Nail Art: This Tacky, Trashy, Superficial Look Needs to Go!

When I was in high school back in the mid-90s, the “it” thing was to wear green or blue nail polish.  While this was completely banned for hands at my school (strict uniform code), it didn’t stop many of us from wearing it on our feet, including me.  The it brand back then was Hard Candy.  In fact, many of us collected the colours for the plastic rings that came with the bottles.  Fifteen or so years later, the “it” thing is nail art, and there’s no signs of stopping.  While I have seen some elaborate designs, it just doesn’t scream “professional” to me.  In fact, they’re worse than most French manicures (I tolerate these – they CAN look nice, I suppose).  I think press-ons are the only thing that is worse.

nail art Nail Art: This Tacky, Trashy, Superficial Look Needs to Go!

How is this considered professional, even though it’s probably “conservative-ish” by nail art standards

I often liken those who are interested in nail art to people who are label whores – you know those who are head-to-toe logo and proud of it (e.g. Tristen who appeared on What Not to Wear this past Thursday).  It’s very 21st century reality show in a Real Housewives of _____ or Kardashian sort of way.  In other words, it is loud, attention-grabbing and “nouveaux riche” tacky, along with fake orange tans and over-bleached hair (okay, so the Kardashians don’t bleach their hair, but you get my point).  And the longer the nails, the worse they look (what is the deal with very long nails, anyway?).

210402613812332343 KoUICh6r c Nail Art: This Tacky, Trashy, Superficial Look Needs to Go!

A basic look like this one is more professional-looking and sophisticated

I realize that many women who go for nail art are doing so to be creative, since to them, reds and pinks are just “not enough” (and even brighter colours if all the same) to them and consider more traditional nails to be on the “boring” side.  I know that nail art can range from “cute” cartoon characters to animal print to well, just about anything at all.  Many of women who go for nail art are in more “creative” fields such as PR or publishing, where more “traditional” professional looks are not necessary.  However, many also forget that glaring nails is much too attention-grabby in a bad way.  It’s to the point that more understated looks are not considered a good thing.  How many “sophisticated” looking women (and men, for that matter) who aren’t celebrities get mention in media?  They certainly aren’t appearing in “street style” blogs and other publications.  They aren’t in more major publications’ “style blogger of the week/month” posts and aren’t being asked to be on their “style panel.”  When it comes to nails, the more elaborate and attention-grabbing the art, the more likes on Instagram or repins on Pinterest.

Many style bloggers have criticized me as being “boring” and “too conservative.”  While it’s important to experiment and go beyond the basics of medium to dark wash denim, black dresses and pencil skirts, there is a line between “different” in a sophisticated way and downright tacky.  It’s better to experiment with accessories, clothing colour and hair than with nails or even make-up.  To avoid looking too over the top, nails should really be kept neat, at a medium length and in one colour.  Anything else should be nixed.  That’s why nail art really needs to go.

Non Pinterest image courtesy of Hightower_NRW/iStock Photo

About Cynthia Cheng Mintz


Cynthia Cheng Mintz is the founder and webitor-in-chief of this site and the petite-focused site, Shorty Stories. She has also written for other publications including the Toronto Star and has blogged for The Huffington Post. Her first novel, Aspirations, was published in 2007.

pixel Nail Art: This Tacky, Trashy, Superficial Look Needs to Go!
  • kellidaisy

    Totally agreed! Nail art and acrylic french manicures need to go, now!

  • http://twitter.com/ettuandyou Meredith Karcher

    I think you have presented your opinion well Cynthia. I do get airbrushed french manicures and gel manicures sometimes (for occasions mainly). I can’t appreciate some of the designs but I think that people wear what they like-even if it’s considered tacky by other people. I prefer to stand out but not in that way. However, I have been known to use press-ons in a pinch-especially the new ones (impress)-they are quite amazing and come in a range of designs and plain colors. Great post-I would say keep the nail art in circulation but choose wisely!

    • http://www.delectablychic.com CynthiaC.M.

      Except a lot of people don’t, unfortunately (and I’ve seen it all at Fashion Week…)

  • Lena

    Nail art is for bogans. Case closed.

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