Creative nail art: no longer tacky

October 25, 2012

Yes, I am a feminist and I like feminine things. Not at all contradictory.

Few things are as feminine as a nail salon. Small bottles of nail lacquer in every hue perch on narrow shelves in tiny shops full of women, where the biggest decision women face is “what color?”  Yes, it’s an escape, and a fun one.

My mother always had clear polish, but when I began getting manicures, I was partial to reds and pinks and even the classic French manicure.  And then, one day, fashion magazines exploded with nail colors we’d never seen before. Blue! Green! Purple! Yellow! I remember how daring it seemed–could I wear blue nails to the office?  And when I did, the color was commented on. Today, no one would even notice. Hell, colored nails is the LEAST of what’s edgy in today’s business environment!

And remember “nail art?”  Manicurists became expert at embedding rhinestones and even drawing art on women’s nails. I never really liked that stuff; it looked tacky at the time.

We’ve come a long way from that primitive nail art, and manicures have developed into our own unique way to reflect our personalities. I know I’m a qualified senior citizen by some calculations, but I’m also a qualified diva who has no qualms at all about exploring fun ways to do my nails. At any age.

Here are a few fun manicure ideas:

I love these clouds on a blue sky–how lovely for a summer party or a vacation!

I had these tuxedo nails done last week. They’re black, with a tiny grey strip and a tinier white one on the edge. My Korean manicurist giggled as she did them. They turned out a bit more tailored than I thought they would be, and she had no design sense at all, but they’re fun for a first try.

This coral and black could be a more modern take for Halloween. I really like them. Coral is normally a summer color, but this is a way to use coral polish in the fall.

I fell in love with this twist on a classic French manicure: burgundy nails with a gold tip. I’ll be doing them some day soon, maybe for the holidays. Cute, cute, cute!

Ombre for nails is big. I adore this black and grey version. If you’re wondering how to do ombre nails at home, there are dozens of tutorials online and it looks pretty easy. I’m not certain I have the patience, or the dexterity to make mine look this good. My regular manicurist won’t be able to do this, so I’ll find a higher end shop to give me this look one day. In fact, for some of the more creative looks, it’s best to find a specialist who has a good eye and knows how to execute a design.

Traditional French manicure

Women love a traditional French manicure–classic and feminine. But today, there are so many different creative versions of it. In fact, if you had the time and inclination, you could have a French-style manicure that matches every outfit. The pink and grey one above is colorful, yet still classic. Combine any two colors–experiment!

 This fun, multi-colored French manicure would be perfect for a tropical vacation. I’m not sure I’d use the beige undercoat–or maybe that’s so the nail moon wouldn’t be too big a contrast with the rainbow tips.

Or, go monochromatic French–cute, no?

This is really a take-off on the French manicure

I love polka dots, and these are cleverly designed– on top, a very modern black and white take on French, with a heavier application of dots at the tips. I love it. Below, the seafoam green displays a cute white dot pattern.  See how much fun nails can be?

Matte polish is huge, and this formal look is achieved with a navy matte and then what looks like gold appliques. Intriguing.

A French manicure with a matte black base and glossy tips. I want these nails–and I just bought a matte top coat I can use on any color to make it matte. Can’t wait to try it out!

Are you a fan of nail polish? Any ideas to share?

8 comments on “Creative nail art: no longer tacky
  1. I do often wonder though if certain nail polish finishes go with a certain age? In all seriousness, there are some shades and hues, I just would not wear being a women over 45 and definitely some nail art that I would avoid unless I was going on a cruise.

  2. I can see some of these ideas are better suited for a tropical vacation, I agree..and also, overall I’m not a big fan of some “age-appropriate” rules. I mean, I think a woman of certain age looks ridiculous in a miniskirt, true, but I think nails are fun and if you’re semi-retired, like I am, who cares if my nails have clouds painted on them, as long as I like them? Of course, if I were in the corporate world, another story. But then, it’s all a matter of personal judgment. I know a female CFO who is very fond of high stilettos that some would say don’t belong in the bd. room, but it hasn’t damaged her credibility one bit. But I wouldn’t wear them. If I were making a presentation or meeting with VCs, I’d make a different decision. The great thing about fashion today is the ability to exercise one’s own judgment, don’t you think? One size doesn’t have to fit all and thank goodness! But then again, when I look at the People of Walmart website, well, I have to wonder!!!

  3. Wow, those are fancy nails. I honestly have little opinion on nail polish because as a childcare provider I have to keep my nails trimmed short and clean of polish. I can do my toes, but seldom do more than a single color.

  4. Jennifer Comet Wagner says:

    I love the look but I rarely get manicures because my nails are so breakable. It wouldn’t pay for me to take the time to get one of these because it would be chipped within a few days. Looks great though!

  5. I know what you mean about breakable. I used to have long nails but can’t figure out how I ever worked with them! Lisa, is it required that you not wear colored polish as a childcare provider? or just a practical consideration. “Just” –ha! At this stage of life there’s nothing BUT practical considerations!

  6. These are gorgeous…makes me want to go get my nails done!!

  7. I LOVE nails/Nail Art,I’ve Always been into nails the crazier the colors and graphic the better! These picture blow my mine they’re straight up fun. I love makeup that’s my everything and to me makeup,hair & nails all go side by side. Really inspirational Keep’ Coming !!!!!!!!!!!!! Hugs & Kisses

  8. Beautyry says:

    I love Nail Art. I got your creative nail art collection in your website. All are awesome collection. You can see my Nail Art collection: Nail Art

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