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6 Fingernail Trends: Which Ones are Tacky, Which are Classy?

French pedis, acrylic nails and nail art


Steve Murez/The Image Bank/Getty Images

The condition of our nails speaks volumes about us. While you or I may pay scant attention to our nails, others will. Below we run down fingernail faux pas to avoid.

Tacky or Classy? Acrylic Fingernails

There are some acrylic nails out there that look great and can turn your short, stubby fingers into hands worthy of hand modeling. For example, my friend Deirdre always chews her nails down and decided to get acrylics so she wouldn't be tempted to bite. She chose short, rounded acrylics and her nails looked fabulous. The havoc they wrecked on her nails under them? Not so fabulous. But she loved her nails while she had them.

Long, square nails, however are quite tacky and out of fashion. Not only do they look fake (who grows their natural nails that long anyway?), they aren't practical. They click on everything and make it virtually impossible to pick things up, pull on tight blue jeans and just about anything else one needs fingers for. My cousin Cat removed her inch-long nails when she had a baby and she was so excited she could finally pick up her keys.

The only best length for acrylic nails these days is short and rounded.

Tacky or Classy? Nail Art

Nail art these days is a huge industry. Everyone from my best friend's teenage daughter to my 42-year-old friend BB, are decorating their nails as fashion statement.

Just be careful. A painted flower on one big toe is cute because it's dainty and unexpected, but ten fingers decorated in swiggles, lightening bolts or glued-on cubic zirconias can be considered over-the-top. Your best bet is to stick with something very cool and sedate and avoid pairing your nail art with long acrylics.

Tacky or Classy? French Pedis and Manis

French manicures are a classic style that done right (think subtle pinks on short nails) can look classy, but done wrong can look quite tacky. Avoid bright whites on long nails and you'll be good to go.

As for French pedicures, the debate rages on whether these are tacky or classy. It's up to you to decide, but I personally loathe them. I think they make toes look like fingers. Find out what happened when I said this on a blog in May, 2006. More than 250 people wrote in the comments section either agreeing or vehemently disagreeing with me. What do you think? Weigh in on the debate yourself.

Tacky or Classy? Fingernails of Varying Lengths

This is a major fingernail faux pas of which I used to be constantly guilty. It is a big no-no to leave one's house with unkept nails of varying lengths (I will never forget the day my friend Deirdre took one glance at my hands and said, "That's just wrong."). Yes, that's Deirdre of the chewed nails story from above. She's never had long natural nails so she just didn't get how I could let mine grow without gnawing them down.

Back in the day, at any given time, one of my nails would be legions longer than the other nails, no two of which were the same length. This is because I have nails of varying strengths. If I let them grow, only the nails on my pinkie and ring fingers would make it to Guinness Book of World Record length. My thumbs? Not a chance. They are always the first to break.

Long nails in general are not popular right now. Even if you have fingernails that are strong as horse hooves, you should aim for a short, rounded nail.

Classy or Tacky? Unkept Nails

Chipped nail polish isn't cool. If you are like me and are too lazy for proper upkeep, skip the color and try a clear polish or better yet, buff your nails.

Also falling under "unkept": Chewed nails. To stop biting your nails, invest in a manicure. You'll think twice before gnawing on your $20 investment. Plus, nail polish doesn't taste good.

Classy or Tacky? Fingers & Toes That Don't Match

There are some people who insist your manicure and pedicure should be matchy-matchy, but that's a dated rule. These days you can totally change up your mani from your pedi. There's no reason they should match, although a color scheme that relates is always classy.

So what type of nails are in? Short, rounded nails. Squares were popular for awhile and are ok, but rounded is really the way to go. You can paint those nails a host of colors and styles as nail trends are hugely popular these days. Just have fun with it.

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