Coastal Grandmother Wardrobe at 74

Here’s my try-on of a summer capsule wardrobe for the unreliable British weather.

The name ‘Coastal Grandmother’ or ‘Coastal Grandma’ was originally made popular via TikTok by Lex Nicoleta who started a sensation last year. She referenced films by Nancy Meyers and actors such as Diane Keaton to explain the look.

The ‘original’ coastal grandmother look is a romantic vision of well-to-do older women, retired to elegant New England seaside homes, spending their days beachcombing and relaxing with friends. They are wearing mainly white, cream and sand linen wide-cut easy-to-wear outfits.

Adding blues and greens to the bright whites

I’ve adapted this look to a British Coastal Grandmother style.

I’ve kept the emphasis on natural fabrics such as cotton, linen and denim. But I’ve enlarged the color palette. Here in Britain the seaside is an ever-changing mix of blues and greens against the pebbles and sand of the shoreline. From the pale blue of an early morning summer sky to the deeper greens of the sea when the wind gets up and the rain drifts in.

French coastal style

If you look at my try-on of French chic earlier this year you’ll get the French coastal look. It references the French Navy rather than the sea or the beach. So it’s a smart, clean-cut structured style based on a palette of navy, white, tan and added gold, for e.g. buttons. The striped sweaters and tees are based on what sailors used to wear. For me it conjures up sailing holidays in a brilliantly blue Mediterranean Sea.

The New England coastal grandmother look

New England coastal tends to emphasize crisp whiteness. Perhaps it’s a reminder of white clouds on a sunny day. Or just a general pointer towards a life lived in clean, fresh interiors where ironing is expected daily. For me, this style lies between classic and boho.

My idea of British coastal is still mainly linen but not worn as crisp as in New England! Together with the moody blues and greens of our sea it is more casual than smart and more boho than classic.

Why ‘grandmother’?

The American and the English coastal styles work very well for the older silhouette. Compared to our younger selves most of us have a lower bust, a thicker waist and heavier legs – in general. These breezy outfits minimize these changes.

And these styles are modest as befits a nice grannie. No cleavage on show, no short dresses. Just right for women of 60 and over.

How to get the British Coastal Grandmother look

Start with white.

White linen pants, cut wide and shortish so our hems don’t get dirty when strolling on the beach, are an ideal base for this coastal wardrobe.

Add slides in cream. We are not in strappy sandal land here. Flat comfortable slide sandals work with the wide silhouette and are a great mercy to swelling feet on a hot day.

Add an unstructured jacket

This gives that ‘I spent my morning in my pottery studio’ vibe. The straight hem and the large useful pockets create the look. A blazer is too urban. Three-quarter sleeves keep the wide, breezy silhouette on trend. And we older women adore three-quarter sleeves!

Plenty of tee shirts

Choose slightly greyed-out colors that match the sea, the rocks, the sky and the sand. I already had the deep green and the sand tee. Tops need to be casual not waisted or fitted or low-necked. Coastal grandmother, whether American or British, is not sexy or curvaceous. She is slightly androgynous.

Wear shorts if you dare

I’m sure Diane Keaton still has great legs but sadly many of us, myself included, hate to show our legs in the altogether. Fortunately British coastal grandmas have a pair of washed-out baggy shorts with those very useful pockets again. And they come to the knee. Because I can tell you at 74 what lies above is forever covered from view.

Rolled jeans or chinos evoke paddling in the waves

I find jeans a bit heavy for summer, even here in England. Cotton chinos are both cooler and more forgiving from the wider waist through the wider hip and thigh areas. They come in every color so I chose this murky mid green-blue pair.

You’ll need a sweater in a British summer

Choose a cotton, linen or fine wool sweater in your color palette that can go under your jacket and cardigan if the weather turns blowy or cool. Even in Cornwall, the southermost region of England, you can’t be sure a sunny morning won’t turn nippy after lunch.

An A-line linen dress

Not too short, not too long. Actually this will be the item you find hardest to find this year. Fashion is all about minis and floor-sweeping country wench looks. That’s a long way from coastal grannie. She likes a sensible but stylish frock with sleeves (of course). That way she’s not worrying about what her knees look like or what her upper arms are doing. She’s confident and effortlessly cool.

No wonder younger women are drawn to this style too.

I bought this Seasalt dress a size larger as I wanted it to swish around a bit.


A straw bag is both on trend this year and a perfect purse for grannie. But a canvas tote would be an alternative. Or just pack everything into those pockets.

I usually wear gold earrings or chains. But that’s too blingy for this style. So I chose a big chunky necklace in shades of sand and pebbles. And nothing else.

Add a cream or bright white canvas bucket hat to finish the look. My pale blue denim one is back home in France right now so I’ll be popping that on whenever I’m there.

Where to shop this look

If you click and buy on affiliate links I may be compensated at no cost to you. Thanks for your support.

I know most of my readers are from the US. So you should probably first head over to J.Crew, Banana Republic or Eileen Fisher. They all have items that can be worn for the Coastal Grandmother style, especially the New England version. I’ve made some suggestions from these stores below. Affiliate links.

US retailers of coastal grandmother style

US links to British retailers of coastal grandmother style

I shopped for the tops, shorts and necklace at Poetry, a British retailer who specialises in natural fabrics and casual cool clothing. You’ll find lots of great items in the British Coastal colors and styles on the Poetry website.

The dress and the black and white linen pants are from Seasalt of Cornwall who sell across the world from their website. Seasalt design all their clothes and accessories with a coastal color palette. Browse their site – you’ll find natural fabrics, easy shapes, beautiful colors and gorgeous patterns. Seasalt (USA) affiliate links below.

The wide white linen pants are the subject of a try-on in a previous post. The same goes for the cream buckled slides. They’re from M&S sell world-wide. We grannies here in GB just love M&S! M&S (USA) affiliates linkbelow.

UK links to Seasalt and M&S clothes

What to read next

If you like try-ons then take a look at one of these:

2022 Summer Capsule wardrobe at 73

French Chic Try-on at 73

8 thoughts on “Coastal Grandmother Wardrobe at 74

  1. Hi Joni from Colorado! I live in Coastal Grandma even though I live in the Rocky Mountains! I didn’t know that it had a name besides comfortable. Enjoy your cooler summer in GB. It is very hot here, mid 90s F. But mornings are lovely. I love your posts, I am 78 so appreciate your humorous posts.

    1. Hi Sydney. Yes comfortable is another word for it! Thanks the films and TikTok for the Coastal grandmother name! Joni

  2. Once again you’ve got it right. A new and practical spin on the ‘Coastal Grandma look’, with an accessible product range that won’t break the bank.
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks for this feedback Heather. There are lots of blogs suggesting expensive clothes but I’m trying to offer suggestions within a price range many older women will find acceptable. Even then, I’d hate to think anyone was buying everything! These are ideas in case we’re bored and ready to give up on our style. They are middle-of-the-road style but just ‘current fashion’ enough to show were in touch. Joni

      1. I think the beauty of your approach is that it encourages us to re look at what we already have, see forgotten items with fresh eyes, then just look for a few new items and accessories to pull it all together. As you say, it’s not about spending big but it is about keeping interested and confident.

  3. Love your style. I’ve always loved linen tops and wide leg pants, cashmere sweaters, pearls, denim jackets, unstructured jackets. Everything you love , Lol!
    Keep up showing us the great looks!

    1. So happy you like the looks, Pamela. I’m just working on my French inspired minimalist summer wardrobe, I think it’s your style!

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