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I’m going to go out on a limb here and quote Macklemore’s 2012 hit song Thrift Shop. In the millennial-cherished rap song Macklemore says, “I’ma take your grandpa’s style, I’ma take your grandpa’s style” in almost a threatening tone, demanding hand-me-downs. While I haven’t been keeping up with Macklemore recently, I have been keeping up with fashion trends and I think it may be time for him to release Thirft Shop: Part 2. The “Coastal Grandmother” aesthetic has been coined as the ultimate vibe for the summer—in an unexpected turn of events, you’re going to want to raid your grandma’s closet.
The term “Coastal Grandmother” started gaining major traction on TikTok and has left viewers with much to contemplate. What is a coastal grandmother? Do you have a coastal grandmother? Is there a way to acquire a coastal grandmother? And finally, how do I become a coastal grandmother at the ripe age of 25?
To help answer these questions, I’ll provide a comprehensive overview of the term. Essentially, a coastal grandmother is an entire lifestyle inspired by the aesthetic portrayed in Nancy Meyers’ movies. Perhaps you’ve always felt an affinity to Diane Keaton’s character in Something’s Gotta Give or Natasha Richardon’s portrayal of the glamorous mom in The Parent Trap—if so, you may be a coastal grandmother. Maybe you find yourself following Ina Garten’s roast chicken recipe with a cable knit sweater tied around your shoulders—that’s coastal grandmother material. And finally, if you’ve ever felt the desire to take a long solo walk on the beach in a button-down and a woven hat—there’s no question that you’re a coastal grandmother through and through.
The trending term follows a laid-back, fresh-from-the-garden lifestyle that is refreshingly anything but trendy. The coastal grandmother aesthetic is rooted in classic ocean-side minimalism but isn’t overly preppy. For example, a coastal grandmother would wear a striped sweater over a collared shirt but wouldn’t be caught dead in a printed Lilly Pulitzer dress (that’s true preppy grandmother territory).
Here’s a list of 10 things a coastal grandmother would do:
- Steal her lover’s work button-down and wear it with worn-in jeans to dinner
- Keep a pocket notebook to write poetic phrases when inspiration strikes
- Pick fresh peonies from her garden (and just tend to a garden in general)
- Exclusively use Le Labo laundry detergent
- Open a bottle of red wine at 4 pm
- Take long walks on the beach (either solo or with her beloved dog)
- Wear a signature stack of gold jewelry, curated over time from flea markets
- Swear by a capsule wardrobe—white, tan and shades of blue and green only
- Invite her friends over every week for afternoon tea
- Show up to every occasion in a straw hat
Anne Hathaway even took to Instagram to show her support for the #coastalgrandmother trend and said “may this moment never end.”
Luckily, none of the signature traits of a coastal grandmother actually require having grandchildren so the aesthetic is entirely achievable (even if you don’t live on the coast). All you need to do is lean into high-quality simplicity. This could be as easy as wearing an oversized cardigan to the farmer’s market and bringing a reusable woven tote—of course it will help if you make a fresh salad with the ingredients you buy when you get home.
If you’re eager to add a little coastal grandmother to your life, the items below will help you achieve the look.
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Terry Cloth Crop Beach Pant
If a coastal grandmother isn’t wearing linen, you can bet that she’s rocking terry cloth. This pair of sunny yellow terry cloth pants are just what you’ll want to slip on after a day at the beach. They come in four other bright colors and are available in sizes XXS-5X.
The Somerset Maxi Dress
Fluttery sleeves, ruching at the waist and a long hemline all make a coastal grandmother’s list of favorite things. This gorgeous maxi dress comes in 11 (!) patterns but the ocean blue is certainly the most coastal. It’s available in sizes XXS-3X.
Boat & Tote Cotton Canvas Bag
Coastal grandmothers have a packed schedule of activities and need a bag that will carry them through them all. This L.L. Bean tote is adorable and works for the farmer’s market, a picnic or a day trip.
Linen Blend Pants
When it comes to comfort, a coastal grandmother prefers light linen pants over heavy fleece sweats.
Tree House Candle
Byredo makes some of the best-smelling candles on the market and you know a coastal grandmother would have a signature scent.
Floral Print Dress
A floral dress is the perfect option for a carefree summer look. This one would also pair well with a striped sweater draped over the shoulders.
Army Green Coastal Linen Rib Tank
The Way-High Jean
Comfort is a key priority in the coastal lifestyle—these stretchy high-waisted jeans are perfect for days spent walking around town.
The Boxy Oxford
Boston Soft Footbed Clogs
If there’s one piece of the coastal grandmother wardrobe that I already own and love, it’s this pair of Birkenstocks.
A coastal grandmother would probably knit herself a cardigan but this floral sweater is a beautiful piece if knitting isn’t your strong suit.
The Cove Hat
Sunglasses are great but coastal grandmothers prefer a woven hat to keep the sun out of their eyes. This one will take you from brunch to the beach.
Le Labo Signature Detergent
Part of being a coastal grandmother is creating a clean fresh scent that follows you everywhere. A good way to ensure you always smell as fresh as the ocean breeze is to use bougie laundry detergent.
Striped Knit Sweater
Linen Shirt With Pockets
Coastal grandmothers live for linen. This lightweight shirt from Zara can be worn buttoned or undone and would even look classy as a swimsuit cover up.