Are French Tips Cool Again?


The first time I ever got my nails professionally painted was the Thursday before my Bat Mitzvah. I went with the obvious option: a French manicure. I was 13 and it was easily the most glamorous decision I'd ever made. From then on out, when my mother's good graces allowed for me to have my nails done, French tips were happening. End of story.

That was until (you knew this story was going to take a turn somewhere) I read something snarky in a British magazine while waiting in Heathrow for a plane. It said something along the lines of “No chic French women ever wear their nails with a French manicure,” insinuating that it was not only a misnomer, but inherently un-chic to do so. Being (still) young and impressionable, I took the magazine at its very judgmental word and relegated myself to the world of pale polishes. Demure, clean, not exciting at all. My notion of grown-up nails changed from that day on.

But there's another twist in my story. Leave it to Anna Speckhart, hot roller evangelist and generally cool person, to shift my long-held notions of beauty and elegance. She told us last time she was in the office: “I just got a manicure. I’d love to rock a French tip or a full acrylic, which is not ideal! I’m afraid to break it off as it looks like it would hurt so bad. But, I will tell you, there is nostalgia there...getting French tips was like a big treat when I got my nails done in high school or whatever. In New York you can get them done anywhere, but we didn’t have a nail salon in my town—well, we do now but we didn’t! It’s only $8 in New York! It’s convenient here,”

So there you have it. French tips: cool again? Classy even? Help me make up my mind once and for all.

—Emily Ferber

Photographed by Tom Newton.