Over the past few years, nail polish trends have reminded us a bit of our adolescence: dramatic and insistent on making a statement. There was the dark and moody moment back in 2006 (when OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark appeared on everyone's fingers), the hyper faze of mid-2008 (with neon nails galore, thanks to Essie's fluorescent collection), and, most recently, the non-conformist moment of this past fall, when an ultra unorthodox hue (jade green) was all the rage. But after this wild and turbulent ride, it seems that things are slowly starting to calm down. That's right, the color that's taking manicures by storm right now is subtler and more sophisticated that past polishes and is definitely one to start wearing now: taupe!
While it's not as immediately eye-catching as some of the aforementioned shades, this mushroom-esque hue is instantly intriguing. The reason is simple: this unique and earthy tone is the perfect complement to spring's biggest trends. After all, a neutral nail is the perfect partner to the season's soft clothing colors¬--mid-blue hues, khaki galore, and even pretty pastels¬--all of which point to fashion's warm-weather shift to a more grounded and unfussy direction. Plus, as restless lovers of statement beauty, we can't help but delight in the trend's slightly subversive shade, which is far more intriguing than a basic baby pink.
Unsurprisingly, this trend started where most must-buy polishes are conceived¬--on Chanel's runway. It debuted at the fashion house's S/S 10 show, where models strutted in a beige-meets-classic palette of cr√®me, tan, black, and red, set against a rustic backdrop. Their edgy-bucolic ensembles were enhanced by Global Creative Director for Chanel Makeup Peter Philips' discerning use of temporary tattoos and, of course, this newfound burnt-toast inspired polish. Taupe-topped talons served as a seamless extension of the farmhouse themes encompassing this collection, and¬--as a testament to Philips' genius¬--caught our eye without catching it, blindsiding us with our sudden need for this Particuliere nail.
If you're still unsure about whether you should leave the Vamp behind and give this magnificently murky tone a whirl, take a top coat-note from some of our favorite stylesetters and their must-have fingertips. Kate Beckinsale and Gwenyth Paltrow each proved that this lacquer does indeed add a luxe finish to red-carpet style when they accented their fancy frocks with toasty nails for a sophisticated evening look. Additionally, Dree Hemingway attested to the go-anywhere-ness of this shroomy shade when she took her nails straight off the runway (she walked at Chanel) and paired them with her glamorous Fendi leather-and-cropped-fur ensemble. Finally, songstress Lily Allen not only rocked the stage as performer at Chanel's spring show, but also ushered in this brand new hue with a white shirt and nubby knits, affirming this beloved polish is equally as elegant with daytime wear.
While we're clearly over the moon for the manicure du jour, we've also scoured the beauty aisles to find a few alternatives. While all these chosen shades are in the correct color family, they each vary slightly in their brown-silver-purple ratio and some even provide a little shimmer!
Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour ($23) in 505 Particuliere
Ripped off the runway, this putty-ish shade is clearly setting the stylish tone for spring fingers. It is a perfect counterpart to their entire new makeup collection that highlights a neutral, bronzed face with delicate brown shadows and a pinky-gold lip. The overall look is equally posh for day or night, while the smoky, earthy effect is incredibly current and chic.
OPI Brights ($5.25) in Over-the-Taupe
One of the new colors from OPI's Brights line, a collaborative branch between OPI and Paige Denim, Over-The-Taupe is a bit more purple than its Chanel counterpart. Yet, for those OPI enthusiasts familiar with signature shades, it is a mistier, less gray variation of last year's matte-nail, You Don't Know Jacques! ($8). Falling somewhere in between each aforementioned polish on the color wheel, this is an ideal talon-topper for one who is not quite ready to say sayonara to gothic shades, but is still fearless enough to try cutting-edge color.
RGB Nail Polish ($14) in Toast
As one of our favorite purveyors of posh, chemical-free polish, RGB has impressed us again with their spring spectacular, Toast. This brown polish with its subtle silver-streak is touted as a current taupe which is very much in line with the company's signature quality: iconic colors with a modern edge. We highly recommend this glossy polish for a whole season of must-have nails!
Nubar Nail Lacquers ($7.50) in Sandstone
Nubar's Nature's Touch Collection may have been a jewel derived from fall, but the inclusion of Sandstone with their richer reds meant they were truly ahead of the curve. Like all of Nubar's polishes, is it formaldehyde and carcinogen-free, and it offers the perfect true taupe tone to accessorize your spring essentials. As if this isn't enough, the polish also has a hint of subtle shimmer to add a touch of glamour to the hands of any pretty young thing.¬--Liza Kaplan