This has been the summer of loose-fitting linen shirts, leisurely walks on the beach, and Le Creuset cooking sets — and it's all largely thanks to TikTok creator Lex Nicoleta. Ever since she coined the term “coastal grandmother” in her now-viral video in March 2022 (which has since garnered over a billion views on the app), dressing like a character from a Nancy Meyers movie has become the escapist trend of the season. It's even earned the approval of Meyers herself.
“It's been so fun watching everyone live out their ‘coastal grandmother’ summer,” Nicoleta tells Refinery29. “It feels like a breath of fresh air where we’re doing things we enjoy and really making the most out of life.”
For the creator, who has nearly 150,000 followers on TikTok, the “coastal grandmother” way of life goes beyond fashion: It's about “slowing down and taking the time to do things that make you happy.” For Nicoleta, that includes beach trips, morning walks, cooking with her husband, and swimming. “There’s definitely been a shift on social media from showing an ‘Instagrammable life’ to showing more of a real life,” she says. “That’s what ‘coastal grandmother’ is all about: the little moments that make life great.”
That doesn’t mean she hasn’t been dressing the part. Nicoleta says that throughout the season, she’s found herself coming back to three “coastal grandmother” essentials: a button-down shirt, a chunky sweater, and white pants. She adds that, while summer is coming to an end, she’s already envisioning ways to transition the aesthetic’s key items for a “coastal grandmother” fall. “Each of those pieces are versatile and can be worked in so many ways,” she says. Even the above-mentioned outfit formula can be quickly transformed into an office-appropriate look with a pair of black pumps or ballet flats without losing its “coastal grandmother” essence.
Even if we’ve come to know “coastal grandmother” as a summer aesthetic, Nicoleta assures us it’s a seasonless style. As long as you channel what she calls the three C’s — classic, comfortable, and chic — your inner retiree gets to live on, no matter the weather. “‘Coastal grandmother’ is always more traditional than trendy, so opt for more timeless pieces,” she says.
As the days start to get shorter and temperatures drop, don’t let the memories — and fashion staples! — of “coastal grandmother” summer fade away. Here’s how to hold on.
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"Coastal grandmother" fashion may have started at the beach, but with people returning from summer vacations, the breezy vibes can continue as we head into fall.
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