Ad Campaign – Cutex, 1960

Which to try first? You’ll run out of fingers and toes before you decide! Because Cutex has loads of gay new polish colors you’ve never worn before. And summer is the time to try them. The time to experiment with all the mad, marvelous shades like “Coral Sand” and “Capri Blue.” The time to tip your toes with Pearls and be a lovely sea siren.  You are just not in the fashion swim unless you are wearing the latest fun shades by Cutex.

I’m pretty sure that in 1960 nobody would take this ad literally and paint every nail a different color.  But in today’s world this ad would be pinned to a thousand Pinterest boards titled “Nail Inspiration.”

I actually don’t remember blue, purple, and green polish from the early Sixties, but then I was not exactly living in a fashion forward community.  Even though I was only five years old in 1960, I had an older cousin and a group of teenage girls at church who were my style idols.  I’d have noticed blue nails.  This is another good example of how our memories do not always reflect the over-all reality of what was happening.

For some time I’ve realized that if I could go back in time and shop any era for my wardrobe, it would be the early Sixties.   It was an era that I remember, but I never really got to wear the styles associated with the time.  I loved the clothes the older girls wore: Jackie Kennedy suits, Audrey Hepburn slacks and boatneck tops, sophisticated sheath dresses.  But by the time I was dressing as a teen and not a little girl, the mod age was in full swing and sophistication was O-U-T.

I’m not sure if I love the looks of the early Sixties so much because I have such fond memories of the clothes, or if my own preferences for un-fussy clothing attracts me to the styles of that era.  It’s probably a bit of both.  At any rate, a quick look through my pattern collection tells the tale.  At least fifty percent of my patterns date from 1958 through 1965.  I either know what I like, or I have a real problem!



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14 responses to “Ad Campaign – Cutex, 1960

  1. It’s funny b/c I wasn’t even around in the “sweet spot” era you mention, but it is a fave of mine too! Not everything of course, but I do dig the sheath dress vs the tight bodice big skirted 50s, and it goes without saying I probably imprinted early on the Beach Party movies I saw on the Sunday matinee while growing up!


  2. Lynn

    I’m with you! I love that look! I’m a year older than you and remember the styles so well. My go-to outfit has been slim slacks and boat neck tops for close to 20 years now. Just always liked the look. I’m so glad that it has cycled back around.


  3. Well, I was a teenager in the mid sixties (born 1950) and I remember the era as one of shift dresses, most of which I made myself. No one I knew wore blue nail polish.


  4. I love the early 60’s because I remember the lovely clothes my mother wore. My grandfather was the general manager of the very first and best Filene’s Basement in Boston and he sent her boxes of alligator pumps, tweed Chanel-style suits, bow blouses, hats with veils, long sherbet colored gloves with buttons, etc. He sent us things too but they were play clothes. I hated the late 60’s clothes in Jr. High and the Love Child look (wide vertical stripes on pants, psychedelic colored skirts and shirts). But now, I am drawn to anything from 1966 – 1970 and pour over our family photos looking at what we wore. I read my Seventeens from those years and I can now identify a dress made in 1966 from one made in 1968. I wish I had saved those blue striped pants, the poorboy t-shirts, the pop-art shift dress, the square toed patent leather shoes in yellow that I wore with patterned tights. Fun, all of it.


  5. I, too, was a teenager in the 60s — before punk, before Goth. I associated blue fingernails with what happens when you hit your nail with a hammer — but eventually many girls did wear the very pale white or pink polish that matched the “big eyes & no mouth” look of the mid sixties. Outrageous colors — like yellow — worn with sandals to the beach? I think I remember that.
    Incidentally, look at the foot model’s toes. Her presumably young feet have already been deformed by the “Italian” shoes — with pointed toes and high, stiletto heels — of 50s and 60s. The nails on her little toes are completely underneath another toe. Ouch.


    • Susan, I’m glad you mentioned her toes. I noticed her problems as well. Also interesting is how the shape of her nails is quite pointy. I can remember that this shape was completely passe by the time I started polishing my nails, probably around 1968.


  6. I was born in 1957 in Michigan, and I never saw nail polish in colors other than reds, pinks and white until the late 70s/early 80s after I moved to Seattle. I read a novel “Lives of Girls and Women” by Alice Munro. It was published in 1971 and set in rural Ontario in the 1940s, and i believe much of it was based on Munro’s experiences growing up in that place and time.

    Anyway, the protagonist of the novel is intrigued by the green nail polish worn by a glamorous young aunt visiting from Chicago. She asks the aunt, whose name is Nile, if she wears green nail polish because her name is Nile, and if the color is Nile green.


  7. I like that late 50s/early 60s look – it’s very sophisticated, as you say, but boxier than ‘high 50s’ style, so suits my apple body shape. Dunno about those nail varnish colour, though…


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