Clothing inspired nails for a 50’s theme party


Polish Rating: Essie: A; China Glaze: B

Difficulty Rating: 4

Clothing inspired nails.

Hey all,

I had a 1950’s themed 75th birthday party to attend this past weekend, and, since it’s one of my favorite style aesthetics I was over the moon at the opportunity to really dress up and accessorize. I did a little bit of research on nail polish trends in the 50’s, and confirmed what I expected. The color of choice was red, red, red (with the exception of pearly white, apparently). While I do love me a bit of red, and had found the perfect nail color to match my dress and bag, it just seemed too easy to go plain when I had a blog to think about.

Then I found this post on tumblr:

cardigan nail inspiration

And fell in love with the little red cardigan nails you see pictured on the top. Even though I’m pretty sure no one had actual cardigan nails back in the 50’s, I couldn’t resist! I needed to do my nails three days in advance of the party because of the way my schedule came together. Because of this, I opted to avoid using the little decorative studs, in case they fell off. (Someone more mature could probably say the phrase ’little decorative balls’ – or type it – without laughing but I am apparently not that mature, and opted for ’studs’ instead)


I used the following colors: Snap Happy and (one of my staples) Beyond Cozy by EssieWhite on White by China Glaze and the thin striping brush from a (very similarly colored to Beyond Cozy) Stripe Rite polish I picked up somewhere that dried up long ago. I started by painting my nails with Snap Happy, which is a tomato-y red on the warmer side of red. I love this color because I am quite pale and it complements my skin tone, rather than highlighting the fact that I have not seen the sun in months and am beginning to give Snow White a run for her money.

You may recognize the Snap Happy and White on White combination from my Minnie Manicure post, and I still love how they look together. Beyond Cozy is a recurring color in this blog because I love the formula so much!


After I used Snap Happy, I applied White on White freehand trying to mimic the shape of a collar on a shirt. The collar took up just over 1/3 of my accent nail. If your edges are not perfect, worry not! It doesn’t matter because you’re going to outline your collar with your striping brush.


The easiest way I found to handle my striping brush was to use it’s length and width to my advantage, rather than actually brush on the color. For the angled pieces, I held the brush at the angle I wanted to paint and then placed it flat on my nail, lifting and repeating. Trying to draw/brush on the lines is also an option, but this gave a more even consistency, and greater control.


Using a scrap piece of paper and the technique I discuss in this post and this post, I dotted on my buttons for the cardigan. Again, you could choose to use decorative studs – but I wanted my manicure to last three days!


After I was satisfied with my cardigan accent nails, I used Mavala’s Oil Seal Dryer and waited until my nails were totally dry before I applied top coat. This is important to do, because you risk dragging some of the color from the gold buttons (which are naturally a bit raised and take a bit of time to dry) onto the rest of your manicure – and what a shame to have to restart a design! So, patience is key! I applied a new layer of clear top coat each day leading up to the party to try and keep my manicure looking as fresh and chip-free for as long as possible.




You can see the bags I was choosing between for the party in the picture above! I ended up going with the red, though I am in love with the black one.

What do you think? Would you wear clothing inspired nails? What would they look like?



4 thoughts on “Clothing inspired nails for a 50’s theme party

  1. Lisa says:

    I think that I need to make little tuxedo nails next time I go to a fancy party wearing a black dress 🙂

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