Wave good-bye to the classic French manicure. Sophisticated designs, textured polishes and rich hues go from cult to mainstream this season. "It's all about indulgence," says Jan Arnold, co-founder of Creative Nail Design, the Vista, California-based manufacturer of trendy nail products. Autumn's new tints: deep red, plum, brown and gold, spiked with mica to give a metallic shine. Grainy polish, airbrushed designs and glue-on features (i.e., tiny jewelry) add tactile and visual flair.
Bernadette Thompson, manicurist to such stars as Madonna and Kate Hudson, says celebs are taking to nail art. Nails have become an important accessory, and with an average cost of $14, a manicure is a mostly affordable indulgence. "Nails are a statement that women are presenting themselves in a more together way," says Stanley Teitelbaum, a New York City-based psychologist. "The well-manicured woman is expressing how she feels about herself and how she wants to be perceived by others." --Meredith Perez and Dorie Edelstein