Work-Appropriate Nails: Length, Shape, Color, and More!

work appropriate nailsHere’s a topic we haven’t discussed in FOREVER: nails and the office. What’s your definition of work-appropriate nails? Do you think there are any definite nail DON’TS for the office? What is your favorite nail polish color and nail shape to wear to work? And, readers — as busy women, do you prefer gel or acrylic over regular nail polish? Reader L has a great question:

I have read a good deal of advice online about work appropriate nail colors, but I cannot find much on length and shape. I like to wear acrylics that are modestly long and rounded in order to enlongate my stubby fingers. They are short enough to look natural, but they are about a centimeter past my finger tips. I also always wear nude or light pink polish to soften the look. I will be starting at a somewhat conservative firm in the fall. Can I keep my nails?

We’ve talked in the past about finding a nail salon near your office, nail care for the minimalists, and the best nail colors for work. But we’ve never talked shape/length, and even our work-appropriate nail color discussion was many moons ago. So let’s talk, ladies!

For my $.02, I’m hoping Reader L meant a millimeter instead of a centimeter — holding up a ruler against my very short nails, a centimeter past my fingertip looks like it would be double the length of my nail.  (#NoNosferatuNails!) (Admittedly, my ruler is neon pink and see-through, so, uh, perhaps the measurements are off?) I’m going to take a hard line position and say that if your nails interfere with regular typing, they’re too long. In terms of the best shape of nails for work, I think it really comes down to preference.

In terms of color, I think colorful nails have come a long way towards being work-appropriate; when I started this blog we were debating whether dark red nails were professional! I still think it’s very much a “know your office” thing, though — so I’d advise women to stay away from wackier colors and designs if it’s your first week on the job or if you have a big meeting with new clients.

Ladies, what are your thoughts on work-appropriate nails? What length do you like to keep your nails? What shape and color are your favorites to wear to work?

[Read more…]

Naked Nails, Nail Care… and Polish

naked-nails-professional2017 Update: we still stand by this advice below, but you may also want to check out our latest discussion about work-appropriate nails

Can naked nails be a polished look?  Are unpolished, unmanicured nails unprofessional?  Reader A has an important question:

I have a reader question that I’d like advice on. I’m about to start my first job out of law school and would love to have a very low-maintenance nail routine (no color polish) that I can do at home. Mostly, I have terrible cuticles and I’d like to have a more polished appearance, but my job is not flexible about leaving during working hours and I’d rather spend my weekends with my kid. Manicures seem like a waste if I’m avoiding color polish. Can you or readers advise? Should I be trying to fit in weekly/monthly manicures as a requirement of working?

This one speaks to me as I also hate spending time on manicures — so I’m curious to hear what readers say here. As I’ve discussed before, there was about a month of my life (maaaaybe 6 weeks) right after I got engaged that I went for manicures weekly. Then: it got old. I don’t particularly enjoy them, I get bored if I can’t be reading during it (like one can with pedicures), and with the recent NYT exposé on nail salons I’ve just skipped the entire routine this summer. I have, in the past, advised readers to get a simple manicure (with clear or light pink or beige polish) for job interviews and possibly the first week of the job, on the assumption that you’re shaking a lot of people’s hands and you want to look as polished as possible.

[Read more…]

Tips for Whitening Teeth and Nails

how-to-whiten-teeth-nailsWhat are the best products and practices for whitening nails and teeth? Reader L wonders…

I’m an elementary school principal. I love your blog! I would love a post about teeth whitening products and nails. I work with staff, families, district personnel, and community people/businesses. I feel that the first thing they notice when talking with me, is teeth and nails. I would love ideas for quick and inexpensive ideas. Thanks!

Interesting.  I’m really curious to hear what readers say here!

[Read more…]

Nail Colors For Work: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

nail colors for work2017 Update: We still stand by this advice for nail colors for work, but you may also want to check out our latest discussion about work-appropriate nails

We haven’t had a poll on what nail colors are acceptable in a conservative office since 2011 by my count, so here’s a fun question for today:  what nail colors do you consider appropriate (and inappropriate) for your conservative office?  For my $.02, flipping through Elle‘s recent slideshow on the top nail colors for Fall 2013, I see a lot of dark, muted colors that I probably would try in a conservative office — provided that a) the polish is in impeccable condition, and b) I didn’t have any big meetings that day.  That said, dark blues and grays are one thing — I can’t ever see some of the 3D nail art (pictured) or crazy patterns/colors being appropriate for a conservative office.  But I’m curious what you guys think — what colors (beyond pinks and beiges) are appropriate at YOUR office — and when? 

[Read more…]

Coffee Break – The Tops and Tails Set

butter LONDON  The Tops and Tails Set I briefly mentioned that I was looking at this base coat and quickdry topcoat duo from Butter London back when Beauty.com had their big sale a few weeks ago — I got it, and I highly recommend. Not only does the basecoat go on nice and smooth, and the top coat dry super quickly, but it has kept my pedicure looking great for like 3 weeks now. Amazing. I justified the splurge because the set has Butter London’s “3 Free” guarantee — no formaldehyde, no toulene, and no DBP — which, even though I’m not 100% sure what those are, fits nicely with my new motto to try to decrease the chemicals in Casa Griffin as well as in our bodies. This would be a great gift for the girlfriend/sister/coworker/daughter/niece who always does her nails (or, ahem, for you). It’s $25 at Beauty.com. butter LONDON The Tops and Tails Set

(L-2)

Coffee Break – Mademoiselle

Essie Nail Color: MademoiselleI’ve always heard amazing things about Essie Mademoiselle, the color featured here. Best-seller! “A grown-up pink!” “The perfect nude!” But on me, it tends to be a bit too pinky. So a friend taught me this trick a while ago: you layer different pinks to get a nude-for-you look. I think a lot of New Yorkers do this — layering Mademoiselle and Sugar Daddy is popular; I’m a fan of a Mademoiselle/Starter Wife combo. Essie polishes are $8 at Beauty.com. Essie Nail Color: Mademoiselle

Readers, what is your favorite pink/nude nailpolish?

(L-2)

work fashion blog press mentions