Twee fashion is back and taking TikTok by storm. But what in the world is “twee”? Think Zooey Deschanel’s frilly pastel dresses in 500 Days of Summer, Taylor Swift’s cardigans and ballet flats during her “Red” era” and Betty Suarez’s colourful tights in Ugly Betty. They are the embodiment of twee.
In a modern context, twee is the vibe of that thrift-shopping, kombucha-sipping, indie music lover that is always ahead of every trend before it takes off. Some would go as far to say that twee is just a form of hipster culture but with a quirky twist.
Back in the late 1960s to early ’70s, the underground pop music scene in England birthed twee as a subculture that served as teenagers’ feminine and punk flag of rebellion. Although it had a short lifespan because of disco’s transcendent and overpowering introduction, twee is revived every few decades.
Thanks to Tumblr’s popularity from 2006 to 2013, twee was given a new platform to shine. Teenagers who did not connect with the Dr Martens-loving e-boys and girls found a more dainty and demure style that spoke to them. We’re talking about A-line dresses, Peter Pan collars, berets, lace and tweed garments galore.
As Tumblr faded into obscurity to make way for Instagram, so did twee fashion. But not for long. With the resurgence of Y2K fashion such as beaded jewellery spotted in Coach’s SS22 collection and miniskirts on the runways of Chanel, Versace and Miu Miu, twee has re-entered the scene as well.
Perhaps it’s our thirst for optimism and joy after living two years in a pandemic-stricken world that gives twee the perfect opportunity to rise. However, much like everything in life, this style has evolved.
TheGen Z community does not want to simply follow the early 2010s trend to a tee because style at that time glorified thinness, the male gaze and lacked racial diversity, which can no longer be ignored in 2022.
With more emphasise on doing better, the new twee fashion also focuses on vintage apparel from local shops and consignment websites that sell pre-loved items to curb the reliance on fast fashion and to diminish our carbon footprint.
To get the perfect and modern ensemble, shop these twee staples below.