She’s only 18, just graduated from Westhampton Beach High School, and in the fall is set to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, but Abbie Jarzombek loves dressing like a "grandma."
The East Quogue resident is among countless teens and women who are part of the new “coastal grandmother” trend, made popular on TikTok. For their fashion, lifestyle and home décor cues, they’re looking to heroines from Nancy Meyers' movies such as Erica Berry (Diane Keaton) in “Something’s Gotta Give,” and Jane Adler (Meryl Streep) in “It’s Complicated.”
TikToker Lex Nicoleta, a Californian in her 20s, coined the “coastal grandmother” term — explaining the aesthetic in a video that went viral in March. Think Hamptons casual or minimal, preppy or nautical style — and a successful woman who creates a beautiful life for herself that contains elements of coastal living, whether she lives by the beach or not. And despite its name, the trend spans age groups and is quite fitting for Long Island lifestyles.
WHAT IS COASTAL GRANDMOTHER?
A look into a coastal grandma’s closet finds among its staples white pants and shorts, striped button-down shirts, flowy dresses, a straw hat, cardigans, turtlenecks, slip-on sneakers and loafers.
Typical coastal grandma-styled homes have a beachy, comfortable and cozy vibe created with fresh flowers, neutral walls, white sofas, and some blue or pale toned accents mixed in. They are a place for intimate dinner parties involving wine, and more solitary activities including curling up with a book, browsing through a magazine, or puttering around in the garden.
“I like it because it’s very Hamptonsy,” Jarzombek says of this style for her wardrobe. “Not only young kids want it but also older women, it’s universal.”
Tyran Sullivan, 45, a senior account executive for an insurance broker, says coastal grandma has been her style of dressing for as long as she can remember. “I’m not sure how I got there — maybe being a boater and spending every Fourth of July in Montauk growing up,” the Northport resident says. “It’s a classic, classy look.”
Joanna Mazzella, of Southold, is a 42-year-old “proud coastal grandma” who says she too has always dressed in the fashions. She adds the “aspirational lifestyle” the look represents seems to be appealing to an ever-broadening group today, though many of the movies through which the clothing and homes were introduced to the masses were released years ago. She attributes that to the pandemic.
“We have all come out of it with a deeper appreciation for the beautiful moments in life,” says Mazzella, owner of Mint Clothing Boutique. The women’s clothing store, which has locations in Mattituck, Westhampton Beach, Stony Brook and Southampton, is coastal grandma central.
Areas of Mazzella’s home are decorated in true coastal grandma fashion as well.
“We strive to embrace every day as special, maybe even a bit luxurious if you will,” Mazzella says. “This can be achieved through your style choices, your day-to-day activities and how you choose to live.” She adds, “All generations of women can relate to aspects of this. I think the idea of coastal grandmother chic has always been there, it just hasn’t been put into words.”
Shannon Willey, 50, and owner of Sea Green Designs in Southampton that specializes in coastal interior design, says the look for a home is timeless.
“The style evokes a warm and welcome feeling while being light and airy,” Willey says. “It’s become characteristic of the Hamptons because this is where busy families come to relax, but they still want their homes to be stylish.”
Like Mazzella, Alexandra Brady, 35, embraces the coastal grandma style in both fashion and interior décor. She is a partner in Brady Design Inc. in Southampton. Her father, Brian 66, is president and founder, and their family home is totally on point with this trend.
“When I set foot on the beach, especially in the Hamptons, I feel a sense of calm,” Alexandra Brady says. “I think that’s the best way to summarize how a room decorated in the coastal style should and does make one feel.”
TIPS FOR ACHIEVING THE COASTAL LOOK
Must-haves for the coastal grandmother closet, per Mazzella, owner of Mint Clothing Boutique.
— A white linen shirt
— A straw hat
— Cashmere or cotton cardigan
— Flowy dresses
— Anything blue and white striped
— A pair of neutral slides
How to achieve the coastal grandma look in your home, per Willey, owner of Sea Green Designs in Southampton.
— Start with neutral walls in light colors in sandy tones or pale blues or greens.
— Choose your larger upholstered pieces in neutral, textured solids and consider washable fabrics that will hold up over time, such as washable linen for a relaxed look.
— Bring in natural elements like grass cloth for walls or furniture finishes and sisal for rugs.
— Layers are really important to add the warm and welcome vibe. Bring in smaller pieces of furniture or pillows that have different scales of pattern. Think a large stripe or check mixed with a small floral.
— Choose comfortable, easy to care for, well-made pieces. This look is about timelessness; make sure what you use is built to last.
— Bring the outdoors in with art or accessories from nature, like hydrangeas, corals, shells, ferns, and seascapes.