Vintage Nail Designs: Retro Dip Powder Nail Art In 2021

4 min read

Get retro / vintage style nails to go with your grandmillennial style. What's old is new again with these quirky, fun nail art looks! Take our inspo to create your own vintage-y dip powder mani.

Fun fact: “Grandmillennial” is a portmanteau of grandma and millennial. It's a term coined by House Beautiful editor Emma Bazilian to describe the young-ish ones who are into a more traditional aesthetic.

And, yup, if you're into the whole granny chic trend—think Taylor Swift in a cardigan with retro elements, such as cherries, polka dots, or flowers—you'd be obsessed with this roundup of six dip nail designs that give off serious vintage vibes.

1. French Manicure

The white tip and nude nail look have been around since 1975, and it remains a classic favorite to this day. It's elegant, universal, timeless. You'll even see variations of it everywhere in the mani community—because a classic style doesn't have to be boring!

For our own take on the French mani, we ditched French White for our new (and sparkly!) GL46 Rose Gold dip powder set in a black backdrop.

Looks gorgeous, right? Recreate this French mani with a twist with the help of our Rose Gold Glitter Nails tutorial.

2. Moon Manicure

This vintage nail design was first spotted in the late 1920s and became more popular the following decade. As the name suggests, you can achieve this look by leaving a crescent shape at the base of your fingernail bare. It's like the French mani but reversed.

Back in its heyday, the most popular color for the moon mani is red (and various shades of it). But much like the classic French Mani (see #1), you don't have to stick to a single shade only.

Feel free to choose your own bold dip powder color, like the NE22 Ultramarine Blue we've featured in our Half-Moon Mani tutorial.

3. Cherry Manicure

One order of sweet-looking dip mani, you say? Coming right up with cherries on top!

This ruby red goodness may be the trendiest fruit around. It has adorned dresses since 1898, and for decades since the 30s, it has also been used to decorate home goods, handbags, and jewelry.

Today, you can also go for the vintage yummy look by adding cherries-with-stems to your dip manicure. How? With our CL9 Deep Red and CL2 Leafy Green dip powders, of course.

Watch this tutorial on how to do the Cherry Bomb Nail Art.

4. Polka Dots Manicure

No vintage nail art list is complete without the itsy bitsy teenie weenie polka dots—the pattern that was first seen in a Philadelphia-based women's magazine back in 1857. Remember how the cherry print became super trendy since the 1930s (see # 3)? Polka dots were just as popular around the same time. So for maximum retro feels, these two separate vintage designs are usually combined together.

For our Polka Dot Nails tutorial, we kept things simple yet sophisticated with multidimensional abstract polka dots (CL64 Black Onyx) in a muted background (NA23 Nude Buff).

5. Floral Manicure

We're less than a month away from saying bonjour to spring, and what better way to welcome the new season than to don a floral dip mani. Sure, Miranda Priestly will most likely NOT approve of florals for spring, but according to Glamour, retro '70s flower nail art designs are spring's top trend.

If cartoonish florals aren't your thing, you can opt for encapsulated dried flowers and gold foil combo instead.

See our tutorial on Floral & Gold Nails, which also features dip powder CL40 Deep Wine, CL43 Spicy Red, and NA7 PSL Orange.

6. Plaid Manicure

Did you think we're going to end our vintage nail art roundup without mentioning plaid? As if!

But before we have a dip conversation about retro nails inspired by Cher's yellow plaid outfit, here's a brief history lesson.

In the 1500s, this cross-hatched pattern was originally called tartan by the Scots who used it to distinguish one Scottish clan from another. Then the Brits and Americans created fabrics that looked like tartans—and they called it plaid. The more you know.

Now, let's go ahead and wrap up this article with the Plaid Dip Nails tutorial where we used dip powders CL66 Sunflower Yellow, CL70 Royal Blue, and CL68 Dirty Dijon.

Ready to go retro?

Up your grandmillennial game by sporting any of these vintage nail designs. As always, don't forget to share your nailfies with us at DipWell's Dipper Club or tag us on Instagram (@dipwellnails) and use our official hashtag (#DoYouDipWell).