STYLING CONFESSION: Why I Love the Coastal Living Look- But Not Its Sexist Trending Name…

I’m blessed to be a grandmother. I also happen to live by the water. I love both of these things about my life. But according to brand marketing and specifically for trends and retail purposes, I need to be categorized: A grandmother living by the water= Coastal Grandma. And boom you’ve got a trend!

Automatically when you live by the coastline, your outfits are going to be breezy and cool. Is that what the term Coastal Grandma is referring to? Because you don’t have to be a grandma to dress breezy and cool by the beach- isn’t that obvious? So what is making this styling trend so particular?

Fashion always begins with a thought and an idea. This one most likely started with something like this: ‘Let’s style up looks like grandma wears at the cottage and make it chic’. The images that pop into mind can certainly lean on stereotypes- and can also be a subtle form of sexism as well. Connotations are a thing.

What does a coastal grandma actually wear? I’ll use myself as an example and this is typically what you’ll catch me styling up on my coast: I usually wear light and breezy clothes, sometimes a sun hat; platform heels; or flat sandals; I wear linen, cottons and silks, maxis, short-shorts, bermudas, bathing suits, jumpsuits, kaftans…the list goes on and on! Which of these is considered part of the Coastal Grandma trend, if I may ask? Because in reality anyone who comes over and spends a sunny afternoon with us, usually wears these kinds of looks as well- regardless of the stage they are at in their life.

Does Coastal Grandma include my entertaining looks; indoor or outdoor? Or- maybe the term refers to my looks when I’m planting flowers and tending to the garden? If so, I’ll say that that’s pretty much my gardening/ outdoor chores look. But trust me, I would Never style up what I wear to garden and call that a trend! Just to be clear, I do not walk around in bucket hats, rubber boots, frumpy pants and beige oversized cardis- unless I’m doing actual yard work (and then again). Certainly not as a fashion statement anyway, as I’m seeing plastered all over the Internet.

Now when a younger generation appreciates what I took time to curate and style up for myself on the daily, or for an event, or outing- I graciously accept the compliment. On the other hand, if they are trying to emulate, what I’d call my outdoor attire worn to tend to chores, and call it a trend that stereotypes grandmothers- that’s not ok.

For this, we can thank brands and marketing for once again dictating how, why and what women should wear, all for the goal to sell, sell, sell as we complacently nod and oblige. To top it off they’ll have us believe that this is an ode to older women. No- it’s just good, but very underhanded marketing, with a strong case for Ageism. Just another way of placing women in a box and categorizing us. We’ve come a long way to still be buying into that. I don’t like labels that are stereotypical, discriminatory and non-inclusive. Period.

Here’s a great article that is exactly on point about this very topic: ‘Coastal grandma chic’ is the fashion trend we didn’t need’

Ok, that’s off my chest- now let’s see if there may be a positive side to this trend after all, and if we can somehow spin the term…

If we’re looking at the trend as the essence of a Hampton’s easy-chic way of life; like Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give; or maybe Martha Stewart, with fresh flowers in the morning and beautiful homemaking, I get that! This is the embodiment of a feeling and sense of lifestyle and taste thatnis often reflected in life by the coastline. It’s an experience and a mood…a vibe.

Coastal Living truly is a total, encompassing vibe- so then why not just call it what it is: The Coastal Living Trend? Betcha the image that pops to mind now could very well be that of a get-together on the coast, picnic style, with fresh bread and cheeses, sipping chilled wine, wearing chic, laid-back designer garments…whether you’re a grandma or not. Bye-Bye gender based stereotypes!

Here are some of this grandmother’s Coastal Living looks:

STYLING TIP OF THE DAY: Enjoy beautiful, colourful coastal vibes and dress to feel wonderful, fresh and free-without the classifying labels.

Fashion and styling should be for everyone, inclusively. Don’t let anyone dictate your choices for style- create your own. Fashion is just a vessel to help you express that.

Your thoughts?

24 thoughts on “STYLING CONFESSION: Why I Love the Coastal Living Look- But Not Its Sexist Trending Name…

Add yours

  1. I’m with you, Lucy – I dislike the “grandma” appellation used to somehow imbue a notion of a look with the connotations of being slightly dowdy, slouchy and dingy. It’s totally ageism!

    You, on the other hand, look fabulous – your bright yellow fills me up, and the blue pattern just sings of summer breezes on the ocean. Love it! You’re Coastal Fab!

    1. Thank you Sheila- everything about this term has to do with Marketing and sales. We have to remember not to give in to everything they try to glamorize; it’s never about what women really want. Love your support always xx

    1. Exactly! Because it’s coastal living! Anyone can wear this- without the labelling!

  2. Yes! I only learned about this trend from blogs in the link up, and at first I thought it was excellent that grandmothers were being seen as style icons. But then I had the same thoughts as you, coastal style is for anyone! Yesterday I saw an ad on IG for an app that styles your wardrobe. It showed different age groups and examples of their clothes. And amazingly, all the clothes looked similar. They had “got it” that fashion is universal.

    1. Thanks for reading Gail- and so glad you’re on board! I mean just the fact that they have to keep labelling every single move we do is so frustrating- especially in fashion! This is totally marketing and retail, boxing us in and shutting it tight.

  3. Lucy, I quite agree with you. In my recent post “Going Coastal”, I’d thought to include points about the “ironic grandmother chic is now cool but only if you’re under 30” trends but then decided to hold those thoughts for another post. In any event, you’ve certainly got the coastal vibe nailed down.


    1. Hi Rena- thanks so much for telling me this- it’s such a marketing scheme. I loved your article and I so wish you would have added this thought too! Women are always interested by what you have to say and trust you. It just upsets me when I see us used as pawns for sales only- and no matter how they decide to do it. Have a great rest of the week xx

  4. Great post, my friend! I had not even heard of this trend until it came up in our Stylish Monday group so I don’t even really know how I feel about it yet…other than it is just coastal vibes that anyone can wear. But then again, I have never been one to pay much attention to labels anyway. I am interested to see more discussions on this topic though! You know I love your chic coastal style and use of bold bright colors but I would never even dare to try to classify you into one single box just like I would never put myself into one single category either! The only label I will ever accept for my own personal style is “chameleon”. I hope you have an amazing weekend!

  5. It’s interesting to read your post because I’ve just read another blogger who also found fault with the concept. Her problems with it were mainly involved with the money necessary to cultivate a lifestyle similar to those of Diane Keaton’s character and Martha Stewart. At times, she was poking fun…as in wearing linen pants and long cotton sweaters to the beach when it’s very apparent it’s a very warm day. I agree with your idea of Coastal Living rather than Coastal Grandma. Age need not even enter the equation!

    1. Thank you for also bringing up another important point to all this! So interesting. And I agree completely in taking age out of the equation. Thanks Marsha!

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