Office appropriate nail polish colors?

12:28 pm - 02/15/2012
So I recently graduated and just started working at an accounting firm, and so far I have not painted my nails, because I'm not quite sure what is 'work appropriate' for the office.

So my question to everyone is: What are work appropriate colors for an office where people wear from business casual to business professional clothing? Specific brands/colors are welcomed!

Are shimmers/glitters out of the question?

Thanks girls!
playedinloops 15th-Feb-2012 05:34 pm (UTC)
My office is on the casual side of business casual, but I wear whatever I want on my nails and no one has ever said anything. I have worn every color here, from the very conservative (think zoya cho) to the very not, like zoya kissy or several layers of ulta pinata yada yada to achieve full coverage.

I honestly don't think nail polish can be "SO TOTALLY UNPROFESSIONAL" if the rest of your outfit looks nice.
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. I usually get my clothes from WHBM so I'd like to think it looks nice ^_^

I have been very unhappy with just nudy colored nails and wanted to see what colors other people wear to the office! The other ladies in my office don't wear nail polish so I had nothing to go by as far as what's allowed and what isn't >.
playedinloops 15th-Feb-2012 05:46 pm (UTC)
I definitely think if you want to wear colors, you absolutely can. The Zoya true collection that just came out has some nice colors that are neutral (in style not color) without being boring. I'm especially fond of Bevin.
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
Oh I did not know Zoya came out with anything XD Thanks <3!

P.S. Thanks for going through all the trouble and even showing me pictures <3
playedinloops 15th-Feb-2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
ha, no problem! I'm a nail polish fanatic and I spend most of my day at work bored so this is what happens. :-P Let me know if you want more color suggestions!
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, always <3 I only recently got into nail polish (I started out with 4 in December and now have over 50)

A lot of it is China Glaze, OPI, Canmake, Majolica Majorca, PA, and I recently got back to the US. Zoya has always been on my 'must get into' list.

So I would LOVE recommendations <3!
playedinloops 15th-Feb-2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
Yesterday zoya had a promotion for a free bottle of red polish with any purchase, plus free shipping. Its going on until midnight today! So you can get a free red by zoya as long as you buy something else, and have free shipping. Here is there blog with the details:

I am so in love with bevin for spring, lotus is my favorite purple right now, and zoya dove (which is in the picture I showed you, its the gray, but I put ulta pinata yada yada and a matte topcoat on top of it) is my favorite gray of all time.

I definitely suggest you get some zoya while they have the promotion! Its SUCH a good deal.
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 06:49 pm (UTC)
OMG, you are so amazing <3 thank you!

I am a big an of pastels, any recommendations for Zoya's best pastels? ^___^
playedinloops 15th-Feb-2012 06:53 pm (UTC)
ALL OF THEM, lol. My current favorite is megan from the winter feel collection:

Of course, the entire winter feel collection is really pretty.

Here is bevin, a light sage green:
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I just saw this:

Totally getting it XD;

Is Zoya on sale often?
playedinloops 15th-Feb-2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
I have all 3 of the fleck effects and chloe is my favorite! It looks SO good over a dark blue, because it comes up as orangey-red, and it looks really pretty over pink!

They have promocodes probably ever 3-4 months. In January they had one for 2 free bottles if you pay shipping, in October they had one for buy 2 get 2 free. Definitely follow their twitter, facebook, or blog so that you don't miss a promo!
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 07:27 pm (UTC)
Awww, I know, I missed out on that free 2 bottles!

Okay, I'll have to order some once I get home... And DANG, all those red...... How do I choose??? haha!
playedinloops 15th-Feb-2012 07:38 pm (UTC)
I chose america because I needed a red creme so bad! But I love ALL the colors. :)
quiet000001 15th-Feb-2012 07:44 pm (UTC)
My bank account does not thank you. My nail polish collection, however, does. :)

(Actually, I was good and only bought a big bottle of Zoya remover, which I really like, since my flipper bottle is getting low. So something I needed anyway, plus free nail polish. Win!)

For the OP - I like Zoya Sooki if you're looking for a fairly classic true cream red. I tend to turn reds either orange or pink, and Sooki stays a nice solid bright red for me. :)
playedinloops 15th-Feb-2012 07:46 pm (UTC)
hehehe, I think a lot of people did that, which made it a really great deal! Especially with the free shipping. Sooki is a GREAT red, I agree.
quiet000001 15th-Feb-2012 08:01 pm (UTC)
I kept waffling about buying it before because remover from the beauty supply IS a lot cheaper... But the Zoya stuff does seem to be nicer to my nails. So the offer kind of sealed the deal. :)

Sooki is nice because it also combines really nicely with other colors - I don't tend to do really extravagant nail art (my stamper and I are still trying to figure out how to get along) but sometimes I'll do just one accent nail, or a design on my thumbnails only, and Sooki has done really well for me for both 4th of July themed red-white-and-blue and also Christmas red-and-green in that respect. I actually bought a spare bottle once I discovered how well it worked on me as a red, Just In Case. That and China Glaze FYI are the only ones I have duplicates of intentionally. :)

(Okay, I admit, for Christmas, I did put a layer of CG Ruby Pumps over the Sooki for added gliter, but it was Christmas, sparkle is required! ;) )
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 08:04 pm (UTC)
Oh! I just got my first Konad set at the mall... Have yet to use it yet.

I love love doing nail designs so I thought the Konad set is perfect... I've yet to do it myself, but I AM excited.

And on the topic of nail designs... I am just going to plug my very first original nail design:

quiet000001 15th-Feb-2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's cute. I think that honestly if you left off the bow and crystal and just did the gingham tips, you could probably totally get away with that in an office environment as long as the pinks aren't super bright in person. Particularly as we get into spring - it'd just be sort of cute and a bit fun without being over the top.
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 08:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I haven't considered doing nail designs in the office environment x.x I've kept them nice and short for the office :(
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 07:47 pm (UTC)
I just looked up swatches of Sooki and it is GORGEOUS! I think (due to your most awesome suggestion) I am going to get that one ^.^

OMG can't wait until I get home! <3
quiet000001 15th-Feb-2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
I confess to actually owning TWO bottles of Sooki because after I discovered how perfect it was for me, I had to have a spare Just In Case. (I don't actually do red that often, but when I do, it has to be a GOOD red. :) )

Also, I find the Zoya color spoon thing to be pretty helpful if I'm waffling about a color (mostly nude/beige colors because it can be so hard to tell how it'll look with your skin) and since they started doing the color spoons, most of my orders have come with sort of color wheel/shade card things of the most recently released collection(s).

Which is really nice for seeing the colors too - there's definitely some stuff in the spring line that I would not have on my list if I hadn't gotten the color thing with my last order, because just looking online they look pretty close to colors I already have.

It's pricey, but I do like the Zoya Color Lock system also - it works particularly well for me with Zoya polishes. (They work fine with other stuff also, but I have a hard time keeping polishes from chipping/peeling, and I definitely get just that little bit better wear from using the Zoya system with Zoya polishes.) Around the holidays they usually have a 'minicure' set which is sort of travel-sized versions of the base coat, top coat, dry drops, and remover, and honestly those little bottles last longer than you'd expect, so it's a good way to try the system out. :)
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 08:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you thank you! Where have you been all my life? Ha-ha. I need more nail polish girl friends <3

As for the color lock system, I usually change nail polish colors often enough that Seche Vite top coat has been good to me for now. The only think I don't like is that it shrinks? I don't know if that's the term, but it kind of makes my nail polish curl up under the top coat. It's not so bad, because I like doing nail designs and it actually helps smooth out ragged lines.
quiet000001 15th-Feb-2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I have a similar problem with SV. Poshe is a similar rapid-dry top coat, but on me it seems to 'pull' a little less than the SV. But to a certain extent it seems to just depend on the polish which top coat works best.

Tricks for minimizing 'tip pull' with SV or Poshe:

1. Apply it while the last layer of polish is wet. The drier the polish when you put on the top coat, the more pull you seem to get. So when I'm using SV or Poshe, I do final coat of polish and then top coat right away on each finger. (Instead of doing polish on the whole hand and then going back and doing top coat on the whole hand.)

1b. If you want to do nail art, do your base, apply top coat as above, give it a minute to dry, then do your nail art design on top. It seems like this way, even if you put another coat of top coat on to protect the nail art, it doesn't pull as much.

2. When you apply polish and top coat to each nail, 'wrap' it around the tip by just swiping the brush along the front edge of the nail tip. You don't really want to end up with a big build up of polish or top coat UNDER your nail, so use a light touch. I also don't bother wrapping the polish for each coat - I just do the last coat and then the top coat. I do it as my final step applying top coat to the nail - so I put it on the nail surface, and then once the brush has less on it, I swipe across the tip edge. Since SV and Poshe both level out pretty well, you don't get brush marks or anything. :)

3. Fans are evil. While applying SV/Poshe, STAY AWAY FROM AIRFLOW. (Just seems to make it dry faster and be badly behaved and pull more.)

4. Get a bottle of polish THINNER at a beauty supply place and keep that with your top coats. SV in particular is a real PITA about thickening up over time, even if you think you've put the top on nice and tight. A drop or two of thinner (just a little at a time, you don't want to thin it too much) keeps it usable. (The thinner is pretty inexpensive and lasts FOREVER because you use so little of it at a time, and I've revived some pretty sad polishes with it, so it's a decent investment.)

5. Accept that sometimes, a certain polish and a certain top coat or top coat and base coat combination are just not going to play well together. This is why I have SV, Poshe, and the Zoya stuff. Between those three I can normally find a combo that works for just about everything. (Well, as well as anything works on me, anyway. No matter how careful I am at preparing my nails, I tend to find polish just peels off in sheets after a few days on my nails. Beyond branching into the UV cured gel polishes, I have given up and just accept I need to change polish colors every so often. :) )
playedinloops 15th-Feb-2012 05:48 pm (UTC)
for reference, these are my nails right now and no one cares. I work at a professional association though, not an accounting firm and I know there can be a big difference. Plus I feel like most of DC is pretty laid back if you aren't a politician or lawyer. :-P

D: dem cuticles.

Edited at 2012-02-15 05:49 pm (UTC)
sylvir 16th-Feb-2012 03:23 am (UTC)
I just ordered Chloe and Sooki! Sooo excited. I probably should have ordered more, but I'm loooow on funds so one is all I'm letting myself get! YAY SELF CONTROL XD ♥
mandyseley 15th-Feb-2012 05:45 pm (UTC)
How about asking HR specifically? They may only require your nails to be appropriately manicured and well-kept, and be fairly lenient on color.

My advice for "playing it safe" would be creme finishes or subtle shimmers (a bit of sparkle, but not chunks of glitter) in nudes, reds, purples or pinks. They tend to be fairly 'standard' colors that don't stand out jarringly against your skin tone. As always, matching to your outfit is a bonus and prevents them from being specifically noticed.

For myself, when I was in grad school, we were graded both on our content and on our attention to professional conduct and attire (didn't need designer suits, but you would be called out for untucked shirts or unshined shoes). For presentation days, I would wear bold red or purple cremes on my nails. There's a reason "power ties" are red - it's a powerful color that commands attention. Maybe my red nails didn't make people magically pay attention, but they were at least a good way to psych myself up - and earned compliments from my professor as a "nice touch."

Rambling a bit, haha... sorry, I put weird amounts of thought into my nails.
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
No no, you are just fine and everything that you said was very helpful!

One of the colors I've been dying to wear is a bold red, but wasn't sure if that would be called out. The last time I was at a professional social event a classmate of mine was like "oh girl, you just messed up your chances by wearing red (in your nails)". And I was like "WHAT?" and freaking out.

So til this day I don't know if red is an appropriate color or not lol~

I'll definitely ask HR :)!
mandyseley 15th-Feb-2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
I... huh?

Not to be nasty, but the only people I've heard object to plain red nail polish are people with fairly outdated ideas in the first place. It's not at all inappropriate, these days, to wear color on your nails in a professional setting, and red is a classic.

A splash of color is the PERFECT way to separate yourself from the sea of plain black business suits while still being "office appropriate."
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
Even though this was over a year ago, it still makes me feel better knowing that I did not sabotage myself by wearing red.

So thanks!
quiet000001 15th-Feb-2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
I think with red it can be a bit much *if* you have really long nails also. On shorter nails, a nice true red is, imo, classic. (Hey, it's what I wore for my college graduation photos. :) ) How long is too long kind of depends on your fingers, I think - mostly if the red makes them look a bit costume-y then maybe tone it down a bit?

If you want to be more conservative while still getting away from the same old stuff all the time, I find that holos and glitter polishes in colors that would otherwise be 'conservative' (beige, pink, etc.) tend to be subtle enough that you get away with it. (My fave is China Glaze FYI, for a beige holo, but of course it's like impossible to find.)

Another option is to play around with the french manicure idea, or the half-moon manicure where you put the color at the base of your nail instead of the tip. That's another place where you can use more conservative colors and yet still have a bit of fun without them screaming 'NAIL POLISH HERE!' - an example might be I used to do a pale pink nail with a light slightly shimmery blue tip. The blue was pretty subtle unless the light caught it, so it wasn't like 'omg, blue nails!' but if someone noticed it was just a little bit more fun than the standard pink and white or a solid pink nail. :)
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 07:37 pm (UTC)
This is brilliant, thank you! :D
djangodurango 17th-Feb-2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
In my opinion, red is the safest color there is. It's the quintessential nail polish shade.
dressudge 15th-Feb-2012 05:48 pm (UTC)
In my last job, I was free to use whatever I wanted as long as it wasn't chipped or sloppy.
sylvir 15th-Feb-2012 05:53 pm (UTC)
Was it in an office where the attire is between business casual and business professional?
dressudge 16th-Feb-2012 02:11 pm (UTC)
It was secretarial work in an office described as "business casual". Typical attire would be slacks and button-down shirt/blouse.. rarely would you see blazers or full suits.
____skinnyjeans 15th-Feb-2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
i would ask. some offices i worked at allowed me to wear nailpolish if it's "normal" looking and others are strict and didn't even allow clear nailpolish.
closetospring 15th-Feb-2012 11:31 pm (UTC)
i work in a law firm that is technically business casual but definitely more towards the business/professional end. and it seems i'm echoing what others have said but here are my specific thoughts:</p>

- i don't think any colors are off-limits provided it is a creme finish. i just bought a bright bright blue i can't wait to wear (zoya robyn).

- shimmer is generally safe too, although i do go more neutral or traditional with this (zoya zara is as out-there as i do with a shimmer-- interesting duochrome, but both colors would be fairly conservative by themselves imo).

- glitter is where you probably want to be careful. i have a chunky gold glitter i love but would obviously never wear to work. however, depending on your office, you may be able to do a subtle glitter (i've worn china glaze ruby pumps to work), or a glitter/fleck coat on one nail done in a tame color (for example: my coworker will do her nails in a taupe and then top it with gold flecks on the ring finger nail). so stay away from obvious glitter, chunky glitter, or all-glitter nails, but touches of it are probably fine.

i have worked in various offices with this kind of dress code and never asked up front, just worn what i wanted following the above rules, and never had any problem. but if you want to be sure, it can't hurt to ask someone!

sylvir 16th-Feb-2012 02:37 pm (UTC)
meximanian 16th-Feb-2012 02:34 am (UTC)
I would look around what other women do at your work. I'd recommend lots of darks (maroons, deep reds, purples, and grays) and also light creams (light pink, beige) to start but then once you know the atmosphere you can go into more artsy colors.

Rimmel has some really great colors--especially Purple Rain!
sylvir 16th-Feb-2012 03:10 am (UTC)
Thanks for these suggestions! ^___^ I would have to agree that these are what I figured was most appropriate~!
soultoast 16th-Feb-2012 04:01 am (UTC)
Look at what the women higher up the ladder than you are wearing, and go with that.

When I was at a temp agency that worked with big companies we pretty much had to have bare nails, clears, light pinks, nudes, or French nails. Simmer, matte, or gloss was fine but glitter (esp chunky) was also a no.
sylvir 16th-Feb-2012 02:38 pm (UTC)
I see, thank you!
cease11 16th-Feb-2012 08:34 am (UTC)
I wear everything from bright red (OPI big apple) to greens and blues. No one has cared. The firms I've worked at have all had strict corporate wear policies, but I've never heard of anyone getting told off for what colour their nails are.

The rest of your outfit is important. As long as your outfit is professional, I doubt you'll have a problem.
sylvir 16th-Feb-2012 02:38 pm (UTC)
Good to know, thank you!
whitelily22 16th-Feb-2012 05:05 pm (UTC)
also a whole bunch of new Revlon nail polishes came out! you should check these out too :
lostenergy 17th-Feb-2012 02:31 am (UTC)
one that's close to my skintone is what i use. its also pretty convenient to wear anything.
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