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The Coastal Grandma Chic Trend

Nina Anders Images May 2022

Lifestyle Thought Leader: Nina Anders

It all started out innocently.

My daughter, who works with me at SharingAJourney.com and I were talking about recent trends when she showed me a TikTok trend called Coastal Grandma Chic.

It’s all about a look and vibe from the movie, Something’s Gotta Give featuring Diane Keaton as Nancy Meyers. The trend comes from lifestyle mavens like Ina Garten and Martha Stewart too. The look is laid back, and softly preppy in that way that Diane Keaton has always mastered. Think Martha Stewart in her pastel button down with a basket of fruit or flowers, think floaty sundresses and sun hats. Who doesn’t love that?

“I thought who better than a bunch of 40, 50 and 60-year-old women interpreting the Coastal Grandmother Chic trend?”

This vibe/trend has been all over TikTok apparently. With aspiring young style icons creating their versions of the look. And even getting interested in making a batch of chocolate brownies or spending a few hours in a garden.

Coastal Grandmother Chic Trend:

Well, anyway, it is my job to come up with style themes for the Instagram group. We do a different trend or theme every month. And I thought who better than a bunch of 40, 50 and 60-year-old women interpreting the Coastal Grandmother Chic trend? After all, the women had been talking about sundresses and rompers just days before I dropped the bomb. I mean…suggested that Coastal Grandma Chic should be our theme for the month of June.

I shared a description and a mood board, knowing that many of the women aren’t on TikTok and wouldn’t be likely to know what it was about. And I was right. Most of them hadn’t heard of the trend. They were happy to have some visual inspiration.  

Not five minutes after I shared the theme, my phone “blew up”. Comments flew back and forth in the DM’s for hours. Several women became angry. A theme has never churned up this much heat in the four years I’ve hosted this group.

“Still, others were thrilled to have grandmothers get some positive attention.”

Ageist And Sexist:

Several women were highly offended by the title Coastal “Grandmother” or “Grandma” Chic calling it ageist and sexist. Some felt younger women were simply making fun of this style by emulating it on TikTok. Then there was the marketing angle, using older women as fodder for the latest way to sell clothes and make money.

Others felt that the loose fit of the clothes and pastel color palettes were yet another way of making women of a certain age into a stereotype. Putting them in a “washed out” look that makes them invisible. Still, others were thrilled to have grandmothers get some positive attention and loved the color palette and silhouettes.  

Above all, the style itself is actually practical, and universal. Especially if you live anywhere along the coast. You will see women of all ages wearing white linen trousers, loose-fitting shirts, and sun hats. You will also see floaty sun dresses, straw hats, and sandals. The look has a romantic vibe that feels so right this time of year. It’s comfortable, affordable, practical, and most attractive. But it’s not just a look, it’s a vibe. It’s cozy, comfortable and laid back – like a summer’s day.

Soft Controversy About The Coastal Grandmother Chic Trend:

The look can be worn by all body types and ages. Plus, you don’t have to live beside the ocean or a lake to wear it. It’s perfect for a warm spring or summer day anywhere. Rarely have we had such an inclusive look, were it not for the name. The name seems to be the thing that ripped up everyone in the Instagram group. Some loved it, but most hated it, and they all talked about it.

Where did my friends and I land at the end of the day? Never one to back off from soft controversy, I felt it was important for us to go forward. We wanted to let each member of the group approach the look and how they wanted to write about it in her own way. I am quite interested—for the first time in a long time, to see how the group will approach the look and topic. 

“I am often surprised when I realize I am in my 60’s.”

Vibrant Life Full Of Experiences:

A few years ago, I don’t think anyone would have spoken out about a trend like this. We’d have watched it come and go. Some have always dressed this way. While others would enjoy the vibe for a season. But Saturday the discussion was heated, nerves frayed. We were triggered by words  like “old” and “frumpy”. We talked about stereotypes and what it means to be a modern woman over 50 these days. What a 50 + year old woman looks like, what she wears, and how she is perceived by others.

The perception of being “grandmotherly”—elderly— invisible and out of touch hit a deep chord with all of us. I am often surprised when I realize I am in my 60’s. I am shocked to find myself working for brands run by girls my daughter’s age who have no clue what it is to have lived a vibrant life full of experiences, adventures, ups and downs.

In addition, they have no idea what it feels like to be offered a bland shapeless outfit. They are surprised when we aren’t excited to jump into a stereotype they’ve concocted for us.

“I think many of us recognize the importance of taking the time to consider our wardrobes.”

It’s My “Style”:

I find the Coastal Grandmother Chic look interesting. Heck, I even have a few pieces in my closet. But, I wouldn’t say it’s my “style”. I am less inclined to wear head-to-toe trends, nor do I shop at stores designated for women my age. I want my clothes to reflect “me” not a trend or a stereotype. Moreover, I think many of us recognize the importance of taking the time to consider our wardrobes. And tie our choices to what looks and feels best and reflects who we have become.  

If you want to know the thought process behind my wardrobe, be sure to read back through my previous posts. For tips on how to choose clothes that reflect who you have become, right here on Kuel Life.

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Nina Anders

About the Author:

As the dust from the divorce settled, Nina embarked on finding herself, reconnecting spiritually and mapping out a new future for herself. Seeing there was no real guidance for women in their fifties and beyond, Nina decided to start her award winning blog, Sharing A Journey, a life/style blog for women over 50. The blog covers fashion, beauty, and lifestyle topics for women looking to live their best lives during their middle years.

To follow along, or join in, you can follow Nina’s blog here www.sharingajourney.com, on Instagram @sharing_a_journey, Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube at sharingajourney. Sign on to the Sharing A Journey weekly newsletter and get Nina’s shopping tips here: http://bit.ly/Fashionq