7 Creative French manicure ideas you have to try

Nov 16, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. ET
Image: Emily Chen/EyeEm/Getty Images

Beauty mavens are inventing clever and bold takes on the French manicure that you have to see to believe — and then immediately copy.

French manicures are classy, conservative, perfect for tea parties, and — yawn — just a wee bit dull. Ever since the 1970s (though some speculate it was created in the '30s), the French mani has been adored by women who crave something stylish and sophisticated and don't want to be bothered changing their nail polish shade every three days so that their orange tips won't clash with their red flare disco jumpsuits. The concept was simple: Paint the tips stark white and soften the look with a beige, nude or light pink overlay.

It looks clean, effortless and all natural.

Classic french manicure
Image: Kara Endres/SheKnows

But it doesn't look hip, cool or necessarily interesting. On those days when you simply want to blend in, the French manicure is there for you. But during those times when you want to stand out, the French mani can also be your best friend, believe it or not — if you step it up a notch and boldly go where these nine trendsetters took their manicures.

1. Floral French manicure

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This beautiful mani brings you the best of both worlds — a classic French manicure coupled with something slightly different, but still ultra feminine. In this nail lover's case, her floral details were hand-painted by a salon professional, but you can achieve similar results at home using a nail wrap like Jamberry Silver Floral (Jamberry, $15).

2. Gray French manicure

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Gray and blue nails are hot — and all it takes to update the French mani is a bit of the old switcheroo — instead of using a beige or pink overlay, grab a shade like Essie Petal Pushers. It's a bit moody, and way sexier than your classic French manicure.

3. Metallic French manicure

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We're going to see a lot of metallic colors this season and well into spring 2016. Get a jumpstart on the trend by trading your white French mani stripe with a more minimalist and thinner line of gold. And, if you're looking to add even more razzle dazzle, experiment with tiny silver or rhinestone accents that can be placed at the base of your nail.

More: Water marble nails: How to finally master this nail art technique

4. Pop of yellow French manicure

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Consider this the anti-pink. Yellow and gray always look gorgeous together, but this look works because yellow is being used as an accent, much in the same way you'd rely on it while decorating a living room. Her one accent nail is a fun and whimsical addition to an already effervescent look.

5. Stiletto French manicure

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Sometimes the freshest way to change up your nail look isn't to play around with colors, it's to experiment with different shapes. This nude French mani is as timeless as you can get, but by shaping your nails into sharp stiletto points, your look instantly goes from safe to slightly scandalous.

More: DIY Stiletto nails without acrylic

6. Nail art French manicure

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Nude French manicured nails provide the perfect blank palette upon which you can showcase sweet pops of color like these beautiful feathers. Love how she changed the position of each decal so that her nails aren't identical.

7. Embellished French manicure

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Updating a french manicure can be as simple gluing an embellished decal on one (or more) nails. This is especially perfect for holiday parties and New Year's Eve.

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