We haven’t discussed nails in a long while — what are your thoughts on nails for the office? Are there any rules in 2023? Are there any lengths, colors, or decorations that are perhaps not appropriate for every office — or any that would raise eyebrows on Zoom? If someone paid zero attention to their nails, would it affect your opinion on whether they were “polished”? (How do these responses change if we’re considering interview nails?!)
As I’ve said before… I have (at least since my teens) kept very short nails… if they are slightly long they annoy me while typing. (YES, I even have scraggly cuticles, which are probably not ideal, but I truly think aren’t really visible unless you’re about six inches away from my nails.) I grew my nails long for my wedding, and before that got weekly manicures for the first few weeks after I was engaged. I just don’t enjoy the process of manicures very much, nor do I enjoy the chipped polish that seems to happen after a few days.
On the flip side, I know some women have long, curving nails, with all sorts of fun designs and even gemstones and the like embedded in their nails. I actually love the creative designs and details on other people, but the length gets to me. Overly long nails always, always make me wonder how the heck the person buttons their pants, let alone types for more than a few minutes.
The last time we discussed work-appropriate nails (in 2017!), one reader had an excellent point that what is “appropriate” is highly regional.
From what I am tell, nails are regional. Really, specifically regional. There are areas here in the NY suburbs where most well-dressed woman have longish (likely acrylic) nails. In Manhattan, a weekly professional application of Mademoiselle or Ballet Slippers on a natural nail was standard. When I lived in rural PA, manicures were for special occasions, mostly. I guess my point is that what reads “stripper” in Muhlenberg looks standard in Massapequa.
But I also wonder how much social media has made it more generational as well as regional — after all, if lots of 20-somethings are watching TikTokers with long, creative nails, does that now look “standard” to them?
What are your thoughts, readers? How do you personally keep your nails? What, if any, nails would make you raise an eyebrow at the office? (Outside the office, such as on Zoom calls, would anything raise an eyebrow?)
(How do the nail rules change for interviews? Interestingly, the reader favorites for interviews — Ballet Slippers, Mademoiselle, and Sugar Daddy (all by Essie) — are all still available years later.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!
Stock photo via Stencil.
among my circle, most of us haven’t gone back to the weekly professional mani habit we had pre-Covid. DIY mademoiselle is way more common. Not to say that bolder looks are remotely inappropriate, it’s just that they are way less common than they used to be!
I’m 55 and I get my nails filled every 2 to 3 weeks, usually pick a simple color.
What are all of the older ladies doing for nails? The older I get (50 now) the more I hate to emphasize my hands in any way. They’re not too wrinkly but just feel fat and like they’re all knuckle, somehow.
I totally agree! After 50 I don’t want to call attention to my hands. I always go with the boring colors, like the soft pinks mentioned above, but lately I am loving the Dior Nail Glow, which is even more subtle.
Yup – mine have become the vein-y type and my knuckles increase size with age (runs in the family). I keep my nails neat, short, no color now. And I also avoid rings most days.
I feel like my face is Dorian Gray (no wrinkles, blessedly) but my hands are the portrait in the attic — all wrinkly and veiny and prone to suns spots. I keep the nails short and “buff shiny” and that’s it.
Turning 50 in a few months. Still loving my long almond nails, get them filled every three weeks. I’ll go for bold colors, negative space designs, the natural glazed donut look, or a matte top coat. Whatever is on-trend with my personal twist!
I would never raise an eyebrow at someone at work based on how they did their nails.
what is the quality of lulus? I assume not great for the price point but is it wearable for a grown up to a wedding where she is a mere plus one? they have some things that look very cute and i’ll likely only wear it once or twice, it just shouldn’t be itchy or really junky looking…. thanks!
I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality of Lulus – it’s good for a special-occasion outfit that you’re only wearing a few times anyway. Definitely read the reviews and look at the buyer-submitted photos to get a sense of how things look in real life.
Im 29 and literally everyone I know wears Lulus dresses to weddings
Absolutley great to wear in this scenario. Between both the quality and sizing I’ve found Lulus to not alawys be consistent, so as an over 30 I would recommend ordering a few different styles/sizes to try. They’ve got a good shipping/returns policy.
Seems a perfect choice for your situation,
When I started clerking for an appellate judge last year, I was pleasantly surprised that the older, mostly male judges didn’t care at all about the colors, patterns, or lengths of my nails.
For oral argument days, I usually keep my nails bare or a neutral color because it feels like the nail equivalent of wearing a suit, but nobody told me to do that. On any other day, I use colors, patterns, chrome, glitter, whatever. I love using Dashing Diva nails when I’m in a time crunch and want my nails to look nice.
I get dip done every 2-3 weeks. I usually alternate just filing with having them cut every other visit so they never get too long. I tend to gravitate towards neutrals but will sometimes go for a coral-y red in summer or black (with matte topcoat) in winter. The super long nails with wild designs just aren’t for me, personally.