Chipped Nails are Sooo Anti-Chic!

26 Feb

Essie 'Sugar Daddy' polish,, $4

Sure, we are all busy and can barely find the time to shower, put on makeup and get dressed for our overscheduled, hectic days.  However, an overbooked calendar is no excuse, my dears, to have nails that look trashy and unprofessional.  Wearing a loud, unprofessional nail color to the office or to an interview can kill an otherwise chic look.  Just the same, wearing a classic color that has become chipped is a huge no-no! 

It is so distracting to watch someone who has disgusting nails share an idea in a meeting (or God forbid, an interview) using hand gestures.  If you are a person who loves to use your hands when you talk (you know who you are – we are in the same club with you), keep your digits in check!  Besides, manicured nails aren’t just about other people; they make you feel even more confident which is a major plus for performance.  When, on the other hand (no pun intended), you know your nails look bad, you start balling up your fingers or concentrating on hiding them instead of focusing on fully engaging with your colleagues or clients.  

So here are a few tips for keeping your hands looking manicure-fresh even when you’re short on time (and/or money):

1.  For emergency situations, keep nail essentials in your office drawer.  We keep nail polish remover, nail clippers, a file and hand moisturizer in our office drawers at all times.  (Preferably, you’ll want to use the instant nail polish remover that allows you to stick your finger inside for quick removal without making a mess.  And, remember, quick removal is key because you don’t want to scent up your entire office suite!)  This way, if we are in a mad-rush in the a.m. and realize, after getting to our desks, that our nails look horrible, we can close our doors, discreetly remove all traces of polish and tidy up any overgrown or uneven nails before a big meeting. 

2.    Wear neutral colors to the office to avoid the risks of (a) wearing an inappropriate color and (b) getting really noticeable chips.  As much as we love a short, classic red nail, we do not wear dark polish to work because, in this swine-flu era, everyone is washing their hands a gazillion times a day which inevitably leads to chips.  Beige and light pinks are very close to the natural color of your nail so generally won’t show chips.  To stay on the safe side, avoid high-maintenance, dark polishes in the office unless you work in a creative field (like fashion).  And for goodness’ sake, please do not wear one of these trendy, fluorescent colors to the office.  Blue, green, yellow – no, no, no!  Black – don’t even think about it (we don’t care if it’s a $23 bottle of Chanel, that doesn’t make it alright)!

While we prefer a French manicure, we often don’t have time.  Our favorite do-it-yourself sheer pink right now is Essie’s ‘Sugar Daddy’ (pictured above) which complements a lot of our wardrobe and looks oh-so-chic.  Another sheer pink which can be found in drugstores like CVS is Milani in Angel Pink.  (Oh, and we are a little addicted to nail colour, so we keep plenty of polishes for every occasion on hand.  To keep our nail colour budgets in check, we like to order our faves online at, a site that has premium polishes at very low prices (e.g., Essie which sells for $8 at Nordstrom for as low as $4 at Transdesign; OPI for as low as $4.99; China Glaze for as low as $2.60)).

3.  Wear a top coat.  A good top coat will help your manicure keep longer and look super-shiny.  We apply an extra layer of top coat when our polish starts looking a little drab to buy us an extra day or so of wear.  Our fave top coat right now is a drugstore-staple, Sally Hansen’s Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat.  We can apply one coat of this over an old manicure and zip out the door 15 minutes later, looking like we just left our manicurist’s chair.  If we’re in a super-rush, we also submerge our nails in a bowl of ice cold water to seal the Sally Hansen.  Another great top coat we’ve tried is Healthy Hoof Nail Lacquer (it was made for horse’s hoofs, but works miracles on humans’ nails — is great for nail growth aid as well).

4.  Keep your nails fairly short and low-maintenance.  OK, I know some of you will not like this one, but it works for us.  Clipping our nails just as they grow over our nail beds keeps them looking professional and saves us the headache of needing to file and clip and primp them constantly.  We don’t have to deal with nightmarish breaks and we are able to type a gazillion words-per-minute on our keyboards without error.  If you do like a longer nail, please, please, please don’t go with the fang, vampire look (and avoid acrylics if possible – they’re an expense and time-killer you can probably live without).  Remember, we are dressing for the jobs we want and how often do we see executive women who are in partner, CEO or VP positions flaunting claw-like nails?  If you have the opposite problem and bite your nails down until your nail beds are swollen and inflamed, please try one of those anti-nail-biting polishes (readers, if you have overcome a nail-biting habit, feel free to offer your advice here because we haven’t tried any of the nail-biting products).

Well, ladies, there you have it!  Go treat yourselves to a manicure this weekend (or give yourselves one at home).  You deserve it!


7 Responses to “Chipped Nails are Sooo Anti-Chic!”

  1. J February 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    Great tips (as I glance at my nails in between key strokes)! I need to take a dissy break and head to the salon.

    If anyone has tips on slowing cuticle growth, please let me know. I usually get a mani every 2-3 weeks. My cuticles seem to grow back the next week. What’s up with that?!

  2. Terri February 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm #

    I just got back from getting them done…with a very pale pink! So glad I’m in compliance with corner office chic!
    I do need to assemble an emergency nail kit for the office – great tip!

  3. Laura February 26, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

    Great post! Love the tips and the nailpolish you selected. Chipped nails are never a “do”. (Remember that trend a few years ago?? Eek!) Chipped nails make me think of Lindsay Lohan. (Cringe.)

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Will check back soon.

  4. Deborah February 27, 2010 at 9:44 am #

    Great post and I heartily agree.

    For my emergency kit in the office I keep nail polish remover pads (I think they are made by Cutex, and come in a box of 6 or 8 that are wrapped in individual foil envelopes) which are very discrete and convenient to use. Also, to minimize smell I will sometimes step into the ladies room to remove polish if need be.

    Another tip for quick nail cleanup is a whitening stick and a tube of Opi’s Nik’s Stik’s in a sheer or clear color. These are nail polish “pens” that can fit in a purse, don’t require base or top coat, and can give nails a very quick polish and shine for that emergency manicure.

  5. cornerofficechic February 27, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    Deborah, thanks for those additional tips! We’ll have to try the Cutex remover pads, whitening stick and OPI Nik’s Stiks.

    J, we’ll be on the lookout for products that can help you with your cuticles. 🙂

  6. Corporate Chickee March 1, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    I love Essie nail polish – and the idea of keeping nail polish remover at my desk. I keep a little nail-care kit at work, don’t know why it never occurred to me to keep polish remover!

    Next trip to Walgreens I’m getting stocked up! Thanks Corner Office!


  1. The office nail « mom who works - February 28, 2010

    […] Office Chic recently had a great post on how Chipped Nails are Sooo Anti-Chic!, which caused me to think about manicures and […]

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