5 Work-Appropriate Nail Colours

Before we start, let's take a moment to soak in these adorable owl emery boards. What chic hidden boutique did you find these at, you ask? Only my favourite store on earth. That's right ladies, these babies cost me $1 at Dollarama (for the set of two). I love the smell of a bargain in the morning.

Alright, let's get down to it. Nail art is super fun and there is always a new colourful trend on the horizon. Unfortunately, nail colour seems to be one of those weird areas of professional style that people are still very, very conservative about. When I was participating in the recruitment process for articling (the practicum for the lawyer licensing process in Canada), I was repeatedly advised to wear nude nail polish or to wear my nails bare. Which is fine. But also boring (as I type, my lime green nails are clicking away on the keyboard). So here are five nail colours that you can wear to work without slowly dying of boredom: 

1. Pinks and Nudes

Pinks and nudes are the classic choice for work-appropriate nails. They go with everything, they have a natural look and they look professional on all shapes and lengths of nails. Try a super-opaque, ultra-light nude for a more modern, summery look. It's a fun way to incorporate the "white out" nail colour trend into your summer work look without the harshness of all-white nails. For a foolproof pink, choose a light, dusty shade that compliments your complexion. 

Try Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in #169 Bare It All (find it here). 

2. Oxblood

Oxblood has a certain classic elegance that sets it apart from other bold nail colours. It’s timeless.

Despite the aversion to bright or dark nail colours in many professional work environments, a dark, deep red seems to be the exception to the rule. Oxblood has a certain classic elegance that sets it apart from other bold nail colours. It's timeless. To keep this bold look professional, keep your nails short and square. Perfection.

Try OPI in Lost on Lombard (find it here) or Joe Fresh in Wine for a discount dupe. 

3. Greys and Taupes

Grey and taupe nails are a great alternative to your classic nude. The subdued neutral tone of these colours keeps it work appropriate, while the wide range of shades will keep you from dozing off mid-mani. I love a yummy, chocolately taupe on short, square nails for winter months. On the contrary, light greys with pink or mauve undertones are a nice way to lighten it up during the summer. If you're feeling bold, try a super matte charcoal colour. 

Try Essie in Master Plan (find it here) or Revlon Top Speed in #820 Stormy (find it here).

4. Mauve

Mauve polish is everywhere I look these days and I love it. Not only is it an easy colour to wear, it's one of the few nail colour trends that is totally work appropriate. Win, win!

Try Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in #156 Making Mauves (find it here). 

5. Mint

It’s light, easy to pair with typical work neutrals (grey, black, navy) and a perfect way to infuse a bit of summer into our work wardrobe.

This colour is probably the most risque one on the list. For some of you, wearing a brighter colour that isn't red might be pushing it a bit for work. But let's ask ourselves for a hot second, what's wrong with mint? It's light, easy to pair with typical work neutrals (grey, black, navy) and a perfect way to infuse a bit of summer into our work wardrobe. Try a more subdued, pastel mint shade if you're feeling nervous. Give it a go!

Try Maybelline New York Color Show in #320 Green With Envy (find it here) - this colour is much warmer and more subdued in the bottle than it appears on the website.