In Defense of the French Manicure

Let me set the scene. It’s a Friday night, and I’m watching an episode of The Simple Life. Paris and Nicole are getting themselves into all sorts of trouble, and I’m wearing Juicy Couture track pants and online-shopping for a Dior saddlebag. I've spent all day listening to Gwen Stefani’s iconic (yet slightly problematic) album Love Angel Music Baby on repeat. Nope, I'm not describing an evening in 2004—this was literally last week. Clearly my nostalgia for the early 2000s has been kicked into high gear, and I’m not the only one. From lip gloss, hair clips, and mini purses popping off on Instagram, to the Motorola RAZR making a comeback, inspiration from the early aughts is running high.

Many say that era birthed some of the tackiest trends, and I would say they’re right. Juicy? I mean.... Logo mania? Definitely. Mini-est of miniskirts? Come on. But that’s kind of the point. The naughties had us playing with style and trends in a way that we just don’t now. Xtina’s "Dirrrty" looks or Britney and Justin’s matching-denim moment would simply never happen these days. There’s too much emphasis on looking cool yet effortless, while back then people just played. More was more, no matter how gaudy.

However, the tides are changing, and from music to fashion, these 2000s trends are creeping in and we’re having fun again. In fashion, that's the return of logos and low-rise jeans. And in beauty, just as equally polarizing is the return of the French manicure. While it might call to mind your junior high spring fling or the Long Island Medium, I personally think a French tip is a classic look that is the perfect meeting of ladylike and fun.

I remember getting one for the first time and feeling so grown-up, even though it was embellished with flowers and my nails were uneven from biting. But the trend came and went just as fast as Uggs, and by the time Miley had ditched Hannah Montana for dancing on ice cream carts, it was over, labeled a fashion Don’t by pretty much everyone.

Fast-forward to 2019, and the nail look is popping up on my Instagram left and right now. But gone are the chunky square acrylics and thick white stripes of manis past. The new French mani I’m seeing on cool girls far and wide has a rounded shape with a delicate tip (unless of course you’re going for a true throwback look à la Kim K’s recent trip to the nail salon, in which you have my full support).

Kim Kardashian's recent French mani
Kim Kardashian's recent French mani
Kim Kardashian

French manis are elegant and hearken back to classic nail looks from the fifties and sixties, yet they feel clean and modern at the same time. It’s minimal and doesn’t look like you’re trying too hard, but has a touch of polish and vintage nostalgia. Plus, the style makes nails look super long, especially when updated with a subtle white-to-pink ombré like Kendall Jenner's on the cover of Vogue Italia (when two members of the Kardashian-Jenner clan jump on a trend, you know it’s about to be huge).

I will say, this is generally a look best left to the experts (you should def consider a trip to the salon), but there are ways to make it work at home. A good place to start is with a French manicure kit, or I like Sally Hansen's nail art pen if I'm going to do a colorful tip. If your hands aren't super steady, rope in a friend and do each other's nails. Throw on Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, and make an on-theme night of it.

I was sold as soon as I saw Lily-Rose Depp wearing a French mani on Halloween, but if you still need convincing, I've provided some of my favorites takes on the French, below.

The Classic

The one that started it all.

Rounded tips look more current, while square ones like below will give you a true throwback vibe. Add airbrushed tips for extra 2000s nostalgia.

For a more modern look, keep your nails short and the tips extra thin.

Colorful French

If white tips still feel a little too middle school, go for a colorful tip to freshen things up. Neon puts a sporty twist on the trend, and a rainbow of shades is downright delightful.

To get a neon this bright, try Color Club in Yellin Yellow.

Nail artist Miss Pop created this look for Oscar De La Renta's spring show using Zoya in Sawyer.

The Extra French

To embrace the true spirit of the French, lean into the kitsch and add embellishments like glitter, butterflies, and pearls.

What could be sweeter than cherries or daisies?

Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.

Originally Appeared on Glamour