This epic guide to the coastal grandmother aesthetic shares everything you need to know about the hottest new millennial trend borrowed from wealthy middle-aged women, from what it is to how to be one, including what to do (and read!), how to decorate your home, and what to wear.
Origins of the Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic
First, let's talk about the origination of the coastal grandmother aesthetic. The background is important to understand how the trends have shifted over time to focus specifically on the coastal grandmother.
First came "grandmillenial" style -- the younger generation's take on bold, very traditional prints and styles with lots of chintz, florals, needlepoint, fringe, and ruffles.
Next came "Nancy Meyers chic" -- a tribute to the very classic and cozy American aesthetic of the filmakers' movies like Father of the Bride, The Holiday, It's Complicated, and Something's Gotta Give.
Now, coastal grandmother aesthetic, an offshoot of Nancy Meyers chic, is trending big on TikTok and other social media. Everyone's talking about it on the news right now, and millennials are obsessed with it.
I knew I wanted to search and write about it because I am such a huge fan of Nancy Meyers' movies myself. I designed my own kitchen after Something's Gotta Give, one of my all-time favorite movies is Father of the Bride, and I listen to the Nancy Meyers' kitchen Spotify playlist while cooking.
So, let's dig into the coastal grandmother aesthetic!
What is Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic?
Coastal grandmother aesthetic is based on the clean and classic style of middle-aged, wealthier women living in luxurious oceanfront properties, similar to that of Diane Keaton in the Nancy Meyers movie, Something's Gotta Give, set in the Hamptons.
Coastal grandmothers wear cashmere and linen, they love to garden, take leisurely walks on the beach when it's slightly windy, and sip white wine while reading on their wraparound front porch.
They cook fresh meals with goods they picked up at the farmers market in their open concept kitchens accessorized with neutral and natural elements like butcher block and rattan.
And, naturally, they listen to soft jazz and the oldies while doing so.
Celebrity book lover Jenna Bush Hager described it as a "breezy beige feel" on The Today Show, and celebrity book-loving icon Oprah is known for this style as well. You can often see images of her reading in her garden with her dogs and in a sensible outfit on her social media pages.
In other words, coastal grandmother aesthetic is the perfect mix of literary + lifestyle -- the theme of this website!
How to Get the Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic
Coastal Grandmother Hobbies
Below is a sample itinerary of a coastal grandmother so you can see exactly how she would spend her day:
Upon waking up, sip a hot beverage on your front porch in a matching pajama set as the sun rises.
Do a quick round of yoga or pilates, or take your dog for a walk on the beach, to get moving.
Change into your capri pants and clogs, grab your gardening tools, and snip some fresh herbs and fresh flowers to use later (probably hydrangeas).
Take a quick bubble bath, wrap your body in a plush robe, and then put on some cozy cashmere so you're comfortable yet put together.
Grab your straw hat and straw tote and head to the local bakery, and perhaps the farmers market, to see what's currently fresh.
Go antiquing and take a pottery or art class, then head home to plan for a casual, cozy dinner party.
Remember to write that handwritten thank you note you've been meaning to get to and clean up that paint from your art room, as you multitask the day away!
Make fresh lemonade in a pitcher with lemons from a bowl on your counter, so it has time to set.
Pour a glass of chardonnay, pull an Ina Garten cookbook from your open shelving, and prepare some fresh pasta with vegetables and herbs you collected throughout the day.
Prepare a thoughtful tablescape with soft candles, striped cloth napkins, rattan placemats, and stoneware you made yourself.
Change into some lightweight and elegant, yet breathable, linen, and welcome in your chatty, but never boisterous, dinner guests.
Someone may even play a quick tune or recount a story from the past. Either way, there will be lighthearted laughs and thoughtful conversation to go around for hours.
Listen to a coastal grandmother playlist in the background throughout:
- Nancy Meyers' Kitchen (my personal favorite, which I have listened to for years while cooking)
- Coastal Grandmother
- Wine Night with Nancy Meyers and Nora Ephron
You will hear songs like "Everlasting Love" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" without a doubt. And the greatest hits of Norah Jones will add relaxing vibes.
Once your guests leave at a reasonable hour and you have cleaned the kitchen, hop back into your matching pajama set, grab a cable knit throw, and sit back on your beige couch.
Watch a coastal grandmother movie from this list:
- Something's Gotta Give (my personal favorite in this group)
- It's Complicated
- Nights in Rodanthe
- Because I Said So
- Book Club (perfect for book lovers!)
If you have time, read a few pages of a great coastal grandmother book from this list, while relaxing in your Adirondack chair to pass the hours before bed:
- The Love Season by Elin Hilderbrand: quintessential coastal grandmother vibes, as a middle-aged chef on Nantucket is tasked with breaking up her goddaughter's engagement
- Any or all of Jane Austen's books: the classic romance writer I envision coastal grandmothers gravitating towards
- The Summer Place by Jennifer Weiner (an author like Elin Hilderbrand): The author even said this multi-generational Cape Cod novel was inspired by coastal grandmothers
- The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo: Parenthood vibes
- Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes: Starting over in Italy later in life = chef's kiss!
Lastly, fall asleep to the gentle breeze and ocean waves and dream of your next day living life with the coastal grandmother aesthetic.
Coastal Grandmother Beach House Decor
A coastal grandmother's home is ideally located in a wealthy beach town in a place like the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, or Newport.
It's likely to be made of wood shingles, and the interior design is crisp, clean, and neutral. Colors are beachy, like blue, and muted. Prints are rare, and often, stripes. Natural elements like straw and rattan are sprinkled throughout.
The kitchen has an open concept and some open shelving, and it is filled with small details like a bowl of lemons; ginger jars; hydrangea arrangements; an Ina Garten cookbook; fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, butcher block and wood cutting boards, a tea kettle on the stove, and a watering can near the door.
You can buy coastal grandmother home decor at stores like:
Shop some of my favorite coastal grandmother home decor below:
Bestseller: This specific 2 Tier Fruit Storage Basket is a bestseller with readers of The Literary Lifestyle.
Coastal Grandmother Style Clothing
Coastal grandmothers wear neutral-colored chinos, capris so they can easily walk on the beach, cashmere everything (she can afford it), breezy linen, shirt dresses, white turtlenecks (even in Summer!), decorative scarves, classic button-down shirts, light-colored and comfortably sized denim, bucket hats, driving shoes, straw bags, totes, button-down cardigans (tied over the shoulders if it's warm), sun visors, and matching pajama sets (always).
You can buy coastal grandmother clothing at stores like:
Shop some of my favorite coastal grandmother clothing for FALL below. Since the weather is getting cooler, you'll find more twill and poplin than linen here, I have updated this popular post to reflect the weather that many people are currently experiencing.
And since my J.Crew capsule wardrobe is a popular post each season and, since J.Crew makes a lot of clothes that fit the coastal grandmother aesthetic, below is a collection of coastal grandmother pieces for FALL, all of which you can shop at J.Crew to get the look:
Bestseller: This specific Amazon The Drop Women's Brigitte Chunky Button Front Pocket Ribbed Cardigan is also a bestseller with readers of The Literary Lifestyle.
Now you know all about the coastal grandmother aesthetic, from what it is to how to be one, including what to do (and read!), how to decorate your home, and what to wear!