With a brisk winter ahead and a full-coverage wardrobe to match, it seems only right that one should find innovative, chic ways to stand apart from the crowd, starting with a manicure. Though 90 percent of your body may be covered in a fisherman sweater and trousers, your nails will be on display at work and home, so why not select a novel nail pattern or color to accent your everyday look?
Unlike costly couture or elaborate accessories, a manicure is short-term and low-risk format with which to express your unique style. If you find yourself growing tired of your look, it will be gone within a week or two, and for very little expense to boot.
Using the Fall/Winter 2014 and Spring/Summer 2015 backstage beauty as inspiration, here are seven au courant manicures to adorn your tips this winter. Some are office-appropriate, while others might be best saved for a long weekend or tropical getaway, but all are modern, fresh, and ready to break you out of your cold-weather doldrums. Who knows? You may not even find the need to stock up your closet with your fingers taking center stage.
1. THE GOLD AND GEM-EMBELLISHED MANICURE
For the baroque-obsessed, this bold golden manicure is a perfect accent to your holiday LBD. For this level of intricacy, a set of press-on nails is your best bet, unless you'd like to spend hours — and extra funds — at a nail salon. Sally Hansen's Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips offer a myriad of golden hues, and the especially ambitious may be enticed by a pairing of Zoya's Goldie Polish and colorful nail beads.
2. THE ANTI-FRENCH MANICURE
If you love the look of a French manicure, try the newest incarnation of the look and leave your cuticles nude while selecting an experimental shade for the rest. The above manicure pairs a slate-grey shade akin to Essie's Cashmere Bathrobe with a chrome shade like the brand's Loophole polish, applied in a thin ribbon at the very tip of the nail. If you're a little shaky with your brush, use those binder reinforcers to create a stencil.
3. THE LOUBOUTIN MANICURE
Who would have though that painting the underside of the nail would become a sweeping trend? Christian Louboutin, it must be said, had a large hand in creating the trend years ago when he painted the sole of his heels with the now-iconic crimson shade which adorns them to this day. This year, Louboutin introduced Loubi Under, a fiery polish just for the under side of your nails. The manicure service cityMANI now offers a Christian Louboutin Nail Package, which includes a coat of crimson paint under the nail and an inky, glossy black classic manicure on top of the nail to bring a version of your favorite heel to your hands.
4. THE CRACKED METALLIC MANICURE
A cracked manicure may not be the newest innovation in nail art, but rendered in a combination of silver and black, the finish looks decadent and on-trend. Pair a basic black polish with a top coat of China Glaze Crackle Metals Nail Polish in Platinum Pieces for a daring and eye-catching effect.
5. THE WINTER WHITE MANICURE
When in doubt, basics are the best choice. A white manicure was de rigueur in months past, so try amping up winter white tips with beads, or creating a quilted look by using a thin straight edge to push lines into the polish after your final layer.
6. THE PATTERNED TALON MANICURE
Nail art may be a divisive subject for beauty connoisseurs, but whatever your thoughts on the matter, a brightly patterned nail will add intrigue to any ensemble. This season, try faux nails with a bold pattern, filed to an oval point for extra impact. Essie's Sleek Fake Nail Applique in So Haute replicates the fiery accent hue of this talon-like manicure.
7. THE GREIGE MANICURE
The color-shy will adore a manicure in pale greige this winter. The shade enhances the natural tone of nails in an avant-garde fashion, and matches any possible ensemble you can think of. Rescue Beauty Lounge's Nail Polish in Jane offers a universally-flattering neutral shade with the slightest hint of a metallic tint.
Images: Getty Images; Courtesy CitiMani