The latest aesthetic to sweep social feeds everywhere involves sun protection, large kitchen islands, and the general ease of a woman retired into a life of bliss by the water. That's right, we're talking Coastal Grandmother.
If you’ve seen a Nancy Meyers movie, tried an Ina Garten recipe, or “slipped into” an oversized linen button-up, you may be experiencing life as a Coastal Grandmother. The newly-popular aesthetic is a nod to the type of comfortable, laidback lifestyle that might include wine-fueled book club meetings or evening walks on the beach. Nothing’s cropped or neon. In fact, neutrals reign supreme with timeless dashes of pale blue or pink.
I polled my Instagram about the trend and was surprised at the influx of responses from friends in the fashion industry and beyond. For coastal granny devotees, its recent surge in popularity is beside the point. “Over the years my friends and family have been known to call me 'grandma,' and I could not be happier that my style now has a cool name,” shared publicist Danielle Triano. Writer and content creator Gracie Weiner could relate: “Personally, I feel like my whole life has been prepping me for the 'Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic' moment since this is how I have been dressing my whole life.” She calls the look “a love letter to freedom, independence, and a lack of responsibility.” Where do we sign up?
Like in many internet-defined subcultures, there are certain canonical films that serve as a cornerstone for the way of dressing—or rather, way of living. For burgeoning CGs, Something's Gotta Give and It's Complicated are canon. Nancy Meyers is queen. Natural fibers and shades of cream (choice features of a Meyers movie set) reign supreme. As such, there’s something familiar and nostalgic about the aesthetic. Copywriter Sammy Luterbach Walsh agrees. “It reminds me of every formative movie I loved growing up,” she shares. Does she dream of living in Carmel-By-the-Sea and finally uncovering Meg Ryan’s yellow floral sheets from You’ve Got Mail? Yes and yes.
According to Tiktok’s resident expert on the trend, Lex Nicoleta, you don’t have to be a grandmother to be a Coastal Grandmother. She’s been spearheading the trend on Tiktok for a few months posting content ranging from Coastal Grandmother cocktails to helpful Q+As on the trend. The “CG”, as it’s been coined, has now taken over her profile, spawning offshoots from other creators featuring CG-isnpired playlists, soothing moodboards, and trend deep dives.
Don't believe TikTok? Take it from a real-life CG. The founder of Parlay House, a women's networking community, Anne Devereux-Mills lives the dream as a bi-coastal grandmother (she's known as "Lovey" to her granddaughter) all day, every day.
When in New York, Devereux-Mills opts for chic sneakers ideal for running around. In San Francisco, she’s more likely to go for a "slide and loafers vibe." Despite my introducing her to the online Coastal Grandmother phenom, she has an innate, expert-level grasp of the aesthetic, having lived it herself. She describes the feeling as “having reached the age where we define style rather than it defining us." And the CG look isn't just about comfort either. It's more about embracing ease and versatility. "If I want to look chic and cozy, I do, but there's tons of room to dial it up into glam and dial it back into a cover-up over my swimsuit. This phase is about breaking old rules and making new ones based on self-confidence and self-acceptance.”
Just as there are certain essential movies for the Coastal Grandmother look, there’s one blogger who comes immediately to mind for those in the know: Carly Riordan, whose now-defunct blog, The College Prepster, you might have poured over in the early 2010s. She’s been pioneering straw hats, hydrangeas, and romanticizing your life as it is for over a decade. “Finally a name to encapsulate the comfortably chic look I love to wear all summer long," she said of the aesthetic. "Personally, I love the idea of well-worn clothes– it's not about buying something new necessarily but wearing your favorite neutral pieces all the time.”
In short, dressing like a Coastal Grandmother prioritizes longevity and comfort. Donate your tight, strappy dresses. Embrace linen caftans. You’ll need a baseball hat to start, if it’s needlepoint and tennis white-approved, all the better. Stick to comfortable shoes like Birkenstocks or Tretorn sneakers. You’ll also want a Boat and Tote in every size. Try mixing things up with a cheeky monogram. And no look is complete without a breezy button-up.
When I asked Devereux-Mills about the joys of her bi-coastal grandmother lifestyle, she shared this advice: “Welcoming people into your home with warmth and grace. Having the experience to pull food together with whatever you've got in your fridge. Not sweating the small stuff. Focusing on deep and meaningful conversations. Giving and receiving love.”
Whether this trend is just another part of the Y2K resurgence (Nancy Meyers's heyday) or a reaction to the past two years spent at home, it’s refreshingly wholesome. And unlike recent aesthetic tropes, it’s as subtle as a state of mind.