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Fanatic Feedback – Chipped Nail Polish?

By on May 22, 2008
in Fanatic Feedback

In today’s New York Times there is an article on wearing chipped nail polish and how it is becoming a trend, not just a sign of laziness. The experts they interview (Ji Baek & Deborah Lippmann) suggest you have to be either wealthy and well accessorized or skinny and fabulous to rock the look.

That got me thinking to my own experiences. Thanks to this blogging thing I have had the opportunity to meet many gorgeous and chic women, including my fellow bloggers. And the one thing I hear most is apologies for the state of their nails. As though I’m the nail police, handing out citations for dry cuticles, peeling polish or naked tips. So if these “in the know” gals feel the pressure to be put together, who are these women that want perfectly chipped nails to accompany their designer duds?

Are you one of them? Do you embrace your tip wear and chips? Or do you hide your hands as you reach for your wallet at a checkout counter? What do you think when you see people with blemished manicures?

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There Are 56 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    never. manicured or bare. and the statement that you have to be extrememly wealthy to pull this off is so dumb! I think it looks like trash no matter what.

  2. Liz says:

    Never, ever ever. If one chips while I’m not able to get to nail polish remover, I spend the day with that finger awkwardly bent into my palm so nobody can see it.

    I realise I am a little anally retentive about this. But being well-groomed is very important to me, and I find that for me, chipped nails are the equivalent of smudged lipstick or greasy hair.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ewww. I find that “I don’t HAVE to care” attitude patronizing and offensive. The nails are ugly too.

    MS in Louisville (home of coral KY Derby nails)

  4. Eliana B. says:

    I hide my hands so I just don’t even use nail polish!

  5. Anonymous says:

    NOTHING ruins a look quicker than chipped polish. The worst is when it chips from all around and the dull, faded polish is left as a jagged circle in the middle of the nail.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Being a Virgo, I can’t abide chipped nails, and will redo manicure as soon as possible. I, too, will hide the offending finger until it can be re-done!

  7. Jessica says:

    It can “work” — and by work, I mean kind of fit in with a girl’s look, NOT look good — if said girl is young (under 25) and very very rock-n-roll/punk. That is all.

    I totally hide my hands if I have a chip. Realizing they’re chipped when I’m at church is the worst. I’ve done that “This is the church, this is the steeple” fold, with my fingers on the inside.

  8. Morgan says:

    CAN’T. DEAL.

    Chips drive me crazy… I’ve heard of this trend though, and it confused me greatly. I guess if you were going for the whole ‘undone’, ‘I don’t care’, ‘I’ve completely given up on life’ look, then it’d be okay. :)

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey, I’m a Virgo too and I can’t stand this! Because it is worn, and imperfect, it makes me think that it is also dirty (unclean dirty not sexy dirty). I just cannot stand it – one reason I don’t always wear polish. If I dont’ have the time to do it right, or I know it’ll chip and I won’t be able to get to it, no way.


  10. ocelot1 says:

    ew. how embarassing! i feel totally self concious if my nails r chipped or if they r not polised at all. i think chipped polish is icky and very unprofessional. when i have chipped polish i feel that i have to remove and redo immediately.

  11. Pipi says:

    I cant stand when I chip polish and will spend the whole day flipping out about it. I get irratated with other people when they have chipped nailpolish or they like leave it on till it wears off like you did as a kid. Why would rich people want to look like they didnt have $30 to go get their manicure that week?

  12. Steph says:

    Honestly, this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Anyone woman with class, would not go a minute without a chip. In fact, I was swatching MAC’s new colors. After, I had to immediately go to CVS to get me a small bottle of remover. I had already opened the bottle before I was back to my car. I guess it’s my inner Virgo coming out.

  13. Rach says:

    I agree with the other commenters. I HATE it when my polish chips. I agree that life gets in the way and can ruin nails and cuticles sometimes, but if you’re going to wear polish as far as I’m concerned you should do it right.

    Besides, I’ve found that since I’ve become more conscientious about my manicures, and especially my cuticles, my polish hardly ever chips any more. It really doesn’t take much time or expense. But if I don’t have the time to re-do a chipped manicure I’m happy to just have neat, bare nails.

    Also, that ‘I don’t have to care ’cause I’m rich and skinny’ attitude is completely offensive.

  14. Ruddy says:

    NO WAY! I work at LAX and during finals week i tend to bite my nails a lot, so my polish was chipped and i forgot to fix it before my shift started. Next thing you know, Tom Ford gets in line and I have to check his boarding pass. I desperately tried to hide my nails. Now,everytime they’re chipped, i think of him and fix them. Having chipped nails is a big no-no for me.

  15. jdbsusanna says:

    I think (generally speaking) that this is an age thing. I see loads and loads of girls at school and in my neighborhood with chipped polish, and it is definitely an intentional look. I love chipped polish, and if I’m wearing a bright or dark color I always let it chip about half way off before removing it. Chips are more relaxed.

    That said, it has to be done right — your clothes and hair have to be *just* messy enough without being scraggly. Otherwise it just looks messy. I wouldn’t wear chipped polish in an office environment, and it’s probably not appropriate for someone over 25 or so.

  16. JB says:

    I HATE chips. HATE. How can that possibly be trendy? Yuck!

  17. Rose Growing Gal says:

    My philosophy when it comes to chipped polish:
    Just Say No.

  18. Anonymous says:

    lol, it’s not that serious for me. Guess i’m not a die hard nail fanatic.

  19. Anonymous says:

    i don’t see the need to hide my hands .
    if my nail chips.. it chips.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I equate chipped polish to the faded lipstick with pronounced lip liner look – a halfa$$ed job.

  21. silverin says:

    One chip and off it comes.

  22. Princess Malphaba says:

    Chipped nails is not a look I go for usually, I try to keep them touched up, just because I personally like them looking nice.
    But if my mani starts wearing, it’s not like I go into hiding or keep my hands in my pockets! I guarantee most people don’t even notice, let alone care.
    (although I have been known to buy some polish in an emergency situation for touch-ups, but I was on business so it mattered a little more).

    I have much bigger fish to fry than stressing about chipped nails!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I don’t hide, but I do apologize profusely to all who I come into contact with. How funny for you to have noticed that about us all!!!
    Like my Mohter always said “stop saying your sorry child!!”

  24. Anonymous says:

    I can go a day or two with MINOR chips, but I’ve never let my nails get so bad that they’ve worn until there is only the circle of polish in the middle (as another commentor already said). I guess I’m just weird like that. It’s not that I’m anal, I just like to change things up with my polish. If I am wearing a nude color (and ONLY if I’m wearing a nude color) I will let it slide with chips for a few more days.

    I guess I just like switching up my color too much to let it chip away. I think it’s a stupid “look” to be going for. Especially if you have a $5,000 bag. You just look dumb

  25. violetnoir says:

    I don’t like the “look.” Never have…never will.

  26. Taffy says:

    I once saw a woman on the bus who not only had badly chipped nail polish but she had never bothered to take off any of her old polish. So not only was the polish extremely chipped,it was chipped in six different colours that made a gross lump in the middle of her fingernails! It takes much less time to take the polish off than it does to put it on so I can’t see why anyone would sport chipped nail polish at all!

  27. sage1 says:

    This in another trend that flips the ‘bird’ to the long-standing tradition of being well-groomed as a social statement. We’ve seen it all in these last few years:

    * letting black roots grow out of blonded hair…

    * the trend to let your bra strap show while wearing sleeveless or tank tops…

    * sloppy make-up habits.. smudged mascara and eyeliner, and dark lipliner with bright or pale lipstick… (Amy Winehouse, I’m talkin’ to YOU!)

    * no stockings, no underwear (which can be accomplished successfully with very meticulous styling, but this look is NOT for everyone at every time)

    * going for days without washing or styling of hair

    * going for days without bathing (yuk!)

    * going for weeks without shaving

    Apparently, this look began in Hollywood by some “I could care less” stars, but that doesn’t give the rest of the population the permission to follow suit.

    It’s simply bad taste, and bespeaks not only poor grooming, but gives other people the opinion that the ‘fashion victim’ could care less about what others think.

    Why is this considered ‘fashion’?

    My daughter laughs at me, and calls me ‘anal’ when I comment about such audacity, but enough is enough.

    Of course, we all know women who are fanatical about their grooming, but certain things are simply basic common sense.

    If you don’t have time for a full manicure, then take one minutes, remove all your polish, and go bare, until you can do a full mani.

    Show some respect for yourself and your family, friends, and co-workers..

    I love Michelle’s blog, and when she doesn’t post, my day is sad.

    Keep up the good work honey!

  28. karen says:

    HAHAHA, oh man.

    “Honestly, this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Anyone woman with class, would not go a minute [with] a chip.”

    I guess I am just a classless beast, because I love it when I wear a color so long that it chips.

    I think it’s ridiculous that it’s A TREND, but I adore the way polish chips — the first few days are annoying, but after that, when it gets all punk-rock and stuff, the shapes the chips make are so interesting.

    If someone is going to decide I’m a trashy mess because my nail polish is well-worn, more power to them, I guess?

    I can understand 100% the itchiness that it would cause for people who don’t like the rough look to get a chip in their nail, though.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I can think of very few scenarios in which heavily chipped nail polish would look appropriate. Most of them involve a Dumpster and a dark alley.

  30. yummy411 says:

    they are so over the top. why does acceptable have to translate to being ‘in’. i don’t think it’s in, it’s just been a bit more acceptable, which i actually hate. a lot of makeup artists have crappy nail polish. touching my face like that makes me feel like ‘ewww’.

    i can be caught with chipping polish as i don’t maintain my nails or polish myself so.. eh couple that with a kid and job etc… but it’s not intentinal nor do i think it’s cute.

  31. Jessica says:

    “Honestly, this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. [Any] woman with class would not go a minute [with] a chip.”

    (Nice job phrasing that sentence, by the way.)

    “Show some respect for yourself and your family, friends, and co-workers..”

    WOWWW. Since when does nail polish = respect?

    There are some seriously skewed views throughout these comments.

    I have let my polish chip. There is a teeny dot on my right ring finger, and another dot on my left middle finger. That is all that is left. This is no implication of class or care, it is not a statement, it is a simple and pure pleasure to watch nail polish chip over time, and is reminiscent of being that confident little girl you once were with a grin plastered across her face. That’s something we all need to get back to now and then, and we shouldn’t let others get in the way of that.

  32. Emmy says:

    I can’t stand chipped polish. It does look tacky, and your age or income doesn’t change that.

    Everyone gets chips, yes. Everyone also gets the occasional stain or smudge on their clothing, but I wouldn’t expect to see you still wearing that same dirty shirt the following day – you would go home and change it.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Hey, ladies! I am 31 and recently married. In my opinion, chipped polish is ok when nothing important is planned for the day. Maybe it’s ok, to have it relaxed way sometimes.Though, I think only dark polish looks ok when chipped. Lighter tones will look like broken toy. Anyone here agrees with me?

  34. Rozina says:


  35. Mel says:

    HATE this so called “trend”. To me it screams “tacky” and “unkempt”. However, while I don’t find this look attractive on anyone, I find it the worst when the person looks so well groomed and polished (no pun!) in every other way. A few weeks ago I went on a job interview and my interviewer was dressed in a business suit with great hair and makeup…however I couldn’t help but notice her bright red polish had chipped halfway down her nail beds on almost every nail! Very unprofessional!

  36. jolene says:

    I think there’s something blasé and breezily cool about saying that a person isn’t so uptight with their nails because they have other more fabulous things to do in their lives. I also think that the population that reads this blog is of a certain population of people very meticulous about their nails.

    Having said that though, it’s hard for me to go with chipped nails because I tend to pick at my nails if that happens. Maybe it’s also because I’m 28, and not under 25. ;) And I’m a student and thus, not rich.

    Cute article – I don’t think it was meant to be taken SO seriously, and I was amused at how even though their reactions against nails were so lax, their reactions against pedicures were so black and white.

  37. mIZZX says:

    What I HATE is middle-aged or older ladies (well sometimes younger girls too) with a frosty rose coloured polish that has obviously been bought 25 years ago and applied three weeks ago. Hate it. Hate. it.

  38. m says:

    Ugh, hate, hate, hate chips.

    I can handle a tiny chip on the side, two & off it comes. And I work at home so hubby is the only other person to see my nails on a daily basis.

    Chipped nails is so trailer trash.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I think its okay to get a couple chips, because some people just don’t have time to fix their mani every day, but I hate it when people leave it on until there is just little dots left in the center of there fingers. I don’t see how this is a trend, it’s just laziness. It only takes 2 minutes to take off the polish!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Oh i would just DIE!!!
    *sigh* lol.

  41. janice says:

    wow, i can’t believe so many people are against this! i don’t mind chipped nails at all, as long as the rest of the person is not looking all dirty and gross as well. but at the same time, there’s a time and place for it.

  42. janice says:

    oh, and i think your nails also have to be short to do it! chipped nails + long nails = definitely gross.

  43. Ashley says:

    I HATE chipped nail polish!!! I acutally carry those nail polish remover pads in my purse with me so if my nails chip while I’m out I can take off my polish.

  44. Anonymous says:

    When I read that article, I kept having flashbacks to Helena Christensen in Chris Isaak’s
    “Wicked Game” video. I was oddly intrigued with her chipped nail polish. It was so hot on her, but so not for me.

  45. Grace Waste says:

    I’m really not ashamed when I get chips, mostly because I feel like it’s something that wouldn’t surprise people who know me for me to be a little mucked up… but I’m also 21 and kind of a scatterbrain, usually the big problem when I have chips is that I have to chip off as much as I can ASAP.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Is this part two of the messy manicure they did at that Tracy Reese show?
    Both are tacky, tacky, tacky. Don’t know who is coming up with all the trend ideas this year but they are missing the mark.

  47. Anonymous says:

    I probably wouldn’t chip my polish intentionally, but I’m not going to hide my nails like they’re carrying some kind of contagious disease if it gets scruffy.

  48. Katherine says:

    There are a few situations where I can understand chipped nail polish, but none of them is the laughable “only if you’re really rich and fabulous” implication from that article! That more than naything was the most offensive part of the article I think. So silly. But that said, I think it’s okay if you
    A) Have short, nude or sheer nails (not a french mani as the white tip chipping generally looks quite bad on a french) that chip a little, because it doesn’t show very much
    B) Are young (agree with under 25) and go for a rock-n-roll, punk or generally not mainstream or conservative look, hence the polish fits in.
    C) Let it chip a little bit on the edges or one or two nails between manis, but nothing very noticable.

    That’s just my opinion, I haven’t been into nail polish long enough to notice other women’s chipped-or-not manis!

  49. Anonymous says:

    No! I like my nails un chipped, and polished. it looks clean. if my nails chip, I dont freak out, I just go the day with it until I can fix it. I do not belive nails just be perfect all the time, but I would never ever wear chipped polish as a fashion statement! ew!

  50. Kirby says:

    I like a consistent look… so like if all my nails are either perfect or a little chip, that’s ok. I tuck my hands into fists when there’s one giant chip on one nail and the others are ok.

  51. Anonymous says:

    it duzn’t really bother me that much whenever nail polish is chipped but i wudn’t like try to make my nails be chipped to look punk or anything. i personally like it better when they arn’t chipped but when they are chipped it duzn’t really matter to me..

  52. Anonymous says:

    These posts are way over the top about chipped nail polish. Wait until you have a few babies running around and a lot of washing up to do! There are a lot more important things in life and it is selfish to focus so much on yourself. Try to look nice, but get it in perspective. There is a famous poem that goes something like this “Still [always] to be pretty/ still [always] to be neat/dressed as if you’re going to a feast [makes me think] all is not sweet/all is not sound.” In other words, if you always look absolutely perfectly groomed, you come across as mentally unstable.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I HATE CHIPPED NAIL POLISH! I have a friend who doesn’t paint her nails even if there is just a little nail polish in the center and it drives me insane.
    If one little bit on my nail polish chips on one finger i chip the rest of it off so i have bare nails .I believe that it shows laziness.

  54. Mc Huggs :) says:

    Hi Michelle:

    I once heard fashion stylist Rachel Zoe in an interview say,"the first thing people notice when they see you is your hands, so if you have chipped nail polish it's a no-no…" She says to either fix up the nail polish or wipe it off completely and start over. Never wear chipped polish, it's just tacky says Zoe. That's why she carries those small packets of nail polish remover pads in her handbag…

    With painted toes It's less noticeable so I don't worry about the chipping, if they do I just remove the old polish and let my toes breathe a while before applying a new coat.

    ((((((Love Michelle)))))

    Mc Huggs :)

  55. Ollie says:

    Although on that rockstar type look, it can be cool, I can’t deal with chipping.

    When I see the first chip, if I’m out I always carry the colour I’m wearing (so paranoid, I know!) so I can paint over the chip and then when I get home I take it off completely, because I know if I get one, there’ll be more soon after…

  56. vik says:

    oh, god! Chipped polishes is the worse! I’m a student and see a lot of people sporting this look. It’s just horrendous, especially when the polish is dark or very bright.