Name: Coastal grandmother.
Age: Just incredibly well preserved?
Appearance: Easy, breezy, laid-back yet immaculate, with warm neutrals, lots of linen and coastal vibes.
“Coastal vibes” would be a terrible police photofit description. You know what I mean.
Not really, but your granny sounds nice. We’re not talking about her: she lived in a council house in Cinderford. This is about a platonic “coastal grandmother” ideal, the cinema trope turned TikTok microtrend, birthed by the influencer Lex Nicoleta. It’s about adopting the aesthetic of a type of older heroine, usually played by Diane Keaton or Meryl Streep and probably directed by Nancy Meyers, the queen of romcoms (It’s Complicated; Something’s Gotta Give), in aspirational domestic settings.
I see (I don’t). It’s easy: coastal grandmother means relaxed, mature luxury, as lightly worn as the cashmere sweater over your shoulders as you unpack your farmers’ market purchases from your Provençal shopper in a kitchen the size of the O2.
So coastal grannies are rich? It’s more about a comforting fantasy than hard cash, a leisurely, fulfilling life in a beautiful place. Imagine wandering through your bounteous garden picking “arugula” and basil (pronounced bay-sil) for the unpretentious kitchen lunch for 20 you’re hosting: that’s CG.
It doesn’t sound very seasidey: where’s the Mr Whippy and the arcades? Coastal is a state of mind. If you’re struggling, don’t worry: like a latterday Peter York, Nicoleta has spent two months and nearly 50 videos deconstructing the signifiers of coastal grandmotherhood in forensic detail, from hydrangeas to antique ginger jars. She even distinguishes between east coast (pottery and crisp white button-down shirts) and west coast (pilates and dirty martinis) CGs.
And why are we talking about it? Because #coastalgrandmother has gone viral. The hashtag has 7.6m views on TikTok and climbing. It probably doesn’t hurt that Netflix has just announced a new Nancy Meyers film, too.
Huh? Why do the youth want to emulate fictional boomers? Well, would you rather engage with the roiling chaos and existential terror of 2022, or cosplay Meryl Streep fixing a lobster salad in her sun-soaked kitchen, to the soundtrack of nearby waves, a crisp sancerre by her side, as Javier Bardem repaints her garden pottery studio? I thought so.
OK, but I’m not a grandmother and I’m nowhere near the sea. No problem. You can get the vibe anywhere with fresh flowers, “cosy” music (there’s a 79-track CG Spotify playlist), taper candles and the all-important bowl of lemons.
The what now? Nicoleta insists CGs need at least one bowl of lemons: “practical and aesthetically pleasing”.
Do say: “Get cosy in the rattan chair and I’ll fix you a bloody mary; my heirloom tomatoes are gorgeous right now.”
Don’t say: “Tea’s late – seagulls stole the battered saveloys.”