I’ve been avoiding the topic of the Coastal Grandmother, even though it seems a perfect subject for this blog. Why? It smacks so much of wealth and white privilege. Everything is white, from the people, to the backgrounds, to the clothes. It also seems like one of those silly invented style fads, like Barbie Core. But how often are grandmothers, aka older women, style inspirations? And how often do younger women want to follow trends supposedly associated with them?
You can find lists on line, like this one, enumerating the Coastal Grandmother’s essential elements. She cooks with organic ingredients from the farmers’ market; she gardens and probably throws pots; and she decorates her home in lush beige. One wonders what happens to the couch when the grandchildren come to visit, but then grandchildren don’t seem to be required.
It’s her clothing that interests me, though. Her style is easy to summarize: the palette is beige or white, with occasional touches of blue; she only wears natural fibers; and she looks elegant in a kind of “no style” style that centers around easy basics like big shirts, loose pants, and swishy skirts.
Avoiding the obnoxious call to consumption that always comes with these aspirational lists of style choices, there is something comforting about the Coastal Grandmother’s appeal to younger generations. We should all be trying to focus on natural fibers as much as possible, since the polyester you wear now will last long after your grandchildren die. And the easy basics of this style can easily be found at a thrift store, flea market, or even your own closet. That’s not such a bad thing. And if one expanded the color palette to include orange, some of my clothes just might fit in!