Aesthetics Wiki
Advertisement

Twee is an aesthetic that first emerged in the 1980s as a reaction against the increasing harshness in the post-punk music scene.[1] The term derived from the British slang for "sweet," reflecting the aesthetic's emphasis on the delicate and a childlike innocence. Though the term became derogatory, it was reclaimed by the indie pop music scene in the UK and US.

As described by James Parker of The Atlantic,

"Twee's core values include 'a healthy suspicion of adulthood'; 'a steadfast focus on our essential goodness'; 'the cultivation of a passion project' (T-shirt company, organic food truck); and 'the utter dispensing with of 'cool' as it's conventionally known, often in favor of a kind of fetishization of the nerd, the geek, the dork, the virgin.'"[2]

Visually, the aesthetic involves out-dated habits that become novel because of how unique it is in comparison to mainstream trends. Idiosyncrasy and eclectic blends of color and vintage objects are the most popular indicators of Twee.

It came to prominence in the late 1980s due to the emmergen. It encompasses multiple expressions, such as in fashion, film, music, and even food trends. Codified in 2014 by Marc Spitz's Twee: the gentle revolution in music, books, television, fashion, and film, it was labeled as "the most powerful youth movement since Punk and Hip-Hop.”[3] People in the Twee aesthetic are often called Hipsters.

The aesthetic gained a minor resurgence of popularity on TikTok.[4]

Visuals[]

The Twee aesthetic largely involves a cheerful range of colors, often displayed by Wes Anderson's filmography. Saturated pastels, homey shades of tan and brown, and bright primary colors are some examples. These are color coordinated to an un-naturalistic extent, creating an idealized, perfect image. For example, a room made up of only cherry red, arsenic green, and gold is considered Twee.

The visuals of Twee involves an amalgamation of different vintage objects. Outdated technology is also appreciated over its modern counterparts because of their uniqueness and aesthetic value. Rotary phones, vintage bicycles, vinyl record players, typewriters, and telegrams are some examples of this. Curios such as taxidermy, ornate vases, dollhouses, etc. are also appreciated. In general, appearance is valued over practicality.

General 2014 trends are also in this aesthetic. For example, fairy lights, potted plants and succulents, and mason jars are common.

Fashion[]

Fashion is heavily influenced by the styles of the 1950s, 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 are incredibly important in the Twee aesthetic, and can often be contrasted with each other. Polka dots, stripes, herringbone, etc. are some examples, but Twee fashion companies often create their own novelty patterns, such as ones with cats, flowers, food, etc.

Outerwear[]

  • Cardigans
  • Overalls
  • Blazers
  • Yellow Raincoats

Skirts[]

  • Box-pleated
  • Circle

Accessories[]

  • Cateye glasses/sunglasses
  • Glasses with thick frames in either black, tortoiseshell, or bright colors
  • Pussy bows
  • Scarves
  • Bow ties and suspenders

Shoes[]

  • Mary Janes
  • Oxfords
  • Ballet flats
  • Loafers
  • Leather boots

Hats[]

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

Bags[]

  • Satchels
  • Totes

Media[]

TV Shows[]

  • Adventures of Pete and Pete (1991-1996)
  • 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)
  • Portlandia (2011)
  • Pushing Daisies (2007-2009)
  • New Girl (2011-2018)
  • Hilda (2018-)

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)
  • 500 Days of Summer (2009)
  • Gentlemen Broncos (2009)
  • God Help the Girl (2014)
  • Greenberg (2010)
  • Harold and Maude (1971)
  • 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 Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008)
  • Paddington (2014) and Paddington 2 (2017)
  • Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985)
  • Pirate Radio (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)

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
  • 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

Fictional Characters[]

  • Nancy Drew in Nancy Drew (2007)
  • The Eleventh Doctor and Clara Oswald in Doctor Who
  • Jessica Day in New Girl (2011)
  • Charlotte Charles in Pushing Daisies (2007)
  • Louisa Clark in Me Before You (2016)

Notable Figures[]

  • Zooey Deschanel
  • Wes Anderson
  • Alexa Chung
  • Greta Gerwig
  • Michael Cera
  • Lenka Kripac

Music[]

Twee Pop is a subgenre of indie pop that emerged in the 1980s and reached its peak in the 1990s. The music genre is characterized by its jangly guitars, catchy melodies, and often childlike lyrics. Twee Pop bands typically incorporate elements of nostalgia, DIY (do-it-yourself) ethos, and a rejection of mainstream music conventions and the lyrics often focus on themes of love, innocence, and everyday experiences.

The aspects that tie the aesthetic and the music together include a rejection of conventional notions of adulthood and a celebration of the simpler, more innocent aspects of life. The Twee aesthetic often incorporates pastel colors, hand-drawn artwork, and a general sense of whimsy, all of which are frequently mirrored in the visuals associated with Twee Pop. It's important to note that while Twee Pop is a subgenre of indie pop, Twee as an aesthetic can also be incorporated in other music genres.

Artists[]

  • Acid House Kings
  • Au Revoir Simone
  • Beat Happening
  • Belle and Sebastian
  • Bishop Allen
  • Blueboy
  • Broadcast
  • The Boy Least Likely To
  • The Brunettes
  • Camera Obscura
  • Club 8
  • Corduroy Utd.
  • The Darling Buds
  • Dressy Bessy
  • Edson
  • Heavenly
  • Irene
  • Isobel Campbell
  • Lacrosse
  • Laurel Music
  • Mates of State
  • Pony Up
  • The Primitives
  • Sambassadeur
  • Seabear
  • Starlet
  • Strawberry Switchblade
  • Suburban Kids With Biblical Names
  • Talulah Gosh
  • The Field Mice
  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
  • Throw That Beat in the Garbagecan
  • Voxtrot

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.

Resources[]

External links to help get a better understanding of this aesthetic.

Webpages/Articles[]

Pinterest Boards[]

  • –twee by °❀𝔸𝕝𝕝𝕪𝔹𝕖𝕝𝕝𝕖❀°

Vendors[]

Gallery[]

References[]

Advertisement