My general conclusion now is this: If you're going to wear acrylic nails, please keep it simple. Make them look natural. You'll get all the benefits without the distraction from your overall appearance.
Now commences the original post, with some changes to reflect my change in opinion. I'm okay with changing my mind, and I hope you are too.
Let's take a trip back in time. Back to when I was an awkward preteen. During those times, I would have worn anything if I thought it was cool. I remember taking hints from my friends' fashion choices to inform my own. At one point I contemplated getting acrylic nails because many of the girls in my class were getting them.
Back then, I thought it would make me so cool to attach fake nails to my already pretty nice ones. About ten years later I have the wisdom and fashion sense to know better.
I believe that over-the top acrylic nails fall into the same category as wife beaters, exposed bra straps, and mullets. That category, friends, is trashy. They scream tacky and cheap. There is nothing positive about them.
When a woman (or some men) wear crazy acrylic nails, so many questions regarding their health and fashion sense come to mind. Here are some:
1) What are they covering under those fake nails? Fungal infections?
2) Is their neighborhood so dangerous that they need wolverine claws for protection?
3) Are they going for a Guinness World Record for longest nails?
4) Is Kate Middleton doing this? Then why should you?
That last question leads me to this point. Ladies and gents, you should always strive for class. You're swimming in that river in Egypt if you think that crazy, brightly covered, acrylic
Try to look natural, as I said before. You will reap so many benefits if you go with natural rather than really obviously fake nails. I understand now that people require acrylics for various reasons, but like anything that has its benefits, it must be done in moderation. :)