Fashion

‘Coastal Grandma’ is my aspirational summer aesthetic



I’m curled up in a rattan chair on a sundeck, not-too-embarrassingly-low-brow chick lit novel in one hand and a chilled glass of Chablis in the other, contemplating a plate of heirloom tomatoes and homemade (by me) pesto as my white linen shirt wafts in the cool sea breeze…

This, friends, is a snapshot of my incoming Coastal Grandma summer. Allow me to explain.

‘Coastal Grandma’ is a phrase that refers to the laid-back, monied seafront lifestyle of the beautiful older women seen in Nancy Myers films like It’s Complicated and Something’s Gotta Give. It was coined by 26-year-old Californian TikToker Lex Nicoleta in a video she posted back in March describing her own dress sense: “Martha Stewart–adjacent, not fully Ina Garten…Nancy Meyers chic,” and has since exploded into a viral trend that informs everything from wardrobe choices to menus, playlists, and interiors – the TikTok hashtag has 1.1 billion views and counting and a 9-hour Coastal Grandma Spotify playlist (think Norah Jones, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole) has over 32,000 likes.

Nicoleta has since posted over 50 videos dissecting the CG moodboard, which has nothing to do with your actual gran (nor her holiday cottage in Bournemouth), and everything to do with the idealised cinema trope of glowy-skinned, turtleneck-wearing septuagenarians wafting around their palatial sun-drenched seafront properties complete with cream linen sofas with nautical stripe cushions, fresh-cut flowers and kitchens the size of Kensington Olympia. The CG’s mantra is to be deeply, unabashedly relaxed, her main hobbies: cashmere, yoga, and Chardonnay. The poster girls? Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton, natch.

Rex Features

The CG doesn’t care for Ibizan sunsets or thong bikinis; she likes expensive farmers market produce and early nights. She dresses exclusively in oversized white shirts, loose khaki linen trousers and straw bucket hats with simple strappy sandals and enjoys tending to her herb garden while listening to Barry Manilow. She makes homemade iced tea even when no one is coming over and owns a seemingly endless wardrobe of neutral-toned oversized cashmere knits.

The best part about the Coastal Grandma aesthetic? Advancing age and proximity to a beach are not requisite for adoption. “You don’t have to be a grandmother to be a ‘coastal grandmother,’” confirms Nicoleta, who herself practices the lifestyle from a home hundreds of miles inland. “It’s for anyone and everyone.”

It’s also unlike most TikTok fashion trends that have users running to Shein to panic buy ‘Regencycore’ opera gloves or Y2K cargo pants. CG celebrates a pared-back anti-trend aesthetic. It’s about timeless pieces; buying less but better.

At its core, the movement is about comfort, cosiness and slowing down. Given the current cataclysmic car crash that is global politics and finance, is it really so surprising that Gen Zers would rather light an expensive candle and escape the world by preserving some lemons in mason jars while swigging expensive Chardonnay? Beach or no beach, I’m right with them.

The five-piece capsule Coastal Grandma wardrobe:

A Day’s March

A Day’s March drawstring linen trousers, £90; adaysmarch.com

Monki

Monki white bucket hat, £15; monki.com

Chinti & Parker

Chinti & Parker relaxed fit roll neck cashmere jumper, £275; selfridges.com

Reiss

Reiss white linen shirt, £98; reiss.com

Ancient Greek

Ancient Greek sandals, £150; matchesfashion.com



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