In an era when fashion is (thankfully) more about self-expression than blindly following trends, it’s clear that the number one factor in developing your personal aesthetic is, well, you. But where you live can still have a major impact on your style, too. Case in point: The diverse top nail art designs in ten major U.S. cities.
The Zoe Report took a look at the most-requested manicures in different areas of the United States and, as you might suspect, discovered that on-trend designs vary from place to place. New Yorkers gravitate to simple, minimal manis, while the women in Detroit appreciate a good statement nail.
But there are distinct differences, as well. For example, marble nails are popular in both Chicago and Austin, and floral designs are top-of-mind everywhere from Miami to Nashville. This overlap may have something to do with the rise of the mid-size city, with many millennials deciding to leave larger hubs (New York City and Los Angeles) in favor of “second cities,” like Nashville and Austin.
“As Nashville has become home to many transplants as of late, the New York and LA vibes are prevalent," Karen Kops, the co-founder of Poppy and Monroe salon in Nashville, Tennessee, tells The Zoe Report. “The design preferences are as varied as our residents, which we love.”
Ahead, discover the top nail art designs in your city — and prepare to be surprised.
The most in-demand design in Los Angeles, California gives new meaning to its nickname, "City of Stars." Simple, celestial art is the popular pick at LA-based nail empire Olive & June. Why? "Because stars make a classic mani feel so special," Sarah Gibson Tuttle, the founder of the brand, says.
"Our most popular designs in salon are major inspiration for our stickers," she adds, nodding to Olive & June's cult-favorite nail decal sets. Love a star-studded mani as much as the next Angeleno? Stock up on Olive & June's All Eyes On You Sticker Set to get the look wherever you are.
If you thought Tennessee was all about cowboy boots and country music, think again. “Our Nashville folks are requesting bold geometric graphics, usually in black or white," Kops reveals. "Sweet floral-inspired designs, typically with some negative space element, are popular as well."
Metallic nail art is a must-have in ATX. "The most requested design we are seeing lately is abstract foil, a metallic foil transfer on gel," Carla Hatler, the owner of Austin's Lacquer Nail Salon, notes. "We still get requests for marble nails and quartz nails, but foil nails are hands-down what’s in right now."
This probably isn't a mani you want to recreate on your own, though. Since the technique requires adhesives and foils, this one is best left to the professionals.
“When celebrities are into nail art and trendy designs, it makes those designs the new must-have accessory," Tiffany Ramirez, Assistant General Manager at The Red Door Salon & Spa in Chicago, tells TZR. Some of the celeb-inspired designs that are taking over Chicago at the moment include marble nails, ombré gradients, and floral designs.
The vibe in Denver? "Chic, minimal, yet still professional for day-to-day," Tran Wills, founder of the Colorado capital's Basecoat Salon, tells us. The salon's most requested designs include half moons and dots at the center base of the cuticle — in other words, the ultimate work-to-weekend style.
While the women in Detroit pay attention to trends, they tend to adopt them in a more subtle way, Kelli Coleman, co-founder of Detroit, Michigan's The Ten Nail Bar, tells TZR — and they show them off with designs that are "modern and minimal, often incorporating a statement nail," she says. "Nothing too conspicuous or flamboyant." This translates to clean lines, pops of color, and geo graphics.
The Magic City is a place where the fun never stops — so of course, the nail art is no exception. "Miami women love to dream up fun designs with luxury in mind," Ariela Zuniga of the city's Vanity Projects salon, tells us. "The most requested manicures from our clients are metallic glitter designs and florals inspired by Gucci, Balenciaga, and Pucci."
"Raleigh is having an identity crisis," Crystal Clark of the North Carolina nail salon Nail Yeah, jokes. "Style here has become very diverse," she says, citing the recent influx of big-city transplants. What does that main for nail art? "Anything goes!"
That's not an exaggeration, either: Nail Yeah's most-request manicure is the "Surprise Gel Manicure" — which, you guessed it, is the nail artist's choice and a total surprise to the recipient.
Residents of the Emerald City love a neutral-colored nail look — but that doesn't necessarily mean minimal. "Seattle residents don’t take themselves too seriously," Kelly Ornstein, an artist at Juniper Natural Nail Bar in Seattle, says. "They have an appreciation for natural living and the arts." Look around and you're bound to spot a ceramic-inspired manicure or two, defined by a mix of lines and textures and executed in earth tones.
New York City
"Our two most requested designs are what we call the EIC and the Discoteca," Yiota Kourtesis, the general manager of Chillhouse in New York City, tells us; both of which include a neutral base coat topped with subtle, swirling colors.
"Women in New York ask for these designs in particular because they're minimalist and perfect for everyday wear, but eye-catching enough for a special event or destination," she says. (Which, honestly, sounds like the perfect mani no matter where you live.)