At this very moment, I'm typing this post with blue leopard-print nails, but when I'm feeling slightly less adventurous (which is most of the time), I tend to go straight for taupe nail polish. It's more exciting than nude but more conservative than black, gray, or any crazy color for that matter. I find taupe also works year-round: It looks equally great with a tan and with pale winter skin, and since it's a neutral, it doesn't clash with what you're wearing. Here are some old standbys and new favorites.
1. Whenever Chanel anoints a new It Color, we all follow like lemmings. Particulere is from a few seasons ago, but its chicness persists. Just say it: Particulere. Don't you immediately feel more stylish? $26
2. Illamasqua draws you in with its particular (but not Particulere!) brand of color names, then delivers with really intense pigments and beautiful finishes. Bacterium thankfully transcends its less-than-savory name. $14
3. Who doesn't love Essie? I've pictured Don't Sweater It from the new fall collection here, but Miss Fancy Pants, also in that collection, is a similarly delicious taupey-gray. $8
4. I'll admit, Tom Ford's Bitter Bitch initially drew me to it because of its fairly hilarious name (does anyone give nail polishes mundane names anymore?), but its purple-taupe color made me stick around for more. $30
5. You Don't Know Jacques by O.P.I. is my all-time favorite color, so much so that I've gone through several bottles of it in my lifetime. It's, in my mind, the perfect textbook taupe. It's also available at nearly every nail salon in the city, making it my go-to shade. $8
6. Butter London also makes great colors with fun names, but they get bonus points for being formaldehyde-, toulene-, and DBP-free. All Hail the Queen is a fun, glittery taupe. $14