​What's the ‘Coastal Grandmother’ aesthetic? The summer fashion trend all over TikTok

Coastal Grandmother trend - Diane Keaton  and Meryl Streep
The Coastal Grandmother trend is set to take over the summer. (Shutterstock)

Like most good things on the internet these days, from beauty hacks to cooking tricks, the latest top trends tend to originate on TikTok. The latest trend to be taking the social media platform – and the summer – by storm? The ‘Coastal Grandmother’ aesthetic.

Coined by TikTok user Lex Nicoleta in March earlier this year, the #coastalgrandmother hashtag currently has over nearly 200 million views on the platform, and just under 25,000 posts on Instagram.

Granted, they aren’t the biggest numbers ever in terms of viral TikTok stardom, but it doesn’t matter. The trend has transcended social media, and taken over the summer.

Once you learn about the Coastal Grandmother, she turns up everywhere you look: newspapers, glossies, TV, even Anne Hathaway declared the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic the trend she’s been waiting for since “before TikTok was born”.

But since the term started making the rounds on social media, viewers have been left with a lot of questions. What is a Coastal Grandmother? Do you have to be a grandmother to be a Coastal Grandmother? What makes a Coastal Grandmother? Can a thirty-something millennial adopt the trend, too?

Don’t worry though, we've done some digging. Here’s everything you need to know about the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic.

​​What is a ‘Coastal Grandmother’?

"It's a term that I coined for this aesthetic,” says Nicoleta (who credits herself with creating the term) in the original video, pointing to a collection of images in the background. “If you love Nancy Meyers movie coastal vibes, recipes and cooking, Ina Garten, cosy interiors and more, there's a good chance you might be a coastal grandmother.”

Think Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give, or Meryl Steep in It’s Complicated. Even the Diana-esque Elizabeth James in The Parent Trap is giving off major Coastal Grandmother vibes.

Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give - Coastal Grandmother
Diane Keaton in Something's Gotta Give wearing all white in true Coastal Grandmother style. (Shutterstock)

Basically think of any Nancy Meyers movie and you’re sure to find some sort of reference to the Coastal Grandmother, even if it's not explicitly mentioned.

“And no, you don't have to be a grandmother to be a coastal grandmother,” adds Nicoleta. The thing is, the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic isn’t limited to the coast, it's a lifestyle.

It’s all about home cooking, making large salads, cosy interiors, long walks (on the beach preferable, but not essential), and a wardrobe that consists predominantly of white cotton and linen shirts.

Oprah, Ina Garten, and Marta Stewart have all been likened to the aesthetic, although the latter doesn't think she could “be in a Nancy Meyers movie” and so has rejected the idea.

Meryl Streep in Nancy Meyer's It's Complicated
Meryl Streep in Nancy Meyer's It's Complicated. (Shutterstock)

Essentially, you’re channelling a rich older woman who probably has a large beach house in the Hamptons, or a country escape in the Cotswolds, perhaps, for the UK equivalent.

She has a spotless, Nancy Meyers-style kitchen adorned with freshly pruned hydrangeas. She’ll pour herself a hefty red wine at 4pm as she looks out from her deck and she definitely owns a signature straw hat. Or four.

How to dress like a ‘Coastal Grandmother’

Nicoleta explained in a separate video the three words she would use to describe the Coastal Grandmother’s sense of style would be: classic, comfortable, and chic.

“Number one is classic. Coastal grandmother is traditional and classic by nature, typically not including a tonne of trendy pieces,” she explained.

Martha Stewart Coastal Grandmother
Martha Stewart's style has been likened to the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic, although the American star rejected the idea. (Getty Images)

Number two is “comfortable” as coastal grandmothers are “busy tending to their homes, running errands, and walking on the beach, obviously”.

The final element is chic. “Yes, we’re wearing a lot of comfortable pieces, but they are always pulled together with the details,” she explains. “Structured sunglasses, a sweater pulled over the shoulder, beautiful jewellery, and great shoes.”

White oversized shirts are the workhorse of this aesthetic, in cotton or linen, closely followed by a pale blue or blue striped shirt. Linen wide-leg trousers are a stalwart for the Coastal Grandmother capsule wardrobe, and can be swapped out for white jeans in cooler months.

If you’re actually by the sea, an oversized striped navy jumper wrapped around the shoulders would complete the look, and for chilly evenings elsewhere, structured knitwear would do the trick (in white, of course).

And the hat. Whatever you do don't forget the straw hat.

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