It’s been called “the ultimate vibe for the summer,” and a style “rooted in classic ocean-side minimalism but isn’t overly preppy.” In this episode, we talk about Coastal Grandmothers and all things linen, plus whether we fit the bill, if there’s a deeper meaning to it all, and how we can all learn from each other – no matter the age.
Reference: Lex Nicoleta on TikTok
Des: [00:00:00] It’s been called the ultimate vibe for the summer and a style rooted in classic oceanside minimalism, but isn’t overly preppy. I’m Deseri Garcia, and I’m here with Michelle Freed talking about coastal grandmothers and all things linen. Plus, whether we fit the bill, if there’s a deeper meaning to it all and why.
Michelle: We both love movies, music, and such. And I’m going to venture out to say that when it comes to pop culture and trends, we’re both often in the know, although I do have a slight advantage sometimes, mainly due to the fact that I have a hip 22-year-old daughter. She’s usually telling me the latest [00:01:00] thing I must know, but you, Des are the one that first brought to my attention the term Coastal Grandmother, and it was a new one to me. You’ve also explained that idea, look, trend – whatever you call it – originated by a TikToker, and her name is Lex Nicoleta. So, I checked out her account and have since read more about it, and discovered that it’s inspired by Nancy Myers movies and characters like Diane Keaton, in Something’s Got To Give, or Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated.
Those are two of my all-time favorite movies. So, I’m so excited to now know about this term. Talk more about what it means to be a Coastal Grandmother.
Des: So, there’s a definition of it, and then we, of course, will have our own interpretation, right? Coastal Grandmothers are [00:02:00] described as having an effortlessly classic style like linen outfits, signature drinks, chilled wine, patio décor … jewelry. It’s an affluent, classy grandma style. And as you mentioned, Lex the TikToker even created a playlist on Spotify, which is awesome. I happen to love it. You’ll love it too – it’s stuff that we like … the song comes on and we start dancing.
She also posts about themed movie recommendations, hairstyles, TV shows, jewelry suggestions, date night ideas – all of these things that meet this popular aesthetic.
Michelle: It’s like Coastal Grandmother’s gone wild, only probably not in the same way that we might [00:03:00] think.
Des: It’s all relative.
Michelle: Yeah. It’s all relative. When you first brought up the idea to talk about this on an episode and who can be a Coastal Grandmother, you said something to the effect of like, “Hey, we fit the profile to a T, even though we live in the Midwest and we’re not grandmothers.” And let’s make sure that everyone knows that we are not grandmothers.
So, tell me a little bit about why this topic struck a chord with you – I’m so curious to hear.
Des: We talked about how it’s a bit of a trend and stylistically how it’s an aesthetic. For me, I think of it as a way of being, it’s a way of living. A lot of the descriptors that I read, [00:04:00] it’s kind of how I evolved into the things that I like – living true to “you do you” and “if it’s not a hell, yes, it’s a hell no.” For example, if you think about this style trend, it’s comfortable clothes, right? Like dare I say, sensible clothing. And I’m like, well, of course I’m going to wear that because it’s comfortable. Like, why have so many of us decided that athletic leisure wear and yoga pants are the best work clothes on the planet?
Michelle: Because they’re comfortable!
Des: Exactly. I know we’ll talk more about it, but that’s why it struck a chord with me. They talk about, for instance, gardening. [00:05:00] I live in an urban area and don’t have a massive garden, but I’ve learned that that’s something I love to do to just chill. It’s a meditative experience for me, and that’s why I think it’s more than an aesthetic. It’s a lifestyle.
Michelle: I agree. Are you fans of those two movies that I mentioned? Oh my god, those are two movies I will watch every time they’re on TV. It’s partly because I love the writing and love the characters – they’re fun – but also because I love staring at those houses and what’s in them. The houses in both of them are very expensive houses, so let’s be clear, I don’t live in one like that. But I just stare at everything. They’re good, wonderful movies [00:06:00] to just adore the clothes and adore the decor and adore everything about them – the food … it’s a way of life, but you don’t have to have a huge house in the Hamptons or on the coast. It can be a way of life that is comforting and joyful.
Des: Yes. It’s one that asks, “Does your environment feed your soul or does it take away? Like for me, having an unkept space in my home does not spark joy for me. It’s stressful, and I just ask, does it spark joy? Which comes from Marie Kondo, and I loved her concept too. I started to look [00:07:00] around at each area in my home – each room, each corner – and it’s not about spending a lot of money, but it’s saying, you know what, I have this thing, is it meaningful to me?
And if it’s not, why have it? For instance, a junk drawer, why do I have a junk drawer? If it’s junk, why is it in a drawer? Now, my “junk drawer” makes sense because it has keys and things that I’m going to use in it. I realized I was kind of carrying this weight of things that didn’t have a lot of meaning, and said, let me change that. So [Coastal Grandmothers] has a lot to do with the environment that you speak of, and it doesn’t have as much to do about, “I gotta have big [00:08:00] everything or a lot of everything.”
Michelle: Right. I thought of this because the TikToker that we mentioned earlier, there are so many posts that she has of just everything – one is about being Coastal Grandmother at Goodwill, or Coastal Grandmother items on Amazon. So she’s milking it, as she should. I mean, she’s fun and you go girl.
But one thing I was remembering when I was reading all the descriptions is when my daughter and I went to Goodwill. I decided I just wanted all white plates and dishware, and we found all these wonderful different patterns. I still have them, and it is joyful to me. And I think that would be a Coastal Grandmother thing because it’s like finding treasures, no matter where you find them. I love it, and I’ve been doing that for years.
So, there is that part of the aesthetic and things we’re talking about – clothes, things around your house. But then I asked my daughter, Julia, “Do you know about this Coastal Grandmother thing?” She said yes, so I asked, “Do you think there might be kind of a deeper thing going on with this phenomenon?” And she said the coolest thing: “Younger generations are learning from older generations. People have been dressing like the Coastal Grandmother style for a long time, which you and I already know, but now it’s becoming trendier. So, it kind of goes to show that there’s always wisdom to be gained in one aspect or another, from those that are older than you.” And boy do I love that answer.
Des: I love that too. [00:10:00] And that wisdom goes both ways.
Michelle: Yes, it does.
Des: We have so much to learn from those that are a part of Julia’s generation and from Millennials. There’s so much I appreciate about other generations – we’re Gen X-ers – and so whether it’s the generations ahead of us, or the cool ones that are coming up now. I coach a group of Millennials, and I thought it was really interesting because during one of our calls, I think four of the six have kids, and one of them made a comment about [00:11:00] raising their kids and they said, “My husband and I are raising our kids like how Boomers would raise their kids.” I was like, “Really? What is it that attracts you to that?”
They said, “Both of our parents were Boomers, and the focus was wanting the best for our kids. Not that other generations don’t, but parenting was really focused on [the kids], and health and wellbeing. Boomers are known for longevity and a generation that started to really look at our health. So, it’s all interesting.
Michelle: There’s so many interesting things about that, which come through with this sort of theme of Coastal Grandmothers and generations. I’ve given a lot of talks to groups about generational [00:12:00] differences, and I always talk about the stereotypes. Generations do, indeed, have a lot of things in common, and that’s because of the period of time that they were born and raised, which is affected by their own parent’s generation, et cetera, et cetera.
But there is a tendency, especially over the last few years, to generalize people according to their generation. And there’s been some Boomer insults – you’ve seen them, “Hey Boomer. Okay, Boomer.” Like, it’s an insult, either about your ability to know things, or your intelligence level. It’s gotten old to me, but, hey, I also get it. Millenials are stereotyped, every generation gets stereotyped. That’s a reason why I love this Coastal Grandmother thing so much because [00:13:00] I do believe those stereotypes become more negative as people age. The older people get, they are more dismissed from younger generations – as I’m sure we did when we were younger toward our parents, like “Well, what do my parents know?” As a generation, characteristics of boomers are insulted and I love the fact that the people who have influenced the trend are Boomers.
As people age, younger people will say, “They don’t know about technology. They don’t know about what’s going on in the world anymore. They don’t really know about business,” and they tend to forget all of the experience that they bring to the table. And [00:14:00] so, I kind of feel a little bit affirmed for this style because it’s like, hey, we’ve been cool and we kind of knew it, right? But nobody else did.
Des: We are hip, finally! Finally, the rest of the world has caught up with what we’ve known!
Michelle: It’s validation. Thank you. Thank you, TikTokers and everyone who is loving the trend. Again, we’re not grandma’s – I can’t say that enough.
Des: Well, my youngest sister is so, you know, let’s be clear. We both could qualify in age.
Michelle: Honestly, I don’t mean to make that sound negative because I’ve got friends that are grandmas and it’s awesome, and they are rockin’ it. That is kind of age-ism right there and I shouldn’t [00:15:00] be saying that. So, I don’t mean it in a negative way. Thank you. We got that settled.
Des: We do. So, tell me Michelle, you said you feel validated. What else clicked for you about this?
Michelle: Well, part of it really is literally the fashion trends or decor trends, because in general, when new spring fashions are out and these are the hippest shoes you can wear right now, it comes from designers who are using very young fashion models to [00:16:00] wear clothes that most of us can’t and would not wear.
A lot of things are dictated by designers, and there are trends like yoga pants because people really do want to be comfortable, but there been a lot of times where, I would say younger women in particular are wearing shoes and clothes that are really uncomfortable and expensive because they’ve been told that that’s what’s trending. This goes into kind of deep stuff, but for decades and more, what women wear has been dictated by a very small number of people. And this [Coastal Grandmother trend] is a style that’s comfortable and [00:17:00] not painful or you feel pressured to wear.
It goes back to the expectations through the fashion industry and through trends that sometimes are kind of ridiculous, but yet people think, well, this is fashion, so I’ve got to wear it. I don’t know if I’m looking at this too deeply or not?
Des: What you’re saying completely makes sense, and I would love to hear comments about what you just shared from listeners. So, send those our way – go to our webpage or social media and respond. [00:18:00] We’ve referenced this in prior podcasts where we look at things differently than we did when we were younger. And so, I’m curious – when did that shift for you and do you know what caused it?
Michelle: That’s a really good question. I think that I’ve always been a Stevie Nicks wannabe in spirit, you know, with the flowing clothes. I go visit my brother who lives in Santa Fe, and I love going there because there’s always been a Coastal Grandmother vibe there. [00:19:00] They’ve got the linens and flowy clothes, and I’ve always felt so in love with that vibe there. But you get back to your own world, you’re not going to walk around in some of those clothes in Indianapolis.
Des: I just wore linen pants earlier this week.
Michelle: Well, that’s not exactly what I’m saying, but there’s a different vibe there. In a recent Teeter Beater, you mentioned that you will never wear uncomfortable shoes again. And there’s a point where you realize, why am I this miserable?? I would say in my forties, I started to embrace it. I moved to a more casual work environment in my thirties, so that helped. I started saying screw it, I’m just going to wear whatever I want. [00:20:00] It just gets to the point where you develop your own style over time, and it’s less dependent on what others think. How about you? How would you answer that question?
Des: I don’t know if I can pinpoint the exact age, but my mindset and attitude was one of questioning. I’ll use a simple example because I think it’s deeper than just aesthetics or shoes. It’s realizing at the end of the day, my feet feel terrible, and I pay attention to that. I’m a runner, and I’ll spend extra money on good running shoes because I’d like to have my knees into my nineties. [00:21:00] I started asking, “Why would I wear shoes that are uncomfortable? Why would I wear anything that doesn’t feel good?”, and I started questioning, “Am I doing this for me? Am I doing it for some sort of unconscious external validation?”
And so the questioning for me became when I started to kind of challenge the societal means, the norms and decide, this is for me – that’s a yes, and this isn’t for me – that’s a no. And I would say that I did also go through a journey of having a level of confidence in myself to make those choices for myself.
To bring this full circle, I think that’s why it resonated with me. To me, this is just like, [00:22:00] I could’ve come up with this phrase because this makes sense. Do the things that feel good and right for you, and don’t do the other things that make you question why you’re doing them.
Michelle: Right. Yeah. Well that makes sense. I would say it kind of comes down to learning not only what is for you, but also continuing to learn from each other. And that includes older than you and younger than you, but also just finding joy in your own authentic style, whether it’s clothes, mental health, whatever it is, and then, just have fun with it. I think that’s kind of what this conversation sort of made me appreciate is, just be who you are. Whoever you are will eventually come back in trend. [00:23:00]
So stick to who you are, and have fun with it. The last thing I would say about it is, hail to Coastal Grandmothers, man. Wherever you are, we all rock!
Des: Yes. We do!
Michelle: Do you have any other things to say about that before we go to our next thing?
Des: I loved what you summarized. I think the only thing I would say is if you still have those plaid, hip hugger, bell-bottoms, keep them!
Michelle: Just have a section in your wardrobe!
Des: I love it. Yes. Hey, it’s time for our Teeter Beater! And this comes from a good friend of mine, Chrissy. I love this question, Michelle. I’ll let you start. What are things that you like to do with friends that don’t [00:24:00] revolve around drinking?
Michelle: I wonder if she asked us because we reference drinking so much in this podcast?
Des: Hey, it’s an eye-opener.
Michelle: Right. This makes me rethink everything. Well, that’s a good question. It’s interesting to think about this because you know, we’ve talked about this before – COVID really has changed so much in my habits with friends. So I haven’t done a lot of these things recently. Yes, I do do things without drinking. I used to go a lot more to movie theaters and meet friends there, or go to speaker series, or go to the theater, and by theater, I mean live plays. It’s not that those aren’t possible things now. I just don’t go as often. Meeting for coffee is always a good thing, and long walks, like [00:25:00] going to a local park and walking is one of my favorite things to do. So those are just some of the things I enjoy. What about you?
Des: You bring up a great point about how the two years of the pandemic shifted, how and what I do. I’m embracing the shift back to things that we did take a pause on for two years. As I thought about Chrissy’s question, it stems around activity. Like you said, walking with friends. This morning, I did a bike ride with my neighbor. Hiking, playing pickleball, and activities are one of my favorite things to do with friends. Also vision boarding. [00:26:00] But there are other things my friends and I love to do. We might get together and – Michelle, biggest eye-roll ever coming – journal. I’ve gotten together with friends and painted. One of my good friends asked me about helping with some yard gardening work this weekend. So I would say it does stem around an activity and doing. Certainly, having dinner and having lunches don’t have to require alcohol. I certainly do those things alcohol-free.
Michelle: I feel so much better about ourselves right now. If we didn’t have an answer, I would have been worried.
Des: You know, that’s very true. Really [00:27:00] good point. So hopefully that’s helpful. I think for me at the end of the day, it is about the quality of connection. That does not have to stem around alcohol or food. It is, what’s the quality of the interaction that we’re having?
Michelle: That’s really good. I like that.
Des: Thanks. So team, we thank you for being listeners. We love the texts and comments that we’re getting about this podcast, so thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Keep those coming. We love hearing from you. Please share your favorite podcast with friends, and send them a text with this episode if you like it. Follow us on social media – you can find everything you need to know at cubansooner.com.
Michelle: If you have a conference or event coming up [00:28:00] and you’d like a dynamic pair of charming, delightful, and – what other words can I use? – entertaining speakers, we are booking. Send us an inquiry on our website. And so for now, onward, upward, and remember …
Des: … own your Teeter!
Cuban and Sooner is a production of Vida Aventura, WoodFish Group, and a shout-out of appreciation goes to our very patient producer, Jen Edds of Brassy Broadcasting Company.