In 2016, the warmth and comfort of hygge sauntered its way from Denmark to the UK, influencing our interior choices and a calmer, slower way of life. Then came the crisp organisation of Marie Kondo and peaked interest in how best to fold a pair of socks. Now the focus shifts to the Coastal Grandmother trend, which embraces the great outdoors and a more traditional aesthetic. This one, the UK is primed and ready to excel at.
The phrase was initiated by California-based Lex Nicoleta. It escalated to internet fame via her TikTok channel where she elaborates, lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek, through snappy video content. Much like hygge, it’s best represented by a look.
Picture this: a stoney, neutral-hued colour palette, layers of gauzy fabric and a peppering of natural influences. Considered but not too precise, classic but effortlessly so. Light, airy and carefree. Coastal Grandmother embodies a pared-back approach infused with little luxuries. It’s both discrete and aspirational with an overarching sense of being ‘lived-in’. To coin more 2022 wordplay, “it’s a vibe.”
Trends are cyclical by nature, and Coastal Grandmother references can be found in just about any Nancy Myers movie from the early naughts. 2003’s Something’s Gotta Give depicts Diane Keaton’s character Erica Barry wearing pristine, well-cut cream and taupe pieces as she strolls down the beach or gazes wistfully at the ocean outside her vast open-plan kitchen.
In It’s Complicated, Jane (played by Meryl Streep) has an abundant collection of blue linen shirts and straw bucket hats that mimic the easy-breezy nature of a life lived by the sea. In Jane’s world, it’s implied, troubles can be tossed into the water and washed away with the froth of a breaking wave.
For many, it’s an unrealistic everyday existence but something a staycation can offer. Movie romanticism aside, there’s proof that the look Myers captures has long influenced the UK’s take on beachside bliss. Properties like The Pig and Artists’ Residence became sought-after spots years before the phrase was uttered, while reputable hospitality names like Soho House and Guesthouse are expanding to include seaside locations. Each is uncompromisingly British but champions a uniqueness that makes it feel like home.
When it comes to what to wear, a thirst for pieces equally effortless is growing. Emerging British brands like With Nothing Underneath and Yaitte specialise in good quality casual shirting, while Desmond & Dempsey has built its concept on the perfect pair of pyjamas. None pretend to be innovative but all embody comfort, slowness and being content with the simple life.
Today, the idea of Coastal Grandmother is characterised by a tinge of humour and a taste for life’s small luxuries. Combined with the mood-boosting impacts of rest and the great outdoors, it’s worthy of its current spotlight. Dip your toe in its sea-salt waters and explore the best new and established shoreside staycations.