Zooey Deschanel Just Finally Learned What ‘Twee’ Means
Zooey Deschanel, known for inadvertently popularizing the "twee" style era in the late 2000s and early 2010s, playfully admitted she just learned what "twee" means in a meta self-referential TikTok throwback to some of her most iconic looks in the style.
Her TikTok comes amid a micro-trend soundtracked by her band She & Him's 2008 single, "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here," which recently went somewhat viral on the app.
In Deschanel’s TikTok video, the 500 Days of Summer star adorably serenades her dog while singing along to the throwback hit.
Dressed in a pair of overalls and a wide-sleeved, pink and black flannel with contrasting, ruffled cuffs and collar, Deschanel perfectly showcases her darling sense of style.
The video then cuts to a series of photos of her taken at the peak of the original "twee" fashion craze.
Unsurprisingly, the "vintage" pics feature a plethora of opaque tights, flouncy dresses, ballet flats, ruffles, oversized accessories and Deschanel's signature blunt bangs. It really takes you right back to the glory days of scrolling Tumblr and Pinterest for fashion inspiration. What a time to be alive...
"I’d like to thank TikTok for teaching me what twee means," she cheekily captioned the video. Watch below:
After posting the clip, Deschanel's fans went wild in the comments section as many celebrated the style icon and her playful video.
"The most twee thing ever is you having no idea what it is," one wrote.
"You being clueless to the fact you invented twee is the cutest thing I’ve ever experienced," another gushed.
Another described Deschanel as "the final boss of twee." Truly iconic.
With more than 1.9 million views and 387K likes, it's safe to call the New Girl actor's TikTok a viral sensation.
So, What Is "Twee" Style?
If you did not come of age in the era of scrolling Tumblr and Pinterest for fashion inspiration, you may not be familiar with the "twee" trend. Allow us to break it down for you...
The fashion trend came into style during the late '00s but hit its peak in the middle of the '10s. According to Russh, the term "twee" is of British origin and dates back to the early 1900s. It is associated with the word "sweet," which makes perfect sense.
Fashion-wise, the trend revolved around appearing "quaint and quirky," according to The Daily Mail. Vintage clothing, particularly coming from the "mod" style era of the '60s and '70s (think supermodel Twiggy), was all the rage. However, the vintage pieces were often paired with cutesy accessories. The end result was an indie, almost hipster take on looking flirty and femme.
Take for instance this photo of Deschanel at a 2009 event below. It's peak twee.
Note the bodice-style top paired with the flared skirt and the unnecessary belt. Pair that with Deschanel's opaque tights, ballet flats and cute handbag, and you'll find the dictionary definition of "twee."
The Daily Mail notes that other components of the twee style that were extremely on trend included knee socks, satchel bags, round-framed glasses, quirky accessories such as berets, bangs/fringed hairstyles and Mary Janes.
i-D lists Wes Anderson, pastels, mustaches (all the facial hair, really) and the movie Amelie as things that helped drive the trend.
Is 'Twee' Coming Back in Style?
It is commonly accepted that "twee" style peaked around 2015. That would hardly make it old enough to qualify as vintage today. However, TikTok (buoyed by that She & Him audio) is helping to push a revival of the era's fashion less than a decade later in 2022.
Celebrity stylist Miranda Holder told The Daily Mail that the reinvigorated trend has been popularized by a desire to look and feel more feminine at this stage in the pandemic. That coupled with a focus on sustainable fashion (and a rise in thrifting for vintage pieces instead of buying into fast fashion) has welcomed in a second age of "twee."
"After the last two years which have been largely marred by the pandemic, we are desperate to break out of our loungewear and embrace anything that makes us feel more feminine," Holder hypothesized.
Refinery29 notes that "twee" isn't the only Tumblr-era style craze that is having a comeback in more recent years, either.
Other trends that you may see reborn include "indie sleaze" (think early Kesha before she ditched the dollar sign) and "Tumblr girl" (think pastel hair, black ripped jeans and angst).
The return of "twee" is not without criticism, though.
i-D points out that the original trend was driven by "thin, white, cis female bodies" and that it could be exclusionary to anyone who doesn't fit that mold the second time around.
That doesn't have to be the case, though. TikTok user @momjeansuck points out that former BuzzFeed writer Kristin Chirico was the "queen of twee."
Chirico herself responded in the comments section and toyed with the possibility of filming a video on how to pull off "plus size twee fashion."
We'd love to see it!
All of the above proves that the second coming of "twee" fashion may be on the horizon, and that it doesn't have to be an exclusive trend. Buckle up, dig out your favorite pair of ballet flats and get ready to see what the future holds.
While you're here, now's the perfect time to revisit the music video for She & Him's TikTok-conquering "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here." After all, it does serve as a master class on Deschanel's "twee" style.
Check it out (and maybe cop some fashion inspo) below.