Is Red Nail Polish Trashy?

Red nail polish has always been considered a bold choice for several reasons, some of which skew toward the negative. With the fiery color often being a controversial pick for nails, it begs the question: is red nail polish trashy? 

This notion comes from many outdated beliefs, and while we have progressed past many of these, some remain in society.

There are many shades of red that you can choose from, each with its own look and personality. We explore whether red nail polish is trashy, what each shade can say about you, and how best to wear red nail polish. 

What This Article Covers:

Is Red Nail Polish a Trashy Color?

Is red nail polish classy or trashy? It is not trashy at all. 

The opinion that nail polish is trashy often stems from the tendency to read too much into the meaning of colors, and why we choose them. 

Sometimes you might gravitate towards certain colors for specific factors linking to your tastes and personality, and perhaps what you want to project to the world around you, but ultimately, it is just a color painted on your nails. 

Many people also wonder whether guys like red nail polish, and the answer is yes. It is commonly considered to be an attractive nail color. 

The notion that red nail polish is trashy links back to early views on women and how they dressed, with red being a color that was synonymous with being ‘provocative’. Thankfully, we have come a long way since then. 

Some question whether red nail polish is out of style, but it is an ever-trendy color in the fashion and beauty world. 

How Best to Style Red Nail Polish

why is red nail polish trashy

Red nail polish can be worn in many shades, but how should you wear it? That all depends on what you prefer, and what suits you best. 

Most importantly, wear your red nail polish with confidence. No matter the shade, never fret about what others might think of your nails. It is your choice, and you should rock it unapologetically.

We look at some of the best ways to style red nail polish, looking at the classiest shades, what outfits and makeup pair well with red, and how to keep your nail polish tidy. 

What Shade is the Most Classy?

What Makeup Goes Well With Red Nail Polish

You can never go wrong with a swipe of classic red on your nails. Nothing screams old Hollywood glamor like this popular shade - it oozes class, confidence, and boldness. 

There is something about a classic shade that allows it to fit in seamlessly with just about any sense of style, color palette, or occasion. It is also suitable for both cold and warmer months, making it an ideal shade all year round.

Red Nail Polish is Trashy

Darker red nail polish, like maroon or mauve, is also a subtle yet elegant choice for your nails. 

This shade is so unlike the bright or classic shades of red, that it might as well be an entirely different color. It is a fantastic winter shade, and it blends well with darker or monotone outfits. You can wear it well with your daytime outfits, but it also fits in with a more dressy nighttime look - it is incredibly versatile. 

For those who question whether red nail polish is professional, this is certainly a professional shade for the workplace. 

What Outfits Pair Best With Red Nail Polish?

Despite red being a bold color, in the fashion world, red nail polish is seen more as a neutral shade due to its classic reputation. 

It can be paired with a red outfit for a trendy monotone look, or with two or three other bright colors for a color-blocking effect. It can also add a pop of color to a traditionally neutral-colored outfit, such as all white, all black, or all nude. 

A classic or bright red pairs best with more formal nighttime outfits, especially those that feature any form of sparkle or glitter. The combination is glitzy, channeling an old Hollywood glamor, Marilyn Monroe style that continues to thrive. 

The darker shades work well with winter looks and pair nicely with a more subtle, minimalistic style. If you pair this shade with a nude or white coat, it really pops against the outfit. 

If you opt for a glittery or shimmery red, you might want to avoid sparkles or sequins on your actual clothes. This can be overkill and detracts from your actual nails, which should stand out. Try to pair it with more neutral colors instead, so that it can be the focus of your outfit. 

What Makeup Goes Well With Red Nail Polish?

Is red nail polish classy or trashy

Red nail polish goes well with most makeup. How you decide to pair it depends on the look that you’re going for. 

If you pair a classic red with brighter shades of makeup, be sure to tone down the colors of your outfit to balance it out. A classic red goes well with more neutral makeup, and you can then add a bold color or two to your clothing. For a truly glamorous night look, pair red nails with a bold red lip and smokey eyes, but opt for an all-white, nude, or black outfit. 

If you have darker red nails, you can either pair it with bold makeup, or a neutral look - both look good. Try to keep your outfits to one or two colors at most if you are opting for dark red on the nails and bold makeup, but you can incorporate more color if you stick to a neutral face. 

For a really daring look, find a lip shade that matches the dark red on your nails. Pair this with a neutral monotone outfit for the full effect, and you have a really chic outfit. 

If you want to go full sparkle, you can be so bold as to pair glittery red nails with sparkly makeup. Put on some lip gloss, brush on a glitter eyeshadow, and you’re good to go. Just be sure to tone down your outfit a bit, and keep clothing sparkle-free. 

How to Keep Red Nail Polish Tidy

do you think red nail polish is trashy

Keep in mind that because red is a bolder color, it can be very visible if you have a chip, scratch, or smudge on your nail polish. Adding a clear coat of protective polish on top can prevent this from happening, and keeps your red polish looking flawless and fresh. 

do you think red nail polish is classy or trashy

When removing red nail polish, it can leave a red stain on your nails that takes a while to fade off. It is important to paint a clear base coat on your nails before applying the red polish, as this protects your nails from the staining and allows you to clean off the color with no residue. 

If you wear red nail polish in the workplace, you will want to be sure to take all steps to avoid messy-looking nails. This can be unprofessional and might leave a bad impression on colleagues or seniors. Pop a bottle of whatever shade you have on into your bag or in your office desk to have on hand for quick fixes. 


Red nail polish is versatile, and the shade you choose can suit your personality, lifestyle, taste, and sense of style.

While some may be under the impression that red nail polish is trashy, this is simply not true. It exudes confidence, boldness, and fun, and adds a perfect pop of color to any look. 

Be aware when choosing outfits and makeup when you have red nails, as certain shades may clash with some color palettes. This will usually differ between day and night outfits, but generally, you should avoid too many colors that might clash. 

Red nail polish is a classy color that can be styled in a number of ways, but regardless of the shade, it always adds a bold twist to any outfit.

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