Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic

Tik Tok influencer Lex Nicoleta first used the term “coastal grandmother” to refer to a relaxed, elevated way of living and dressing. Long before the aesthetic took the design world by storm, I found the style to be the perfect fit for my retirement years. I’ve been building a classic wardrobe made up of mostly neutral colors for more than five years. Getting dressed for any occasion has never been so easy. I feel confident and appropriate no matter the event.

This is an often worn, relaxed, staying-at-home, doing chores look. The oxford shirt is from L.L. Bean here, and the slim ankle jeans are from Talbots here.

Other than wearing classic, well-made basics, the coastal grandmother style aesthetic includes less makeup, comfortable but stylish shoes, and a wash-and-go natural hairstyle. Even though the styles may be relaxed and classic, the details include higher quality, modern styling, and unfussy elegance.

When I saw the movie “Something’s Gotta Give” a few years ago, I fell head over heels for the style aesthetic of the movie set and the wardrobes. Someday, I may live in a cottage near the beach with white slipcovered sofas, but for now, I’m happy living by the lake. So a more appropriate label for my style might be Lakeside Retiree. Here are a few more photos of the views from the home I now share with Mr. Mickey.

  1. I always look forward to your posts. Your lakeside retiree outfit is perfect for a day working around the house. I would never tire of looking at those beautiful lake views you have.

  2. I was amazed when “Coastal Grandmother” style became a “thing!” I’ve been dressing that way for years – I’ve always referred to it as “classic style!” As you have said many times, classic clothing does not go out of style! I prefer to wear the classics year ’round, and I’m not even a grandmother yet! I’ll stick with “Sensible Retiree,” since I don’t live near a lake!

  3. Gorgeous views. The way you dress is how I dress when an offduty lawyer. So much better than stitched suits. Thankyou once again for sharing

  4. I think you are very fortunate to be downsized in such a beautiful location, we have friends who have recently moved back to Ky from Florida after 25 years because they were so dissatisfied with living there. They said the temperature and climate has changed so much since they moved there years ago. They are thoroughly enjoying the different seasons in our area.

  5. Susan, I just love your classic white shirt with denim. Thank you for recommending LL Bean for shirts and tees. Here in Maryland, we not only have the coast, but we also have western mountains, the well-protected Chesapeake Bay and numerous beautiful man-made lakes in between. Hiking and boating are popular throughout the state — so I guess we are the”Woodsy/Hiking/Lake/Coastal” Grandmothers! I think you would enjoy a visit to both our Eastern Shore and our western mountains. Only a 4-hour drive apart!

  6. The Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic is such a strange phenomenon. As you say – if one has a classic wardrobe one wears what can be considered the Aesthetic.
    I wrote a tongue in cheek post about CGA not long ago. Like you, I love the look of Something’s Gotta Give but in my case, my coastal clothes (whilst classic) are worn and battered as becomes a sea-living -coastal existence. Salt, sun, dogs, a grandchild and knee-deep in gardening.
    You look lovely and fresh in jeans and a white shirt. Love the sandals as well! they remind me of one of the Queens of Classic – Jackie Kennedy.

  7. Hi Susan! I’m all about this look these days! And loving it 🙂 You look great 😛
    Beautiful surroundings you have there. I hope you and Mr. Mickey are doing WELL!

  8. Hi Susan! What a beautiful setting to enjoy each & every day. You look so happy and relaxed. I love the coastal grandmother style look as jeans and a white top are my go to outfits as well. Lake side living really agrees with you. All the best to Mr. Mickey.

  9. Loved seeing everything looking so green. Here in South Texas, we are in drought, and everything is drying up.

    Thank you for all of the photos you send showing us your beautiful surroundings.

    L.L. Bean never disappoints me. Their tee shirts wash well and their cotton sweaters are great.

  10. I love everything about your retirement style. The place you live is surrounded with beauty. I think retirement and downsizing certainly agrees with you . Best wishes to Mr. Mickey as well.

  11. Anytime the term “Grandmother” means “cool”
    Is good news in my book! To me it means being comfortable in your skin, no need to explain or alter your style, happy and with your life and as healthy as you can be. Things we all should be aiming for. Your blogs encourage all of us is that direction.

  12. I am not a beach person, but I love your Lakeside Retiree look! As I told you when I met you at your sale, I am a work in progress and enjoy your fashion tips. Do you shop in Johnson City, or online?

  13. Gosh, this describes me perfectly. I love my whites and neutrals. I’m glad someone gave it a name. You look so happy, and Mr. Mickey must be thrilled watching you spruce up his place. Lovely flowers, and great view.

  14. A pretty peaceful beautiful place! So nice to enjoy each day. And you also have a green thumb! So happy for you!

  15. The view of the lake is just stunning – what a lovely place to live. I hope you are enjoying your new home

  16. Your view is beautiful and you look lovely, as always. And very happy. I really like the shirt, and it comes in Petite! I think I’ll order one tomorrow. I usually wear tee shirts and jeans, and I think a shirt like that would be a more classy look.

  17. That’s a beautiful place! Also, your plants are gorgeous! Love your style, just wish I could be as slender as you are.

  18. What a lovely view to wake up each morning to. I really like Lakes.
    Also love your very relaxed look.
    Looking good
    Dorothy SCHULZ
    Melbourne Australia

  19. YOU ARE ONE IN A MILLION!!!! THANK YOU FOR SHARING!!!!!!!!I LOVE LIVING NEAR THE OCEAN After living in S.C. for 43 years ( I am glad to be home in R.I.) LIving near the ocean is a beautiful feeling Makes your entire insides feel calm, good and content. We are also in our retirement and purchased a condo. Looking around at unpacked boxes how in the world did I purchase so much stuff? Happy to know Mr. Mickey is residing with you. I was concerned when you said you were moving, He is to good to leave behind. LOL!!!!! May you have a HAPPY HEALTHY LIFE!!!

  20. I too loved the movie ‘Something’s gotta Give’ for it’s stylish home and fashions. It really was my dream home (and a fun movie to boot).
    Love your outfits and dress sense – so elegant.

  21. We have recently moved to a lakeside community for our retirement. Unfortunately, the women I have observed so far seem to be interpreting “Coastal Grandma Aesthetic” as an over-sized tee shirt, baggy shorts and tennis shoes. We are still in the process of getting set up, and I have not been very focused on my wardrobe at this time, but I don’t intend to interpret “casual” as “sloppy”.

    I have a problem with blouses because they tend to gap across my bustline. Any recommendations?

    1. I sometimes wear a silky tank or camisole under fitted shirts and leave them primarily open. Look for relaxed-fit shirts or blouses instead of slim or tailored fits.

  22. Hello Susan, thank you for the beautiful photos of the environment you and Mr. Mickey live in. Absolutely stunning to see and lovely to live in. You have also beautiful plants inside the home .They look very nice and healthy because of your good care! Thank you and God bless you both!

  23. Susan,
    Although I am not an official “grandmother” I do live in Ocean City NJ and love the tern coastal grandmother.
    I retired a few years ago and adapted my wardrobe to be be more causal to chic casual. I have learned from you that less is more and it works.
    Thanks for the pictures and your style sense.

  24. Hello Susan, I loved your post today. After my retirement from the corporate world, I too adopted a casual but classic wardrobe. Since I had to replace the pant suits and office attire, It took time and money but I did it. Regarding your reference to the movie Something’s gotta give”, the first thing I noticed was the simplicity, quality and neutral colors of Diane Keaton’s wardrobe which I immediately tried to emulate, minus the beach house unfortunately. My parents and their parents were all tailors, I was taught to recognize quality fabrics and workmanship and I share the love of fabrics and clothing.
    Thank you for your advice and interesting posts, I always look forward to reading them.

  25. Susan, the photos are beautiful. The area looks so lush and green. I love the Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic, it suits you. Happy Friday, Peg

  26. I too loved the style in Something’s Gotta Give. If you visit Paris, make sure you visit Le Grand Colbert, the restaurant where Erica celebrates her birthday. We ate there several times around eight years ago and it was lovely and food was delicious.

  27. Hi Susan! I’ve been enjoying your style – would you share some summer occcasion dresses that you like? My son is getting married next July, so I’m starting to look around at dresses. Wedding will be outdoors, 5pm,and dressy casual – the kids want everyone to be comfortable – no formal tuxes! Thanks for sharing!

  28. Susan,
    What a beautiful and peaceful area you have. Your flowers and plants are so healthy and vibrant! The nicely landscaped lake area is beautiful. And I noticed a paved sidewalk for exercise or just strolling along to enjoy.

    Your outfit is perfect and comfortable. Most of all it’s classic.

    Always happy to see your post. Thank you.

  29. You always look great whatever you’re doing or wherever you are going. The lakeside community and all the beautiful plants are a very pretty setting.

  30. Susan

    What a beautiful place to live! Living by the ocean would involve another move. Yuk! If you stay where you are, you do not have to worry about a hurricane destroying your home and probably less humidity. If you do decide, however, you might tell Mr. Mickey about some of us!! And, maybe, tell us more about Mr. Mickey. I suppose he would follow you. . .


  31. I really appreciate your succinct summary of this style and especially for clarifying that the clothes are high quality and well fitted with modern relaxed styling (less makeup, wash and wear hair). I feel like I have reached my retirement years at the perfect time and wish us all good health to enjoy this wonderful age.

  32. I have started buying fewer things but spending just a little more money for them. I feel happy when I’m wearing something I really love. And I have decluttered my closet of things that don’t “bring me joy.” Usually these items don’t fit anymore or are a color that doesn’t work with my gray hair and my complexion. I enjoy seeing how you dress in a classic style. Enjoy your new place.

  33. The lake is beautiful and so are your lovely plants. Life is relaxed and comfortable. We enjoy views of our golf course and dinner with friends at the clubhouse and at home. My do to tops are Life is Good! tee shirts in all colors and styles. My So Slimming Girlfriend jeans in black, white, and dark wash are my go to’s. Thank goodness for no-Iron cotton shirts too.
    Thanks for all your fashion tips and pictures.

  34. I love this casual/stay at home look, and your blogs. Thanks for passing on what you are learnt.
    What is the flowering shrub in the foreground of the last photo?
    Regards, Carol from Australia

  35. Lovely plants.
    To Piggyback off of your coastal “grandmother” topic, are either you or Mr. Mickey a grandparent? It’s such a blessing to experience that close relationship with our precious grandchildren, watching them grow and change from that moment of birth to when they run to give us hugs when visiting!
    What a special time in our lives that we are blessed to appreciate being grandparents and to dress in the “coastal
    grandmother style!”

  36. What a beautiful area and your plants are growing nicely. I am a great-grandmother and I do agree with your philosophy. You have helped me in my fashion. Thanks again, Diana Scott

  37. This is a beautiful setting. Hopefully the weather is not as hot as it is in Texas.
    Thank you for sharing!

  38. We live in Michigan. Ever been there. The changing of the seasons is wonderful but summer a little to short for me. Thanks for sharing,.I have summer wedding I a, going to and appreciate the dresses you suggested. Thanks will you be living with Mr Mickey now or still looking for new place

  39. This was a fun post today on your blog! After reading your post today, I had to create a board on Pinterest
    of the CGA!

    Your lake views and flowers are lovely. I was so fortunate to have paternal grandparents who lived on an inland lake in my state. Those summers hold so many wonderful memories of happy times with family. I wish it could last forever and that my great-grandchildren could have those experiences.

    We have a heat wave coming this week, so I have already pulled out my movies of “Something’s Gotta Give”, “It’s Complicated”, “Letters to Juliet”, and “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Maybe “Mamma Mia!” will be added.

    It is always enjoyable to see a new post from you and also to read comments from the community you have
    brought together.

  40. No, I was referring to the red flowers at the left of the photo that shows three plants: snake at the lower right, begonia just above it, and then, at the left of the others, the plant that still looks like a Christmas cactus to me. Its leaves are nothing like begonia leaves. I would love to know what that plant is, if you have time. Thanks!

  41. Susan, so glad to know this post is recent. That walk must be absolutely perfect for your early morning constitutional. You have a way of enhancing all our lives right along with you.

  42. Susan,
    I am enjoying your blog and often revisit your posts prior to travel. As we age, it is all too easy to slip into a “No style” wardrobe. Thank you for sharing your sources. Much happiness to you and Mr. M.
    An Over 70 Follower

  43. This post was very timely for me. I’m having a total rethink of my wardrobe. It’s always been a mish-mash of styles, but the Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic very much appeals to me. I’ve followed your blog for a long time and I wasn’t surprised to see you embracing this style. Especially when I read you were wearing less blazers and more cardigans.
    As we move into autumn & winter, it would very much appreciated if you would please do a post on warm & cosy C.G.A. for the colder months. I’m having bariatric surgery in early October and will need a new wardrobe soon afterwards. Living in the UK, our weather is very variable and as I suffer from hot flushes (very bad ones) and conversely I’ll feel colder after surgery, I think I’ll need to layer my clothes.
    Blue is my favourite colour by a long chalk, so that’s a good start, isn’t it?
    Thank you for continuing to be a classy voice of reason in this sometimes insane world of fashion.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.