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.