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The term 'Twee', defined as a British term meaning "affectedly or excessively dainty, delicate, cute, or quaint", is the baby-talk mispronunciation of sweet and is seen in the lexicon as early as 1905. Though the term became derogatory, it was reclaimed by the indie pop music scene in the UK and US.


Visuals

  • shades of tan and brown
  • saturated colors
    • cherry red, orange, mustard yellow, bright blue, navy blue, forest green, pea green
  • vintage typography
  • vintage public domain art combined with modern phrases
  • vintage style in general - especially the 1960s-1980s
  • cats
  • typewriters
  • ukuleles

Fashion

Fashion is heavily influenced by the styles of the 1960s and 1970s.

On screen, twee fashion tends to be influenced by the "character uniforms" common in Wes Anderson's films, a practice which was influenced by the films of Jean-Luc Godard. A young school girl, for example, wears a white blouse, pleated skirt, knee socks, and Mary-Janes.

Patterns

  • Stripes
  • Plaid
  • Polka dots
  • Argyle
  • Floral print
  • herringbone tweed

Outerwear

  • Cardigans
  • Overalls
  • Blazers
  • Yellow Raincoats

Skirts

  • Box-pleated
  • Circle

Accessories

  • Cateye glasses/sunglasses
  • Glasses with thick frames in black or tortoiseshell or bright colors
  • Pussy bows

Hats

  • Berets
  • Bowler hats
  • Fedoras
  • Knit hats with pom poms

Bags

  • Satchels
  • Totes

Brands

Home Decor

Twee home decor is a mixture of the old and antique, and the bright and "new" (in reality retro pieces from the 1960s-1980s) and heavily influenced by the Mid Century Modern design aesthetic. Retro technology like rotary dial phones, record players, and radios frequently appear.

Notable Figures

  • Zooey Deschanel
  • Wes Anderson
  • Greta Gerwig
  • Michael Cera

Fictional Characters

  • Nancy Drew in Nancy Drew (2007)

Books

Many children's book illustrations embody the twee aesthetic.

  • Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
  • Curious George books by H.A. Rey
  • Doctor Seuss books
  • Roald Dahl books
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • My Father's Dragon series by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  • Moomin series by Tove Jansson
  • Paddington book series by Michael Bond
  • Madlenka and Madlenka's Dog by Peter Sis

Books for adults

  • The Rosie Project series by Graeme Simsion

Movies

Twee movies tend to be coming of age stories, where a character is caught between childhood and adulthood. The main character is often an unusually precocious child or an unusually childish adult who refuses to grow up.

  • Adult Life Skills (2016)
  • Because of Winn-Dixie (2005)
  • Elf (2003)
  • Elizabethtown (2005)
  • Flipped (2010)
  • Garden State (2004)
  • Gentlemen Broncos (2009)
  • God Help the Girl (2014)
  • Greenberg (2010)
  • Juno (2007)
  • La La Land (2016)
  • Lady Bird (2017)
  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
  • My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
  • Matilda (1996)
  • Nacho Libre (2006)
  • Napoleon Dynamite (2004)
  • Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist (2008)
  • Paddington (2014) and Paddington 2 (2017)
  • Pirate Radio (2009)
  • Pushing Daisies (2007-2009)
  • Submarine (2010)
  • The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
  • The Sandlot (1993)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
  • Up (2009)
  • Waitress (2007)
  • Wes Anderson's entire filmography
  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • Wonderstruck (2017)
  • Where The Wild Things Are (2009)

Music

Genres

  • Twee pop

Artists

  • Belle and Sebastian
  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
  • The Vaselines
  • Calvin Johnson
  • Peter, Bjorn, and John.
  • She & Him

Songs

  • Africa by Toto

Stand Up Comedy

  • James Acaster: Repertoire

TV Shows

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017-2019)
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency (2016-2017)
  • John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch (2019)
  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968-2001)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society (2021)

Fictional Characters

  • The Eleventh Doctor and Clara Oswald in Doctor Who
  • Jessica Day in New Girl

Gallery

Resources

Books

  • Fake Love Letters, Forged Telegrams, and Prison Escape Maps by Annie Atkins (props designer for many Wes Anderson films)
  • Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film by Marc Spitz

Instagram