Considering the Coastal Grandmother

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! 

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4 Responses to Considering the Coastal Grandmother

  1. JS says:

    As a longtime reader of your blog who’s Black, I appreciate your sensitivity. But bear in mind that the Coastal Grandmother look is one to which some Black women aspire, just as some enjoy Cottagecore. In my 20s, more than half my wardrobe consisted of Laura Ashley dresses. I’d be wearing them now had I not worn them all out. I’ve never liked “urban” styles or overly modern styles in general. Natural fibers have always been my preference.

    Coastal Grandmother (I, too, hate these trend names) is easy, comfortable, tasteful, and can be emulated at different price points, and of course, there are Black women with the money to afford the best.

    For many Black women, like other women, it’s about the fantasy. Will I ever have a seaside cottage in Truro or the Hamptons? Probably not. But it’s fun to dream and enjoy some everyday luxury.

  2. Lynn says:

    Glad to hear your thoughts! I was responding to the current media buzz–or at least the buzz I hear. My own fantasy is a penthouse overlooking Central Park!

  3. Marilise says:

    I’m all for comfy clothes and natural fibers. However, my motto has always been, “Just say No to beige!” So. . .guess no Coastal Granny for me.

  4. Lizzie says:

    Replace the beige with blue, and I’m in!

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