My look: Kathryn Feeley

Kathryn Feeley.
Kathryn Feeley.

In the words of Stevie Nicks, stand back. This week’s Instagram style star is a real hot tamale. She refers to herself as a “sassy minimalist” who never met a sequin collar or piece of cat-themed clothing she didn’t like. Coincidentally, I’ve never met a sassy minimalist I didn’t like. Kathryn Feeley (, a 25-year-old waitress and fashion designer from Allston, has another talent that she puts on display every day. She uses her fingernails as a canvas for her works of art. She started at age 10 by painting lady bug nails, now she’s the Mary Cassatt of cuticles. Time to hit the parlor with Feeley.

Q. You told me that people always ask “Are those your real nails?” “Where did you get those done?” and “Are you ambidextrous?” Now I’m asking.

A. Are my nails real? Yes. Where do I get them done? I do them myself, usually in my living room, but sometimes my kitchen. Am I ambidextrous? Technically no, but my left hand has gotten pretty crafty with a lot of practice.


Q. How many requests do you get from friends and strangers to paint their nails?

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

A. I get lots of requests. It’s so fun! I’ve done some friends’ nails for a girls night out and even did some skulls on a super cool guy friend.

Q. Do you have an arsenal of small paint brushes that you use to do all of that tiny fine work? A magnifying glass?

A. To be honest, I really need to step up my tool game. I’ve been making due with household objects like toothpicks and sewing pins, but I think it’s time I got some serious brushes. I also have a few nail art pens which I find very useful.

Q. Do the nails every get in the way of your work as a waitress or fashion designer?


A. Not as much as you might think. I apply a topcoat (the clear stuff) daily to keep them from chipping. For the most part I’ve learned to adapt and do things with my fingertips, but at the end of the day, nail art, while beautiful, is a temporary art. From a fashion perspective, it’s neat to design a look right down to a coordinating nail.

Q. What is your favorite piece of cat-themed clothing? Can I borrow it?

A. This is a tough one. Probably a midnight blue silk tunic printed with tiny cats, planets, and stars. From far away, it’s a cool abstract pattern, but up close, it’s cats! In space! Of course you can borrow it! I recommend pairing it with off-white suede cowboy boots and lavender nails.

Q. Is there a secret nod or handshake that you nail art ladies give when you see each other? Or do you sneer at one another because there is an unspoken competition to create the fiercest nails?

A. I’ve never experienced any animosity from a fellow nail fanatic, although the last time I went to get a pedicure, the artist gave my hands a very calculating stare. I think she approved. A handshake is a good idea, although it might have to be more of a salute, just in case one of us is still waiting for a topcoat to dry.

Want to be featured as our next Instagram style star? Hashtag your Instagram photos #BostonSnap. Christopher Muther can be reached at Follow him on Instagram at Chris_Muther. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.