Welcome the Return of the French Manicure

The classic nude nail is growing up

The fall/winter 2015-2016 runway shows brought us more than the latest ’70s prints and colors. They also marked the return of the iconic French manicure. While nail art has been an ‘in’ thing for so long, I for one am thrilled to see the funkiest of bedazzled creations—ombré, wraps, appliqués, and stencil work—being swapped out for a spot of sweet sophistication. 

I’ve never been one to shy away from making beauty statements. But there is something to love about the versatile, low maintenance, and classic French tip, which pairs so easily with the ladylike basics in our wardrobes. And, big plus: when these manicures chip, no one notices. The pitfall is that the demure, clean look can feel a bit dated now. But this season, it’s about making the ubiquitous shades of pink and nude look more, well, modern.

Jin Soon Choi, the founder of the JINsoon Nail Lacquer line and Jin Soon Hand & Foot Spas in New York, says that the French mani is back en vogue because, “Modern simplicity is the direction nail art is going towards. It’s a clean, simple look with a modern spin.” Jin Soon created a neutral look for fashion house Tibi that was inspired by “the sculptural lines, varied textures and icy palette featured throughout the collection.”

If beige is your thing, update the look by using geometric touches, such as wing-shaped lines that define areas of color, or a very thin line that barely covers just the tip of the nails. Jin Soon suggests that color shouldn’t be limited to the usual wintery-white, either. Change it up while preserving the same level of elegance by creating a reverse French tip design, where you vibrantly color the moons of your nails instead. “For fall, I would recommend dark-color nail tips with either a shiny or matte finish.” Sure, this look may lead to a bit more maintenance down the road, but no one ever said that achieving a high-fashion glam look would be effortless—or easy.

If you want to do it yourself, take note: longer, almond-shaped lengths may leave you looking like you’re sporting a garish Jersey Shore-esque style, rather a minimalist one. The trick is to file down. Jin Soon adds: “Draw a very thin line on short to medium nails with either dark colors or light, opaque colors. This will make your French mani look-high fashion, clean, and glamorous.”