On Trend: Coastal Grandmother

December 7, 2022

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  • Samantha, you look amazing – I had seen CG mentioned before and skimmed past, not terribly impressed. You stopped me in my tracks – I’m all about cables, cream and navy. (oh maybe a little pink – hope that’s ok!!). I don’t need to shop since I have a closet of the stuff – except for some yarn to make some of these neat designs. Thank you!!

    • Check out “Land’s End” for plain turtle necks .

    • And also feel like you’re being strangled by turtlenecks as I do (even though my goiter is 30 years in the rear-view mirror) LandsEnd also carries very nice long-sleeved plainTs that layer beautifully under hand knits.

      • I go with these, and they are the best thing since sliced bread, and their quality for the money can’t be beat.

    • I am literally a coastal grandma and this cracked me up. Maybe Southern Coastal grandma is a little different – a bit more color and flip flops!!!!!

  • I would like to know where to buy plain turtle neck tops..I live in the back of beyond and shopping is an issue. Actually finding is an issue.

    • Landsend.com

      • And LLBean.com

    • When I think turtlenecks, I think L.L. Bean or Lands’ End. Basic. Classic. Preppy. Should work with Coastal Grandma given the khaki/boat shoe overlap.

      Even though I live near stores, I usually order basics like turtlenecks online. It is easier to stock up.

      An Alabama Chanin scarf from the MDK holiday collection would be a fabulous addition to the Costal look.

    • And Talbots, everything is on sale now.

    • uniqlo.com has decent turtlenecks, too.

  • This was delightful! While I’m not on a coast, nor a grandma, and I’m sad to say I’m currently between dogs — I am all in for knitting sweaters that convey enough mystery to meet a Keanu Reeves-type at the farmers market! My sweater picks: “Festival Sweater My Size” by PetiteKnit, “Purl-willing” by Lone Kjeldsen, and “Sailor Sweater” by Anne Ventzel. (Hmm, my knitting choices look like I’m aiming for a North Sea coast.)

  • I am a middle of America CG and long for a beach preferably near a knitting store and my granddaughters maybe in that order? Thanks great read

  • I would love to be a CG , but will never be .Just to hard to keep all that white and ivory colour clean …lol…in my dreams only .
    Instead I knit the cables and light colours for hats . Even my knitting is darker (3 young grandsons)

  • Love love love this. Will send asap to both coastal sisters (one is actually a grandma). Oh, to be this cool!

  • Samantha, I’ve been struggling with my granny wardrobe since my last birthday. Do I toss my beloved faded Levis? Are my Liz Claiborne long sleeved t-shirts so redundant my neighbors think I must sleep in them? (I do) Now I have my answer! I am, after all, a seventy-nine year old Florida coastal great-grandmother of 5. Move over Diane, I’ll be on Bradenton Beach knitting that navy and white striped cardigan. ❤️

  • Check out The Shore Shoe as a possible addition to any costal wardrobe. Designed to make walking on sand easier for everyone. And I wear them for more comfortable walking on any surfaces.


    • Have you purchased these locally? I grew suspicion when I found several misspelled words and format issues on my quick scroll through the website.

  • I was right there with you until you got to the turtlenecks. I’m a hardcore turtleneckaphobic, so I’ll have to miss on that that aspect of CG.

    • Same, luckily we all get to be our own coastal grandmother. For me it’s more about a crisp poplin or swoopy linen shirt.

    • Me too, my neck is too short and they strangle me. My mother used to say that in the dim past we probably had a relative that was hanged.

  • My look wavers between “I used to be a nun but now I’m just a regular math teacher” and “Failed sister wife” both of which also include cardigans.

    • Hahahahaha

    • Years ago I was told my look is “parochial school chic” – I’m afraid it hasn’t changed much…we may share some styling!

      • LOL, just finished a 16 year stint working at a Catholic school! I can totally relate! Plus my kids went to the school so I was in the community for 20 years!

    • I’m dying to see your runway walk!

  • I can’t ever follow a trend, my attention span isn’t that long. I might try for an off-white wardrobe, but inevitably color will happen. Stripes!! Prints!! I do love this part: “She’s stylish but not trendy, effortless but not sloppy, youthful but not immature.” This is my goal. Not sure if I’ll qualify for “coastal grandmother” but hopefully will be happy with my version of stylish, not sloppy, and…ME.

  • Before I read a word, the big picture of a living room converted to a beach in all its details had me laughing out loud. And then I read the article. This lady can write! She has it all with visual genius and writing and imagination. I am still smiling, Thank you!

  • So coastal grandmother’s involves an all eggshell/beige wardrobe? Doesn’t that suck a lot of joy out of life? I guess I don’t need/want to be labeled by any particular fashion trend

    • All in good fun!

    • You need a swift kick in the pants.

      • They’re linen, so it’s all good.

  • And for great aunts, denims, aloha shirts, knit toques, cabled cardies, and muddy boots. All to add adventure to the visiting great(in so many ways) nieces and nephews.

  • Love this!!!

  • Love your writing and your style Samantha!

  • LOL I love that “elderly millennial”….I will steal that! I dig the CG vibe, but I need more color in my life.

  • I have enough beloved Coastal Grandmother items to pull that off, and often do. But I also need ‘A Little Bit Gen Xer A Little Bit Alexa’ 🙂

  • I am a Coastal Grandmother in the summer, and just discovered that I’m a “Grandfather’s Cabin” in the winter (I live in MN). Love this trend!

  • You are hilarious. I love Something’s Gotta Give and strongly desire to become Diane Keaton whenever I watch that movie. Thanks, too, for the shopping list.

  • I’m totally a costal grandma. Oh wait, do you actually have to be a grandma? I’m grandma age. But my kids have not had kids yet. Portland Maine is a great place to rock the CG look. Lands End. LLbean. Mixed in with handknits . Boom, Bobs your uncle!

  • Thanks for the heads-up! Now I want to re-watch the movie and knit stripes!

  • That knitwear from FIT knocked my socks off. Just amazing stuff

  • I’m more Rocky Mountain grandma (tho I do miss living near the ocean) so I have a lot of blue jeans and jersey lounge pants (aka fancy sweats) and long and short sleeved t-shirts (mostly in various shades of blue, grey and pink), a few plaid flannels, and a variety of sweatshirts (hoodies and “cardies”) rather than sweaters since they’re easier to toss in the washer (large dogs, grandkids and volunteering at an outdoor forest school favor sturdy jeans and less snaggable sweats). I do wear linen pants (I even have blue/ white and sage/ white stripes with oversized white cotton and linen button downs) in the summer and have several sweaters (and the yarn) in my to be knit queue, including a remake of my ancient, cabled Irish Fisherman wool sweater that finally succumbed to wear and moths.

  • Being that I live in Texas, I live the Third Coast Grandma Style, which I’ve shortened to Mimi Magic. Differences include at least one pair of cowboy boots, a flouncy skirt or two —a girl’s gotta dance, a couple of western hats (straw and felt) and a little more color—come on, now, y’all.

  • I’ve had my style described as “kindergarten teacher:” cardigans layered over camisoles, paired with comfy slacks or a cute knee-length skirt, plus costume jewelry or a shawl and ballet flats. All in bright colors, of course! I couldn’t do coastal granny – not enough color for me.

  • Well it would take away decisions of what to wear every morning!

  • Sounds like LandsEnd and Talbots are having their moment!

  • So funny! That’s one of my favorite movies. I’ll keep that list handy.

  • Loved your article! I don’t often (read “never”) feel that I am the latest word in fashion. You made my whole holiday season!

  • This post with the comments is one of the most fun reads I’ve had in awhile. Spot on!!

    • Also watch the hilarious Netflix series Grace and Frankie (particularly Grace, played by Jane Fonda) for an elegant overdose of CG style. Frankie (Lily Tomlin) wears CG-Hippie Version—basically, opposites attract.

  • What? And forego red, orange, green, yellow, purple (the list goes on and on)! Beige, in very small doses, thank-you very much! I would have to honestly say this is Not Me.

  • …sister to librarian “chic” – cardigans all day every day!

  • I am a little weirded out that I have been moving toward coastal grandma without realizing that I was following a trend. Does this explain my temptation to buy topsiders?

    Some may be interested in listening to Articles of Interest (https://www.articlesofinterest.co) by Avery Trufelman. It’s a podcast that explores why we wear what we wear. This entire season is about the preppy/Ivy look and how it became a fashion default.

    • Yes, I totally thought about this podcast while reading through the comments. I believe Trufelman mentions at one point that Uniqlo, mentioned in the comments as a place to buy turtlenecks, was Japan’s answer to Ralph Lauren and the rest of the preppy aesthetic.