What Is the Coastal Grandmother Style? Here’s Your Full Guide

by Radhe Gupta

The “coastal grandmother” style is sweeping TikTok and gracing the Grams of A-list celebrities like Anne Hathaway, who apparently can’t get enough of this look. It’s also showing up in the everyday streetwear of the fashion-inclined. You don’t need to have grandkids or live on the coast to revel in this trend. So, what is the coastal grandmother style, and how can you achieve it?

Defining Coastal Grandmother Style

This fashion aesthetic is for people of all ages, but it’s inspired by the style of an imagined grandmother living on the New England coast. This elegant woman has retired to the beach and is ready to relax and enjoy life without giving up on style. Her refined taste shows in her cute tops and clothing through clean, simple design lines and colors inspired by the beautiful coastal setting around her. For color inspiration, think of driftwood, sea foam, and warm sunrises over the water in pinks, corals, and lavenders.

Clothing That Fits the Style

Oversized Button-Down Shirts

Lots of clothing pieces fit into the coastal grandmother aesthetic. Get ready to lighten up your color palette and enjoy comfort with elevated style. An oversized button-down shirt, especially in cream, is a staple of any coastal grandmother wardrobe. 

You can make one of these tops look extra laid back by just tucking in half of the front. This look is easy and casual yet put together, which is a defining characteristic of this trend. Tying the shirt around your waist can give some extra definition that looks great when worn over a flowing dress. Try wearing this stylish and functional piece open over a T-shirt or tank top or as a beach coverup.

Relaxed Pants

Lightweight linen pants are a summertime favorite among the coastal grandmother set. Pants made of linen, a fabric derived from flax, are made for comfort, and the breathable material makes them on-trend breezy, perfect for hot days. They are intentionally wrinkled, providing a slightly tousled, carefree impression. These bottoms are easy to dress up or down. Linen shorts also have the coastal grandmother vibe.

Jeans with a relaxed fit are part of the coastal grandma look. Look for denim with a light wash and distressed finishes. Wide-leg cropped pants are another low-key coastal grandmother style. Can’t you just picture yourself wearing these while strolling along the water’s edge?

Loose-Fitting Dresses

A caftan is a flowing, ankle-length dress with long, billowy sleeves. This type of dress is an effortlessly chic garment that’s also practical. It’s just right for lounging around the beach house and makes a great swimsuit coverup. Caftans also give you an excellent opportunity to add some extra pizzazz to your wardrobe since they come in a staggering assortment of prints. 

When choosing a dress, keep in mind this is a different coastal vibe than a California bohemian look; it’s more of a slightly preppy Hamptons aesthetic. Midi tank dresses in comfy fits are also on trend, and so are smocked dresses, which are fitted on top but loose and flowy on the bottom.

Nautical Knits

Those New England ocean breezes can get chilly. A classic sweater with nautical stripes in cream and brown or navy and white is just right for staying cozy when you gather with friends around a nighttime bonfire on the beach. A fisherman’s sweater is another wardrobe staple, and the chunky knit will add some delicious texture to your outfits. If you can score a cashmere sweater in a beachy, earthy hue, all the better. Coastal grandmother style emphasizes high-quality pieces that will enrich your wardrobe for years.

Beachy Tote Bags

Tote bags in neutral hues are in line with the coastal grandmother style. In general, your bag should be big enough to carry a beach towel and a paperback book. Canvas totes are excellent basics, and so are woven bags made of rattan in any shape. 

Your bag is a great place to add a pop of color to an otherwise mostly neutral clothing palette. Think of shades inspired by the sun rising over the ocean, such as coral, dusty pink, and lavender. In winter, you can swap your straw bag for a leather hobo-style bag in camel or soft beige.

Comfortable Shoes

Sneakers are right on trend for the comfortable coastal grandma look. Choose footwear in crisp white, clean beige, or pastels. Slide-style flat sandals are another comfortable favorite.

It gets chilly on the coast, so boots are part of the coastal grandmother look, too. Subtle colors and comfort are what it’s all about. Boutique boots with a low heel in tan, taupe, or ivory are classics that are also right on trend. While the coastal grandmother style is not about the bling, a touch of gold on shoes is not out of place.

Straw Hats

When you’re spending time outdoors, top off your look with a straw hat. The bucket-style straw hat is a coastal grandmother staple. It lets air flow through to keep you cool while providing some much-needed protection from the sun. Chic coastal grandmothers know the importance of keeping their skin protected. And, of course, this hat looks effortlessly elegant. When the weather turns cold, look for a bucket hat in fleece or corduroy.

Putting It All Together

The coastal grandmother aesthetic is a trendy look made up of timeless pieces. It’s super comfortable, but it looks polished and put together. If you’d like to add some coastal grandmother to your style, use this list as your guide!

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