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Is Coastal Grandma Still In Style in 2023?

June 9, 2023

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.

Is Coastal Grandma 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.”

Green Linen Dress for Summer
dress // see the original post

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.

Watch the video HERE.

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.

Matching Linen Pants and Shirt
organic linen délavé classic collar shirt in blueberry (sized down to small) // délavé linen lantern pants in blueberry (size down, wearing small) // ribbed white tank (another option) // sandals // dragonfly earrings // coin necklace // chain necklace // small necklace // see the original post

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.

peasant top
linen relaxed crops // linen relaxed peasant top // sandals // necklace // necklace // bracelet // earrings // watch (Use code KAYHRMS for 15% off your purchase) // similar handbag // sunglasses (no longer in this color) // see original post

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.

Column of White with a Linen Shirt
linen relaxed crops // tank // similar button-up shirt // sandals // necklace // bracelet // earrings // watch (Use code KAYHRMS for 15% off your purchase) // similar handbag // sunglasses (no longer in this color) // see the original post

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.

Coastal Grandmother now more polished
from this video

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.

Black Dress for Coastal Grandma
linen dress (TTS, also in white and camel) // cap toe lower block heel pumps (gifted; use code KAYHEELS for $40 off) // earrings (gifted) // necklace (gifted) // bracelet (gifted) // watch (gifted; use code KAYHRMS for 15% off)

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.

Black LInen Dress for the Coastal Grandma

linen dress
(TTS, also in white and buffalo brown) // cap toe lower block heel pumps (gifted; use code KAYHEELS for $40 off) // earrings (gifted) // necklace (gifted) // bracelet (gifted) // watch (gifted; use code KAYHRMS for 15% off)

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.

Coastal Grandma in Black Linen

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.

Cap Toe Pumps
cap toe lower block heel pumps (gifted; use code KAYHEELS for $40 off)

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.

Black Linen Dress for the Coastal Grandma
linen dress (TTS, also in white and buffalo brown) // cap toe lower block heel pumps (gifted; use code KAYHEELS for $40 off) // earrings (gifted) // necklace (gifted) // bracelet (gifted) // watch (gifted; use code KAYHRMS for 15% off)

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

xoxo, Kay
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9 thoughts on “Is Coastal Grandma Still In Style in 2023?

  1. I agree that it’s a vibe more than a fashion statement. If it is who you are, you will continue with the look no matter what “fashion” tells you. I remember seeing older women dressing like this back in the ’80s. And those women were as you say – older, established, and more on the expensive side.

    Your husband’s podcast study on Gideon is fantastic!

  2. The wardrobe of Katherine Hepburn in “On Golden Pond”, filmed in 1981 with Henry and Jane Fonda, is the OG of the coastal grandmother look. Wearing turtlenecks, turned-up collars, casual, loose trousers, oversized tops, white on white, Hepburn epitomizes the CG look. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nancy Meyer took her cue from Hepburn’s relaxed wardrobe both on and off the set of Golden Pond. It’s classic summer-wear, especially in the hot and humid summer months of New England.

  3. Like you said, it’s a classic style that has been around for years and is likely to be around for many more. All that happened in 2022 is that it was given a “name”.

  4. I don’t live near the cost and although 64 I’m not a grandmother (because of no children) but I appeared to be a CG before I even heard of it. I think some styles do not need updates. When you adjust to what is trendy, that does not survive years and years. So in my opinion CG is never in and because of that also never out. I do not wear the dresses that go with the style. I choose the more androgynous side. I think it’s stylish, comfy and I adore the soft colour palette. No black for me !! (Wore it a lot for years but it became very aging on me)

  5. Hi Kay hope you and James are enjoying your holiday ? . Yes I do think the ‘Coastal Grandma Aesthetic’ is still a ‘Look’ , I think it will probably always be a look that women will love , its beautiful and its comfortable . Whenever I watched those actresses in those movies , I always thought “Gosh I can’t wait to be in my 50/60/70s to be able to look like and live like that “ ( at that point I would have been in my 30s dressing in Bodycon Dresses) , I don’t think its just a ‘Look’ I think its a Lifestyle and I don’t just mean living in a beautiful beachside house with a huge retirement pension , I think its a ‘Woman’ who is accepting of her age and her particular beauty and is comfortable in her skin , she takes care of herself physically and mentally and knows what she likes , and so it shows . I think you have nailed the look Kay and you embody that woman , you have Beauty and Grace and the most beautiful speaking voice Ive heard for a while . You are so right also about keeping the look up to date each year too. I also loved your BFMD today , and just yesterday I felt I really wanted to tell one of my friends about something God had helped me through and with and that it was totally God and how grateful I felt for his Blessing , I was so happy I did as my friend also shared something she knew was Gods intervention for her , we ended up having the most beautiful conversation . Thank you for all your hard work on DFMD and BFMD I ( and all the other ladies) really appreciate you Xx❤️

  6. I love this look, and think of it as “summer in the south”. We need natural fibers to stay cool and these pieces are fun and relaxed.

  7. Hello Kay, Just read your back from vacation blog. I am so glad you were able to recharge. My career as a Social Worker Child Protection worker was incredibly high stress, life and death at times. Seeing humanity at it’s worst was very heavy. Broken bones and broken homes, broken dreams day in and day out for 30 plus years burned me completely out. Even when I went home, were the children okay? Would they survive the night at hospital? Would the death threats agsinst me matetialize?. It took me 2 years of retirement to let go. I always placed my fears on the cross, but even then I struggled. The Lord kept me and my family safe throughout it all. I found you when I just retired. Once again, if one is faithful to the Lord he is also faithful in answering our prayers. You pick me up many times😊. Take good care Kay, i so appreciate your hard work. I have a reference in you to get dressed to face my days looking put together. And remind me to look to the Lord for everything else. Blessings to both James and yourself – Norah