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The latest trend making waves on TikTok and Instagram? Coastal clothing, grandma style. The so-called “coastal grandmother” aesthetic, which includes linen pants and beach-ready hats, is shifting the tides of fashion towards more clean, classic pieces.
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And with “#coastalgrandmother” racking up over 78 million views on TikTok alone so far, it’s safe to say the seaside styles and slow-paced lifestyle have caught on fast. To put a relaxed-yet-refined spin on your summer style, follow these expert tips.
What does ‘coastal grandmother’ mean?
The term “coastal grandmother,” which evokes both a comfortable aesthetic and a laid-back lifestyle, was first coined by TikToker Lex Nicoleta. But don’t be fooled by the name, as there’s no age minimum for embracing the trend. In addition to sporting clean, classic looks, a day in the life of a “coastal grandmother” includes creating a cozy, well-decorated home, going for walks on the beach, and enjoying the small things (think sunsets and Ina Garten-approved cocktails).
What is coastal grandmother style?
When it comes to fashion, coastal grandmother style is epitomized by on-screen leading ladies, including Diane Keaton in Nancy Meyers’ Something’s Gotta Give, Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun, and Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda in Grace and Frankie. While the coastal costumes have proved trend-setting, however, internet infamy was never part of the plan—at least for Nicoletta Ercole, costume designer for Under the Tuscan Sun. When she set out to design styles for the 2003 film, Ercole says her focus was on the characters and on trying to “invent a new style, exactly for that role and for that actor.”
That said, it’s no surprise that the clothing, including white button-downs and floppy hats, have stood the test of time. “I think that all the movies, all the stories that you make, must be timeless,” she says. “For instance, Under the Tuscan Sun is an old movie for us because [it was] 20 years ago, but if you watch it now, it’s not…obsolete.”
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Neither are the styles in the film, as the current coastal grandmother trend proves. And although the look references movies from the past, it will likely stick around in the future for at least another year or so, predicts New York-based fashion stylist JenniLee. “The pandemic had everybody lounging around in sweats and feeling really…cozy and protected because life is very scary,” she says of the aesthetic’s appeal. “With the coastal grandmother trend, you get to feel like you’re getting dressed, you’re making a look, you’re being on trend, but you’re not losing any of that comfort and aspirational luxury.”
Want to add some of that comfort to your closet? Look for pieces in the colors of the coast itself, says JenniLee, who recommends “curating a little pocket of your closet” in blues, greens, grays, and neutrals. Whether you’re having a staycation at home or actually hitting the seashore, consider coastal grandmother style staples for a summer-ready wardrobe refresh.
Sport an oversized straw hat
Top off your look with the perfect seaside style: a straw hat. Frances, protagonist of “Under the Tuscan Sun” wore one so memorable, Ercole says people still ask her if they can borrow it for their weddings, anniversaries, and other special occasions. Her answer? “I’m very appreciative that they ask me this, but I say if you want it, [I’d] have to make it for you…it’s impossible to buy.”
While Frances’ hat, which Ercole had woven at a hat shop in Florence, isn’t available to purchase, you can still shop plenty of similar straw styles. Try J.Crew’s Textured Summer Straw Hat, which comes in tan in one size. “It provides great shade from the sun and isn’t floppy or too stiff,” one review raves of the top-rated piece. For a budget-friendlier option, consider the Straw Hat at H&M, which comes in women’s sizes S to L in two shades of beige.
Because the coastal grandmother wears many hats—both literally and figuratively—bucket hats in light, coastal colors also fit the aesthetic. Channel Diane Keaton with the Short-Brimmed Bucket Hat from Madewell. The bestselling style comes in small-medium and medium-large in off-white.
Take it easy in breezy linen pants
When it comes to color palette, think white sandy beaches. Ercole recommends mixing white wardrobe staples with black shoes, calling the look “always on trend.” And the costume designer isn’t the only one praising neutral pieces. The coastal grandmother trend heavily features monochromatic styles, says JenniLee, adding that the looks have long been trending elsewhere in fashion thanks in part to brands like Kanye West’s Yeezy label.
Try the Cabo Linen Wide Leg Pant from Athleta, which features zippered pockets perfect for storing some seashells (or a cellphone) during a beach stroll. It has a 4.5-star rating based on over 2,200 reviews, and comes in four colors—including white—in women’s sizes 00 to 26. For a less pricey, just as breezy bottom to rock this summer, Consider the High-Waisted Cropped Linen-Blend Straight-Leg Pants at Old Navy, which are available in five colors in women’s sizes XS to 4X. “These pants are so comfy and light,” one reviewer writes, noting that you can also “dress them up for work.”
Layer with lightweight cashmere sweaters
The coastal grandmother trend is all about luxury. And when it comes to sweaters, what’s more luxurious than cashmere? “It’s all about a really thin, lightweight cashmere, whether it’s a cardigan, a duster, or just an oversized V-neck,” says JenniLee, who recommends accessorizing with “earthy, sculptural pieces” or delicate gold jewelry.
J.Crew’s cotton-cashmere raglan crewneck sweater comes in a range of five coastal grandmother-approved hues—including white, tan, and pale blue—in women’s sizes XXS to 3X. One reviewer calls the cotton-cashmere blend “soft and less itchy” than a 100% wool option. For a turtleneck, consider the Cashmere Square Turtleneck from Everlane, which comes in five colors in women’s sizes S to XL. It has a 4.5 star-rating from over 1,200 reviews, and one reviewer calls it “my favorite sweater for style and cashmere feel, drape, and weight.”
Opt for a classic button-down blouse
Another quintessential coastal grandmother staple? The button-down blouse. Try the We the Free Summer Daydream Buttondown from Free People, an oversized style with raw hemlines. Reviewers rave over the “perfect for any season” style, which comes in 15 colors in women’s sizes XS to XL. You can also find the everyday essential in cropped versions, such as Forever 21’s Cropped Linen-Blend Shirt. The semi-sheer style comes in tan and white in women’s sizes XS to XL.
Layer the look with a solid-colored undershirt, such as the Puckered Organic Linen Scoop Neck Tank from Eileen Fisher—a brand whose offerings are full of coastal grandmother-esque pieces. The tan tank top comes in women’s sizes XXS to 3X.
Outfit your feet with wedges or espadrilles
Espadrilles, wedges, and white sneakers are a shore thing for shoes to complete the look. Try the Kelly & Katie Faydrena Espadrille Wedge Sandal, available in women’s shoe sizes 5 to 11, in taupe or light blue. “They add the right bit of height while they’re super comfortable, and adorable on,” one reviewer writes.
To embrace the comfier side of the coastal grandmother aesthetic, try light-colored sneakers like the Superga 2750 COTU Classic Sneaker, which counts celebrities like Kate Middleton and Hailey Bieber as fans. The minimalist design is available in men’s shoe sizes 3.5 to 13.5 and women’s shoe sizes 5 to 11.5 in 10 colors, including white and tan.
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This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Coastal grandmother styles from J.Crew, Eileen Fisher, and more