We all love pastels in the summer, but traditional polishes often don’t pack the fashion-forward punch that we crave. But opaque pastel nail polishes offer that mod feel while also accentuating some of the season’s best fashion trends (white Birkenstocks, anyone?). Think of the dense stunners, which we’ve seen both on runways (including Badgley Mischka and Marchesa) and the red carpet, as candy-colored nails for grownups. An adult-looking pastel manicure is surprisingly easy to master. Just follow the expert advice from InStyle’s Executive Editor Amy Synnott:

Why I Love Opaque Pastel Polish …

1. It’s light and summery. Nothing looks better with a pair of crisp white jeans than a splash of milky pink or lavender polish.

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2. But not too cutesy. Minty green, periwinkle blue, Palm Beach coral … Under normal circumstances, these hues might seem unabashedly girlie. But when the finishes are as opaque as chalk, the effect is eye-catching and mod, like a white A-line mini for your nails (see Emma Roberts’s nails, above).

3. The color pops against every skin tone. Unlike, say, a layer of my usual springtime staple, Essie Mademoiselle ($9; essie.com), these vibrant hues won’t get all coy once they hit your nail bed. What you see in the bottle is what you get on your nails, and these bold pastels demand to be noticed.

Click through our gallery for more tips on achieving the look!

For more features like this, pick up the July issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download now.