Around the holiday season, we tend to reach exclusively for gold nail polish. Well, gold and red nail polish. We volley between the two, and for good reason. These colors are holiday classics. They look amazing on our nails, whether those nails are peeking out under a scarf and coat, grasping a cup of cocoa, or shining in juxtaposition against a black cocktail dress, while we're holding a glass of champagne at a holiday party.
This year, however, we're in the mood to switch things up. We're feeling like wearing colors that are unique and unexpected. That's why we're switching out red for green nail polish and gold for silver. The latter is fresh and icy, just like winter itself. Keep scrolling to see the 21 nail designs we're referencing for manicure inspo all season long.
This simple manicure proves that the words subtle and glitter do indeed go together. You don't have to be over-the-top to wear glitter, and this design is easy enough to recreate with the right tools.
Silver Half Moons
In the spirit of nontraditional shapes, try painting an inverted half-moon on the top half of your nails with a slick chrome polish. The sleek design adds a fun twist to the regular French manicure.
Twinkle, Twinkle Tiny Stars
This gorgeously delicate mani features hand-painted white stars for an out-of-this-world effect. If that idea makes you panic about fitting this style into your schedule, some star nail art stickers would also do just fine.
This combination of squiggly white and chrome nail polish reminds us of an icy river mid-winter. And yes, that's a good thing. Get this look with some strategically placed tape but don't be afraid to overlap.
PSA: A silver manicure doesn't have to involve silver polish at all. Opt for thin strips of criss-crossing foil, like this design, and make your own nail art. You can even get crafty by choosing a fun base color for added flair.
In the same vein as the minimalist manicure before it, try popping a single nail jewel in the middle of each nail. It's simple yet chic and doesn't take very long to achieve.
Chrome counts as silver, right? Opt for this sleek manicure by painting each nail with a bold shade of reflective polish. The edgy paint is both ultra-chic and easy to do yourself.
Mix of Gems and Pastels
While still incorporating silver into the mix, this funky manicure pairs an icy blue and silver combo perfect for winter against bold black and gold contrast nails. It's colorful; it's dimensional; it looks like the sort of nail design that a Zara model would wear, and we're into it.
Pink Inverted French Mani
Here's another posh manicure for you. It reminds us of something Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl would go for. It's easy enough to replicate on your own, too: all you need is one pale pink polish and one glitzy silver one.
How gorgeous are these frost-tipped nails? Get a similar effect by using a beauty sponge to press chunky glitter onto a base color or clear coat of your choice. Layer another coat of clear polish over the top, et voilà—you're done.
Kira Kira IRL
The addition of white, hand-painted sparkles takes this manicure up a notch. The glitter-dipped design underneath is worth a mention, too. Plus, these almond-shaped nails look extra cool with the chic design.
'80s Splash of Silver
The splash of silver and shimmery pink on these black nails reminds us of the '80s in the very best way. If pink isn't what you want, any other color will look just as rad.
Glitter with Heart Eyes
We're not against a maximalist manicure. Try this one, which seems to take inspiration from the iconic Comme des Garçons logo. A sparkly silver base— like JINsoon's Absolute Glitz ($18)—contrasts nicely against the bright red heart design.
We love this striking, silver-striped combo for a fresh twist on a graphic nail. The extra good news: tweaking the accent color will keep the mani seasonally relevant.
Glitter Dipped Ornaments
Make your nails look like holiday ornaments with this pretty shimmery nail design. The silver sparkles are elegant, especially when painted in this half-dipped effect. Use a small nail brush to clean up the extra sparkles around the edges.
NYE Digit-al Countdown
Those last 10 seconds before midnight will be no problem with this kitschy digital number design. Is it a lot? Yes. Do we love it? Also yes.
Sequin French Mani
If you can't let go of gold quite yet, combine it with silver to make another disco-appropriate manicure. Press the small sequins on with a brush to get the lines just right—and feel free to switch between silver and gold. They don't have to match if they're both metallic.
This iridescent ombré manicure is so whimsical, and it fits right in with the beauty industry's unicorn obsession. Rightly so—this magical mani fades to a subtle sparkle. Get an extra glow by using an iridescent topcoat like ILNP’s Moonstone ($13) as well.
Peach With Subtle Silver
If subtle nail art is more your speed, opt for this peach-and-silver manicure. The shimmery tip on each nail is so fine and delicate that we can't stop staring. Use a thin piece of tape to get a precise (and elegant) French-mani design.
Try painting thin graphic shapes on your nails with silver polish. The symmetrical shapes are spellbinding and let you go full-on futuristic without any big commitment.
Is it just us, or does a white-and-silver manicure pair perfectly with bold leopard-print clothing? We're about to make this color pairing our winter uniform. Try using tape to get the subtle side detailing, or if you're confident in your skills, freehand the smooth half-circles yourself.