There is a new TikTok aesthetic taking over the social media app, and we may have Nancy Meyers to thank for it. Since March, “Coastal Grandmother” — a term coined by creator Lex Nicoleta — has garnered over one billion views and exhibits all the best retirement fantasies we’ve ever had. Think: Jane Adler’s (Meryl Streep) laidback wardrobe of silk overshirts, delicate robes, gardening-ready sun hats in It’s Complicated or Erica Barry’s (Diane Keaton) beachside outfits that included white turtlenecks, cozy knits, and bucket hats in Something’s Gotta Give. Consider “Coastal Grandmother” the ultimate aesthetic we've all dreamed of having when those retirement savings accounts start rolling in.
The style, which is described by Nicoleta as “Martha Stewart–adjacent, not fully Ina Garten … Nancy Meyers chic,” includes staples like white button-downs, straight-leg jeans, caftans, and fancy robes. For reference, look to #coastalgrandmother icon Oprah, who is often found wearing a button-down shirt and straw hat while gardening. Don't have a garden of your own? You can embrace the aesthetic while shopping at the farmer’s market, baking an apple pie, and sipping a white wine spritzer on the porch/stoop/rooftop at the end of a long day.
Over the past few years, thanks to the pandemic, fashion has welcomed a series of escapist aesthetics, from “cottagecore” to “cabincore.” As the walls closed in on us quite literally during lockdown, we found ourselves yearning for the outdoors and transforming ourselves into corset-clad fairies that dream of rural pastures and rolling hills.
Yet, “Coastal Grandmother” hits different. Its escapism relies on a shared desire to live by the beach, buy overpriced tossed salads, and spend our days wearing maxi dresses while finding Great Love in our 60s. But for many millennials and Gen Zers, who witnessed the rise of the gig economy, the retirement goal of Meyers’ movies is becoming more of a fantasy by the day, as we find ourselves owning just 5% of the wealth in the United States.
So, excuse us while we put on our white button-downs to shop at the farmer’s market for our Saturday plans to make a lemon cake. If you want in now, here’s how you can dress the part.
For “Coastal Grandmothers,” the white button-down shirt is a staple because of the item’s versatility, taking its wearer from gardening to sipping wine at a pool party.
The key to “Coastal Grandmother” jeans is to pick a pair that’s slouchy and distressed enough to go for a beach walk.
A caftan is a key item to look like you embrace vacation life year-round, transitioning from reading a book by the water to hosting friends for a lemon-themed lunch (Le Creuset cookware is a must!).
“Coastal Grandmothers” know the sun is an enemy to the skin, and so they always wear a chic hat. From straw hats and visors, add a versatile, casual hat to your accessories lineup to channel this aesthetic.
Everyday luxury is a running theme in the “Coastal Grandmother” aesthetic, so why drink coffee wearing years-old T-shirt from your high school field days? Cover it up with an elegant robe — whether terry cloth or silk — to make your mornings feel more indulgent.
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