As the lockdown persists, we see more and more men emerging with painted nails, either through choice or the reluctant endurance of their creative offspring.
When Jaden Smith posed for Vogue Korea, the internet went berserk. According to Entertainment Tonight, he looked “stunning shirtless in a skirt with a flower in his hair.”
What made headlines was the skirt — not the blue nail polish on his fingers.
Smith is hardly alone. Plenty of other men have been seen wearing nail polish, including Johnny Depp, Seal, Brad Pitt, Zac Efron, Harry Styles and more.
But History is actually repeating itself. Men have been wearing nail polish since 3,200 B.C. After an excavation of royal tombs at Ur of the Chaldees in southern Babylonia, it was discovered that most men during that time wore nail polish, with different colours signifying different classes. Made primarily with kohl, the darker the colour, the higher the class of the man, from warriors to leaders. Lighter colours were reserved for the lower class men. Prior to battle, the warriors would take hours to paint their nails,so really, it’s not a new thing at all. In fact, nail polish for guys used to be the norm.
Come forward to artists such as Iggy Pop, Kurt Cobain, Lou Reed and David Bowie, all of whom painted their nails.
All the men above were rock stars, rebelling against the gender norms their elders obeyed. In Bowie’s case, critics just didn’t know what to do with his androgynous look, since rockers of the past had been forced into being extremely hyper-masculine figures.
But something has shifted in the past few years, not only by stars like Jaden Smith, but also the emergence of nail polish brands catering toward men.
There are several companies specifically producing these nail polishes just for men, an internet search will bring up a few makes, in reality they are no different to normal nail polish, they just stick to earthy and darker shades.
Though there is no reason not to go for a more bolder shade like Harry Styles of One Direction seen here with red polish on some nails.
Our very own resident chef Adam put it to the test for us, His daughters painted his nails, in black, and they went to town shopping. “At first I was very apprehensive” said Adam, “but after being in a few shops and paying for goods, knowing full well that my painted nails were in full view I suddenly became more and more confident, no one batted an eye lid, it certainly seems it is now acceptable for guys to wear nail polish”
Creator of Thunderbirds, Sylvia Anderson was always pushing the boundaries on fashion in all the shows she created & produced, even some of male characters on Thunderbirds wore eye shadow.
But that was Sylvia, given her fashion background, always trying to push just a little bit more and it certainly contributed to what made all the shows a success.
We will leave the last words to Adam. “I may try this again, and will report back. However I will stick to darker colours as don’t think a bright pink will go down well at the pub on a Friday night with the lads, but if pink is good enough for Prince Harry then you never know!”