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This Summer’s Minimalist Trend Gives Grandmotherly Vibes

Move over, hot girl summer. Though summer just officially started Tuesday, data from Edited reveals how a more mature aesthetic is sweeping the season.

Enter Coastal Grandmother, an emerging “minimalist subculture that embraces a lifestyle by the coast.”

Like the social media-birthed cottagecore trend of 2020, which centered around the simplicity of the countryside, Coastal Grandmother is also an escapist theme. Countering the colorful cutouts and bodycon silhouettes that flooded the women’s category this spring, the anti-trend look is based on elevated basics, neutral colors and pared-back products.

It also pulls direct references from the chic costuming typical of Nancy Meyer films such as “Something’s Gotta Give” and “It’s Complicated.” Think actor Diana Keaton relaxing on the beach dressed in white linen pants, a cream turtleneck sweater and matching bucket hat.

Social media, however, is where Coastal Grandmother flourished. Popularized by TikTok-er Lex Nicolet, Edited said the term’s hashtag has already garnered over 1.1 billion views.

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“It has captured consumers’ interest, with ‘Coastal Grandmother Outfits’ and ‘Nancy Meyers Aesthetic’ Pinterest searches surging,” Edited stated, adding that celebrities like Anne Hathaway, Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez have embraced the aesthetic in their own looks this spring.

Anne Hathaway on the set of "WeCrashed."
Anne Hathaway on the set of “WeCrashed.” Jose Perez/Bauergriffin.com / MEGA

While other social media aesthetics like Coconut Girl and Clowncore fizzled out as quickly as they arrived, Coastal Grandmother has longevity on its side. Established brands like Eileen Fisher and Ralph Lauren are the blueprint for Coastal Grandmother.

“From neutral hues to button-down shirts and cashmere sweaters, tried-and-tested year-round trends with little seasonal anchoring form the backbone of the aesthetic,” Edited stated. “It holds appeal to all demographics, spanning Gen Z to the mid and mature market.”

Coastal Grandmother essentials

Retailers are prepared with Coastal Grandmother must-haves.

Edited said there is a 15 percent uplift in linen apparel retailing year-over-year, with “more retailers referencing its natural and eco origins and breathable qualities—essential traits of the subculture.” Linen pants and shirts are key garments.

White and blue striped button-down shirts are popular layering pieces for Coastal Grandmother. “Blue is the top-stocked trend color at 12 percent, with Nasty Gal, Free People and M&S holding the most options,” Edited said. White dresses, especially mini lengths, are also part of the look. Accessories like straw and tote canvas totes, strappy flat leather (and leather-looking) sandals and white bucket hats emphasize the seaside look.

Cashmere sweaters, turtleneck tops and sweaters and matching pajamas are items to watch as the theme transitions into fall.

Retailers can explore the versatility of Coastal Grandmother through storytelling and non-apparel categories. Edited said existing loungewear stock can be repositioned for an “at-home relaxing Coastal Grandmother vibe” in email marketing communication and trend landing pages or edits. Stories focused on travel and the long Labor Day weekend (Sept. 5) also tee up opportunities to highlight seasonal items like white swimwear, slides and bucket hats.

Coastal Grandmother also looks as good in the home as it does in closets. “Coastal decor, kitchens and bedrooms are also popular searches on Pinterest as consumers seek to incorporate the coastal look into their daily lives,” Edited said.

Garnet Hill, Amara and Serena & Lily have all capitalized on the subculture in recent email edits, but Edited said items like cashmere throws, colored glasses, decorated fruit bowls, blue and white print pillows and bedding, wooden kitchenware and wicker furniture may already be part of retailers’ assortments.