The word “taupe” has a dowdy feel to it, right up there with “mauve,” and taupe-painted nails bring gaudy grandmothers to mind. But we recently discovered a few taupes done in a way that feels fresh and hip. Nonie Creme, creative director of nail polish company Butter London (butterlondon.com), whipped up Sheer Mink, a gorgeous pale milk-chocolate shade, for the Vena Cava spring 2009 show. “I took the orange out, but I also found that adding a few drops of green gave it a bit of patina,” she says. Creme plans on debuting Sheer Mink next year. Until then Priti Organic’s St. Catherine’s Lace (pritiorganicspa.com) and Lippmann Collection’s Fashion (lippmanncollection.com) are excellent orangeless taupes to try.