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I was minding my business on a Sunday, reading my handy Globe and Mail (yes, I am a news junkie), and then I saw it. A woman writing in about nail polish in the corporate world…

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Is a flashy manicure too much for the workplace?

BAHAR NIRAMWALLA

From Saturday’s Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 16, 2012 6:00PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Mar. 16, 2012 6:02PM EDT

The question

I work in a corporate environment and dress fairly conservatively, but love playing with different, unusual nail colours (think acid green or navy). Should I tone it down or are nails fair game for experimentation?

The answer

As far as the trend forecast goes, you’re in luck. This year, no colour, from vampy purples to creamy nudes, seems to be off-limits.

It increasingly seems as though nail polish is being treated more like jewellery, as interchangeable as a pair of shoes and worn in whatever shade your heart desires. As long as your nails are short enough not to hurt anyone and don’t have any 3-D paraphernalia jutting off of them, you’re good.

No matter what colour you do don, it’s imperative that your manicure looks neat and tidy. This means: moisturize hands and cuticles daily and make sure you wear a good top coat to avoid a tattered, unkempt look. You’ll probably get more stares for a shabby, chipped mani in a subdued shade than for well-groomed nails in an outrageous colour.

Bahar Niramwalla is a celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert who has appeared on The Marilyn Denis Show on CTV. Have a beauty question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

I wrote a blog about nailpolish (you can read it here) and my experience in the workplace.
I am not sure why this hit a nerve with me, but, it did. I guess I see one’s appearance as a brand. When you work for a corporation or government, you don’t have an individual brand, you can set yourself apart a bit, but you still have to maintain a standard unified corporate brand/image. A make-up artist and beauty expert is not in that corporate world, so their advice, as far as I am concerned, has no relevance or value. They work in an environment in which branding yourself is an art form, standing out from the crowd is important and vital for one’s career longevity. If you have to ask, maybe it isn’t appropriate!
One of my colleagues, who will remain nameless, used to get a piercing or tattoo after every successful UN negotiation. He/she would show up at work, and most times we would have to figure out where the tattoo or piercing was. Well, one morning we all noticed a severe lisp – turned out the tong was pierced. Well, being in the diplomatic service, everyone was polite (they just typically joked about it), but an older ambassador asked him to take it out, for fear of offending someone in the UN. It is an individuals right to have a piercing, but well, I sort of get why it was a worry.
Then there was a young officer who dipped her cute blonde hair bright pink. The horror, everyone, and I mean everyone, made fun of her, and mostly behind her back. Delegations referred to her as the one with  either bubblegum hair, or Pepto hair. She was and still is an incredibly intelligent and phenomenal officer, but I think for that period of dipped hair, it actually hurt her career.
You see, it is distracting, and doesn’t fit a corporate image. Hate to say it, but you signed up to work for a corporation, your image from Monday-Friday is pretty much their image.