You may have tried Doja Cat’s E-girl-inspired makeup routine or found out about cottagecore gowns thanks to TikTok — that’s because the app also impacts the ever-changing nature of aesthetics and the fashion trend cycle. Just last year, TikTok creators have worked overtime to let people know that the retrofuturistic looks of the early 2000s and flared silhouettes of the 1970s are, in fact, in again. Having a personal aesthetic and sense of style plays a massive role in the fashion industry, as proven by Forbes’ report on the cottagecore trend that took over 2021.
TikTok’s latest fashion fixation is twee, which was popularized by Tumblr culture and celebrities like Taylor Swift, Zooey Deschanel, Tavi Gevinson, and Alexa Chung in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Twee calls back to a simpler time for millennials and hooks Gen Z in with its “adorkable” and sweet nature (it may just be the one thing each generation agrees on). If you’re wondering what all the rage is and why twee is suddenly taking over your For You Page, read on for more details.
What is twee?
Twee has British roots and is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental.” A TikToker named Mandy went on a deep dive on the aesthetic, noting that indie music had a major impact during its peak in the late 2000s. Artists like Death Cab for Cutie, Regina Spektor, and She & Him all played on the aesthetic in their songs and music videos, and soon enough, the style followed suit in movies like Juno and (500) Days of Summer.
As for the clothing that falls under the twee aesthetic, think Peter Pan collars and black tights. Vintage silhouettes from the 1950s made up most of the skirts and dresses that twee darlings Alexa Chung and Taylor Swift rocked in the late 2000s. Ballet flats, Oxford heels, and puffed sleeves also had a big moment when twee was the “it” aesthetic.
Cat-eye sunglasses, bows, cute patterns, berets, and satchels are also key accessories and factors of the vintage-inspired aesthetic.
Why is it trending on TikTok?
Twee is trending on TikTok thanks to the millennials who are reminiscing on the days they originally rocked the aesthetic. Those who are partaking in this walk down memory lane are using She & Him’s song, “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” as the soundtrack behind their twee-era OOTDs.
Fans also claim that actress Zooey Deschanel (who is literally the “she” of indie music duo She & Him, BTW) pretty much carried twee on her back as she starred as Summer in (500) Days of Summer and Jessica Day in New Girl. She even took part in the TikTok trend herself and mentioned that the app taught her what the word means. Honestly, this is quite the journey we’re on.
Sam is the editorial assistant at Seventeen, covering pop culture, celebrity news, health, and beauty. When she isn’t draping her cheeks in blush, you can probably find her live-tweeting awards shows or making SwiftToks.