I’ve been asked several times recently if the coastal grandmother style aesthetic is still on trend. So today I’m tackling the topic. But I’ll need your help. After all, I’m no expert; I just do my research. Plus, I’m on vacation! Hahaha! So I’ll share some information and thoughts, and then you help me decide if the coastal grandma is still in style in 2023.
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First, let’s revisit a good definition of the coastal grandmother style aesthetic. In this previous blog post from last year, I said, “The coastal grandmother style is comprised of simple elements thrown together in a somewhat careless but comfortable manner. The individual pieces are often classic or even preppy, but they’re worn with a nod to the natural and relaxed style aesthetics.”
Coined by Tik Tok phenom, Lex Nicoleta, during March, 2022, the coastal grandmother style aesthetic reflects the lifestyles and clothing choices portrayed by middle aged women (aka grandmothers) such as the characters played by Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated, Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give, Diane Lane in Nights in Rodanthe and Vanessa Redgrave in Letters to Juliet, among others.
The style generally consists of wearing comfortable, natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool or silk in ways that reflect an elevated, upscaled but relaxed lifestyle. Think Eileen Fisher linen mixed with Jenni Kayne comfortable separates, Frank & Eileen relaxed fit styles, slightly more polished selections from Banana Republic and J.Jill accessories. Well, actually the styles from any of those brands with a few pieces from Vince and athleisurewear by Varley thrown in for good measure.
Yes, most of those brands are quite pricey. After all the idealized coastal grandmother is probably affluent enough to have a summer home in the Hamptons or somewhere else on the coast, but an apartment in the city. But you can create the coastal grandmother vibe with less expensive pieces you find at Gap, Chico’s and even Amazon.
So, enough review. What about this year? In 2023 is the coastal grandmother vibe still going strong?
I think you have to consider that this style aesthetic is not a particular look or outfit formula, but it’s based on the overall style of affluent, beach-based grandmothers living a life focused on family and home. Plus, many of the movies that inspired the style to begin with are actually quite old. So even when the coastal grandmother trend was termed last spring, many women had already been wearing it for years.
I do think that the coastal grandmother looks created by the stylists who costumed actresses such as Keaton, Streep and Lane became even more popular in the days of the stay-at-home phase of the pandemic. While we were all nesting and chilling at home we gravitated to those relaxed outfits in soft, comfy fabrics. And many of the original iterations of the style, once it was coined, were very casual…somewhat “homebound” even.
Now that we’re all out and about much, much more than we were just a couple of years ago, fashion in general has gotten a little more polished. We’re dressing up again…at least a bit more. But we’re still focusing on soft and luxurious fabrics and looser, more comfortable fits. We’ve come across a fashionable compromise between comfort and polish. Think pleats (comfort) in trousers (polish), oversized (comfort) button-up shirts (polish) and high waisted, bootcut (polish) jeans (comfort). I think you’ll see that fashionable compromise in so many other ways if you stop to notice.
We’re dressing up again…at least a bit more. But we’re still focusing on soft and luxurious fabrics and looser, more comfortable fits. We’ve come across a fashionable compromise between comfort and polish.
For instance, I consider this black linen dress to be a very current representation of the coastal grandmother theme. Remember, the CG doesn’t just wear jeans and linen shirts all the time. She also dresses up to go into the city for a play or out to dinner at a local bistro. And I think this dress nicely reflects the turn we’re seeing in this style trend: a little more polished and ready to get out and about, but still in comfortable and natural fiber fabrics.
The dress is still comfortable and soft in that 100% flax linen. Plus it has some classic, retro vibes with the wide point collar, giving the outfit that “old soul” look that the coastal grandmother often evokes.
But the black fabric, cap toe pumps and silver and gold Lagos jewelry give this look a very elevated feel. I’d say this is something the coastal grandmas in our favorite movies would definitely wear for lunch in the city.
So let me wrap this discourse up by reminding us – me included! – that our personal style needs to evolve over time. We can maintain our basic style approach, such as classic or romantic or relaxed. But to keep our looks modern and current and fresh, it’s wise to let your style progress a little each year, adapting a little to the trends, but also just keeping silhouettes and accessory choices up to date.
Along those lines, I think the coastal grandma style aesthetic in general is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. But I do think, like all style genres, it’s wise to consider how to bring that style essence into 2023. If we make some modern choices, we’ll definitely be safe to continue wearing our comfy cotton sweaters, oversized button up shirts, Teva sandals and soft, flowy linen pieces…like a coastal grandma. What do you think?
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Blessed for My Day
Are you truly amazed by God’s grace? We certainly sing about those sentiments often, but do we vocalize them otherwise? When was the last time you shared with someone how God has been gracious to you? That, in fact, is all sharing the gospel is. It’s telling someone else how you have needed and received God’s grace and opening the opportunity to share with them how they can receive it, too.
Instead of being afraid to “share the plan of salvation” with someone, why not simply interject your honest testimony into a conversation this week? Over lunch, while you’re hiking, as you visit over iced tea…tell a friend or family member about something good God has done in your life recently, giving Him all the glory. Share with enthusiasm and candor. My bet is they’ll want to know more.
But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of God’s grace. ~ Acts 20:24