The Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic is Like Getting A Warm Hug

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“Grace and Frankie.” Photography courtesy of Netflix

Plus, our best style picks to embody your inner Diane Keaton.

At this point, we’re all a little too familiar with TikTok-born micro trends. From coconut girl to balletcore to the goth-aissance, it’s hard to keep up with the never-ending stream of niche fashion subcultures. And now we have yet another to add to our repertoire: coastal grandmother.

Coined on TikTok by creator Lex Nicoleta, the coastal grandmother aesthetic describes the laid-back lifestyle of an ever-cozy, well-to-do older woman (think Oprah or Ina Garten). Style-wise, it’s comprised of breezy silhouettes, soft colours and breathable fabrics. But it’s about more than just fashion. The coastal grandmother emits an aura of ease and puts self-care first with weekly rituals like buying fresh flowers and going to the farmer’s market.

“If you love Nancy Meyers movies, recipes and cooking, Ina Garten, cozy interiors and more, there’s a good chance you might be a coastal grandmother,” Nicoleta explains in a video, adding that you don’t have to be an actual grandmother (or live on the coast) to embody this style. “It’s for anyone and everyone.”

The coastal grandmother prioritizes warm baths, going to bed early, and enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee on her wraparound porch. She always smells good and only cooks with fresh vegetables from her garden. She gets excited about things like new dishware, fresh linens and a good Chardonnay. Who wouldn’t want this level of luxe living?

The aesthetic has exploded in popularity — the hashtag has over 25 million views on TikTok — thanks, in part, to the aspiration surrounding it. The coastal grandmother is unbothered, self-assured and seems to have it all together. And there’s a growing appreciation for this type of energy.

Thanks to the pandemic, many of us have lost the adventurous will to go out all night and have instead grown to appreciate the tranquility of staying in and beautifying our abodes. Not to mention, the rise of escapist aesthetics like cottage-core have tapped into our collective desire to abandon all worries and go frolic somewhere in a field.

But it costs to live an effortless lifestyle. Prioritizing the “small things” in life like meditating or reading a good book requires free time and leisure, which is, at the end of the day, a privilege. Most of us don’t have the means to grow produce on our own farm à la Oprah. But that’s the beauty of the coastal grandmother aesthetic: it encourages us to channel everyday comfort in smaller ways — like, say, buying ourselves tulips or baking an olive oil cake on a Saturday night.

Many of the fashion trends that dominate TikTok, like Y2K revivals or sexy Euphoria outfits, tend to perpetuate rigid beauty standards, often excluding people with larger bodies, older people or people with disabilities. But the coastal grandmother, with its taste for home cooking and appreciation for the versatile white button-down, is the antithesis of this. It’s not about aspiring for chiseled cheekbones or flat stomachs. It’s just about being comfy.

Up until recently, the vast majority of “coastal grandmothers” in popular media have been white women (think Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia, Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give and Netflix’s Grace and Frankie). But the popularization of the aesthetic on social media has allowed anyone to claim the coastal grandmother lifestyle by incorporating TLC into their everyday lives. Today, the coastal grandmother has moved beyond gender, race or class — it’s simply a mindset.

Being a coastal grandmother means knowing what you want, putting yourself first and prioritizing your comfort. Basically, it’s peak self-care. Looking to step into your coastal grandmother era? Below, find some style inspiration on how to embrace your inner Diane Keaton this summer.