Succession may have ended, but the trends it sparked certainly haven’t. That’s especially the case for the “quiet luxury” aesthetic, which is now making its way to your nails.
“Although not totally new, quiet luxury resurfaced again after shows like Succession, whose characters are known for wearing widely expensive clothing, accessories, and looks from ultra-luxury brands that are understated,” says celebrity manicurist and educator Julie Kandalec, founder of Julie K Nail Academy.
She adds that the trend has since expanded from just clothes, touching interiors, and now nails. “It started with the micro-French, the ‘supermodel’ mani, followed by the lip gloss mani, aura mani, and blush mani. The extremely popular ‘syrup’ gel in Korea and Japan has made its way in as well, with sheer, jelly pastel shades that fit into the trend perfectly.”
What is Quiet Luxury?
We know you’ve seen the term thrown around a million times lately, but if you’re still not entirely sure what is actually means, nail artist Stephanie Stone is here to help. “I think ‘quiet luxury’ could be best described as elevated minimalism or effortless chic,” she explains. “‘Quiet luxury’ has always been an aesthetic; it’s really just the cute little name that’s new.” It’s all about clothes and accessories that look expensive, but are timeless and logo-free—a look that whispers “I’m rich” instead of screaming it.
So how does “quiet luxury” translate to manicures? Think hyper-realistic French manis, subtle shimmer, pale pinks, lots of sheer neutrals with metallic accents but nothing over the top. “‘Quiet Luxury’ can really enhance your look as a whole versus making the entire look about your nails,” Stone says. “This vibe is often requested on set because of its ability to appear so timeless! It’s not a trend that feels dated at all.”
The “quiet luxury” trend is all about minimalism, using premium beauty products, and more conscious selections of your choices in timeless colors, according to Kandalec. “It’s the opposite of excess purchasing, and instead investing in something that will last longer,” she says. “For example, quiet luxury in nails might mean getting a structured manicure using a soft pink builder gel, which may cost $100, but will last a month, versus a $20 polish manicure that may only last a week.”
Plus, there’s always something to be said about sophisticated simplicity, which is why Kandalec is personally a fan of the manicure style. “As much as I love color and nail art and will put it on anyone who asks, I personally have worn my nails like this (a structured manicure with a colored builder gel or a soft color gel polish) for most of the past 10 years,” she says. “I love its understated elegance.”
Stone adds that the trend is a great middle ground between nail art and solid colors. “I think people really love to embrace nail art but also be more minimalistic and subtle about it,” she says. “‘Quiet luxury’ is a great way to feel playful with your nails whilst staying in your comfort zone.”
Get the Look
Though the trend is all about luxury, you can get in on the trend without breaking the bank. Here are a few ways to go the DIY route.
Micro French Mani
Step 1: Manicure the nails and apply a base coat like Orly Bonder.
Step 2: Apply a semi-sheer pink, taupe or peachy nude shade (goal: opacity of skim milk) to the nail like CND Vinylux Romantique.
Step 3: Apply a second coat if more coverage is needed. “The free edge (where the pink and white meet) should be barely visible, but the color shouldn’t be fully opaque either,” Kandalec says.
Step 4: Using a liner paint brush like Princeton liner Size 1, dip it into your tip color and draw a very thin line on the edge of the nail. “Be sure to create a curve in the free edge to make your nails appear longer, instead of straight across,” Kandalec says.
Step 5: Allow to dry, and finish with a top coat.
Step 1: Manicure your nails and apply a base coat.
Step 2: Apply a lighter shade of your choice, like a pastel or even a jelly peach pink like Lights Lacquer ($11) in Marie. “Allow to dry well but not fully,” Kandalec says. “This step takes patience and practice on regular polish—it should be slightly tacky but not dentable.”
Step 3: Using a mini makeup sponge like BeautyBlender’s Micro Mini, dip it into a pigment like these
Step 4: Gently tap it onto the center of the nail.
Step 5: Brush excess pigment away, and apply a top coat.
Low-Key Gold Mani
Step 1: Prep your nails and paint one or two coats of Essie’s Gel Couture ($13) in Sheer Fantasy. “This neutral looks great on everyone,” says Stone, who works with the brand. “One coat will look like your natural nails are just super glossy; two coats will give you slightly more opacity.”
Step 2: Apply a gold embellishment. “This can be a nail stud or even a micro-French painted across the free edge of your nails,” Stone says. “The key is simplicity! Something simple to catch the light but not steal the show.”
Step 3: Apply Essie’s Gel Couture Top Coat ($10) to seal in your embellishment and leave your manicure extra shiny.
Step 4: Wait a few minutes to be totally dry and then apply a cuticle oil. “There’s nothing more luxurious than hydrated cuticles!” Stone says.