Cool + Professional Nail Color?
August 13, 2013 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Having perfectly manicured nails always gives me a confidence boost, and I have been growing out my (typically bit to the quick) nails in preparation for an important meeting. My question: what color should I paint them? I need something on-trend but professional. I work in a creative field, so I can venture outside of the safer options. However, I still want to look like an adult. I typically gravitate towards a dark red, which is maybe a bit too dark for late summer? What's the hip color this season?
posted by jrichards to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (22 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I would go with a mint green.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:15 AM on August 13, 2013 [6 favorites]

Right now I'm liking bright plums like Essie's DJ Play that Song, and corals like their Sunday Funday.
posted by bizzyb at 7:18 AM on August 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Essie and China Glaze both have teal in their newest collections.

OPI's newest collection, San Francisco has a bunch of colors that seem geared toward more professional settings. I think that "In the Cable-Car Pool Lane" dark plum is a nice color.

Truthfully? I'd wear the same color as your outfit or your accessories.
posted by royalsong at 7:18 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Most of the women I know in their 20's-30's in creative fields wear Chinchilly by essie as their default neutral color. It looks nice on very short nails in a way that dark colors never can.
posted by juniperesque at 7:20 AM on August 13, 2013 [13 favorites]

Grey nailpolish I think looks really cool, it matches everything, it isn't a colour everyone wears, but it is still neutral enough to be work appropriate. I always get tons of comments and compliments on my nails whenever I have the grey polish on.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 7:23 AM on August 13, 2013 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I wear Chinchilly a lot and get a lot of compliments on it. I was going to come here and say "ummm this one gray color by Essie is nice" but, yup, I was thinking of Chinchilly.
posted by Sara C. at 7:24 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Orange has been big this summer, so any shade of that might work, depending on what else you're wearing and the people at the important meeting. Will they be offput by traffic cone orange nails? Opt for a coral or peach to be extra safe, but there have been some lovely complex orange hues available recently. There's a great standard one by China Glaze, I think... I'm looking at their website and I think it might be the one called "Thataway". Not everybody looks good with orange nails but depending on your skin tone it might be a welcome detail of color.
posted by Mizu at 7:35 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have chinchilly but I actually came in to recommend essie, cute as a button if you're feeling really daring, or lilacism or maybe nothing else metals if you're feeling a little more subdued.

The grey that comes to my mind when you ask about hip colors is Merino Cool. But I don't feel like grey is a really summery color.

If I were leaning more toward professional than fun I'd go with Buy me a cameo. To make it fun, I'd add glitter. But glitter is such a pain in the rear to remove. (If you can find essie set in stones, that's the only one I have had for two years. The essie site seems to not have it in the luxeffects section...)
posted by bilabial at 7:52 AM on August 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

My favourite to wear when I want to feel invincible nail polish colour is Impeccable Greys by Maybelline. But that Chinchilly colour lso would work well.
posted by wwax at 7:57 AM on August 13, 2013

I work in Marketing in an conservative office setting but like to let me nails be a bit creative. I stick to these colors:

Nude (I love Sephora by O.P.I. Leotard Optional)
Red (NYC in a NY Minutes - Madison Ave)
Neon Pink (Orly - Passion fruit)
Red Orange (Essie - Ole Caliente)

And for the winter I love:
Silver (My fav Revlon - Silver Dollar)
Green/Gold (My fav Opi - Just Spotted the Lizard but definitely needs a top coat)
posted by xicana63 at 7:58 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding the mint green and the grey. I'll also add any soft blue, if your complexion works with it, like essie borrowed and blue. I have a kit shade much like it and it's awesome.

You might also enjoy experimenting with some different styles like a coloured tip French manicure. This lets you use bolder colours for highlighting.
posted by raena at 8:05 AM on August 13, 2013

Like so many others above, I think grey looks edgy and fun, but more appropriate for an office setting (even a creative one). My favorites are Essie's Merino Cool and Smokin' Hot. If you're looking for a non-grey alternative, Essie's Lapis of Luxury is flattering and eye-catching without being too aggressive.
posted by singinginmychains at 8:07 AM on August 13, 2013

I get a ton of compliments on Essie's Tart Deco, a peachy coral. Tons of my friends do Chinchily but not during the summer. Have fun!
posted by thirdletter at 8:08 AM on August 13, 2013

Wearing a dusty blue (Chanel 555 Blue Boy) right now, to go with a dress, but agree with the grey as a great neutral. IMO, grey needs to have a touch of metallic, as bilabial suggests, in order to be elegant (while not going all silver for daytime/work). But it depends on your skin tone and clothing.
posted by mumimor at 8:20 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Greys are a good less-conservative neutral, and I agree with the various Essie greys mentioned here. A grayed-out blue, green, or teal will also work well; Zoya has a few I like (Bevin, Kristen, Skylar), and several drugstore brands have similar shades. I probably wouldn't go sparkly for a work meeting, but fine, subtle shimmer will work. I'd also stay away from any sort of nail art, to be on the safe side.

If you're daring, matte speckle/polka dot glitter is in right now and lots of fun (Maybelline, Hard Candy, Illamasqua, Deborah Lippmann).
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:42 AM on August 13, 2013

If the meeting is with a business, I'd wear the nude or clear. If it's in the fashion industry, the Essie Smokin' Hot is gorgeous, or colored French tips. I've seen matte polish with same-color gloss tips on Pinterest, and it's striking.
posted by theora55 at 8:48 AM on August 13, 2013

Seconding Essie's Smokin' Hot. What I love about it is that it's kind of a purple-grey-brown and because it's so complex it seems to automagically match SO MANY THINGS. I almost permanently keep it on my toes because pedicures last so long and it looks great with everything.
posted by misskaz at 9:28 AM on August 13, 2013

OPI's "I Don't Give a Rotterdam" is perfect - it's a medium dove gray with a tiny bit of shimmer. It's gray enough to be neutral, it's light enough to not be too goth. I always stop and go "whoa, cool" when I wear it myself.
posted by ersatzkat at 10:05 AM on August 13, 2013

I work in advertising and I really can't think of any nail color that I would not consider office appropriate, as long as it is neat and tidy. A lot of my clients even have crazy gel manicure nail art (like chevrons, racing stripes, etc), though I draw the line there (out of laziness).

My default winter colors are OPI's Suzy Skis in the Pyrenees (a very dark charcoal) and Lincoln Park After Dark (very dark reddish/purple).

In the summer anything goes -- if you want your nails to look "of the moment," an easy hack is to stick to Essie, OPI, or China Glaze's current season's releases. Teal and mint green are big this year as noted above. I'm wearing Essie's Play Date right now which is a pretty fun, somewhat muted light purple. Corals have been big for the past couple years and don't look dated yet -- I love Essie Peach Daiquiri and Haute as Hello best.
posted by telegraph at 11:22 AM on August 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

A gel hot coral color is both "in" and close enough to a professional seeming color like pink, that I think it would be good for you.
Essie Come Here is what I'd recommend.
posted by rmless at 11:24 AM on August 13, 2013

essie's tour de finance is the best pink ever.

really though, it's summer. i think as long as it's a cleaned up manicure, and you're not in a stuffy 3piece suit type office, you're okay with almost any color.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:30 PM on August 13, 2013

L'Oreal Soft Chinchilla is a close dupe for Essie's Chinchilly, and I prefer it because it's a slightly softer/warmer colour, quite a bit cheaper, and comes with a wide paddle brush that makes application a breeze. It's chic, understated and very work-friendly, but also looks amazing with a black and white matte glitter topcoat.

Similarly, I've tried a bunch of mint greens, and my favourite is Maybelline Forever Strong Mint For Life. Again, it's a close dupe for Essie's Mint Candy Apple, but cheaper and with a nice wide, rounded brush. I also find the formula easier to apply than the Essie, which goes on a bit streaky and sometimes needs three coats to even out.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 5:16 PM on August 13, 2013

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