Coastal Grandmother Fashion: A Seaside State of Mind (No Grandkids Required)

If you haven’t heard of the TikTok-born aesthetic, “coastal grandmother,” ladies, now is your chance to learn all about it. There’s no need to be a certain age, have grandchildren or even live by the beach to pull it off. Just like any escapist microtrend such as cabincore or balletcore, coastal grandmother is all about romanticizing your life. It’s about indulging in the little things that make life sweet. Imagine waking from an eight-hour slumber in satin pajamas to enjoying a home-brewed cappuccino in a porcelain teacup. Do you love the idea of hosting a dinner party with fresh veggies you plucked from your very own garden? Or, wearing flowy wide-leg pants and toting a rattan bag as you peruse local offerings at the nearby farmer’s market? If you’re nodding your head in agreement, news flash, you might just be a coastal grandmother at heart

There are many ways you can infuse coastal grandma vibes into your life. Our favorite way? By investing in easy breezy wardrobe must-haves. That’s where we come in, to help you identify those key trend-worthy pieces. But wait, we can’t pour the tea before letting it steep. Let’s pause to truly understand the origin of this lifestyle trend and how it came to be such an internet craze. Get ready to dive into a world of seasonal tablescapes, all-white ensembles and feel-good music.

The Origins of the Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic

TikToker, Lex Nicoleta, coined the term coastal grandmother (CG for short) and encourages all of us to give it a try. It’s a blend of elements, including coastal living, recipes from cookbooks and cozy home decor. No matter where you live, you can bring these luxurious, beachy vibes into your space at any budget. Small touches, like having fresh-cut flowers or a bowl of fruit in your home, add to the coastal grandma ambiance. 

Rom-coms and Nancy Meyers movies like “The Parent Trap” and “Something’s Gotta Give” are huge inspirations for this aesthetic. Hello, Diane Keaton in a turtleneck and bucket hat, walking barefoot along the beach. Oprah is another major CG fashion icon. Picture her in an off-duty button-up tending to her garden in Montecito, or whipping up a delicious dinner or dessert. Curious how you can emulate these cool granny vibes into your closet in a modern way? Stay tuned to find out how. 

What Is Coastal Grandmother Style?

So, what is coastal grandmother style, exactly? These looks are all about clean lines with a preppy style twist that are truly achievable in anyone’s closet. An essential part of achieving the ultimate coastal grandmother look is by nailing effortlessly chic style aesthetics. Think about what you might wear while sipping lemonade on your back porch on a brisk summer evening, or an outfit that best suits a seaside brunch event with your gal pals. 

Above all else, choosing the right colors will make or break your CG looks. Bright whites and warm neutrals are major players, so opt for shades of eggshell, cream, khaki and ivory. You also can’t go wrong with adding the occasional touch of sun-washed blue or sage green. A quintessential coastal grandmother closet has an assortment of solids and minimal prints such as small stripes or subtle plaids. When it comes to fabrics, the lighter and gauzier, the better. Cotton, linen and chambray will help you feel like you’re on your very own “Under the Tuscan Sun” adventure.

Stylist Tip: Luxury fabrics like silk and cashmere are right up coastal grandmother alley. If you feel like having a “treat yourself” moment, seek out pretty silk blouses or matching cashmere lounge sets. No matter where your day takes you, these fancy fabrics are wardrobe heroes shining bright in your closet. 

Building Your Coastal Grandmother Wardrobe

A huge perk to dressing in coastal grandmother fashion is that you’ll end up with a superbly functional capsule wardrobe. What is a capsule wardrobe, you ask? A small collection of tops, bottoms, dresses, layers, accessories and shoes that are easy to mix and match. Investing in staple pieces might feel like a colossal endeavor in the beginning, but there’s no need to do it all at once. You can slowly incorporate these versatile items as you find the right ones. Bonus—if you ever want to switch up aesthetics, it’ll be easy to do. Simply toss in a trending style or two without doing an entire overhaul of your closet. Before you make the CG plunge, take a peek at our guidelines for creating a classic coastal grandmother wardrobe. 

Must-have Tops and Layers

Are you looking to add only one shirt to your closet to achieve your coastal grandmother dreams? If so, let it be a crisp white collared button-up. Even better if it has a starched collar that you can flip up for preppy flair. You’ll find this blouse alone adds miles to your styles since it partners well with jeans, trousers, skirts and more. You name it, a white collared shirt will pair perfectly with it. 

A turtleneck is another solid go-to. Wear it on its own, or layered with other items during the cooler months. Speaking of layers, crewneck sweaters—delicate and chunky knits—are a total coastal grandma mood. Wear them over your collared tops, or draped and tied over the shoulders in a posh and polished fashion. For added warmth, swap overly structured jean jackets for soft chambray shackets instead. Styling a shirt jacket, aka shacket, is a cinch and keeps your outfits current with a more relaxed layering staple.    

Stylist Tip: An oversized button-up can double as a stellar beach cover-up after you’ve finished playing in the waves for the day. Toss it on over your swimsuit, slip on your sandals et voilà—you’re ready for a scoop of strawberry ice cream. 

Coastal Grandmother Bottoms

Now that we know which tops and layers fit the bill, let’s focus on coastal grandma bottoms. Opt for khaki pants in a shorter length for a reimagined take on this traditional trouser. Tan and olive capris that hit at the ankle and bermuda-length shorts are the way to go. When matched with a simple top or tank, you’re ready for a spin on your beach cruiser along the boardwalk. Don’t forget, fabrics are key. When thinking of breezy linens, be sure to add a pair of wide-leg pants to your checklist. There’s a certain carefree, yet sophisticated feel that comes with wearing flowy bottoms. Go from lounging poolside at a backyard BBQ to joining your ladies for happy hour without needing a wardrobe change. 

When it comes to closet classics, we would be remiss to leave out your trusty blue jeans. Coastal grandmother style parallels many elements in the Americana aesthetic, specifically that it’s grounded in great denim. Straight-leg jeans are currently a trendy silhouette, but they’re also timeless. Go for a medium wash and have confidence knowing you’ll reach for them season after season. After all, grans know best.

Lounge Essentials

Leisurely activities are a huge part of coastal grandmother 101, so don’t overlook an assortment of comfy loungewear. Borrow from your cottagecore closet with a cotton nap dress or kaftan paired with slippers and an open duster cardigan. If your sweater sweeps the floor, even better. A plush robe over a matching pajama set along with fuzzy socks is another bold CG move. Now that you’re dressed for a night in, snuggle up on the couch with an elaborate dessert charcuterie board. No mood is complete without the right playlist. Queue up a coastal grandmother playlist on Spotify and pretend you’re the leading lady in a rom-com circa the early 2000s.  

Shoes That Give Coastal Grandmother Vibes

For all of your coastal grandmother adventures, you’re going to need the right shoes. For any waterside strolls near an ocean, lake, river or neighborhood canal, slip-on sandals are the ideal footwear choice. Easily kick them off and roll the hems of your chinos to dip your toes into crisp, cool H2O. Shoes made with natural materials are optimal for pulling off a legit CG look. Leather slides or flip-flops (yes, they’re making a comeback with a Y2K fashion flair) are excellent choices. Cotton canvas finishes, whether they’re loafers with espadrille bottoms or lace-up sneakers, also offer a laid-back feel. Now you’re ready to start off your coastal grandmother closet on the right foot.

Accessories To Complete Coastal Grandmother Outfits

Last, but certainly not least, the crème de la crème when building a masterpiece coastal grandmother ensemble: accessories, of course. Picture yourself pruning your newly bloomed hydrangea bushes while peering over sleek cat-eye sunglasses. A straw sunhat shades your face, which is important because you’re invested in taking care of your skin. Your basket bag sits beside you on the grass, where you gather an array of blooms for your weekly centerpiece. To add that fabulous touch to your relaxed look, you’ve accessorized with simple pearl earrings. Lastly, you check your mixed-metal timepiece that lets you know you have 15 minutes to spare before book club with the ladies. Focusing on finishes with a retro feel builds the CG aura and adds a nostalgically bespoke effect. Congratulations, you’ve evolved into true coastal grandmother form. 

Ready to live out your coastal grandmother dreams in style? Our expert stylists are ready to lend a helping hand. Take your style quiz and request a Fix of pieces serving those coastal vibes. Try on everything in the comfort of your own home—keep what you love and send back the rest. Shipping and returns are always on us. 

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