8 Fall 2021 Nail Art Trends, From Moody Colors To Abstract Designs

Nail designs are infinite, which can make buckling down to choose a look feel overwhelming. There are just too many options! Taking inspiration from celebrities is one easy route. Or you can simply listen to a sound prediction of fall 2021 nail art trends from its source: industry experts, who are sharing their intel with Bustle.

For the last few months, everything retro has reigned supreme in the beauty world. Some prime examples: ‘70s shag haircuts are all the rage, ‘60s eye makeup is the look du jour, ’90s-style lip liner is back in play — and this vibe is going to extend into the nail art world.

“With ‘70s patterns being such a popular go-to this year, I see the design being a hit even into the fall,” says Morgan Dixon, nail artist, owner of M.A.D Nails, and lead nail stylist for the TV show Claws says. According to Dixon, that translates into color schemes, too. “Think warm colors like mustard yellow, burnt orange, and dark browns in lots of retro prints and patterns,” she tells Bustle. Nail artist Natalie Pavloski also predicts gothic hues to be everywhere this season, like gray, navy, dark vampy reds, and browns.

The buzziest manicures of summer 2021 were all about fun with both nail length and shape, and Pavloski sees that continuing through fall. “I think we can expect to see the experimentation again this season but with a moodier color palette,” she tells Bustle.

Keep reading for eight must-try looks that evoke fall’s buzziest nail art trends.

The Classic Color Block

Dixon sees color blocking as a major trend this fall, with manicures that showcase a different color on each tip. “It’s going to be a popular option with fall colors,” she says, pointing to blocks that combine an array of greens, shades of brown, and vibrant purples.

French Tips 2.0

The renaissance of French tips is going to continue, according to Pavloski. “It’s a style that works on both short and long nails,” she says of its versatility. The fall-themed iteration of the classic mani will use contrasting colors or families of warmer tones on each tip to play around with the style, she tells Bustle. For the more adventurous, she says to expect a patterned version of the design.

Solid Jelly Nails

An elevated take on the basic single color mani is the jelly manicure, a polish that’s somewhat translucent — and very ‘90s. According to Pavloski, this will be big with deep and moody shades like cherry red or fall brown.

Embellished Nails

Fall won’t be able to resist the glimmer of nail jewelry. The rings and stones can speak for themselves and even work on a clear base. “Gems and stones on solid colors add a little glamour to an otherwise simple design,” Pavloski says. The embellishments can also be used in tandem with painted nail art for an extravagant, more-is-more effect.

Matte Animal Prints

A new neutral for this fall will be matte animal patterns, according to Dixon. “Think nude cow prints or burnt orange zebra stripes,” she says. The appeal? “These manis are so bold but also go great with everything,” says Dixon.

Abstract Designs

Another more retro manicure to watch for? “Abstract designs are going to be on everyone’s nails this season,” Dixon says. According to her, the appeal is that you get to play around with so many colors and patterns while having a “fun and playful design.” Don’t be shy to experiment with textures and lines.

Colorful Chromes

Similar to jelly nails, chrome polish brings an edgy finish to an otherwise solid manicure. “I see colorful chromes making a huge statement, especially this October,” Dixon says. You’ll see these in the run of the gamut colors, but Dixon expects green to make an especially bold entrance. “Loud green is a look you can see from across the room and it somehow glows.”

‘70s Graphics

When it comes to ‘70s prints, think of the graphic lines and squiggly shapes that adorned the wallpaper in the last season of Mad Men or any season of That ‘70s Show. While the traditional burnt oranges and browns of the era will make an appearance, other more seasonal shades will be in bloom — take, for instance, these press-on tips by Chillhouse, which combine green and pastel pink.

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