7. Nails Matter
Will your choice of nail color make or break your career? Nah. It does, however, say something about you, and research shows that the color, length, and overall care of your nails are one of the top 10 physical characteristics people notice when they’re working with you. It raises the question, what is work appropriate nail color and what is for off-hours?
Full disclosure, my nails weren't always polished through most of my 30s when I was having kids and raising toddlers. Thinking back, I don’t even remember looking in the mirror. For big meetings and events I would get manicures, only to have them chipped and peeling by the second day. This ultimately led to one of the best purchases I've ever made, an OPI gel light, which I use weekly and has saved me hundreds of dollars in manicures each year. Having well-manicured, great-looking nails are just one grooming choice that play into your image. I can't help but feel like I'm walking into a bit of a danger zone with this one because I understand that nail trends are all over the place and nails play a part in our off-hours lives as well, but what would you think if a community, corporate, or high ranking leader of your organization showed up with ungroomed nails or was a billboard for polka dots, sparkles, or chipped and peeling nails?
Check out my do's and don'ts.
1. Stay away, and I mean run, from anything fluorescent. Not even in the summer ladies. My only absolute is that I refuse to wear fluorescent in the boardroom.
2. Use flat color -- no sparkle, no shimmer, just flat. Trust me on this, your nails will look more vibrant, clean, and shaped both close up and at a distance. One of the managers on my team consistently follows this rule and I always think about how put together she looks.
3. Do a short-to-medium length square nail. I know, I know, the sharp, pointy look is in, but that's only during the off hours. It’s witchy-looking at work.
4. Avoid designs like flowers, clouds, and polka dots because they can be a distraction and depending on your role or how formal your corporate dress code is, people might not take you seriously. The only exception is if your favorite sports team is in a major championship.
5. Black, white, and beige nail color is the ultimate in chic work polish. Period.
6. Wear colors that are vibrant, but again choose flat color. I will tell you that the only colors that were acceptable to me for years were black or nude, then I let grey in, which is very fashion forward but doesn’t always look flattering. I have come a long way over the last few years and now I love to do fuchsia, red, brown, and on occasion blues.
7. Wear pale colors for travel and to make you look soft and youthful. They shape the nail as well as darker colors and are great for travel because if they chip or peel it's difficult to see. Think pale pinks, yellows, whites, beiges, and blues.
8. The French manicure has transformed to painting your top nail and bottom nail in different colors. I've seen look great and coordinated and I've seen it look like a circus. Beware.
9. Painting your fourth nail (or third and fourth) nail different colors than the rest of your nails is acceptable. Just make sure it’s flat color and doesn’t clash with your outfit.
10. With toenail color, all of the above apply. By the way, you don’t have to match your toes to your fingernails if you obey the following rules: Stay in the same color family (example: light blue nails with dark blue toes). You can wear any color on your nails or toes as long as one of them is black or white. Light pink can also be paired with other colors.
So there you have it. Now go color yourself different.