Nail art is here to stay, but it’s getting even more ambitious by taking inspiration directly from the runway
Even though the possibilities for nail art are endless (just check out our Pinterest board on the subject), sometimes you need an injection of fresh material. And although clothes and nails go hand-in-hand, we wouldn’t necessarily turn to the runway for mani inspiration—although we should! Just ask Taryn Multack of Miss Ladyfinger, a blog dedicated entirely to her translation of sartorial splendor into sick nail art. “[When I started Miss Ladyfinger,] my day job at the time required that I attend New York Fashion Week. I was sitting at one of the shows and was so inspired by the prints I saw that I went home to try to replicate it. It was then that I had an ‘a-ha!’ moment and knew I was on to something,” says Multack, who also includes tutorials with each of her posts.
Editorial manicurist Madeline Poole, whose tumblr is pouring over with to-die-for manis she’s done, says, “I try not to be too literal with the things that inspire me, maybe just use an abstracted piece of a pattern or color palette, something that is readable on a very small surface.” Both nail art aficionados suggest starting simply—and practicing. And both suggest identifying a simple graphic element or color combination that sums up an outfit, otherwise too much pattern can just lead to visual muck.
“I would advise against trying to fit an entire pattern on a single nail,” says Poole. “Sometimes all that effort goes to waste because at such a small size it just becomes noise. I would say, try to simplify patterns, find the elements that make them iconic and arrange them according to the shape of your nail.”
Poole notes her favorite polishes are Ginger + Liz and RGB and suggests using Swarovski crystals and Nubar glitter to embellish any look at home. “I would also recommend NCLA nail wraps, they have tons of designs if you don’t feel like doing the nail art yourself,” she says.
“A nail tool that every aspiring nail artist should have is a ‘striper,’” says Multack. “It’s a skinny brush that lets you create thin lines. If you can’t find one, buy a nail art polish and clean the brush.” You can also pick up thin brushes at any art store. “Another tool I use is a sponge,” continues Multack. “Stock up on a variety, like makeup sponges, kitchen sponges, etc. Different sizes create different textures. There’s also a tool called a ‘dotter’ that is sold in beauty supply stores, but if you can’t find it or don’t want to spend the money a toothpick is a perfect substitute.”
But what about the other hand? Doing nail art—or any mani for that matter—yourself can be tricky because the ‘other’ hand never turns out as perfectly. Multack offers some practical advice: “First you have to be ok with the idea that it won’t come out the same, unless you’re really ambidextrous. Start out with a simple design, maybe one that just incorporates a stripe or dots. I still have trouble with the more complicated ones, but somehow I will my hand to stay steady. If you can’t complete the finished look on the other hand, rock it anyway! It shows your effort and still will be in keeping with the elements from the other hand.”