Take a look at all the coolest girls you know and chances are they have something in common: they’re all rocking checker nails. In the past few weeks, it’s been impossible to scroll Instagram without seeing the graphic pattern incorporated into French tips, retro florals, and mismatched manis. Blame it on the popularity of The Queen’s Gambit or Lisa Says Gah, the fashion darling of the moment, but there’s no doubt it’s happening.
And by “happening,” we mean it’s everywhere. No longer limited to board games or classic Vans, the pattern has been popping up on home goods, clothing, and phone cases with fun twists like poppy pastels and wavy edges. In fact, it’s having such a moment, it’s a corner stone of what fashion fans have cheekily coined the “Avant Basic” aesthetic—think Paloma Wool matching sets, Wildflower phone cases, and colorful carpets.
When it comes to nails, twists on the pattern are equally as playful. One of the most popular versions, first posted by content creator Lauren Ladnier and frequently copied across the app, features the pattern in swooping French tips and varying colors. The color palette and off-kilter lines make it feel almost groovy and ’70s, but the graphic print keeps it feeling modern and cool.
Part of the pattern’s appeal is its versatility. Done in black and white, it looks clean and classic—or even emo, depending on the circumstances. Paired with flowers it’s psychedelic, like a Spongebob Squarepants background come to life. And covering a whole nail, it’s total Nascar vibes, in the coolest way possible.
If you’re skilled with a detail brush, check out the tutorial, below. For the rest of us, either leave checker nails a pro or go for press-ons. Both Chillhouse and Etsy’s extensive sticker selection can help you easily get the look.
And if you’re not feeling the time or patience it takes to get checker nails, you can always take the trend to your closet. Trust us, there are a ridiculous number of great ‘fits to be made. But if you need a good starting point, shop some of our favorite checker pieces, below.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.