Fashion is cyclical, this we know, with retro 70s and Y2K styles dominating the high street over the past year or so.
What wasn’t expected, however, was a trend still so fresh in our collective memories making a comeback – namely, twee.
Twee – sometimes described as tweecore – is an aesthetic that’s currently trending on TikTok, with throwback images of Zooey Deschanel, Tavi Gevinson, and Alexa Chung being shown off as inspiration.
If it looks a little familiar, it’s because it is. As many Millennials have pointed out, what’s been repackaged as twee is essentially what we were wearing in the 00s – a look known as the ‘hipster aesthetic’ at the time.
It’s characterised by whimsical and feminine pieces, harking back to indie-pop and the early era of street style and blogging. Quirky accessories are key here, and there’s also an element of nostalgia in the sweetheart necklines and swing skirts favoured by twee’s figureheads.
Set apart from its edgier cousin ‘indie sleaze’, twee is as if Wes Anderson’s movies had a baby with Belle and Sebastian’s music, and that baby was born playing the ukelele and writing on its typewriter.
Remember when being seen at Camden Market wearing knee-high socks and a printed tea dress was every teenager’s sartorial dream? Or when you couldn’t move for bows, moustaches, polka dots, or bird motifs on every single item?
No matter how much you try to block it out, it’s happening all over again.
The instinct may be to gatekeep this from Gen Z, or to warn them away from twee in the hope it won’t push back conversations around body image and race in fashion (thinness and whiteness were heavily prioritised on its first time around the trend cycle).
Realistically, though, it’s far more constructive to champion the parts of twee that were great and let young people move it on however they see fit.
Ballet flats and cutesy knitwear are cool again (whether us oldies are down for the ride or not), so if you want to get involved, here are the pieces to shop now.
Flossie Padded Coat
Repetto Camille ballerina flats
Topshop floral tea dress
ModCloth x Princess Highway embroidered jeans
Caterina Vintage Pears swing dress
70 Denier Longuette effect tights
Multi Boucle mini skirt
Lauren Smock Dress
Reiss Ashbourne Wool Fedora Hat