Some outfits call for very specific nail looks. Take bridal attire, for example. Whether you’re a bridesmaid or the bride yourself, chances are, you’ll be expected to wear some version of a neutral nail. Now, think about your outfit for the first day of spring. Images of a pastel manicure accompanying said outfit comes to mind, right?
One major exception to the rule is a little black dress. Considering the classic garment can be worn to brunch, a bar, a wedding, or even a casual hang, there’s no one tried-and-true rule for the coordinating manicure. And that, friends, is why we love little black dresses just as much as we do. It’s also why we’ve rounded up 15 ways to style your nails when an LBD is your outfit of choice. Have fun trying to pick just one.
Solid Red Nails
A solid red manicure is just as bold as a bright red lip. It says, “I’m classic, I’m fiery, and I’m not afraid to rock red.” Naturally, we’re here for it. Fortunately for us, it’s one of the easiest nail art ideas to wear with a black dress, as it just requires a steady coat or two of polish on each nail. Our go-to red shade of 2022? Olive & June Polish ($9) in the shade Larchmont.
Neon Watermelon Nails
One of the best things about a little black dress is how colors pop against it. And when you opt for a neon shade, your mani will stand out even more. This year, neons remain huge, as do negative space nail art ideas, so let this vibrant watermelon-inspired design serve as your inspiration.
Quirky Mismatched Nails
Mismatched nail art caught on in 2018 when ’90s trends were first starting to resurface—and here in 2022, they remain a go-to. What we love about this particular mismatched manicure is that it employs only primary colors and black and white. In that way, it almost gives Mondrian vibes, even with a smiley face front and center.
Red French Tips
If you love the idea of a red manicure next to your LBD but don’t want to fully coat your nails in color, you can opt for a solid nail or two intermixed with French tips and a little heart. Just be sure to top it off with a high-shine top coat to really make it pop.
Colorblock French Tips
Speaking of French tips, we love seeing the classic trend reimagined in multicolor. Here, you can see how bold vivid colors look when incorporated into the nail trend. The best part? This manicure is fairly easy to recreate. So long as you have French manicure nail stickers (like these from Amazon) to section off your nails (and plenty of patience to wait while each section is drying), you’re good to do.
For a more refined LBD-friendly nail art idea, consider sticking to a black and white color palette. But don’t forego a little fun! Instead of a French mani or solid nail look, opt for Zebra stripes, swirls, and negative space.
At this point, we’ve all seen how stunning Anne Hathaway looked in her pink sequin Valentino dress. We’ve also all seen how perfect Margot Robbie looks as Malibu Barbie. The point is, if you’ve ever thought about wearing shimmering, nearly-holographic pink nails, there’s no time like the present.
Pink and Red
Having trouble choosing just one color? You can combine pink and red for an instantly eye-catching nail look to pair with a LBD. And no, it’s not only fitting for Valentine’s Day—trust us.
Of course, just because you wear black doesn’t mean you have to make up for the opaque shade with all the color on your nails. Instead, you can keep it simple with white, but get creative with the way in which you wear the opposite hue. We love the look of this symmetrical swirl mani, especially with the singular rhinestones at each cuticle.
Here’s another way to embrace a unique mani idea without drenching your nails in color. Start with a nude jelly base and pick between a shimmering champagne tip or cuticle for each nail. Then, apply a butterfly nail decal on a few nails and finish with a high-shine clear top coat. Voila!
Rainbow French Tips
We’re suckers for colors. And if you scroll through TikTok and Instagram, you’ll see we’re not the only ones. If your dream manicure involves lots of colors, go all out with a reimagined rainbow French mani.
Aura nails are trending in 2022, so if you want to give your LBD a mystical vibe, follow suit. One thing’s for sure: People will ask where you got them done. What will be especially fun for you is when you reveal that they’re a DIY. After all, you can easily create an aura manicure by stippling a sponge in the center of each nail.
Black Tie Affair
Craving a more formal nail art idea to accompany your LBD? This chrome bead-covered black French manicure is too good to pass up. As luxe as it looks, it’s actually quite easy to DIY. Simply start with your clear neutral base, let it dry, apply your black French tips, let those dry, and finish with a top coat and carefully-placed chrome beads.
Color and Pattern Mixing
We love multicolor nails, negative space nails, and mixed-print nails. So naturally, we adore this vibrant mani masterpiece. The only downside is that thanks to its intricacy, it’s one LBD-friendly nail look that’s best left up to the pros.
You don’t need to overthink your manicure. Here, you can see how letting go and having fun with abstract art can lend to a stunning, one-of-a-kind nail art idea. One that, we might add, will look fabulous with a little black dress.