI Bogota Blackberry.
Blue and Black: My favorite shade of the moment is a blue-grey called Bobbing for Baubles. The best navy polish ever is Siberian Nights (caution though, you need two coats or else it looks like you dunked your fingers in Tide). And my favorite black is OPI Black Onyx, just the right amount of sheen.
Oh, and just in case you think I forgot about my namesake polish, I did not. I’m going to be wearing the ‘Belle’ by Capitol Hill Style polish from Zoya and Birchbox to Miami next weekend.
So what is your favorite shade of polish? And what is appropriate in your workplace?