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Over Nail Art? Now It's All About Shape—and Length!

Marc Jacobs might have killed nail art.

Did Marc Jacobs kill nail art? That was certainly the verdict back in February, after models for his F/W '13 show were sent down the runway with nails painted with CLEAR polish. Beauty industry insiders and fashion-savvy civilians alike were abuzz with what this meant for the future of nail art, seeing as it was a complete 180 from the stripes, squiggles, studs and velvet finishes that we saw in previous seasons. Talk about making a statement!

Also? Marc's models were wearing a specific nail polish brand—his very own! Next month, the designer is coming out with a beauty line that will be available at Sephora; I've been counting down the days since the news broke. Via Fashionista, here's what the clear polish looks like (it's called Shiny):

But Marc wasn't the only designer who is favouring simplicity for fall. Helmut Lang also opted for nude nails:

And so did Alexander Wang (in a cool sandstone finish):

My point? Now that nails are becoming a blank canvas, so to speak, the spotlight is turning toward shape and length!

Here are the most eye-catching and on-trend options:

Stiletto nails

Boldface names like Rihanna and Lady Gaga are known for their super-pointy, talon-like manicures.

These ladies usually choose daring colours, but Fergie is often seen wearing the stiletto in nude or pink.

Almond nails

If stilettos are too extreme (or dangerous!) for you, then almond is a more sensible option.

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From The Skincare Edit Archives

Instead of a pointed edge, this shape is a bit more rounded—but just as eye-catching. The extra length adds old-school glamour reminiscent of Mad Men, as seen on Katy Perry and Blake Lively.

Long, square nails

Square is known as the default shape for fake nails, and never really made a mark on the trend map... until Rihanna sported gorgeous red ones at the Grammys that were SO on point.

I think the colour choice and length allowed her manicure to really make an impact.


Kidding! Please, don't. (Not that you don't know that already.)

This shape was never in style, yet some ladies (Jersey ShoreJerseylicious, I'm looking at you) decided to give it more recognition than it deserved. Stay far, far away!

What your nail shape says about you

Here’s a fun diagram I found:

Although if your nails resemble something like this, you're on your own.

Another nail-shape theory is to just go with one that reflects the shape of your cuticles. For me, round or oval nails work best, as my cuticle area is extremely rounded... although I'm currently working with square tips (more on that in a sec).

Getting your nails long and strong

Which nail shape is the strongest and the least prone to breakage? I’ve tried them all myself and can attest that square is the sturdiest (my manicurist agrees). I don’t remember breaking a nail once with my square shape as compared to more rounded or pointier shapes.

But nail strength also has to do with your overall health and lifestyle. Foods and supplements rich in biotin and zinc are said to promote nail health (and improve hair and skin, too!). You should also be careful to protect your nails when washing dishes and make sure to file them dry in one direction only instead of back and forth. Massaging oil into the cuticles on a regular basis can also keep them healthy and shiny.

While trying out longer nail shapes is a lot of fun and you’re bound to turn heads, don't get me wrong—shorter nails are just as great too! Whether you opt for a clean, simple clear polish a la Marc Jacobs or a darker fall trend like matte black, a short nail is always a beauty classic.

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