Who’d have imagined that one of today’s top style trends would be saluting senior moments? But here we are, wrapping loosely worn cotton shirts around our easy elastic-waistband linen pants, triumphantly tossing bucket hats in air, as the newly coined “Coastal Grandmother style” takes social media platforms by storm. All of which makes us, women who are Aging Boldly, not only NOT invisible but bearers of a look to be lauded, a style to be celebrated, an image to be imitated.
My only question is, what took so long?! Make no mistake, it’s amazing to be actually emulated for a certain easy breezy way of life and dressing. But I’ve been dressing like this for decades. Talk about finally finding your 15 minutes of fame.
Seriously, when have you ever heard the words ‘aspirational lifestyle’ and ‘grandmother’ in the same sentence?
Ironically, this newly found claim to fame stems from 26-year old TikTok influencer Lex Nicoleta labeling her own COVID lockdown look as “Coastal Grandmother” and summing up the CG vibe as “Nancy Meyers movies, coastal vibes, recipes and cooking, Ina Garten, cozy interiors, and more….” The hashtag currently clocks in at more than 43.2 million views on the platform.
For a better understanding of the influence of Nancy Meyers’ movies, take a look at Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give, and Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated. (Of course, Keaton has a good track record as a fashion force; her Annie Hall look in the 70s was epic.) Our heroines truly embody an easy peasy, effortless beachiness. The CG persona is identified by her flowy, loose linen in white or neutrals, topped by an oversized button-down cotton poplin shirt and a punctuated by a bucket hat.
You definitely don’t have to be a grandmother to partake in this particular style predilection. (I’m certainly not; I’m not even a mother, except to a wiry Chihuahua named Diego.) I’ve also heard the look called “Boho goes to the beach,” which captures some of the spirit, but not the soul of it.
So What Else is New?
But CG style is not a new way of dressing. In fact, some (like, maybe, most?!) of those movies are at least 20 years old.
I will say that with the naming of this as a sartorial moment comes serious responsibilities. What’s been old (bucket) hat to us is now a fresh new way to be seen and admired through the eyes of younger women. We’ve got to step up to the (fashion) plate to show them how it’s done! Many millennials have been resorting to relaxed, easy fashion for the past two pandemic anti-fashion years, and that’s a big part of why we have always loved what’s now being called CG style. Its focus on comfort and ease, its pure simplicity. It’s no a coincidence that oversized layered shapes in casual unpretentious fabrics are perfect for all kinds of body types. After some extra pandemic poundage, a lot of us really appreciate the drawstrings and a billowy, forgiving silhouette.
After some extra pandemic poundage, a lot of us really appreciate the drawstrings and a billowy, forgiving silhouette.
Actually, layered linen-y looks always have been an aspirational way of dressing. Italian designer Giorgio Armani sparked this love of neutral linen textiles in the 1980s with loose silhouettes in a lovely elegant neutral color palette. Japanese brands, like Muji, popularized a boxy oversized fit that might scream CG to a younger fashionista. We’ve looked to Eileen Fisher time and time again for this kind of easy, loose, linen-y way of dressing; plus she focuses her attention on sustainability, too, which becomes the cherry on the top.
What’s crucial about this trend right now is that we are feeling seen and heard—and most important, by the younger eye and ear. With all the attention given to youth by society, media, and, hard to admit this, even by some older women as well, it’s so reaffirming that younger women are almost giddily idolizing the lifestyle of the mature woman—older women! they’re just like us!—who may seem to have it all: time, money, family, and no pressure to show off every curve.
Diane Keaton Speaks
Of course I’m not the only one Aging Boldly who is all over this trend. None other than Diane Keaton herself has chimed in on TikTok with a shout out. “From one Coastal Grandmother to another, Thank you!” she wrote to Lex Nicoleta.
@Rollingforrecipes posted: ”I brushed up my resume yesterday and I’ll have recruiters knocking soon. For now, I’m going to keep…pretending I’m living in a Nancy Meyers movie playing at being a #coastalgrandmother because it’s fun.”
Wearing cashmere sweater and linen pants. House in the Hamptons, cooking while soft jazz playing.
@Moonlightserenadee_ wrote: “Aspire to be a coastal grandma like Diane Keaton in “Something’s Gotta Give.” Wearing cashmere sweater and linen pants. House in the Hamptons, cooking while soft jazz playing. Reading in garden.”
And our fave is this from @thestyleequation: “Seriously, when have you ever heard the words ‘aspirational lifestyle’ and ‘grandmother’ in the same sentence? This is so cool…let’s ride this trend as long as we can! Off to the farmers market!”
Coastal Gran style may just keep on keeping on, if our generation has its way. As reported in Variety last month, “Nancy Meyers is bringing her filmmaking talents (and her immaculate kitchens) to Netflix” soon. Perhaps the ensemble comedy, Meyers’ film formula forte, will inspire another new senior style moment with hashtag accompaniment. Any guesses on what that might be?