Friday, May 23, 2008

Chipped Nails, Anyone?

The New York Times Thursday Styles section ran an article on how chipped nail polish (on the fingers only, please) is the hot new look for women under 35.

Artfully worn with a $5000 handbag in tow, chipped nail polish (in a dark, plummy color), apparently says that the wearer is so financially and stylistically secure that she can break some grooming rules—or set some new ones.

I’m a devotée of boho chic; indeed, there’s nothing that makes me squirm more than feeling matchy-matchy, but I think that this look would work on very, very few women.

Remember a young Helena Christensen with Chris Isaak in the gorgeous Herb Ritts “Wicked Game” video? She wore ragged nail polish mixed with granules of sand and looked utterly alluring. Of course Helena’s natural beauty made the chipped nails cool, much like the expensive bag tries to do for those mortals who don’t look like Ms. Christensen.

But there’s a fine line between alluring and skanky here, and I’m not sure if the money bag offsets the trashiness of the nails.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a proper manicure. When I worked in Toronto, I used to treat myself to a mani-pedi at Mira Linder’s Spa in the City (is it still there, TO readers?), where motherly, round European women would vigorously massage and refine my digits.

And in New York I’d eschew the smaller joints (and am glad I did after reading in New York Magazine about the working conditions for the immigrant women) for Frederic Fekkai’s oasis in the Chanel building.

But now I favor the au naturel look for my hands, primarily because I don’t have the vigilance to keep polish neat, what with three children, etc., etc. So perhaps I should cheer the new chipped look, since neatness is now a moot point.

Chipped nail polish wouldn’t work for me, though, because it would come across as collateral damage caused by my very full, hectic life. Indeed, I think it’s those who have leisurely lives who can pull off such a look; the chipped nails can then represent an ironic beauty instead of being a mark of someone who is unable to get her grooming act together.

So what do you think? Anyone going to wear chipped polish by design—or by accident?


K.Line said...

Can't get with it, no dice. It may signify financial security in some circles, but it's shoddy nonetheless IMO. Call me old skool.

PS Mira Linder still very much a part of the Avenue Road landscape. Miss C - I would have loved to have known you when you lived in TO. Something tells me we would have had a lot in common... (Not that we don't now too!)

Cupcakes and Cashmere said...

My friend's little sister has been wearing the same cherry red nail polish for years, always opting to let it chip off instead of using remover. Somehow it works on her since she's ridiculous hip, but I think I would just come across as messy and unkept.

Deborah said...

The thought of deliberately chipping my nail polish would never, ever cross my mind. Besides looking cheap I think it's a sign of poor grooming. An accident is one thing - we've all been there - but to chip by design? This is the wrong message to send to young women who are just learning the appropriate manners in which to present themselves to the world. There are all kinds of ways to express individuality, rebellion, etc. But chipped nail polish? But then again maybe I'm just old fashioned.

enc said...

The idea is too contrived for me. My lifestyle doesn't allow my nail polish to last more than a day anyway. And even if I did have such a life, the nails would break every five minutes, as they are wont to do. They're brittle.

Kelly said...

I've let my polish chip before, and I'll probably do it again, but it's not exactly my ideal. Still, I'm young and if I'm going out to a hole-in-the-wall bar or a Saturday night concert, I can relish in the rock n' roll cool my chipped nails can bring to the table and not bother with doing my nails. Kind of like how I sometimes purposefully smudge my eyeliner a bit on the weekends, but keep my eyeshadow bright and clean at work.

There are certain occasions when I can appreciate being a bit unpolished. But both my nails and eyes will be cleaned up for church the next morning.