Teal, the nightmare shade of a million taffeta prom dresses, is day one’s theme colour in this year’s Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge. Teal’s an ugly sort of descriptor for a really rather lovely colour; I think it gets a bad rap from its associations with unflattering bridesmaid gowns and the carpet in South Beach retirement homes. Faulty nomenclature aside, I quite like teal – the painted lower cabinets in my kitchen are a testament to that.
But the thing that invariably comes to mind when I think of the colour teal is the aforementioned tafetta prom/bridesmaid dress, a staple of any formal event in the ’80s (and well into the ’90s) that was seemingly designed to engender animosity between otherwise caring friends. Because there’s just no way you’d let your friend go to prom in a teal tafetta monstrosity OR ask her to wear one on your behalf as a bridesmaid if you didn’t actually hate them, right?
For these nails, I drew inspiration from that love-hate relationship with a manicure dipping into all the best parts of those ’80s mall dresses, from sweetheart necklines and puffy sleeves to non-functioning corseting details and ruffles aplenty. And all of it in shades of glorious, luminous teal!
I know 1980s-influenced fashion is having a real moment (leggings, how you are the bane of my existence) but speaking as yet another weary OLD who lived through that particular decade’s unflattering sartorial excesses, it is a flirtation that ought to be cut off before it can turn into something more. Seriously, guys, Spandex bike shorts that made the slim look gangly and knock-kneed and anyone carrying even an extra pound like the Michelin Man. These weird plastic combs we called banana clips that gave you a lopsided, limp kind of mohawk and would invariably yank out chunks of your hair. Stirrup pants. Oh, it was an unkind time. Then again, I was a totally fashion-challenged kid in the ’80s; nothing like the mini fashionistas who strut around now, intimidating me with their bitchin’ style at three and a half years old.
I don’t do a whole lot of modern, geographic, ’80s-inspired nail art, so what better way to fill that small blank spot in my portfolio than by tackling week one’s theme of the 1980s in May’s N.A.I.L. Challenge? For this manicure, I went with an every-nail-for-itself approach, highlighting five iconic looks of the not-so-fashionable ’80s, from acid wash jeans and the rainbow heart print sweater every girl wanted, to the aforementioned striped bike shorts and Ralph Lauren men’s button-downs.
Oh, and those things on my index finger? Safety pins. For a blessedly short amount of time in junior high, it was all the rage to squeeze into your already breath-inhibiting jeans and then, cranking whatever inseam actually existed together, pin your pants, one atop another, until you reached your knees or higher, if you dared sacrifice the tender flesh to multiple puncture wounds. In hindsight, with the safety pins and the inherent risk of injury and all, it was actually a pretty punk rock look, but hella impractical!
So with week one over and done, let’s take a look at what else the fine ladies of N.A.I.L. have in store for us this May.