Looking for nail polish colors that will go with anything and everything in your closet?
We’ve got you covered.
In this post, we’re going to introduce you to 14 of the most versatile polish shades available in 2021.
So, whether you’re wearing a bold outfit and you want your nails to take a backseat, or you’re just fed up with changing your nail color as often as you change your outfits, this article is for you.
Let’s jump straight in.
What is a neutral color?
Neutral colors are “natural” colors that 9.5 times out of 10, will go with everything.
The technical definition of a neutral is a “color with little to no color”.
What this means is that neutrals don’t fit specifically into strongly defined color categories like red, blue, yellow and purple for example.
Because neutrals are lacking in a strong color base, they can easily blend and mix with lots of, if not all other colors.
Not only that, but you can also mix and match neutrals with other neutrals.
Now, there is some argument amongst color theorists about what colors can and can’t be considered neutral.
For this article, I’m working under the assumption that neutrals are natural colors, the kind that can often be found in nature.
So, I’m including not only the standard neutrals like black, white and gray, but also navy, silver, beige, brown, cream, ivory, olive green, sage green, nude, and blush.
I’m also including one color (red) that isn’t neutral, but that has become such a classic in the nail polish world that an article about nail polish that goes with everything wouldn’t be complete without it.
Ok, so what’s so great about neutrals and why should everyone embrace them?
Why should you have neutrals in your polish collection?
Personally, I love neutral colors.
Whenever I paint my nails with neutral colors, I find that I can go way longer before I feel I need to change them.
It also saves me a lot of the time and stress involved in trying to figure out what to wear as I don’t need to worry if my outfit is going to clash with my talons!
Neutral nails work hard. They go with any outfit, regardless of the occasion. They can take you effortlessly from casual to formal and back again.
Another benefit to having neutrals for me is that it gives me the confidence to know that I’m always going to look put together, whatever I decide to wear.
If you’re not the best at picking out matching colors to go with your outfits, you can’t go wrong with a simple neutral mani or neutral nail design.
Neutral colors are also great as a basis for doing all kinds of beautiful nail art.
All of the colors mentioned in this post make great backdrops for bold patterns or pops of color.
Now that I’ve sung the praises of neutrals, let’s take a look at some polish colors you might wanna add to your collection.
Personally, I don’t like to wear an all-black mani, it just doesn’t look right with my pale skin and something about it screams gothic to me.
But I do use black a lot in my nail art designs.
I love pairing black with beige, silver or white to create simple, minimalist looks that are chic and super stylish.
Black and pink always look really cute together, too.
If you wear a lot of strong or bright colors, black nails can help to anchor your outfits, and if you wear a lot of neutrals, you can always count on black to add a touch of sophistication to your ensemble.
My favorite non-gel black (click to check the price on amazon)
For some people (fairer-skinned beauties I’m looking at you), a true black can be a little bit harsh against the skin tone.
A good tip I’ve learned is that if you’re super pale like me, then instead of a true black, go for a polish that’s so dark that it looks black, like Lincoln Park After Dark from OPI.
OPI’s LPAD looks just like black but it’s actually an incredibly dark shade of purple.
Just be aware that when it comes to matching outfits, it may not be quite as versatile as a true black polish, but since it looks so much like black, it’s never been an issue for me.
I love wearing white nail polish! It’s so versatile!
In summer I pair it with pastels and/or brights and in winter I pair it with blacks, greys and tons of winter sparkle!
I often also paint my nails white as a base if I’m doing a colorful nail art design because a white base really makes any color you put over it pop!
Some of my best and most favorite nail designs have featured white quite heavily.
White nails go with everything from jeans and a t-shirt, to workwear, to formal dresses, as well as transitioning the seasons with ease.
I really can’t imagine an outfit that white nails wouldn’t compliment!
The best white non-gel polish I’ve found is this one from OPI.
A word of caution, white nails can be difficult to keep clean.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve stained my white nails.
Stay away from tumeric or anything else you think might stain your white polish, and if you do stain them, maybe try one of those magic sponges – they are amazing – not just for nails but for any stubborn marks or stains in the home!
Ok, here’s where things start to get a teensy bit more complicated.
Welcome to shade territory!
While black is black and white is… well, white, gray can be literally anything in between.
You’ll probably find that when you are matching your nails to your outfits, most shades of gray will work, however, some shades of grey will complement slightly better than others.
That’s because gray nail polishes often have a color base, like blue or green for example.
There are so many types of grey to choose from, slate gray, ash grey, dove gray, the list goes on… and each type of gray is available in a myriad of different shades ranging from light to dark.
So how do you choose the right gray?
Well, don’t worry too much about it as you’ll get away with pretty much any shade of gray for most outfits.
But if you want that perfect color match, then my advice is to buy more than one shade.
I actually bought 3 different grays. A dark, a medium and light.
For the dark gray, I went for OPI’s Steel Waters run Deep. I just love this shade, it’s so moody and sophisticated.
For a medium gray I recommend this one (click to check price on amazon)
I like to pair this shade with any and all pinks in both outfits and nail designs!
And for the light gray I adore this one called Made Your Look from OPI .
Navy nails are so classy and elegant, I absolutely lurve a navy mani.
Navy is my go-to color when I’m feeling a bit posh, or when I know that I have a few nights out coming up.
If like me, you find black a little bit too harsh against your skin, then a navy nail can often be the next best thing.
Navy nails scream elegance and sophistication. They are also a unique choice to elevate pretty much any outfit.
Navy and white is a match made in heaven. I find that a navy mani not only goes with going out outfits but that it can also easily elevate a simple pair of blue jeans and a white tee.
Navy and silver also go together like peanut butter and jelly, so get those silver hoop earrings out or a silver bangle to show off your navy nails!
And if you like your OPI, take a look at this one (click to check price on amazon)
Nude nails are perfect for exuding understated chic.
If you want to look polished and put together, but not like you tried too hard, go with a nude.
To me, a nude mani says “I’m practical and I look after myself, but I don’t get too caught up in how I look”.
Nude is also by far the best color for not showing up chips!
Buying the perfect nude polish can be a little tricky.
You must be careful to match the nude you buy to your skin tone, if not, you’ll end up looking like you’ve got poorly made doll hands, and no-one wants to rock that creepy doll hand look.
Get it right though, and your nude nail polish will become your new best friend.
You’ll go everywhere together, shopping, the beach, casual lunch dates, hot dinner dates, nude works for any season and for every occasion.
How do you find the right nude for you?
Ok, here are my recommendations for Nude polishes based on skin tone:
If you’re fair-skinned, you’re best bet is to opt for a pinky nude like this adore a ball from Essie.
If your skin is medium to lightly tanned, then you’ll want to go for a light beige type nude like Essie’s – buttoned & buffed
For those with olive-skin or skin that’s fairly well-tanned – you’ll need a peachy or creamy nude like OPI’s Half Past Nude
And for my dark-skinned beauties, you can wear any type of nude you like and it will look great!
However, you might want to try a warm neutral brown like Zoya’s Chanelle for a flawless match.
Ah, creamy beige. Soft and seductive in its simplicity.
I like to wear beige polish in the summer for a natural look.
A lot of people think beige is boring, but to me, beige is beautiful, classy and timeless.
In the winter months, I like to jazz up my beige nails with a gem or 2, or a hint of gold glitter.
I love the luxurious combination of beige and gold; it makes me feel like a million dollars every time.
No matter what you choose to wear, your beige mani will never clash, and you’ll always look super chic and (pardon the pun) polished.
In the battle of the beiges, this one came out on top for me from OPI’s Infinite shine range, (click here to check the price on amazon)
I’m super fussy when it comes to brown.
I don’t tend to wear brown polish very often, (I feel that it suits darker skin tones much better than my ghost-like fingers) and I’ve had a few shades in the past that looked a little bit too much like poo for my liking.
However, like a good pair of tan boots that you can wear all through fall and winter, the right shade of brown nail polish can go with everything.
Brown nails can give off earthy laid-back vibes or super elegant ones depending on what you wear.
Brown can be a great color for fall.
Brown nails look great when paired with outfits that include creams, oranges, and golds.
Personally, I like to wear a green sweater or cardigan to compliment a mid-to light-brown manicure.
I also love to pair brown nails with muted shades of pink or even yellow.
Brown also works well as a background color if you’re doing floral or leaf related nail art.
Try it with gold, pink, mint green or pale blue to put together a stunning look that will have the compliments rolling in.
My favourite shade of brown is by CND vinylux and is called Fedora.
Cream is another great neutral color choice for your mani that’s so easy to match outfits to.
I wear quite a lot of blue, and I adore the way that cream nails compliment my blue tops, sweaters and jeans.
Cream and mint green or cream and brown are also among my favorite color combos.
Like the rest of the polish colors on this list, cream goes with most other colors, but I really love it as part of a purple, pink, green, or blue color scheme.
If you want to discover how easy cream nails are to match, try painting your nails in this gorgeous creamy coffee colour called Tiramasu for two by OPI.
Creamy, dreamy goodness.
Ivory is a great option if you want the versatility of a white nail polish but not the starkness.
Ivory is soft, subtle, elegant, classy and beautiful.
For me, ivory conjures up images of summer, weddings and romance.
In technical terms, ivory is an off-white with a very slight hint of yellow.
Ivory is a neutral color and goes with everything from creams and browns to grays, navy and hunter green, but it looks particularly amazing with deep plums and burgundies.
If you like to wear lots of neutrals, navy or wine colored clothes, or you love your gold jewellery, then you might wanna try out an ivory polish like this one from Essie.
10. Sage green.
Did you know that sage green is classed as a neutral color?
Well, it is. Which is great news for those of us looking for nail polish options that go with everything!
Sage green is a calming and tranquil grayish-green color that will gel nicely with all your outfits.
Sage green works equally well with bolds and with neutrals.
Depending on the shade, sage green can be either earthy and warm, or cool and almost silvery, so feel free to play around and see what shade best suits your vibe and your skin tone.
When it comes to putting together outfits, sage green goes particularly well with muted reds (think terracotta) and with purples, oranges and blues for a complimentary scheme.
Personally, I like to pair a light, cool sage green mani with a dusty pink t shirt and gray jeans.
I really love this Sage You Love Me green from Essie’s Bridal Collection.
11. Dark Olive.
If sage green isn’t really your thing, good news!
There’s another shade of green that you can try!
Dark olive is another technically neutral shade of green that has a big dose of yellow in it.
Olive green is a bold and sophisticated choice for your mani that is surprisingly versatile when it comes to matching up outfits.
It will go with most things in your closet; however, it tends to work best for folks who like to wear a lot of rich, warm colors like oranges, coral pinks, warm blues, reds and violets and creams and browns.
Personally, I prefer a sage green to a dark olive (it compliments my fair skin a little better I feel), but if your skin is a bit darker than mine (and most people’s is!) and you suit warm, rich colors then you’ll most likely love having dark olive nails.
If you fancy a bit of dark olive in your life and you like OPI, check this one out, it’s called Olive for Green.
I also really like this one from Zoya, which has a cool smoky finish.
Blush is another one of my absolute favorite polish colors.
What color is blush exactly?
It’s a shade of pink that’s so muted that it acts almost like a neutral.
Blush is subdued, understated, modern and chic.
When you’re making your outfit decisions, the choices are endless with blush pink nails.
You can opt for other neutrals, pastel colors, and of course any and all shades of pink!
Blush looks great on anyone, providing you get the shade right.
Opt for soft pink, light coral or peach if you have fair skin, and if you are medium to dark-skinned, think more along the lines of hot coral, and deep pink blush.
I have a few different blush shades; I wear it all the time.
I can’t get enough of these 2 shades which I highly recommend for all skin tones:
So far, quite a few of these color choices have been fairly subtle and subdued.
If you want attention-grabbing nails that go with all your outfits, silver could be a perfect choice for you.
Silver is a neutral color, which means that it pairs well with all other neutral colors.
Silver looks great with anything, but my personal preference is to pair it with cool blues and grays and black.
There are 2 main options when it comes to getting silver nails, you could go for a metallic look, or a super glittery one.
If you want a metallic, mirror-like finish, I’d recommend Essie’s no place like Chrome.
And if glitter nails are more your thing, take a look at Glass Souls from Smith & Cult.
I know that red is not a neutral color, but it is a classic nail polish color and you can wear it with almost anything, so it makes the list!
Because of its cult-classic status, red nail polish can be worn to almost any occasion all year round. Just ask the French!
Red polish can look equally great with a floaty floral summer dress, a vintage ensemble or with jeans and a chunky sweater. Ooh la la!
Treat red nails as you would any other neutral and wear it with anything you like.
Red nail polish comes in a wide variety of shades and hues, but the most versatile when it comes to nail polish is probably a classic cherry red like this one from OPI, (click to check price on amazon)
If you prefer a more orangey-red that will still match the majority of outfits, you might want to take a look at this offering from Essie.
Let’s wrap this up.
So, there you have it.
14 amazing colors that will go with any outfit!
I hope that you have found the information in this post useful and that it saves you some time and stress.
amazon associates disclaimer
As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases