For a famously youth-obsessed industry, fashion has been celebrating the comfortably-retired set with relish lately. So when “eclectic grandpa style” landed on our For You pages at the onset of 2024, we barely batted an eye. Pavement-pounding arbiters of New York’s most idiosyncratic aesthetes have been documenting the city’s gerontocracy for years, but appreciation for their particular brand of nonchalant ease is fast reaching its peak. Dressing like a well-to-do septuagenarian has never felt cooler.
The touchpoints of grandpa-core are pretty obvious: swaddly topcoats, shaggy cardigans, high-waisted trousers, and sensible footwear, all mixed and matched with an utter lack of inhibition that comes naturally to the Lasik-enhanced eyes of seasoned dressers. These are clothes that make sitting at home on your couch (or on the subway, begrudgingly commuting back to work) feel a little ritzy. They’re buttoned-up but not fussy. They’re leisurewear for an entirely different type of leisure, like taking in an exhibit at The Frick at 2p.m. on a Tuesday or browsing the cheese selection at Zabar’s to find just the right asiago to complete a brunch spread.
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They embody a joyful approach to getting dressed that eschews the soul-deadening banality of corporate lackey attire in favor of boss-man clothing with a lot more seasoning—future heirlooms your progeny will pilfer from your closet while you look on, misty-eyed, from the recliner. (Think Logan Roy, if Logan Roy had slightly less money and slightly jazzier taste.)
What’s driving the ‘eclectic grandpa’ trend? An armchair diagnosis might point to an exasperation with the hallmarks of the Gen Z lifestyle and a yearning for the type of stability that comes with the comfort of regular social security deposits and a cushy 401(k). The teenyboppers on TikTok might not own a house—they might never own a house—or come by the sort of material trappings so generously doled out to the Boomer generation, but they sure can dress the part.
The head-to-toe look can be tricky to pull off, but incorporating elements of the vibe into your everyday rotation is easy enough. (You could do worse than taking a cue from Tyler, the Creator, who swears by a uniform of wacky trapper hats, vibrant sweaters, scrunched tube socks, and brolic hard-bottoms.) Invest in a couple of the pieces here and then wear them like you have absolutely nowhere to be—except a matinee showing, and maybe a reading at the 92nd Street Y.
Below, we break down six easy ways to drizzle a dash of eclectic grandpa style into your winter fits. The AARP card, we’re sad to report, is still sold separately.
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