For a moment, indulge us and think back to the early 2000s. You are heading to HMV to buy 500 Days of Summer DVD. Then, you’ll be dancing to Feist while wearing wired headphones that are knotted. What is your outfit? A polka dot gown, burgundy tights and an owl necklace. It’s good to live.
We’ll take you on a trip down memory lane if you don’t know what this time period was from c2007 to 2012. Known on Tumblr as ‘twee’, the indie-adjacent aesthetic was defined by a love of ‘quirky’ movies, music and fashion – the likes of Juno, Kate Nash and Peter Pan collars. Twee, which was a modification of the notion of the hot nerd is all about girls wearing big glasses, riding pastel-coloured bikes, and being ‘adorkable’.
Icons of the aesthetic included Zooey Deschanel and Taylor Swift but twee was truly an internet phenomenon, with YouTuber Zoella rarely seen on the platform without her uniform of skater skirt and stripes. Twee fashion, like core hipster culture was a way to show who you are and what you love. This included listening to folk music and being kind to other people.
The aesthetic was not without its flaws, and became synonymous with the “manic pixie dream boy” trope. One of the most problematic personality traits was a focus on virginal innocence. At the fashion end, things were often centered around wifey thinness or whiteness. The recent revival of Tiktok’s trend seems to have taken a major step away from these elements and is offering up a more inclusive version twee for 2020.
Mixed reactions have been received by millennials to the reemergence of twee, with some being excited and others feeling horrified. The majority of the interest in this trend is driven by Gen Z, who were too young for the look the first time. Many Tiktok videos indulge in the trend’s glory days, but many users are sharing their hopes for the look in 2022. Modernizing the trend requires a return to the original inspiration of twee in the 1960s and avoiding the obsession with poorly fitting playsuits.
Tiktok’s microtrends often face criticism due to their short digital shelf life but the twee revival appears to occupy a different space from the internet’s love of fast fashion. New-age twee pieces can easily fit into a capsule wardrobe thanks to Instagram-approved brands such as Rixo, Shrimps, and Ganni. Continue reading to learn which twee pieces we are updating for 2022.
Ballet Flats – Loafers
Although the “ballet flats” of the twee era seemed like a great idea, you could feel every pebble in the ground as soon as you started walking. It was essentially barefoot, with no arch support. This made it feel like you were walking barefoot for two weeks. We’re going to be wearing a more robust sole and stronger shell for 2022 with an embossed loafer. The shoe retains its twee heritage with accent brooches, decorative detailing, and fits perfectly within the English teacher vibe. It also looks classically cool.
Peter Pan Collars – Maximalist Collars
The ‘Peter Pan collar’ was the most popular collar in the twee era, whether it was worn over a batwing jumper dress or as the main feature on a cap-sleeve skating dress. The collar, which was small in size and has rounded details, was cute added to any outfit. It allowed millennials to live their Disney-esque dreams. We are taking the best parts of an accent collar and turning it up a gear as we enter the new year. The XXL collars on the market today are perfect for the twee aesthetic. They come in a variety of styles, including gingham print, doily detailing, and sweet ruffles.
Hair Bows – Berets
Now, we’re not going to say that berets weren’t around during the core twee years but there was a distinct preference for hair bows that cannot go ignored. Tumblr was awash with bows. This season we’re swapping the Minnie Mouse-inspired headwear for a sweet and simple beret for a more mature take on hair accessories. Emily In Paris may have earned the hat a certain ‘Brit abroad’ connotation in recent years but in 2022 we’re taking our cue from Prince and adding a raspberry (or similarly sweet colour) beret to our favourite winter ‘fits.
Colored Tights – Tube Socks
Tights can be practical. They keep your legs warm and conceal the hair you have missed while shaving. The twee tights from the early 2010s were too bright or too busy to wear every day. They could be swapped for the frilly socks from the creeper-Tumblr age, but we prefer the fashionable tube pair. The slouchy sock, reminiscent of Princess Di’s iconic athleisure, is the perfect companion for a patent loafer. It strikes a balance between casual luxury and oh-so-student style.