The Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic, Santa Barbara Style
Lovebird’s Nancy Burgner Gives the ‘Real’ Scoop on This Summer’s Hottest Trend
By Leslie Dinaberg | August 25, 2022
The Coastal Grandmother trend was seemingly everywhere this summer. What do the real fashion experts have to say about the comfy beachy vibe that’s taken the Internet by storm? Nancy Burgner, owner of Lovebird Boutique (lovebirdsb.com), gives us the skinny.
The coastal grandmother (and granddaughter) trend is certainly popular online. Are you seeing a lot of that look as a trend with your vendors? This “Coastal Grandmother” phrase makes me laugh as I’m approaching the potential Grandma age and I personally wouldn’t be attracted to something called Grandmother anything! That said, the look is really a return to the classics — easy, effortless dressing in a neutral palette. Shirt dresses, linens, cashmeres, collared shirts, high-waisted pants. What’s different is that there’s a sector of the younger generation that seems attracted to this more conservative, “mature” look, at least for the moment. This is a good thing — fashion trends may come and go, but you’ll always return to your classic pieces at different times in your life. They should be the cornerstone of your wardrobe, no matter what your age.
What about your customers? Is that a style you see being embraced in Santa Barbara? The Santa Barbara style epitomized the Coastal Grandmother look long before it was called this — it’s an enduring, classic style favored by West Coast, as well as East Coast, women. We have many e-com customers from the Northeast and East Coast and typically they are buying our classic “Coastal Grandma” items and not our more colorful, playful styles. So it’s interesting that this look seems to be favored by coastal women who are used to a more casual, beach-oriented lifestyle and aesthetic.
By locals? By tourists? What age range are we talking about here? While we always offer a core collection of enduring, classic pieces in natural fabrics and solid colors, our customers also love bold color, prints, and playful patterns. Our two top-selling lines feature vibrant, gorgeous prints and are favored by locals and tourists alike. Even if your core wardrobe consists of classics and solids, most women like to have some items that are colorful, playful, sexy, and unique — no matter what their age. These are pieces that make you happy when you wear them and garner lots of attention and compliments. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love a compliment on a new dress or top?
My own theory is that the pandemic made us value comfort in fashion more than ever before, and some of the trends we’ve seen (nap dresses, Coastal Grandmother inspo, the return to comfortable shoes and flats) are a reflection of that. Any thoughts? What’s your take? The pandemic definitely impacted fashion and the focus continues to be on comfort and functionality. However, fashion is still fashion, so the pendulum is swinging back again. Women are tired of wearing loungewear and leisurewear and want to look fashionable and feel beautiful, COVID or no COVID. Dresses are selling like crazy — in colorful prints, short, midi, and long lengths. And I don’t see that slowing down any time soon.
In terms of general fashion advice, Lovebird seems to have a lot of styles that people of different ages will like and your marketing reflects that. Any thoughts about staying fashionable at any age that you’d like to share? Lovebird has customers ranging from 18 to 81, with our core customer base in the 35-65 range. Regardless of your chronological age, body type, or size, you can always be fashionable and contemporary, and it doesn’t take a lot of money or effort. My advice to women is to love their body and be confident in their body. Even if you’ve developed a very specific style of dress, don’t be afraid to try new things and colors — maybe treat yourself to a couple of pieces a season that are on trend and maybe a little out of your comfort zone. Especially when buying denim — jeans are very trendy, and a new pair of jeans in a high waist or wide leg will immediately give you a very contemporary look. Women put themselves in fashion boxes and they get trapped — it’s very fun and exciting to try a new style or color and expand your wardrobe and options. When I get dressed in the morning now, I ask myself, what’s my mood? What color appeals to me? What do I feel like projecting to the world today? Just don’t let yourself get stuck in the Coastal Grandma look or any look — mix it up, be playful and try new things. This is what will keep you looking and feeling youthful.