Particuliere, Or, Should You Wear Nail Polish To The Office?


Nail parlors were few and far apart when I was young. I feel like I’m describing the Pony Express to someone raised on email, but many historical facts are difficult to absorb. Suburbs had no places for mani-pedis. Except your hair salon. I don’t think I ever saw my mother with nail polish.

By the time I discovered nail salons, I had two young children. I could have cared less, at first, about color impact. It was all about getting to sit down for 45 minutes and have someone touch my feet. Without asking me to pick them up and or buy them non-nutritional foodstuffs. Over time, I found toe color reassuring. The moment of choosing felt significant. “Schiaparelli pink. No, this time, I’m Gothic red-brown.” As a mother, you take your identity-reinforcing moments where you find them, especially in places that don’t smell of pizza.

I went back to full-time work when my son was 7 and my daughter 10. Let me say now that I have never worn visible fingernail polish to the office. Let me also say that I don’t think it’s appropriate. I don’t feel it reinforces a working identity. I feel this strongly, even though I may be completely wrong. And, even though I may be completely wrong, my opinion may be useful to understand. Because other women of my age and background often feel similarly. You may come in front of a judge, or a vice president, or potential customer, from my generation.

Women like me still struggle with colored fingernails. We still associate them with women of questionable virtue. Or movie stars. Who are sometimes the same people. Fingernail polish to us looks like you might laze around in a peignoir eating chocolates and throwing wrappers on the rug. As though you might get paid for that which should not be paid for.

However, if you are in fact a lady of leisure, even respectable leisure, that’s a completely different story. Discrete flesh or pale pink tones for day, whatever brazen hussy hues you like for night. It’s just something about the juncture of working and colored nails.

Pedicures are another story. If there were ever a time for indulgence, it would be pedicures. Whatever secret life you want your toes to have, throw caution to the wind. Goes without saying that I am assuming you cover the majority of your toe area at the office.

These days I don’t go to an office. I don’t have small children at my feet. Or anywhere. Instead, I read and write about style. The goals and parameters of polish are different in this world. And in my exhaustive research, it appears that Chanel has planted their flag on Nail Color Mountain and are not ceding the hill any time soon.

Which means, of course, that I was recently compelled to purchase their latest sortie. Particuliere. A brownish, greyish, lavenderish, mauve. Tish Jett, over at A Femme, provided the introduction, while Lauren, at kidchamp.net, presaged the phenomenon with her photo of the Essie version.

A moment of identity reinforcement. I am a person who wears the “It” polish. Today. This year. Do I really care about the “It” polish? No. I don’t. It’s just fun to feel au courant. My toenails are the same color as toenails all across the Internet.

But not my fingers. Wait. Oh, never mind. It’s Friday. Let’s put all social posturing aside. Let’s forget about what’s appropriate, or what my fingernails signify about my social or professional class. I type too hard to keep nail polish on for longer than 36 hours. And the sight of the little ovals of color flashing about a keyboard distract me. There. A nugget of truth. Sometimes people of a certain age use antiquated versions of, “It’s not the done thing” as a way to reinforce personal preferences. And that is perhaps the most useful information of the day.

The color looks fab, by the way. Dignified, classic, a wee bit edgy. I could stick my feet into my light box and take a picture. Or not. Age brings a little wisdom*.

Have a wonderful weekend.

*No disparagement of Maureen, BTW. She has cute toes. And toe rings.

Images: me. And the usual light box.

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62 Comments

  • 02/05/10
    11:14 am

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    Mouse said...

    For practical reasons, I totally agree about bare fingernails and painted piggies. Keeping up fingernail polish drives me batty, but unpainted toes look…weird.

  • 02/05/10
    11:24 am

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    mary anne said...

    Ah yes, no bright red, inch-long, plastic (shudder) fingernails in a work environment, s'il vous plait!

  • 02/05/10
    12:37 pm

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    December ♥ 3rd said...

    Again, I agree with you although many my age may disagree. I personally prefer neutral polish on my fingers because it makes me feel more put together. Anything else just seems inappropriate for the office.

    The scariest comment I've read on nail polish and work: someone suggested that "red" was a neutral color and thus, interview appropriate. Maybe I'm old-fashioned but red is too sexy for most interviews!

  • 02/05/10
    1:38 pm

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    Maureen@IslandRoar said...

    How apropro (or maybe Not?) that I have a picture of my (very pretty) feet on my blog today?
    As an RN I hated when nurses wore nail polish, which happened more than one would think. I thought it inapropriate. I have to keep my nails, these days, covered with either clear or very pail beige or light pink polish, because they peel like mad otherwise.
    I have never had a professional mani/pedi. Not sure why, but now, at my age, it's become a "thing." It will be monumental when I break this record, which I have every intention of doing at the right time. I do my own pedis and I do a lovely job. This post was really fun. I need to check out that polish because, as you said, it's just fun to be au courant.

  • 02/05/10
    1:41 pm

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    Headbands and Hand Bags said...

    I have to agree with you, and at the same time be thankful I do not have an office job, as my fingers are usually topped with something that is absolutely not business appropriate. For example, I am currently wearing "You Don't Know Jaques" from OPI. Not office appropriate to be sure!

  • 02/05/10
    1:47 pm

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    Pink Julep said...

    I respectfully disagree on some parts of this post. While I don't know if red or any other super dark color is the best look for day I definitely think some color, even if it's mauve or beige is just fine for the office. My tips and toes are currently painted a deep purple shade and I work in a staunch corporate office. I feel like we as ladies should embrace our nails as we would our outfits, make-up and hair as a way of self-expression. If you're going for loud and proud, wear red or fuscia and if you're currently channeling Grace Kelly, go mauve or French… but I find it completely ridiculous that anyone would ever consider the color of your nail polish as anything to do with whether or not you're capable of doing a job professionally unless you're interviewing for Dior and wearing last season's Chanel lacquer… that could be awkward! A job is a job and has not too much to do with whether or not you paint your nails.

    And no offense, as much as I understand generation gaps and traditions, in today's world, I find it odd that you'd associate nail color with a "woman of questionable virtue". Wearing nail polish is hardly limited to gals of ill repute… it's not like going pantsless or wearing your bra on the outside, both of which are very fashionable these days.

    Also, I should add that I have on many an occasion worked with several men who painted their nails black, blue or green… all of them at the top of their game and earning more than most people I know… just sayin.

    One more thing… I think we as ladies, if we're ever going to start earning the big salaries and ruling the world, should stop judging each other based on such things and support each other and our ability to accessorize!

    Great post – made me think… and I think that nail color is gorgeous!!! :-)

  • 02/05/10
    1:50 pm

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    Mardel said...

    As I am not working now, I love playing with nail polish, and have discovered I love deep dark colors that I would have never even considered when I was working.

    When I was working as a VP in a software company in New York in the 80's and 90's I never wore nail polish although no one at work saw my toes and I could certainly indulge in pedicures. I often would have to tell female employees that nail polish was not appropriate in what was, at the time, a very male-dominated industry. I remain of the school that nail polish is not professional in a corporate environment.

  • 02/05/10
    2:17 pm

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    LPC said...

    I knew I'd get some disagreement and I am SO HAPPY that it is SO gracefully put.

  • 02/05/10
    2:20 pm

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    Queen of Cashmere said...

    I have to disagree about nail polish not being suitable for a professional enviorment. Not to have a manicure is sloppy and ungroomed. Whether you do it yourself or have it done in a salon your nails need a attention. Would you go out without lipstick and a little foundation? Your nails need to be similarly covered up.
    Nails should be working length and a natural shape. Neat and nude is my manicure mantra. Vanity Fair by Essie is my color.
    Red and dark colors are best left for someplace other than work but a manicure of a gentler sort is a MUST for every woman.
    By the way, I do nude toes, too.

  • 02/05/10
    2:48 pm

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    Tish Jett said...

    Really, the color looks edgy/chic? I was afraid to buy it. I'm wild on my feet and nude — as in nothing — on the hands or some wimpy pinky ballerina hue.

    It's been a long, long, long time since I've worn anything attention grabbing on my hands and I was never in the corporate world, only the fashion world where as we all know there is no such thing as bad taste or appropriateness. . . It's all about "look at me, aren't I too, too trendy for words?" Whatever.

  • 02/05/10
    2:53 pm

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    The Gold Digger said...

    I never thought about whether fingernail polish looked unprofessional (I have never bothered to paint mine) and I worked in a suits environment, but boy do I think toenails should not be seen at work. If you must show your feet at work (don't! don't!) then they must, must, must be pedicured. No gnarly toes and heels, please. Yes, I have seen them and yes, I was horrified. Sandals are bad enough but untended feet are even worse.

  • 02/05/10
    3:09 pm

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    Red Lipstick Style said...

    If one is going to wear polish, it must be kept neat and unchipped! Otherwise it just looks awful, in any setting!

    happy day to you!

  • 02/05/10
    3:45 pm

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    materfamilias said...

    Because I played the piano from an early age, I always kept my fingernails short, and never felt they were worth accenting with polish. Add to which, becoming a mom fairly young (23) and being immersed in daily domestica for many years, polish seemed really impractical. Even less likely was it that I would take the time to polish my toenails!
    Then sometime after my 50th b.d. one of my daughters talked me into my first pedi (probably a gift certificate) and I've been hooked ever since — mostly, as you suggest, Lisa, for the luxury of having my feet cared for, the massaging and lotion-applying — pretty toes was just a bonus.
    I've had two, maybe three manicures, and they're always fun to look at for a few days until one nail gets chipped and I have to search out some remover. . . too much trouble.

    I have to admit that I'm sometimes troubled by what seems to me a creeping insistence that our toenails are "ugly" on their own — I enjoy pedicures but resent any sense that they're a social responsibility! As long as my nails are clean and trimmed neatly, I think I should be able to take them out anywhere, but this seems more and more to be bordering on a faux pas.

  • 02/05/10
    3:52 pm

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    DocP said...

    LPC- In general, I agree. I MIGHT think clear or pale pink work appropriate, but I can't keep it unchipped for more than 36 hours, either. Any other color – not professional in my opinion. I will admit I was horrified when my office manager showed up with a navy mani a few years back.

  • 02/05/10
    3:56 pm

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    Anonymous said...

    Again, I too disagree that nailpolish is inappropriate for the office. I agree with others that light, nude or pink shades are the only acceptable colours, but ungroomed hands are worse than wearing red polish.

    There is only a five year age difference between us so I find it interesting that nail polish was, to you, is a mark of ill-repute. I would only find nail polish objectionable if it were chipped and maybe green. I'd be more offended by ragged, unpolished nails.

    I guess we are what you would call high WASP (embarassingly, I am actually a "Lady").Perhaps we were the black sheep side of my English family.

  • 02/05/10
    5:02 pm

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    LPC said...

    It's quite possible that this is the New England side of my upbringing. Note that I was more hesitant in this post than usual. I would say, in the terms I have put out there, that the Sturdy Gal would wear bare nails before any kind of polish. And, in the office, I prefer a Sturdy Gal to a Grande Dame when the going gets rough.

  • 02/05/10
    5:16 pm

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    lauren said...

    it would be ironic that i actually learned of the essie at the office (we featured it in the magazine a few months ago and a coworker was wearing it), but, well, i work at a magazine, so many rules are a bit inverted. (example: i once ran into this fellow in the corporate office.) i myself typically have short, unmanicured nails, which is in my context the biggest faux pas of all; it reads as inattention. it's an interesting blend, our corporate entity half-stocked with men and women who are expected to err on the side of what's fashionable and ephemeral (last fall i saw one of our sister titles' publishers with a streak of pink in her hair; it was kind of great).

  • 02/05/10
    5:23 pm

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    Anonymous said...

    Oh my, what a range of opinions. I must say I am stumped by Queen of Cashmere's opinion that nails should be covered up. I think nails that are clean and shaped, with the cuticle pushed back are always appropriate.

    Besides nail polish is the most toxic cosmetic there is. Even the greener versions usually still have a toxic ingredient or two.

  • 02/05/10
    5:29 pm

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    Anonymous said...

    Materfamilias,

    I'm so glad you said that! I too am troubled by this new standard that unpolished toenails are unacceptable!

    Where did this come from? I have just reached my fifties – don't look or feel it either. The first time I heard someone say that unpolished toenails were disgusting was in 2000, and it was said by a woman who was 55!

    Never heard it said prior to that, but have been hearing it more and more. Are men wearing sandals disgusting them? As long as they are clean and trimmed, what on earth is wrong with them?

  • 02/05/10
    5:34 pm

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    TC said...

    I never really thought about the nail polish thing, when I was in college nail polish was OK as long as it was in good taste. When I was going back to college I was told health professionals didn't wear nail polish and then turned around to find nurses with polish, rings, and way too much perfume on. I don't wear it unless I can keep it chip free and it's a neutral now.
    My toes are ugly and need all the help they can get in whatever shade matches my current outlook on fashion, I don't think they've been nude but a few days in the past 35 or so years.

  • 02/05/10
    5:36 pm

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    Anonymous said...

    LPC, I'm just a couple of years your junior. I never thought polish was unprofessional at work, but it must be pale or clear. If that was wrong, then MOST of the women I worked with were guilty of a faux pas.

  • 02/05/10
    6:26 pm

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    Suzy said...

    I've been wearing fingernail polish since I was 18. One day I went into a comedy club in NY (I'm a standup comic btw) and for once didn't have it on and 3 other comics came up to me and said, "Are you OKAAAAAAAAAAAY?"

    I also get pedis regularly. Nail tip: Never match your fingernail and toenail polish.

  • 02/05/10
    8:26 pm

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    Town and Country Mom said...

    Congratulations! You have been awarded the Sunshine Award! You can pick it up at my blog here http://townandcountrymom.blogspot.com

    I like Cajun Shrimp for the toes and buffed to a fare-thee-well fingernails.

  • 02/05/10
    9:09 pm

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    Marcela said...

    In general, I agree. But I think manicured hands looked better than non polished ones. With fingernails in a neutral color (preferably nude, if you ask me) of course.
    And toes should definitely not be seen!

  • 02/05/10
    9:34 pm

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    Anonymous said...

    I think unpolished nails are unprofessional, like uncombed hair or wrinkled clothes. I worked for years in corporate banking, at a senior level, and wearing bare nails would have appeared un-groomed to my eye. Short nails were key-no claws, but I did occasionally wear red polish and felt it looked powerful.
    -Madeline

  • 02/05/10
    9:44 pm

    Reply

    Mary Jo from TrustYourStyle said...

    Hmm, seems we have the same Chanel colour on our toes…I used to be in the plain or clear polish fingers camp, but have gotten accustomed to Essie Mademoiselle, and nothing else feels quite right. I think pale shades are good for work but unless you're in the music industry and need to wear dark dark purple/black, everything else looks awful :)
    Thanks for stopping by yesterday Lisa and for your kind words, I appreciate it.
    Mary Jo

  • 02/06/10
    1:32 am

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    metscan said...

    Yes,yes, Chanel has the most beautiful colors. I have long fingers, but prefer my nails short ( a def.no,no, for artificial nails ), and most times don´t wear color on my nails. At the moment though, I like CC Azur 465, which gives just a hint of a blueish glow; when only using one cover, looks neat a whole week. I do use deep bluish reds on my toe nails though. Earlier, when the anxiety I have suffered as long as I can remember, was at it´s peak, I went to a pedicure monthly, just to get the feeling of being cared for. Nowadays, I say to myself, that I am `saving euros´by doing the pedi&manicure myself. In this case, since I have again saved, I´m on my way to look at the new Chanel colors:)

  • 02/06/10
    5:14 am

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    Joyce Hor-Chung Lau said...

    I type all day, too. So I've given up at nail polish. But I have worn light shades to work before. (That said,news media is much more easy-going than banking, law, corporate work, etc)

    You know what's worse than either bright nail polish or no nail polish — CHIPPED nail polish. God, it's the trashiest thing in the world. Either you wear it properly or you don't.

    In that case, bright colors are really unforgiving. If I wear a clear or light shade, nobody can tell if it's chipped a little or not.

  • 02/06/10
    5:31 am

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    Caroline, No. said...

    Helloo! I do love Chanel nail polishes, and need to see this one in person.

    I don't think nail polish in the office is a problem at all these days, to be honest with you. Of course, some shades (green? glittery magenta?) might not be suitable. But it depends on the kind of office, as well. I work at a design agency and absolutely anything goes.

  • 02/06/10
    5:32 am

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    Caroline, No. said...

    Oh, but I need to add; something I personally feel is completely unacceptable is long false nails! In almost all cases but especially in an office, where the tip-tapping is unbearable! I speak from experience. Shocking.

  • 02/06/10
    5:55 am

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    Jill said...

    I quit painting my nails in my early twenties. I have strong nails, so I never needed acrylics (or whatever they're called these days). The reason…I get incredibly bored sitting there without being able to use my hands. I talk with my hands…so I'm bored and mute! I keep them short and buffed.

    My toes on the other hand are always painted.

  • 02/06/10
    5:55 am

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    Jill said...

    "on the other hand"…I just crack myself up with lame jokes.

  • 02/06/10
    6:05 am

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    Judy said...

    I am 45 and I understand where LPC's comment is coming from. When we were growing up, our mothers never wore nail polish (or if they did, it was very clear or very pale). A manicure was a luxury, even for well-to-do women. You didn't have the walk-in salons every couple of blocks that you do now. You got a manicure (and it was pale pink) for things like your wedding, not as part of ongoing maintenance. Having said that, while I like an American manicure for everyday, in my current consulting business I can wear color with inpunity. In fact, I'm going to a client this week. I'm wearing a black cashmere turtleneck and a great gray and black skirt, black tights and boots, and since the workshop I'm running has a valentine's day theme, I'm rockin' a Baccarat crystal heart necklace and short red nails. Did I say with inpunity? I'm writing like LPC now. A good thing.

  • 02/06/10
    9:06 am

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    LPC said...

    Considerate impunity. That's my new watchword. Technically watchwords(s).

  • 02/06/10
    9:06 am

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    julia::ordinarysaturdays said...

    I've always thought that a clear or nearly-clear manicure on short nails looked, well, polished. But only if it's shiny and unchipped, which I just can't maintain in my line of work. So I mostly do without and try to stay well-moisturized. I agree that there's a fine line between "I thought about my appearance today and made an effort" and "I'm going to a rave later."

    That said, I own and wear Essie's Chinchilly. It's great for weekends, and I do love gray. But totally inappropriate for work unless you're in a really creative field.

  • 02/06/10
    9:21 am

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    Miss Cavendish said...

    I do not wear nail polish on my fingernails at work for the same reason that I never wear my hair down at work: it's distracting. I do however teach in open-toe shoes and always wear polish on my toes. It completes the look rather than distracts, methinks!

  • 02/06/10
    9:33 am

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    Anna said...

    Greetings from a ghost-reader who finally surfaces to say hello. :c)

    I must side with those who say nude/rosy/transparent nail polish is fine at work. It simply looks polished, just like near-natural make-up. Red is never good – my personal association with red nail polish is that of an ignorant, not too capable secretary. No offense meant to anyone who disagrees, it's just my personal view.

    Also being European, I have difficulties with fake nails and professionality. Natural, well-groomed, short or medium-length nails, either discreetly polished or unpolished and buffed, are my personal preference.

    With my relatively broad nails on short fingers I find that nail polish makes them more narrow, especially if I leave half a millimeter off at each side.

  • 02/06/10
    9:48 am

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    Belle de Ville said...

    We must be about the same age because I didn't grow up in an environment where weekly visits to a nail salon was the norm. In fact, I'm not even sure when stand alone nail salons became a feature of every strip mall.
    I am in compete agreement with you on the nail polish / work issue, except perhaps if your work is in the fashion/beauty business, where you are expected to sell the same or similar products. Of course it's also my opinion that big jewelry is distracting in the workplace as well…unless it is your job to sell jewelry, or you need a power look to close a deal.

    Maybe, just maybe, I will get one manicure a year. I have trouble sitting there not doing anything for an hour. A pedicure, on the other hand, I adore and wish that I could have every week.

  • 02/06/10
    10:04 am

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    LPC said...

    You all are the greatest readers/commenters. Ghost readers too:). I am happy to be having this discussion. I never would have known that anyone thought UNpolished nails were unprofessional. Now I know.

  • 02/06/10
    2:45 pm

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    Anonymous said...

    51 years here. I don't recall nail polish being at all common when I was growing up. Not on us and not on our mothers. I remember my mother having the most gorgeous rosy beautifully shaped natural nails.

    I don't think I'll ever wear polish much because of the toxicity and constant maintenance. I can't get through even one week without a chip.

    I am personally snobby about those long squared-off French manicures that look like paddles. I think it's declasse, yet the women who get them think it's the height of class. Have you ever noticed you can see them a mile away?

    Funny thing is some people refer to them as "porn star" nails because almost every porn star has them.

  • 02/06/10
    6:00 pm

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    QueenBeeSwain said...

    you preach the gospel of truth about toes and fingers! toes are ALWAYS to be painted and a fun color at that. fingers on the other hand… my mom is an avid gardener and golfer and there was just never a place for manicured, long nails in those realms of her world. so her nails are always short and unpainted. same here too!

    xoox

    kHm

  • 02/06/10
    9:09 pm

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    Buckeroomama said...

    While I have, on occasions, worn nail polish (on fingers), I've only ever used nude or very pale, barely-there shades. These days, I don't paint my fingernails. I can't seem to keep them perfect for longer than a few hours… and I agree that chipped nails look worse than bare nails.

  • 02/07/10
    4:32 pm

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    Duchesse said...

    I am 61- and I remember permanent waves!

    I like pale polish- but my favourite is buffed. Unpolished and unbuffed in the big corporation is no longer considered well-groomed. The bar was raised with the $15 Vietnamese salons, and it's stayed there.

  • 02/07/10
    8:33 pm

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    Deja Pseu said...

    LPC – we must've had very similar upbringings. Women my mother's age never had polished fingernails that I can recall, and I was taught that red polish on the hands was "trashy." However my mother often painted her toenails a light peach or pink during sandal season.

    I disagree that unpolished nails look ungroomed; as long as they are clipped or filed to even lengths and have no ragged edges and are CLEAN (pet peeve) they're fine. Many of us just don't have the time to do ourselves or sit in a salon every week (unlike pedis which should last 2-3 weeks). I'm also OK with seeing subtly polished nails in the workplace, but find that they distract me too much, so I keep mine short and unpolished generally.

  • 02/08/10
    8:23 am

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    Patsy said...

    When I was a kid, some things that were Not Done: smoking on the street, chewing gum in public, walking with your hands in your pocket and red nail polish. I've done the first three.

  • 02/08/10
    11:17 am

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    Mama Badger said...

    My Mom always had painted finger nails and never toes. Not sure why…

    I agree wholeheartedly with you, though. Paint your toes to your pleasure. Keep it out of the workplace, though. What I want to know is why the 20-somethings I know complain about not having enough money, but get a professional mani-pedi each week?

  • 02/09/10
    10:03 pm

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    West Coast Prepster said...

    I love, love, love your blog and VERY much appreciate your perspective on us twenty-somethings starting out! Thank you, thank you!!

  • 02/10/10
    10:35 am

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    teaorwine said...

    Wow, so much response, I must chime in, if I may. I also grew up without weekly manis/pedis. They simply did not exist, at least not on the present level. It seems every strip mall across the nation features at least one of these salons (Is that how to refer to them?). As a result, I do my own nails…fingers and toes. I just like doing them myself. I prefer clear or gently-opaque polish on the fingernails for work and daily wear. Anything else chips so badly it then appears tacky and needs repair in less than 24 hours. I do however, advocate finger polish for evening/special occasions, when it looks its best. But, off with it the next day. Polish simply looks best in the artificial lighting of the evening and night. Toenails differ. I keep them polished year-round with the exception of January, when I let them go "au naturel" so they may breathe. Toenails look best in all lighting, day and night, with polish. Enjoyed the discussion here!

  • 02/11/10
    2:25 am

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    crunchycon said...

    Well, my fingernails themselves settled the debate. The moment they're polished, they start to peel and chip, so I have to stick with a good protein hand cream and occasional buffing. Having said that, I work in the headquarters of a Fortune 500 company, and I notice that the female VPs and the up-and-comers do not, for the most part, wear nail polish on their hands, or very pale polish at most. Pedicures rule, though, and every woman pretty much has toe polish on. I myself am currently wearing a favorite winter-y polish, Revlon Raven Red. My mom is envious – dad never liked her to wear anything but pink or beige on the toes.:)

  • 02/12/10
    6:33 am

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    Duchesse said...

    I'm back to say that I sometimes wear large rings, "real" (in the evening). They simply do not look like right to me without a pale-polish manicure. If my nails are unpolished,it looks like I've raided someone else's jewel box.

  • 02/13/10
    8:43 pm

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    Faux Fuchsia said...

    Hello. Long time reader, 1st time I've commented. I am a 37 year old lawyer and I always wear coloured polish to work, it hasn't hindered my career. Chipped polish is the Devil's Work (I have a blog devoted to this). I'm in Australia. Maybe things are different here. The lady who runs our firm who is in her 50s always wears coloured polish. She's been tipped to be a judge. I think if you are beautifully dressed and groomed you can pull almost anything off.

  • 02/14/10
    9:49 am

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Faux Fuchsia, doing a good job also helps with pulling things off:). Thank you for reading, and commenting now. Duchesse, if I ever wore big real rings, I too would polish up but good.

  • 02/16/10
    1:34 pm

    Reply

    Faux Fuchsia said...

    LPC, of course: she is running the firm because of her ability to Get Things Done. I really don't think her love of coral polish has adversely impacted on this!! I really think things might be different in Australia polish wise. I really don't know how corporate America operates.

  • 02/25/10
    7:38 am

    Reply

    Anonymous said...

    I like dark red, nail polish, and I don't think it is unappropriate for office. Appearence is subjective, it is narrow minded, let me say it, pretend your judgement to limit someone's freedom, and not tryng to fight against your own prejudice, on top of that you are conscious that it is a prejudice! You are fixing the role and the status quo of a society divided in class and the markenting to rule against the style of those who work in office on in a context that is marketing sensitive where with the excuse of being presentable to what you think are the tastes of the public (where which you project your prejudices) you'll limit the freedom of style. Anto

  • 02/25/10
    7:45 am

    Reply

    Anonymous said...

    "my personal association with red nail polish is that of an ignorant, not too capable secretary. No offense meant to anyone who disagrees, it's just my personal view."

    No, it is what you associate with this, but you must be conscious that it is just your taste and you can't trace a objective judgement based on your tast, also came possibly from your personal experience o some movies you seen or just for having known a "not so capable secretary" who wore red nail polish. Just don't wear it yourself if you don't like it ;-). Anto

  • 06/08/10
    9:07 am

    Reply

    Artful Lawyer said...

    OOH, so happy to see this. I'm a 40ish lawyer and am neither a nail polish wearer (I can't stand the feel or the visual distraction, and chips and wear look nauseating to me) or heavy makeup user (just me but with even skin tone) nor an advocate of either in the office. It is hard enough to be taken seriously when you are the only woman in the group – or one of very, very few. And I don't see the ultra feminine women in law treated well or respected – everything that telegraphs pretty, beautiful, groomed, fashionable seems to be read by the men as frivolous. Sturdy gals seem to do best (read as neutered and non-threatening).

  • 06/13/10
    7:18 am

    Reply

    Anonymous said...

    I am a guy that has been getting professional pedicures and wearing red nails polish on my toes for years. I usually wear women's open-toe sandals because men's sandals are so ugly and look like truck tires. I get a lot of compliments from women and they tell me that I have toes like a girl. My favorite nail polish is OPI Big Apple Red. I love getting professional pedicures and I would never wear sandals without a good professional pedicure and red toenail polish.

  • 09/30/10
    6:06 pm

    Reply

    Anonymous said...

    Well, I straight up think life is too short to be worrying about whether nail polish is appropriate for the office or not, Save that energy to idukge in your freedom of expression, and if you feel like splashing some color on those lonesome nails of yours, then do it! LIVE!Enjoy every second of it. I personally change the color of my nail polish maybe twice a week, I love to be unique, current, and artistic with my image and a set of pretty nails always puts a smile on my face ;)

  • 12/27/10
    2:05 pm

    Reply

    Rhonda said...

    That is really pathetic that you feel that way, you are so boring. i feel sorry for your kids to have such a dullard for a mother.

  • 12/27/10
    3:56 pm

    Reply

    Lisa said...

    *ding ding ding* Everyone? Everyone? Feel free to insult me. Do not feel free to mention my children. Thank you. Carry on.

  • 03/10/11
    3:50 pm

    Reply

    Jason said...

    Well, from a professional male’s perspective, I can’t imagine why people would think nail polish on a female is not appropriate in an office environment. Why is looking good inappropriate? Personally, if a female’s fingers/toes aren’t painted, I find it boring. Show some personality!!

  • 10/13/12
    3:56 pm

    Reply

    mal said...

    I was interested in your perspective on colored fingernail polish. My mother is 56 years old and hails from an upper-middle-class Southern background, and I can remember her horror whenever I painted my nails any color other than buff or pale pink while growing up. She works in the financial industry and while she gets regular manicures, she almost always chooses soft, pale shades. But me, I am 36 and feel much more drawn to trendy colors, though nail art still usually strikes me as tacky and juvenile. My favorite polish colors are dark red, blue-violet, bright lilac, etc, and I tend to purchase from fashion-forward lines like Deborah Lippman and Nars. To compensate for the less conservative colors, I keep my nails very trim. Still, I question my judgment, which is a bit funny when I live in a city where many women my age have large, colorful tattoos. It’s really hard for me to move past my upbringing and the idea that bright nails are trashy, lower-class, and unprofessional.

    10/14/12
    7:45 pm
    Lisa said...

    I’ve given up trying to move past my upbringing, at least as far as fingernails go:). I think in a way that blue and lilac are less questionable than the more standard colors, just because they are artistic, if you will.

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  1. […] too? I mean I remember seeing my mom have red nail polish before? Or is it too racy and seductive? Check this article and see what other people’s opinions are on this! Well, with that being said… I opted to go with something I liked. After reading that site, I […]

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