From Bridgerton-inspired corsets to an interest in Old Hollywood makeup tips — all things vintage are surely making their way back into the styles of today. And the latest to take center stage? Fall’s biggest nail trend: the half moon manicure.
Noted as the first nail art design ever created (seriously), the half moon mani dates back to the late 1920s, later becoming a mainstay trend for women throughout the ’30s — and actually, it has a pretty interesting history and purpose.
Before nails were even painted in polish, the social norm was to wear gloves in public at all times. But as the years went on and the gloves slowly began to come off, women would adorn their nails in polish. At the time it emerged, nail polish was believed to be a coverup for women who had something to hide (ie dirt underneath the fingernails, which were apparently signs of being uncultured, poor, or used to manual labor). The half moon design was a reaction to this, acting as a way to color nails, while still showing a bit of a clean, bare nail-bed which a “true lady” would surely have. What’s more: It was thought that the design allowed for their nails to “breathe.”
Today, of course, nail polish rarely comes with the prejudices of the past — and in direct opposition, the half moon manicure is very much associated with elegance, timelessness, poise, and glamour.
If you’re down to try your own version of this vintage-era mani (that just so happened to be most recently spotted in the anticipated ’50s-era film, Don’t Worry Darling): TikTok has a $4 tool to help you nail the look at home.
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