Retro Essentials: Retro Friendly Simple Nail Designs

wpid-20150820_171633.jpgNails are a very underestimated part of styling and when you try to mix vintage and modern, it’s surprisingly complicated.

The most obvious choice is a classic red, followed by some variation of pink or beige. However, as appealing as those options are they do tend to become a bit boring after a certain number of applications. This post is about taking that next step without deviating too far from the vintage spirit so to speak. And there’s one complicated one thrown in there for fun.

The first option I decided to show is this photo up here and it’s the design I’m currently wearing. The colour itself falls somewhere on the pink-purple spectrum depending on the light. On top of it I’ve used an effects coat with gold flakes as opposed to golden glitter. Both of those coats are from TonyMoly and it’s the first time I’m using them so I can’t review them properly yet. However, this design is a very simple variation of a classic and by just adding that one effects top coat to your collection you have pretty much doubled the designs you can create.


Secondly we have another classic design. The colour coat itself is a light blue colour that reminds me of the 1950’s. To spice it up a little bit I’ve added a nail sticker in the shape of a white rose on my ring finger. Use a top coat on top of it if you really want to secure it. This is probably the simplest way to start experimenting with more advanced designs if you don’t want to pay for a professional manicure. By the way, all of these photos are taken while I waited for them to dry. When your polish has dried, take a shower and the leftover polish on your skin will fall off on its own.


Next we have a design that works really well with dark denim or leather, so it’s primarily something I wear during winter. It’s a pretty standard grey polish with a top coat with matte black and white dots. This is a good option if you don’t want to cover your hands in glitter or gold but still wish to spice up your regular home manicure. If you use the same effects polish on top of the a light blue it’s quite easy to create a bird’s egg design that would work well for easter or summer. Add it on top of red and you’ve ended up with an elegant Halloween design.

Below here we have two less discrete options. The first one is a pair of hand painted fake nails that I created when I was bored. It’s essentially using polish and acrylic paint to create a zombie inspired design. Obviously this wouldn’t be a common choice for everyday wear for most people, but I recommend having one design up your sleeve that is for special occasions. I chose zombies for this one since they’re pretty popular at the moment, can be made in unusual ways (light blue as a base for example), and because when the Zombie Walk comes around in November it will be cool to know how to do something like this.

The last design that is kinda hiding behind the panda is just a gold polish. Instead of having a top coat with glitter, this is an option that doesn’t harm your nails anywhere near to the degree glitter polishes can do. It’s also a standout colour that is both elegant and glamorous as well as truly decadent.
wpid-20140517_223857.jpgwpid-20150513_174929.jpgSome final hints when it comes to looking after your nails:

Base coat. 2-3 coats of the main polish. Top/effects coat.

Never ever use gel polish, acrylic nails, or any other form of long term fake nails. Even if you get them done professionally they can completely destroy your natural nails and it will take months to heal.

Buff your nails every now and then to ensure that the nail’s surface doesn’t get too uneven. It doesn’t matter how good the paint is if the canvas is crooked.

Opt for a shape that isn’t square. I’ve found that with square shapes, my nails tend to break around the sides a lot quicker than they usually do. It’s also not very vintage friendly since oval shapes tended to be more common.

Keep them painted at all times as you grown them and always use a base coat for protection. It only takes one application of green nail polish onto a bare nail to make you look like a heavy chain smoker for months. By keeping the nails painted it adds protection against external factors, meaning that your nails are less likely to break when you bump into something.

Don’t bite them. For obvious reasons.

Whilst I don’t think it’s a good idea to get your nails professionally manicured every time (it’s expensive, can be too harsh on your nails if you do it too often, and the polish tends to chip faster in my experience) it’s good to go for one every once in a while. Why? Because it’s a lot easier for them to create accurate shapes than it is for you and it’s easier to maintain a shape that occasionally get’s serviced. And because they’re better at dealing with the dead skin around your nails.


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