When Nail art first became more than a few polka dots added to mostly DIY polish efforts, it was inconceivable that the form of nail beautification would ever reach the magnitude of proficiency required for much of what we now see rather frequently, on many fingertips out in the general public. From finely detailed airbrushed scenes to metallic and jeweled embellishments, we have it all for nails–but many of these grand nail art masterpieces are not considered to be appropriate nail wear in mostly conservative settings. And when it comes to keeping your good standing at the workplace, especially in the office, experience-tested dress and accessorizing creativity is best kept on the conservative side, for all the right reasons. This does not mean that you can’t  sport a little bit of nail art flair in the office, and here are some methods that show style without the potential threat of improperly detracting the attention of your co-workers.

french manicure

The French Manicure
This one has always been highly popular and widely accepted. There are many ways to ratchet up the flair of a French or American nail art effect that are completely in good taste, on the subtle side of self-expression and are quite flattering. Aside from the pale skin toned base and white or off white tips of this style, if you’re introducing color, keep it to complementary, subdued tones, and reserve the more shocking combos for the weekend. Think soft–pinks, pastels, and even some low luster metallics are fine. Neutral shades are the best, and you’ll feel on your best game, while typing at the keyboard, too. If you are feeling a little frisky – celebs have been sighted with darker tips (navy blues, purples, etc.) as well as blinged out tips that include glitter and crystals.

Half moon manicure

The Neutral Half Moon
This effect involves painting the moon of the nail in a softly contrasting color from the rest of the nail. Try maintaining a consistent pattern from nail to nail and on both hands. If you decide to add a little extra effect on one or two nails of either or both hands’ nails, keep these small and simple. Remember to keep them as embellishments, and not statements.

Neutral ombre manicure

The Ombre Nail
And you thought it just applied to hair — but the ombre effect can apply to nail art, too. Distinctive ombre nail art can come from subtly decreasing an application of glitter, just as it can involve color only. Just remember to stick to neutral tones and subtle contrasts.

 

Metallic Demarcation Line
One of the loveliest nail effects that is ideal for all occasions can be applied in conjunction with a French manicure, or to a solid translucent or clear color, as well. This involves the carefully added fine line of a metallic polish right upon the demarcation line that is found separating the nail plate from the distal “free” edge of the nail. To this, perhaps one diminutive rhinestone can be added to the ring finger nail. Beautiful, subtle and elegant–for the office, or elsewhere, anytime.