The TikTok Twee Revival, Explained
They say everything old becomes new again. This time, that might mean the return of ‘twee,’ the aesthetic popularized by hustlers around 2008 that seemingly disappeared in popular media around 2014.
Gen Z remembers the days of early 2010s Tumblr — American Apparel tennis skirts, Tumblr Girls by G-Eazy, the Arctic Monkeys, Acacia Brinley, and fashion trends that served as the dressing rules for a generation. Trend analyst and fashion writer Mandy Lee (@oldloserinbrooklyn) has predicted the return of Tumblr-era subcultures for 2022 — focusing on the indie sleaze revival.
What is Twee?
All good subcultures birth a subculture that directly responds to it. As a result of the indie sleaze and Tumblr girl aesthetics, twee was born. It’s a palette of colorful tights, ballet flats, Peter Pan collars, pussy bows, satchel bags, cat eye glasses, headbands, cardigans, and long, modest hemlines. It’s a British term that means “affectedly or excessively dainty, delicate, cute, or quaint.” Related brands are Modcloth and Princess Highway.
The fashion is inspired by indie films like (500) Days of Summer. They were the days of typewriters, teacups, and even more infamously, ukuleles. Some TikTok users have taken to calling it “Zooey Deschanel core.”
Twee in Media
Twee movies are coming of age stories with visuals of twee involve vintage objects, dollhouses, a range of colors, saturated pastels, and the desire for everything to look like a Wes Anderson movie. Films that popularized the twee aesthetic include The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Elf (2003), and Juno (2004).
Then comes the music — underproduced and acoustic with eclectic ukulele girls and guitar boys. For instance, it values artists like Vance Joy and bands like She & Him (Zooey Deschanel’s band!) and Peter, Bjorn, and John.