The first time As a male, is it acceptable to wear black nail polish at work? made it into the reopen queue, it was unilaterally kept closed by a moderator. It now has 3 more reopen votes.

It was closed as opinion based, but it is no more opinion based than the well-received question Male wearing earrings in workplace (South Asia) If that question is on-topic, I think the nail polish question can be salvaged. Men wearing nail polish is very trendy right now, (and it's not a brand new trend) and I think having answers to the question "Is it acceptable at work?" would benefit men working in areas where the workplace norms are more fashion-forward.

This is Dave Navarro wearing black nail polish in 2014. If the author had suggested he wanted to wear hot pink, I would be more likely to have thought they were trolling, but black is the most conventional color for a man wearing nail polish.

masculine looking man in a black hoodie with tattoos wearing black nail polish

I know most people think of "the workplace" as a building full of cubicles and computers and people dressed in "business casual". I don't think questions about other types of workplaces should be off-topic just because those sorts aren't the most common.

  • I had no idea it was trendy, but I know little about Brazil
    – Kilisi Mod
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 13:05
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    I was a laborer, a sign maker, retail worker, and deliveryman before becoming an IT worker. Kilisi has a similar background. Goth is long dead, replaced by Emo, and then God knows what. Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 16:23
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    You don't think "fashion" is opinion-based? Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 17:06
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    "I'm a senior manager at a small-ish IT company." - that means the OP isn't a member of an alternative rock band at work, right? Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 17:09
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    If the question is edited to clarify location in the body as well (tags are usually missed), I guess it's on-topic. Though I'm not sure there's much that can really be said in such a specific question. The answer is always going to be "it depends" and that goes for pretty much any place or industry in the world. OP basically answered their own question by describing how there's essentially no dress code to speak of so all that remains is how it's viewed culturally which might be outside of our scope.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 18:49
  • @Lilienthal I added the location to the body of the question.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 13:23
  • @T.Sar Thanks! I've made some small further edits to the question and after agreement from another mod that it's on-topic I've cast a third and binding reopen vote.
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 16:00
  • @T.Sar Personally, I think it's a bad idea, but I gave my best answer, according to the culture of your country Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 16:16
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    @Revenant_Evil "Goth is long dead" - I believe you mean it's not trendy any more? My wife happens to be goth and many of her friends are too. But they tend to stick to lifetsyles that make them feel themselves rather than following a trend.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 16:54
  • @Clockwork Correct. It's a dead fad. There are still people who enjoy the lifestyle, hell, there are still Punk Rockers out there. It's just not mainstream any longer. I think younger generation is dressing up in Anime style. Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 18:19
  • @JoeStrazzere Music related businesses need IT services too. IT doesn't necessarily mean that their clients are more comfortable with people who dress like corporate drones than people who dress like counterculture creatives.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 14:24
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    @Revenant_Evil There is a difference between a subculture and a fad. Sometimes aesthetics from this or that subculture gets borrowed into mainstream for a bit and then gets out of fashion after a while, but that doesn't mean the subculture is dead. That said, even as a fad goth is nowhere near dead - It is just not the weirdest thing on the streets anymore.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 16:50
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    @ColleenV Nobody I know in IT dresses like corporate drones. Hell, we're responsible for Business Casual because we refused to wear suits and ties, and we did it en masse. Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 18:21
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    @Revenant_Evil It's always a judgment call where, when, and whether to express your personal identity at work. I was a punk rock girl back in the day, but I'd feel pretty dumb expressing that as an old upper middle class engineer, even though I still like the music. It's just not the most relevant part of me these days.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 18:57
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    @JulianaKarasawaSouza you should build an answer around that idea. To me it's easier just to do it and deal with any complaints if they arise rather than invent problems that need solving
    – Kilisi Mod
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 10:07

3 Answers 3


I'd wish we'd be much more harsh on people posting overly broad, quora-like questions, hoping to receive hundred contradicting questions, and pick up one that amuses them at most as accepted. Stack exchange sites won't profit from such kind of questions.

And it's really a boommer, that in the first version even country tag was missing. Please never make me a moderator (in case there's more than 0.000% probability of that event) because I'd close such questions after 10 seconds reading.

The minimum that should be expected in the dress code questions, should be a region, industry, type of company, the role of the OP, and the company dress code (or lack thereof)

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    " region, industry, type of company, the role of the OP, and the company dress code" - All of those are now on the question.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 13:47
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    ... and I wish we'd be much more harsh on people posting overly specific, Reddit-like questions, hoping to receive a dozen answers that won't help anyone else, and pick one that most tells them what they want to hear as accepted. Stack Exchange sites won't profit from those kinds of questions. ... Have you actually ever bothered to read through the Help Center and Tour on this site? You may be surprised to find that posting questions that help others is actually pretty high on the list of priorities, which suggests that you're simply trying to enforce your own preferences here.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 1:45
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    @NotThatGuy "you have it backwards, I think..."
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 7:44
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    @gnat The text of your comment suggests that you disagree with me, but the link you provided expresses the same sentiment that I tried to express, so I'll assume that either you're expressing the same sentiment as I am or you simply misunderstood. By "help others" I mean help people other than OP.
    – NotThatGuy
    Commented Oct 5, 2021 at 8:36

Okay, Yes, because it is answerable

I've worked every kind of job from the mop to the top, and other than certain industries that chase trends, it's a no go.

The workplace is not fashion-forward. There are a few industries where pretty much anything goes, but those are outliers.

More to the point, Most blue collar jobs, if someone showed up wearing nail polish..... Well, things would not go well for them.

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    Should have a reason for wearing the polish and why it has to be black.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 13:12
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    @Kilisi Men wearing black nail polish has been popular in the Goth subculture for at least a decade. It's becoming more mainstream, especially as people are feeling more comfortable crossing traditional gender boundaries with their clothing. The reason the woman who asked Can I wear a tank top to work? had for wearing a tank top was "because I want to". I think you're wrong about this being a troll, but even if you aren't, the answers would be of value.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 13:45
  • @ColleenV ok, not something I'm familiar with.
    – Kilisi Mod
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 13:52
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    Isn't this an answer to the question linked rather than any comment on the merits or otherwise of reopening it?
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 18:46
  • @Lilienthal Dammit, I'm too clever by half Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 19:15
  • @Kilisi I'm looking to wear black nail polish because I like the look of it and it is part of the subculture I frequent outside work hours. Additionaly, it helps me to avoid biting my nails, which is a huge plus.
    – T. Sar
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 12:13
  • @T.Sar What does that have to do with WORK???\ Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 15:57
  • @T.Sar seems reasonable to me. I used clear polish on my long thumbnail for a while to protect the nail for guitar. Removing it for work every day would have been a big hassle. I edited the reasons into the original question (which has already been reopened).
    – Kilisi Mod
    Commented Oct 1, 2021 at 23:19

This question should remain/be closed.

Almost all dress-code questions are going to be very specific to:

  • the country they work in,
  • more specifically, the city or town they work in (if not also the part of the town they work in),
  • the industry the work in,
  • their role in the company (which takes into account which responsibilities that role has, the general management and seniority structure of the company and how the company views people in different roles),
  • the dress-code policies of their workplace (formal and informal, even if this specific one isn't included there),
  • what their coworkers think of the specific dress code in question (which includes how progressive their coworkers are, but also what they think of other dress codes, what they wear themselves inside and outside of work, etc.),
  • what image they wish to portray to their coworkers,
  • how big of a risk they're willing to take with regard to potentially running into some problems about dress code,
  • general fashion trends in society (which can change practically overnight),
  • etc.

Some of these factors we may be able to take into account to a certain degree, but it should be obvious that it would be highly impractical/impossible, and completely useless to anyone else, to take a substantial number of them into account.

We can potentially give some generic dress-code advice in a generic Q&A.

But attempting to give a specific answer about a specific dress code, which they can't figure out by just looking around, would basically just be stumbling around in the dark.

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