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Nail art, nail care and self expression: Gender differences in African Americans’ consumption of nail cosmetics

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Many college millennials indulge in pampering themselves with their unique style of dress, hair grooming and painted nails. Nail styles can be unique among women and men of different age groups, social classes, cultures and ethnicities. The purpose of this study was to explore African American college millennials’ attitudes towards nail fashion and decorative art in relation to their appearance and self-expression. Study participants were African American millennials ages 18 to 34 years attending a historically Black higher education institution in the United States. A university campus ad was created to promote the study, and recruitment was conducted via snowball sampling. Data were compiled from in-depth, face-to-face interviews conducted with each participant. The research results show that the participants’ choice of nail fashion represented a form of expression as they negotiated their daily identities and that they were exhibiting creative and innovative ways to share their expressions.
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Keywords: African American; appearance; nail care; nails; self-expression; style

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Morgan State University 2: University of Maryland Eastern Shore 3: Randolph Macon College

Publication date: March 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Fashion, Style & Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal specifically dedicated to the area of fashion scholarship and its interfacings with popular culture. It was established to provide an interdisciplinary environment for fashion academics and practitioners to publish innovative scholarship in all aspects of fashion and popular culture relating to design, textiles, production, promotion, consumption and appearance-related products and services. Articles related to history, manufacturing, aesthetics, sourcing, marketing, branding, merchandising, retailing, technology, psychological/sociological aspects of dress, style, body image, and cultural identities, as well as purchasing, shopping, and the ways and means consumers construct identity as associated to Fashion, Style & Popular Culture are welcomed. The journal offers a broad range of written and visual scholarship and includes works done through various methods of research. We welcome conceptual, theoretical and translational applied research in the areas of fashion, style and popular culture. This journal hopes to stimulate new discussions in the fashion disciplines and to push the envelope of scholarship by welcoming new and established scholars to submit their works.

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