Right about now you're likely shifting your mind—and your wardrobe—toward fall, with all its checks, plaids and velvets. Why not conjure those prints and textures on your nails, too? This design, by New York City manicurist Katie Jane Hughes, combines a cheeky boxed pattern and a rich, shimmering cobalt; the contrast, she says, "of the matte base and the shiny white stripes creates such fun dimension."
As always, you'll want to start with a strengthening base coat. On top paint two coats of deep metallic blue (Hughes used "Teen Spirit" by China Glaze ($6; hbbeautybar.com). Over that, lay down a matte clear coat (try Smith & Cult Flatte, $18; neimanmarcus.com) and let it all dry. "When you make a metallic matte," says Hughes, "it produces this velvety finish that feels very high-end." Once your work has set, dip a striping brush into a white nail polish, like Butter London's "Cotton Bud" ($15; butterlondon.com). Working from the outer top edge, paint three vertical stripes, creating shorter stripes as you work your way toward the center. Then cross the vertical stripes with three horizontal lines, starting from the top and working your way down. Don't fuss over making the lines all the same length; let the ends trail off as they may. And whatever you do, don't apply a traditional top coat—it'll just negate that matte surface you created.
Check out our video here for the finer points, and the finished look.