Experts are predicting a ‘twee’ revival on TikTok — but what does that mean?

TikTok is bringing back the “twee” aesthetic. You might remember it as the “adorkable” fashion style that was popular from around 2013 to 2015. 

In the early 2010s trendsetters like New Girl actress Zooey Deschanel, fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson and model Alexa Chung popularized the style. The look was characterized by kitschy vintage styles like colorful satchels, large retro glasses, bangs, stockings and printed shift dresses from ModCloth (before Walmart acquired it). It was popular among the indie-hipster set and fashionistas alike. 

In many ways twee was a reaction to the Girls Gone Wild, blinged-out party girl and hypersexualized aesthetics foisted upon women in the early 2000s. It also coincided with the mainstream’s new embracement of “nerd” culture like the Big Bang Theory and the early inklings of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the first time, it seemed, it was cool to be kind of dorky and offbeat.

But twee fashion gained traction right along with another important movement, the body acceptance movement. Twee received criticism for centering waify, white women and overlapping with Tumblr’s notoriously insidious pro-ana content. Now Twee is making a comeback on TikTok — and it’s polarizing. 


We still have time, audio still has less than 550 videos under it. #tumblr #2014tumblr #aesthetic #twee

♬ Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? – She & Him

“No. We aren’t starting this again. 2014 Tumblr cannot come back. Twee coming back will be the beginning of the end,” a user wrote in a video. “It wasn’t all Zoey Deschanel and mustaches… It was racism, fatphobia, self-harm posts and eating disorder (ED) forums. I could go one forever.” 

Others are looking to modernize the throwback style for a more practical aesthetic like @garbagefairyy

TikToker @mrgtfrench wrote of the subject, “Twee never went anywhere, we’re all just in ED recovery. I suggest an updated term where we still dress cute but we’re as fat as our bodies are supposed to be.” 

Meanwhile, others are sharing old photos of their twee phases nostalgically but even they are critical of the aesthetic. 

“If twee truly does come back in style though it better be size-inclusive this time. I was sick with ED in all these pics,” @@flashesofstyle wrote in the caption

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