You’ve met her a million times. On Netflix. At Cineplex. In a booth at the Rosseau Farmer’s Market. She wears a brimmed hat and a white linen shirt. She bakes banana bread, grows peonies, and plucks Pinot Grigio from a silver wine chiller. Her name is Martha, Diane or Jane (as in Stewart, Keaton or Fonda). She’s a retired She-EO, and her husband’s either an investment banker or a moron because he left her for a 30-year-old he met at Coachella called Stephaneee. She reads Rosamond Pilcher in the shade of her Muskoka boathouse on Wednesday afternoons while surrounded by Hauser loungers and terracotta pots filled with red geraniums. She’s a Coastal Grandmother.
A what now?
A Coastal Grandmother. Also known as a Coastal Grandma, or here in Muskoka, a Cottage Grandma. Read all about her in Harper’s Bazaar and Architectural Digest, or watch the trend on TikTok (though, as a rule, Coastal Grandmas don’t care to post on TikTok, thank you). She’s everywhere: Santa Barbara, North Carolina, Rosseau, Port Sandfield, The Hamptons. Her style (we like to think it’s her #MuskokaStyle) is trending thanks to influencers like Lex Nicoleta. Have you met Lex? Everyone else has. She coined the phrase on TikTok in March ‘22. She says there’s a good chance you’re a coastal grandma if “you like Nancy Meyers movies, coastal vibes, recipes and cooking…” And no, Lex assures us, “you don’t have to be a grandmother to be a Coastal Grandmother. It’s for anyone and everyone.”
Well then, to paraphrase Bill Murray in Caddyshack (a flick for a Coastal Grandma chick): we’ve got that going for us.
Even Diane Keaton (Something’s Gotta Give) and filmmaker Nancy Meyers got into the game, recently thanking Lex Nicoleta on Instagram for calling them out as Coastal Grandmothers. In the comments, Meyers was busy googling the term (just like you’re doing right now). Actress Anne Hathaway was so jazzed about Coastal Grandmother chic, she dropped to her knees and prayed: “May this moment never end.”
So how do you get the Coastal Grandmother look? Google it like Meyers did, there are loads of suggestions to scroll through. From what we can glean, essentials include a straw bucket hat, high-waisted chinos and shorts, a garden trowel from Pottery Barn, and flowers in a vase that’s indigo blue. Stylecaster blog recommends stretchy way-high jeans. Fashion Magazine insists on a woven bucket hat. And Elle says no Coastal Grandmother (or Nancy Meyers movie) is complete without a ribbed turtleneck sweater.
There are Coastal Grandmother playlists on Spotify you can jive to, too, including one by Lex Nicoleta stacked with vinyl faves like Etta James, Norah Jones, Van Morrison, and The Commodores. Among the hits: It’s Too Late by Carole King and Elton John’s Benny and the Jets, plus Natalie Cole’s This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)… or basically any song you picture Diane Keaton grooving to while arranging peonies fresh picked from her Orange County garden.
Oh, and don’t forget the cottage on Lake Rosseau, the chilled Pinot, the worn copy of the Shell Seekers, and the designer trowel… if only to stick it to Stephaneee.
About the Author: Lori Knowles is an author, journalist, co-editor of Ski Canada magazine, and editor of MuskokaStyle.com See Lori’s full biography at www.loriknowles.com.