Classic Nail Polish Colors

By David Gray

Nail polish is a great way to express yourself, regardless of age, body type, or personality. It can spice up an outfit, perk up a pair of shoes, elongate your hands and feet and make any outfit look polished and pulled together. Nail polish trends go in and out of style, but classic nail polish colors are timeless, versatile, and always flatter every woman. Classic nail polish colors are appropriate for every occasion, whether you are going to the beach or to a business meeting.

a row of nailpolish arranged in rainbow colours
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Classic colors include reds, pinks and neutrals.


close-up of an elderly woman's hands with nails painted red
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Perfectly manicured red nails symbolize timeless beauty and elegance. Warmer shades of red, such as tomato or coral-red, are perfect for the summer, while cooler, blue-tinged shades of red such as burgundy are better suited for fall and winter. When wearing bright or dark nail polish colors, make sure you cut your nails fairly short.


Close-up of three bottles of pink nail polish
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Pink nails are youthful and pretty. No matter what your skin tone or the look that you want is, there is a shade of pink out there for you. Shades such as rose and mauve are flattering and easy to wear all year round because they are soft and muted. Brighter shades of pink, such as hot pink or fuchsia, look absolutely lovely in the summer as they stand out against a tan and bring a bright pop of color to your outfit. Bright pink nail polish is especially flattering on toenails. Although usually associated with French manicures, baby pink nail polish is light and pretty when worn on its own and gives hands the illusion of long and slender fingers.


Person applying nail polish
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While neutral nails are classic and timeless, they also serve as a quick, chic fashion update that looks particularly good on shorter nails. Neutral nail colors are part of the brown color family, but are often blended with other colors, such as pink or gold, to make them more wearable. The idea behind the neutral nail trend is to have your nails blend in with your fingers to make your hands and fingers look more slender. Choose a nail color that is close to your natural skin color. If you have lighter skin, choose shades of champagne, nude, or sand. If you have darker skin, choose shades of cocoa or coffee.

Darker shades of brown, such as chocolate, and shades of grayish-brown are also youthful and trendy. They look great on both hands and feet, but should be paired with short nails. While such colors may not be appropriate for a business lunch or the beach, they are perfect for going out on a date or a night out on the town. Older women may have a harder time pulling off darker shades of brown because darker browns are more severe and unforgiving than lighter, paler shades of brown.

French Manicure

Woman showing manicured hand
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Although the French manicure is a nail polish application technique rather than a nail color, no article on nail polish could be complete without discussing French manicures. French manicures look effortlessly chic and will never go out of style. The tip of the nail is painted white while the rest of the nail is painted with pale pink, nude, or clear nail polish. Most salons offer French manicure services, and if you want to do it yourself, you can either paint the white tips freehand or find a French manicure kit at a drugstore.