We always return to the classics. Our comfort movies, our tried and true routines, our favorite pair of jeans. No matter where the trends swing, and no matter how much we may like the whimsical joy of experimentation, classics always come back in style. It’s why so many of us are feeling the pull of a capsule wardrobe or a streamlined skincare routine. We keep what works—and sometimes, do away with the rest. This is why classy short nail designs are taking over in 2024.
How to Perfect the Short Nails Trend
There’s something satisfying about a long nail. The sound it makes tapped against a screen, or the way it adds drama to even your most basic looks. And the more colorful or creative, the better. If you’re still in your long nail era, here’s some inspo. But winter always makes me pare back, and this year is no different. I’m swapping longer nails for short ones—and it seems a ton of people are feeling the same urge.
Contrary to what you might think, classy short nail designs don’t have to be boring. Ahead, three experts speak to the inspiration behind the trend.
Meet the Experts
Why are classy short nail designs back in style?
“Although long nails came in and took the nail industry by storm, shorties are having their come-back moment,” says Tobias. “This nail look is clean, timeless, and sleek.”
She also says that many people might be craving a reset after experimenting with long nails for a while—especially in the summer. “Over the years, my clients have opted for a short nail look when they wanted a reset or to give their nails a break.”
Short nails also require less upkeep. “With how busy and fast life is today, some people are enjoying how much less time short nails take. As social media is showcasing unique styles on short nails, it’s clear that people do not have to compromise design for their short nails. It’s great to see people having fun with short nails!”
An Emphasis on Nail Health
Dr. Stern agrees that in 2024, it’s all about flaunting healthy nails. After analyzing trends and speaking to clients, she’s seen an uptick in interest in classy short nail designs that add an element of style and sophistication to your look.
“I predict that 2024 nail trends will be dialed down with more of an emphasis on flaunting the underlying healthy nail like the no-makeup makeup looks that have prevailed.” Instead of #CleanLook makeup, we’ll be seeing #CleanGirl nails, Dr. Stern predicts.
Short Nail Trends
“I see the short, classy nail trend as akin to the ‘quiet luxury’ non-trend trends we are seeing in fashion. Quiet luxury is a return to classic, more minimalist, and timeless designs where colors and patterns are muted, neutral, and subdued and fabrics are luxurious and sensual,” Dr. Stern explains. “If you picture the nail that goes with this look, it is a short, glossy, clean, and perfectly manicured nail.”
As a celebrity nail artist, Nguyen knows all about what trends are worth investing in. And she’s given short nails her stamp of approval. And she agrees: the interest in quiet luxury isn’t going anywhere.
“I see an uptrend in shorter nail length as ‘quiet luxury’ is still very much of the moment. Celebrities like Sofia Richie Grainge, Olivia Rodrigo, and Selena Gomez, to name a few, have been seen rocking shorter nails recently. A shorter nail length is all about a lower-maintenance, minimal aesthetic.”
Ahead, Dr. Stern and Nguyen share their favorite short nail styles that perfect the trend.
Classic, with an edge
At Helmut Lang’s spring/summer show, models wore sans-serif typeface nails, which have a minimalist tattoo-like edgy vibe. I personally love this trend because it flaunts an underlying healthy natural nail. — Dr. Stern
Jin Soon created a similarly chic, understated yet edgy, cool look for Jason Wu’s show where black dots and lines were used over a clear base, again flaunting the underlying healthy, well-cared-for nail. — Dr. Stern
I’m seeing the comeback of rich and deeper shades like red, burgundy, plum, brown, burnt orange, and olive green. The adventurous nail girlies will also aim to rock metallic, shimmer, or glitter. — Nguyen
Chrome finishes will also be a big focus, whether it’s a minimal chrome accent or intricate 3D sculpted chrome designs. Besides the classic gold and silver chrome, white chrome and other varieties of chrome colors will also be in the mix this year. — Nguyen
Year of the girl
Holly Falcone created a clean, but playful and somewhat fanciful look for Sandy Liang’s 2024 runway show, where nails were painted with an almost translucent pearly base and accented with satin bows and delicate gems. — Dr. Stern
More Classy Short Nail Designs We Love
Pantone’s color of the year is everywhere. It’s also a refreshing take on a nude nail. With a light hint of the peachy hue, it’s your nails but better.
A light nude shade in a French tip silhouette updates last year’s brown nail trend for this year’s focus on classy short nail designs.
French beauty is experiencing a resurgence thanks to its simplicity and elegance. It’s no surprise that French tips are back, too—and tinier than ever.