At the beach or on the bayou, anyone can master the ‘coastal grandmother’ fashion trend

Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson in Nancy Meyers' 'Something's Gotta Give.' Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures and Columbia Pictures.

Think Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia!, Diane Lane in Nights in Rodanthe, Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give, or one of our personal favorites, Natasha Richardson in 1998’s The Parent Trap. Actually, think almost any leading lady in a Nancy Meyers movie, and you’ll get the idea. That’s right—we’re finally jumping on the viral “coastal grandmother” trend, a term coined by TikTok user Lex Nicoleta to describe the rise in fashion that speaks to linen-draped getaways in the Hamptons, reading sessions in shell-colored shawls, and shoreside saunters—white wine in hand—while dressed in the loosest, most expertly tailored garments in the finest shades of beige.

Granted, you don’t actually need to be a grandmother, retired or even live by the beach to pull off the aesthetic, since this laid-back style is more of a feeling than a list of requirements to check off a list. Just ask Karen Johnston, a buyer for Ballins LTD.

“Coastal grandmother is really more ‘coastal classic,’ as it’s made up of soft fabrics that feel good on the body and are good for travel,” she says. “I think that’s why it’s so popular right now, because it’s relaxed, classic, elegant and comfortable—all things we need to feel after being locked in during the height of COVID.”

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While we might rather be barefoot on the beach or have our feet kicked up on the back porch, Johnston points to these cork wedge sandals from the shop as a great addition to coastal grandmother attire. The wedge heel adds a little more elegance to the laid-back style, and even adds some texture with the nautical grass-like material on top.


 

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But a good coastal grandmother looks come together from the top down, meaning that everyone needs a good sun hat on hand. Johnston points to this wicker hat as a way to provide just the right amount of shade without sacrificing style. “A floppy hat and a classic sandal will take you anywhere from shopping, dining or to the beach,” she says.


 

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In the end, this style wouldn’t be complete without a soft, breezy and neutral-colored linen top. The length of the sleeves in Johnston’s example offer some protection from the sun while also keeping some of that wind off your arms in case the beach breeze grows cold (though let’s be honest, we’ll never have that problem in Louisiana). It also pairs well with linen pants or a maxi skirt, making it a go-to staple piece.


 

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Gold and silver hoop earrings are a great way to keep your look sleek and elegant without going overboard, says Johnston. With some subtlety and well-coordinated minimalism, even the youngest, freshest face can live the life of a well-traveled matriarch living a life of luxury.

For more information on Ballins Ltd, follow the store on Instagram @ballins_ltd.