Short Fingernail Styles

Go for a nude manicure like actress Ginnifer Goodwyn.

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You probably had a "nail art" sleepover with your girlfriends when you were younger. The party likely ended in sponge-painted, dual-tone nails and a very unhappy mother trying to scrub nail polish out of the carpet. Well, girls, you're all grown up and while you've stayed true to your preference for short fingernails, all of that super-bold painting has been a distant memory ... until now. As of 2011, bold color and classic, subtle tones are both in on the runway, and quite soon ... on your nails.


A full set of short, red nails is such a classic aesthetic that just about every woman has indulged in this hue at least once. As trends change, however, modern takes on classic looks often mean minor changes with dramatic results. Try out the look seen on 2010 runways -- instead of going with a cherry red like you usually would, try out a fiery red-orange. To soften the look, opt for nails softly filed into oval shapes instead of a squared-off look.

A New Take On Sheer

Going for short manicured nails that draw attention simply for how feminine and subtle they look typically includes a bottle of sheer nail polish. Only when you've bought up a stockpile of sheer white, rose, pink and beige ... and they all seem to look the same ... something has to change. Keep your ultra-feminine, sleek style but reach out for a nude opaque polish instead. Like wearing nude heels, nude polish elongates the line of your fingers. Lovely.

Going Dark

While black nails have certainly had their moments, you may have found yourself staring at your bottle of black polish, suddenly thinking, "Um ... this isn't Halloween!" or "I'm so over it." Especially when the weather turns cold and you're looking for a sleek, darker color, bring some color into the mix by opting for a dark plum instead of your usual brown or black. Wearing this dark, intense hue on short nails will keep your hands looking modern and soft.


While the idea of colorblocking and bright coral lipstick were up until recently considered a thing of the past, all good trends circle back around. In a similar light, 2011 runway shows have boasted multiple-hued nails including varieties in both texture and color. For an off-the-runway take on this trend, keep things simple by grabbing two contrasting bottles of nail polish. Paint all but one nail on each hand with one color and the remaining nail with the alternate hue. Switch it up at will and play with metallics and bold hues for a little extra fun.

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