Channelling Diane Keaton (Again), the Elegant Laid-Back ‘Coastal Grandmother’ Look Is All the Rage
With its cashmere-swathed minimalism, the pale, pared-back sophistication of ‘Coastal Grandmother’ offers an elevated riff on Granny Chic. Photo: (c) Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection/Canadian Press
As with everything these days, it started with a clip that went viral. TikTok star, Lex Nicoleta ticked off keynotes of a distinct style she crowned with the moniker: Coastal Grandmother.
“If you love Nancy Meyers movies, coastal vibes, recipes and cooking, Ina Garten and cozy [sic] interiors, there’s a good chance you might be a Coastal Grandmother,” opined the 30-something platinum blonde in March 2022. “And no, you don’t need to be a grandmother to be a Coastal Grandmother — it’s for anyone and everyone.”
She even provided a Spotify list of tunes — Natalie Cole, James Taylor, John Legend — so her 100K+ followers could “have the Coastal Gran ambiance wherever you go.” Another helpful clip ran through the look’s five key items (“cozy kitchen and finance husband not included”): A white button-down shirt, a bucket hat, a white dress with a “delicate silhouette”, linen pants or shorts, also a must, “paired with the button-down for all the CG vibes”, “classic, timeless” sunglasses and a “good” pair of sandals, for which Nicoleta suggested the Hermès Oran sandal ($810).
Another keynote of the trend would be ‘affluent’ — see: “finance husband”—which should prefix a look perfectly encapsulated by Erica Barry — Diane Keaton’s character in Something’s Gotta’ Give (directed by, yes, Nancy Meyers). A successful novelist with an enviable monochrome wardrobe in the palest neutrals and luxury fabrics. Linen and cashmere, cosy sweaters and turtlenecks, wide-legged trousers, loafers and, of course, pearls. A sea of cream and white with gentle forays into beige or tan (a breezy trench, a chino pant) or pastel (the loafer).
Really, Keaton has been synonymous with the East or West Coast WASP look that’s at the core of this style since 1977’s Annie Hall. A movie for which, no surprise, Ralph Lauren supplied much of the wardrobe. “Annie’s style was Diane’s style,” according to Vogue on Ralph Lauren, a 2015 tome dissecting his influence on fashion. “We shared a vision, but Annie Hall was pure Diane Keaton.”
Pulling a modern-day tweaked Annie Hall, actress Anne Hathaway posted a photo of herself in April, wearing chinos, a button-down, and a straw bucket hat above the gleeful statement: “I have been ready for #coastalgrandmother chic since before TikTok was born. May this moment never end.”
Once ‘Coastal Grandmother’ took off on TikTik — 2.6 million views and counting — Google charted a 334 per cent rise in searches for the term as decor inspo. Taking the trend indoors, you’re looking at effortless beachy elegance: walls as pale as the floors, layers of natural fibres like sisal, jute, and rattan, linen upholstery and curtains, with loads of throws blankets, throw cushions and fresh flowers. All of it centred off a cosy luxe, open kitchen with a farmhouse bent — another Nancy Myers hallmark, her movie kitchens inspire their own design pages.
While (Affluent) Coastal Grandmother is the very opposite of the better-known Granny Chic, which is focused on accents like cabbage rose wallpaper and vintage clothing, that homier look is also (still) having a moment. Over the last six months, Etsy charted a huge spike in “heirloom-style” costume jewelry with increased searches for brooches (48 per cent), glasses chains (39 per cent), retro clip earrings (19per cent), and lockets (14per cent). “Millennials are saying goodbye to minimalism with looks filled with character and charm,” the site’s trend expert, Dayna Isom Johnson, told Today in March 2022. Taking a different tack, M.M Lafluer just dropped an ‘Heirloom’ capsule collection full of boucle pullovers and fringed, wool Chanel-inspired pieces. The Canadian line, Whitney Linen, just came out with the Zsa-Zsa kaftan inspired by and named for the famously fashionable grandmother of the brand’s namesake, Whitney Westwood.
And there’s always Cocktail Chic. Mint Julep, Gimlet, Old Fashion, you can trawl lists of Gran-approved retro refreshments, but if you’re anywhere near Ottawa, drop by Nan’s Parlour. A cocktail bar outfitted with tufted velvet sofas and vintage china, this is where you’ll find Grandma’s Liquor Cabinet and a drinks menu that includes ‘Elbows off The Table’ (whisky, lillet blanc, grapefruit, honey syrup) or a ‘Thank You for Being a Friend’, a vodka-marmalade mix that honours Betty White with a dollar donation to an animal sanctuary.
Trends always reflect the times. Coastal chic, classic chic or cosy chic, in the farmhouse kitchens, ‘heirloom’ pearls and grandma nostalgia, one discerns a yen for gentler, less complicated times. And given the firehose of crisis that day-to-day reality has become over the last few years, who doesn’t need a cashmere blanket and a Bloody Mary right now?