Nailspiration: The Great Gatsby (+ a DIY 1920’s Manicure How To)

The Great Gatsby manicureThe day has finally arrived. The Great Gatsby hits theaters today! I’m cautiously optimistic about the movie. I love the Baz Luhrmann version of Romeo + Juliet (it’s really quite brilliant) so I’m hoping he has the same success with Gatsby.

Last summer I got a Julep Maven box specifically because it contained a nail polish called Daisy. Gatsby has been my favorite book since I was a teenager (my English teacher assigned the first 5 chapters to us one weekend and I ended up reading the entire thing!). I read it once a year or so and I always find something new or different each read. When I got wind of the movie I was really hoping a company would release a nail polish line to go along with the film. Sadly, that didn’t happen.

This led me to do some research on nail polish trends in the 1920’s. My research led first to this wonderful soap ad. The model’s nails look amazing! Jordan Baker (played by Elizabeth Debicki) has a similar manicure in this still from the film.

I wanted to give a 1920’s era manicure a try. Basically, it is a half moon manicure that also has no polish on the tips. It’s similar to the manicure I did based on Water for Elephants, which was set in the 1930’s. The difference being in the 20’s there was not a contrasting color on the tips but no nail polish at all. This allowed the polish to last longer (plus it’s a difficult look to achieve yourself so it was sort of a status symbol).

After several failed attempts I finally achieved, what I think, is a pretty spot on 20’s manicure. It looks very strange to the 2013 eye! But I ended up kind of liking it. The look is very chic and understated.

For how I achieved this manicure check below the jump! And make sure to leave a comment and let me know what you think about the 1920’s manicure!


The Great Gatsby manicure bottles

What you need:

  1. A sheer pink with no shimmer (I used Essie Mademoiselle) or just a regular base coat
  2. A red polish that compliments your skintone (I used Layla Oh My Red). A polish that only requires one coat is ideal.
  3. Top Coat
  4. Hole Reinforcement Labels
  5. Small cleanup brush
  6. Nail polish remover

How to:

  1. Apply whatever you’re using as a base coat/color and let it dry completely.
  2. Half Moon Manicure How ToWorking one nail at a time, cut a slit into a hole reinforcement label. Use the sticker to create a half moon (like the photo on the right). The half moon can be as big or as small as you would like, though to stay authentic it should stay on the smaller side.
  3. Apply the red polish to the rest of the nail and remove the sticker immediately. Repeat on the rest of the nails.
  4. Once the red polish is dry to the touch take a small brush dipped in nail polish remover and remove the nail polish just on the tip of the nails. The key to this is to remove enough so it doesn’t just look like tip wear but not to take off so much that it makes the nail look wide.
  5. Top it off with a top coat and you’re done!

Like I said, this manicure does look very strange to the 2013 eye. It takes a bit of getting used it! It’s not a look I would wear every day but it would be fun for a Gatsby party or Halloween.

The Great Gatsby manicure 2 The Great Gatsby manicure 3


14 responses to “Nailspiration: The Great Gatsby (+ a DIY 1920’s Manicure How To)

  1. Cute – I am a big Fitzgerald fan too. I have read all his books and many 3 and 4 times. I have mixed feelings on the new movie ’cause am not a big fan of Baz Laurmen’s – I really liked the previous version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. But I probably will break down to see it – like the cast.

    • I didn’t really like the Robert Redford version (though it has been ages since I’ve watched it). I should give it another go.

  2. Mrs. ManPolish

    Love this! I wanted a Gatsby collection of polishes desperately, too! Julep did do a 1920s themed box this month with some awesome shades and lipsticks, so I settled for that. Going to see it tomorrow with a girlfriend. Think I may try this mani and if I’m not talented enough, will settle for just plain red! Love, love, love Gatsby! I did the same thing with my English assignment. 3 chapters? No, whole novel! 😛

  3. I love it! I am so into that 1920’s and 1930’s aesthetic, so it doesn’t look strange to my eyes at all(you will find me watching classic films on TCM rather than go to the theater-but I may make an exception for Gatsby, one of my favorite novels). I am seeing art deco perfection in a mani. off to search for the perfect red and pink to give it a try!

    • It still looks so strange to me. I think it’s just the lack of polish on the tips! I love trying looks from different time periods, though.

  4. I was a big reader in school too. when they gave me chapters to read i would go and finish the book. the Great Gatsby was on of my faves along with The Lord of the Flies

  5. Gorgeous and very classy looking! Will definitely try.

  6. I had an observant friend notice and we both wondered ,why were the nails in the movie all seeming to be chipped on ends , anyone? The daily varnish????

  7. Great post. I noticed Jordan’s manicure as shown in the still while watching the film and was trying to find it on the internet! The job you did on your own nails looks great, exactly what I’m looking for, thanks.

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