It's not your grandma's fashion. Wait—yes it is! And it's awesome. 

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elderly woman smile pearl necklace cat-eye glasses apron kitchen
Credit: Emma Lee

If you've ever seen the Pasta Grannies' videos, featuring Italian grandmothers making their signature dishes, you've definitely craved their cooking. The other thing these YouTube and Instagram stars might leave you wanting? Their signature looks. "That desire to look good doesn't go away when you get older," says Vicky Bennison, the filmmaker behind Pasta Grannies and author of a book of the same name. "The grannies take an interest in their clothing. Many of them are seamstresses, and a lot of their lace and embroidery is hand-done—it was often part of their dowry." Over the past six years, Bennison has filmed about 300 grannies, and a few trends have emerged. She shares her must-haves to achieve that granny chic.

Pearls

"If they have a pearl necklace, they'll wear it."

two older Italian women kitchen smiles frilly blue aprons
Credit: Emma Lee

A Frilly Apron

"Grandchildren give their grannies personalized ones, or they'll pick up frilly ones at the market."

older Italian woman red head scarf pasta dish kitchen
Credit: Courtesy Pasta Grannies

A Headscarf

"This is a more Southern Italian thing, where it's a local custom."

older woman traditional dirndl dress hat preparing dumplings
Credit: Courtesy Pasta Grannies

Regional Attire

"Often, they'll wear traditional garb—in the north, for instance, they have dirndl-style dresses."

elderly woman kitchen pasta dish blue blouse apron
Credit: Courtesy Pasta Grannies

A Perm

"I reckon 90 percent of the grannies have gone to the hairdresser for a set and a blow-dry the day before filming."

Can't get enough of the grannies? Find more to love on Instagram at @pastagrannies.

This article originally appeared in our Fall 2021 issue. Get the magazine here