Nail the Coastal Grandma Chic Trend

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A few weeks ago, Brooke, (our beauty editor) and I were talking about trends and blog post topics when she introduced me to the Coastal Grandma Chic trend on Tiktok.  The name and trend were coined by a young TikToker named Lex Nicoleta who began putting together easy summery outfits inspired by Nancy Meyers movies like Somethings Gotta Give starring Diane Keaton, or  It’s Complicated starring Meryl Streep. I must say I was intrigued as there are few movies starring middle-aged women and very little style inspiration for women of a certain age–if you know what I mean.

There’s something about Nancy Meyers movies that just make you want to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book. Maybe it’s the cozy California vibe or the comfortable yet chic interiors. Or maybe it’s the fact that Meyers’ heroines always seem to have their lives together, despite the occasional hiccup. Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt that Nancy Meyers’s films are the embodiment of Coastal Grandma Chic.

If you’re looking to channel your inner Nancy Meyers, start with your wardrobe. Stick to classics like midi skirts and white button-downs, but don’t be afraid to add a touch of whimsy with floral prints and star hats and handbags as accents. When it comes to makeup, less is more. A natural palette of earth tones and pastels will help you achieve that effortless California glow. And finally, turn your attention to your home. Incorporate breezy, light-filled spaces filled with comfortable furniture and ocean or nautical-inspired decor. With these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to achieving Coastal Grandma Chic status in no time.

There are many things to like about this style, the pieces are easy and wearable, super expensive, and lean toward the preppy style those of us in our fifties and sixties grew up with. The outfits are great for those with a casual lifestyle, cooking, gardening, lunching with friends, and taking care of our homes.

I figured we could take a deep dive into this style as I would guess most of us have pieces in our wardrobe that can easily be styled Coastal Grandma Chic.  It’s always good to get into the closet and see if we can make new outfits or create a whole new vibe with what we already have.  

While these outfits are easy to put together, I would urge you to add your own touches to the look–it’s so easy to go for cookie-cutter formulas. Play with your outfits by adding your own touches, a gorgeous scarf, interesting jewelry, or a great hat or handbag. You will note if you watch the video below that I tie my shirts at the waist because I don’t like the boxy look. Play with tucking your shirt differently, adding belts, and trying different sweaters, jackets, or shoes to get a look that is both Coastal Chic and YOU.

Here are a few easy tips to getting started (and make the look yours)

  1. Start with a basic white tee and trousers or maxi skirt—sure you can style this look with jeans, but why not try a pair of wide-leg linen trousers or a great skirt?  One key aspect of putting any look together is to add your own touches to the look.  I find linen much more comfortable in the summer and any excuse to wear a beautiful sundress or midi skirt, and I am all in.  The important thing is that you choose something that is comfortable and easy.
  2. Layer on a light button-up,  cardigan, or jacket over top. Because it’s so warm in Florida, I go for a linen or cotton button-down shirt.  I roll up the sleeves and tie the blouse at the waist—one of the things I don’t like about style for women in their middle years is that it tends to be baggy and oversized, so I go for something to give myself an hourglass silhouette, rather than a boxy one.
  3. Accessorize with jewelry and sunglasses.  The Coastal Grandma Chic look is pretty practical—we all wear sunglasses in the summer, and adding a few pieces of jewelry is never a bad thing.  I’d go with a delicate set of layered necklaces for a more modern look.  Accessories are a great way to make a classic outfit more modern.  Avoid big chunky jewelry pieces unless it is your signature style as chunky jewelry reads dated right now.
  4. Complete the look with comfortable sandals or sneakers—we are still seeing lots of sneakers—but I’d opt for espadrilles, myself, and a lovely wicker handbag—(see this post on handbagsand this one if you like high-end bags

The color palette is very natural, but an interesting scarf or a pop of color or texture is a great way to make the look yours—and don’t forget a lovely sun hat.

Coastal Chic Makeup

When it comes to makeup, the look is very natural, yet elevated.  Colors are chosen to enhance the eye and skin coloring and are well blended with a soft sheen to give the look of well-tended skin.

1. Start with a light foundation and add a pop of color on your cheeks, Brooke is loving Ilia’s sheer lightweight foundation with sunscreen.

2. Use nude shades for your eyeshadow and eyeliner—I am enjoying my old Tartlette palette —it’s a classic palette that looks amazing on everyone and can be as natural or dramatic as you choose.

3. Curl your lashes and add a coat of mascara

4. Keep your lips natural with a light pink or coral shade.  I’ve been loving Fresh….. with its SPF and natural ingredients, plus you don’t need a mirror to apply—which is always great for laid-back summer days.

The Coastal Chic Home

I don’t know about you, but I am all about the Coastal vibes in my home now—I keep my furnishings neutral so I can layer in different accessories throughout the year to change the vibe in my home from season to season.  There is something serene and summery about the Coastal Chic decorating style, so I thought I’d share some tips on how you can add a few touches to your home for the summer months.

1. Start with a neutral base – white walls and light wood floors work well—bring in a sisal rug if you don’t have wood floors.  

2. Add accessories, choose tan, white, and sea glass,  pops of navy, or shades of soft creams. Fill apothecary jars with shells, or add an interesting lamp or mirror made of shell. Add wicker trays, soft throws or even a straw bag to add ambiance.

3. Use natural materials like rattan, wicker, bamboo, and jute to add texture.

4. Hang seashells, dishes of collected sea glass, or driftwood to bring the beach inside.  I love adding real found items rather than buying items that say the word beach or are too overtly beached-themed.  I avoid signs that say “This way to the Beach” or wooden lighthouses. The look is a subtle nod to the beach through color rather than a collection of beach-themed items from a decor outlet.

5. Embrace mismatched furniture, and slipcovers — one thing about this style is that it is curated over many years, and has a very lived-in look while being polished chic at the same time

6. Keep your space clutter-free for a polished look—this I think, is the secret to the Coastal Chic vibe–it’s livable and easy not cluttered or busy.  

Coastal Grandma Chic is the perfect style for ladies who want to look stylish and age-appropriate without sacrificing comfort or looking too trendy.  It is a look and vibe that suits all shapes and sizes, and most of us have items in our wardrobes and in our homes to pull off the look and vibe with ease—A comfortable ease is what this look and vibe are all about.

If you’re interested in giving this look a try, we’ve put together a video with some of our favorite tips on how to achieve it.   Plus the women from Stylish Monday are sharing their take on the Coastal Grandma Chic trend and how they feel about it and how they have interpreted it.

Be sure to check all this good stuff out, and let us know what you think.

For more on Coastal Grandma Chic

It’s Stylish Monday!

My stylish blogger friends have gone all out this month to bring you their versions of Coastal Grandma Chic as well as their views on this trend. It brought up a lot of interesting conversations while we planned this month, and I think you will enjoy not only the outfits but the varying points of view on this topic.

Click here to Join In.

Nina – Sharing a Journey – While I am not keen on the “Grandma” in the title, I love coastal chic vibes in clothing, lifestyle, and interiors.  Coastal Chic is for everyone and can be created from our wardrobes –no need to go out and buy anything new!

Suzanne – Ask Suzanne Bell – For me, “Coastal Grandma” is less of a style (look), and more of an aesthetic, one we’ve been embracing in our Coastal Communities, unaware that we were trending. Think Oprah, Ina Garten, Martha Stewart, or my personal favorite, Diane Keaton, who by the way, was 56 years YOUNG, when she filmed the movie Something’s Gotta Give. The best part? You don’t have to be a grandmother or live in a coastal community to try out this look. Furthermore, there’s a good chance you can recreate a Coastal Chic look, with items you already own in your closet! 

Julie – Fashion Trends and Friends and Instagram FashionTandF –  If you follow me, you know that I love all the bright colors, more is better and unique pieces call my name! Therefore, when this theme was decided on, I was quick to bow out. Not sure why I tend to do that but I always rethink my decision and like pushing myself to try new styles, and new things I wouldn’t normally wear or pick out without a little nudge! So here is my spin on this Tik Toc originated trend!

Andy – Pearls and Pantsuits – Coastal Chic, or “Coastal Grandmother” as the TikTok crowd calls it, is a whole vibe, and I’m so here for it! I’m a sucker for linen pants, so my take on the trend consists of a comfy pair of linen pants from Target, paired with a breezy chambray tunic from Chico’s. I added the straw bucket hat as an homage to the OG Coastal Grandmothers – Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton. 

Nancy –  Nancy’s Fashion Style -Well I don’t live near the coast, and if I’m near the coast it’s in England. I’ll tell you I’ve never seen anyone walking there in the coastal grandmother style, more raincoats, and Hunters style. I think you should picture more of the California coast then. And warm neutrals, trousers with elastic at the waist and especially comfortable…….you hear it, I’m really not a fan of it. Maybe my fashion friends can make me change my mind. But do take a look at what I made of it!

Nicole – High Latitude Style – Coastal Chic depends on so much more than just personal style. Consequently, there is no one-fits-most solution. Factors like ocean and air temperatures, color and type of the beach, weather, time of the year, culture, location, your activities, etc. play a role. When living in Europe, I loved long beach walks in The Netherlands in fall on a windy day with gray skies. My typical outfit was a yellow men’s rain jacket with a hood, jeans, and rubber boots.

Emma – The Style Splash – Coastal Chic is pretty much the antithesis of my style –  neutrals, linen, and minimalism are my kryptonite. But I love a challenge, so I adapted this trend of the moment to suit my style.

Shelbee – Shelbee on the Edge-Coastal Chic: Want to try a new style trend on a budget? Check out the mostly thrifted outfit that brought this trend to life for me without breaking the bank!

Lucy – Lucy  The coastal look involves lots of light colours.  Light pastels look great at this time of the year, as do bright colours (take yellow for instance!). The important thing is to keep the fabric light- preferably cotton, linens, silks, muslins…you get the picture.  The whole essence of this vibe is based on the lightness of the fabric so that the draping is airy and moves with your flow. For today’s collaboration, I chose this light pink striped dress with a ruffled collar/sleeves.

Amy – Amy’s Creative Pursuits –  There are so many different ways one can embrace the coastal trend, my favorite is the classic, neutral look where you mix different shades of whites, creams, and beiges in one outfit.

Ada – Elegance and Mommyhood – The Coastal Grandma trend has a silly name which is kind of offensive and ageist but what the trend means itself is indeed beautiful. To me – and I am nowhere close to being a grandma – it stands for effortless breezy summer looks that you would wear by the coast on a beach, especially in blues and whites (the color of sea and sand), floppy hats, sunglasses, sandals, flip flops & wedges. I chose this beachy look from my Florida vacation because it is perfect for the coast and the beautiful neutral crochet dress reminds me of grandmas.


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