Unsung Makeup Heroes: Essie Clothing Optional

essie clothing optional swatch

I may or may not be wearing pants.

What’s an unsung hero in beauty-speak? For me, it’s an oftentimes underrated makeup (or polish!) morsel, a permanent collection product that scoots under the radar of many makeup lovers but regularly rocks my world. My long-running Unsung Heroes series features some of my favorites.

It’s that time of year again! (At least here in the Bay Area.). Around the end of August and into early September, the weather here is cray. One day it’ll be 95 degrees, and you’re barely clothed on the way to the pool, and the next day you’re wearing long pants and a sweater to meet a friend for coffee.

It’s that weird weather transitional phase between summer and fall. I feel like that’s a space in the land of nail polish, too, and this color by Essie called Clothing Optional is the perfect color for that in-between phase when you may or may not want to wear super bright summery corals and neons, and you’re also still not ready to dive into Bordeaux, navy and oxblood.

Essie describes it as a sienna brown, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a rad, rich, almost rosy taupe, and from some angles it looks like brick.

And I think it’s a completely different beast in full sunlight, when I’d swear it’s a pinkish peachy brown with microshimmer (but the light has to hit it just right for that to come through).

It’s quite the 🦎 chameleon; I love it.

I also love that even though it’s capable of functioning as a nude nail, especially if you have a tan like I do, it contrasts enough with the skin to be eye-catching and noticeable. It’s not like when I’m wearing a nail polish that just blends into my skin tone.

Sometimes I like being able to see my nails when they’re painted, but I also don’t want to be distracted by them, if that makes sense…especially when I have something like a meeting to go to.

essie clothing optional swatch

Two coats o’ Clothing Optional

Clothing Optional is perfect for showing that you pay attention to small details, like getting your nails done, but your fingers won’t be distracting to the people you’re chatting with, especially if you talk with your hands a lot like I do.

I also like that this particular color wears pretty well. I can do a base coat and a top coat with two layers sandwiched in between, and that will last four days minimum without a chip. Maybe by the fifth day I’ll see a tiny chip at the tip of one nail.

It also doesn’t streak or bubble, so I never feel like I have to keep piling it on for it to look good. A bottle of Essie Clothing Optional is $9, and it’s part of the permanent line.

Get it, get it, get it! — because it also looks pretty on lighter lasses and darker divas as well.

One of my faves!

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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