The resurgence of twee fashion, its origins and how to get the look

PHOTO: Instagram/Ganni

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.

@magicbyallison is twee actually coming back though?✨ #twee #tweeaesthetic #tswift #style #2012 #jessicaday #newgirl #vintageclothes #trends ♬ Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? - She & Him

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.

@stylewithmaddi Welcome to the 60s??‍♀️?? #fyp #whatidwear #decades #decadeslooks #vintage #vintagefashion #60s #1960s #mystyle #fashion #outfits #foryoupage #sew ♬ These Boots Are Made For Walkin' - Nancy Sinatra

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.

The Gen 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 emphasis 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.

@meatmarketman I’m only a wee bit scared of this trend going off the rails however I’ll try to be optimistic #twee #tweefashion #zoeydeschanel #tumblr #fashion ♬ Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? - She & Him

To get the perfect and modern ensemble, shop these twee staples below.

Oversized collar tops

PHOTO: Farfetch

Velvet Lace-Collar Blouse, $2,800, Miu Miu at Farfetch.

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PHOTO: Farfetch

Oversized-Collar Buttoned Blouse, $196, Ganni at Farfetch.

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PHOTO: Net-A-Porter

Rochelle Cotton-Blend Lace-Trimmed Crepe De Chine Blouse, $307, Rixo at Net-A-Porter.

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PHOTO: Net-A-Porter

Embellished Guipure Lace Top, $431, Self-Portrait at Net-A-Porter.

Shop for it here.

Vintage dresses

PHOTO: TheRealReal

Vintage Knee-Length Dress, $3,570, Chanel at TheRealReal.

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PHOTO: Vestiaire Collective

Mid-Length Dress, $1,206, Gucci at Vestiaire Collective.

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PHOTO: Vestiaire Collective

Mini Dress, $6,584, Louis Vuitton at Vestiaire Collective.

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PHOTO: TheRealReal

Floral Print Mini Dress, $595, Saint Laurent at TheRealReal.

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READ ALSO: Toss out all fashion rules and wear your evening skirts in the daytime

Printed leggings

PHOTO: Farfetch

Vortici Print Tights, $324, Emilio Pucci at Farfetch.

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PHOTO: Mytheresa

Printed Stretch-Jersey Leggings, $455, Marine Serre at Mytheresa.

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Floral-Print Stretch-Jersey Leggings, $278, La DoubleJ at Net-A-Porter.

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PHOTO: Ssense

Brown Monogram High-Waisted Leggings, S$224, MISBHV at Ssense.

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Accessories

PHOTO: Net-A-Porter

Valentino Garavani Bouclé-Tweed Beret, $955, Valentino at Net-A-Porter.

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PHOTO: Net-A-Porter

Gold-tone, Crystal and Cotton-Grosgrain Choker, $631, Rosantica at Net-A-Porter.

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PHOTO: Farfetch

Butterfly Chain Necklace, $964, Oscar de la Renta at Farfetch.

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PHOTO: Net-A-Porter

Starburst Enamel And Gold-Tone Choker, $184, Roxanne Assoulin at Net-A-Porter.

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READ ALSO: Where to buy bespoke gemstone jewellery in Singapore

Bags

PHOTO: Farfetch

Heart Box Wicker Bag, $6,200, Dolce & Gabbana at Farfetch.

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PHOTO: Net-A-Porter

Mini Printed Cotton-Blend Canvas Tote, $809, Paco Rabanne at Net-A-Porter.

Shop for it here.

PHOTO: Selfridges

Graphic-Print Shell Crossbody Bag, $620, Brandon Blackwood X Victor Vasarely at Selfridges.

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PHOTO: Farfetch

Mini Marcie Crossbody Bag, $1,465, Chloé at Farfetch.

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READ ALSO: The future of fashion: NFTs and the Metaverse

This article was first published in Harpers Bazaar Singapore.