TWEE (Full Walkthrough)
How to Be Twee
Do you always seem to smile? Do you have a sweet, sensitive, childlike approach to life? Do you love all forms of quirky retro media? You may betwee. Twee-ness is as much an attitude as it is a way of life — twee people have a whimsical, nostalgic air about them and this is reflected in both the way they carry themselves and the ways they spend their time. If you think you may be twee, don't worry — this condition can be treated (though never cured) with a steady regimen of romantic heartache and Woody Allen movies.
Having a Twee Personality
Be open-hearted.If there's one thing twee people do above all else, it'swear their heart on their sleeve. If twee people are happy, they let the world know by wearing a grin and putting a pep in their step. If twee people are sad, they listen to nostalgic mixtapes, cry, drink tea, and go on solemn walks. "Twee" is practically synonymous with being open-hearted, so don't be afraid to show the world the way you feel!
- Being open-hearted also means being sensitive to the way others make you feel. Twee people's emotions are strongly affected by their relationships with their friends, their families, andespeciallytheir significant others. Romance is the source of great joy and heartbreak for twee people, who tend to invest their emotions heavily in their relationships.
Be sweet.When most people hear the word "twee", they associate it with a sort of extreme, even affected (but not insincere) sweetness. In fact, "sweet" is even one of the words used to describe "twee" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.Twee people should aim to be polite, humble, and invested in their interactions with others. In addition, twee people should be conscious of other people's feelings and should hold others' feelings in high importance.
Get crushes easily.Twee people are quick to fall in love and are firm believers in love at first sight. The twee-est may harbor innocent, semi-childish crushes for people before they even speak to them for the first time. Twee romance plays out like a high-school fantasy: boy meets girl, boy and girl share an instant connection, boy shows his affection in a cute and modest but memorable way, girl reciprocates, and so on. For twee people, there's no age too old for holding hands at the park, so don't be afraid to be as bashful as a teenager the next time you ask someone out.
- Twee people also (stereotypically) tend to be attracted to certain types of people (although, on the other hand, harmless defiance of convention isverytwee). As a reference, think of the romantic leads in twee movies, like Zoey Deschanel's Summer Finn in500 Days of Summeror Woody Allen's Alvy Singer inAnnie Hall— intellectual, witty, whimsical, spontaneous, emotionally intense people.
Enjoy simple pleasures.Twee people don't spend their free time test-driving sports cars, mingling at glamorous night clubs, and going on expensive trips. Instead, they're more likely to enjoy less "serious", financially-demanding pursuits. To a twee person, an afternoon spent picnicking in the park, writing in a journal, playing folk songs, or enjoying a cup of coffee at a local cafe is just as appealing (if not more so) than any of the options listed above. When they can, twee people enjoy life's simpler joys — below is just a short sample list of the sorts of things twee people might be caught doing on a day off:
- Browsing the selection at a record store
- Writing and/or practicing their own music
- Making a mixtape for a friend or crush
- Watching old movies
- Writing their own literature or nonfiction
- Enjoying local sights and sounds with their significant other
Reject the “seriousness” of adulthood.To twee people, many traditional ideas about adulthood are outdated, misguided, or flat-out wrong. Being an adult doesn't necessarily mean acting overly serious or abandoning one's passions in favor of a stable career to a twee person. In addition, the time after graduating college isn't necessarily an invitation to start "acting like an grown-up" — though twee adults obviously need to practice responsible decision-making to be able to hold down a job and/or raise a family, they often pride themselves on their ability to retain some of their positive childish traits as they grow up. This can include:
- Having a mischievous sense of humor
- Having a somewhat dainty, non-conventional sense of style
- Enjoying childish hobbies and past-times
- Having an innocent, wide-eyed appreciation for the world
Shop at thrift stores.Like the members of many other modern subcultures, twee people prefer to do their shopping at vintage, retro, and thrift stores rather than at new clothing stores. These stores have two big advantages — they save money, which can be tight for someone who has a stereotypicallytweeprofession (like "card writer" — seeHerand500 Days of Summer) and they also sell old, worn, and out-of-fashion clothes, which make up the majority of a twee person's wardrobe.
- In general, the goal of twee fashion is to cultivate a "retro", endearingly gawky aesthetic. There are many different ways to do this — read on for more info.
Look for dainty accessories.Twee people love their accessories. To a twee person, each accessory is a chance to add a new bit of retro, "cool-but-uncool" flavor to their outfit. Look for unconventional or out-of fashion belts, jewelry, purses, backpacks, shoes, and more to give the perfect finishing touches to your twee ensemble.
- In addition, you'll want to wear glasses if you can. These classic twee accessories instantly can give almost anyone a bookish, intellectual look, making them the perfect complement to any twee outfit. When possible, go with older styles of glasses like horn rims, wayfarers, and so on.
Go for a somewhat “nerdy” or bookish look.It's only natural that, with tastes that favor intellectual pursuits, twee people can tend to dress in a way that's somewhat nerdy. There's a big difference between wearing a pocket protector and being "twee-nerdy", however — while "ordinary" nerd style usually comes about when someone inadvertently wears something unflattering, "twee-nerdy" style is completely intentional and, thus, can look pretty chic. Below are just a few nerdy fashion ideas:
- For men: Skinny jeans or colored chinos, vintage printed shirts with dorky patterns (tucked in), older formal wear.
- For women: Skirts/jumpers, gawky glasses, plastic barrettes, tops with dorky prints, "librarian-esque" outfits.
Go for a “woodland” look.For the twee person who's into the outdoors, nerdy clothes may not be the best fit. In this case, it's time to fully embrace the twee love of autumnal fashion choices. Beards, sweaters, and knitted items dominate twee outdoors fashion. Just a few outfit ideas are:
- For men: Beards, plaid shirts, flannel, oversized jackets, band tees, bomber jackets.
- For women: Scarves, floral dresses, sun hats, knitted skirts, boots.
- For both: Shirts with cute animal prints, leather/knitted belts and accessories, poorly-sized sweaters and cardigans, almost anything bought from Etsy.
Go for a delightfully “old-fashioned” look.Retro chic is a huge part of twee fashion — if it's not fashionable to wear a certain piece of clothing today, there's a decent chance that it can be incorporated into a twee outfit. For the best outfits, look for bold retro pieces that compliment your natural look. Below are just a few ideas to get you started:
- For women: Vintage leather shoes, non-black dress pants, embroidered shirts.
- For women: "Sailor" tops, old-fashioned stockings, tops with frilly lace collars, button-up skirts, vintage leather belts.
- For both: Faded tees (twee band tees are best), anything with conspicuous buttons.
Having Twee Tastes
Listen to twee music.Twee peoplelovetheir music. Stereotypically, twee people show a preference for a certain sweet, wistful style of rock/pop music that became popular in the late 80s and early 90s. Just a few of the artists that are generally considered to be part of the twee "canon" are:
- Belle and Sebastian
- The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
- The Vaselines
- Calvin Johnson
- Peter, Bjorn, and John.
- Any artist on NME’s ClassicC86mixtape
- For maximum twee-ness, you'll probably also want to listen to your own custom mixtapes — or, better yet, ones your crushes have made for you. If you don't know where to start, try checking twee discussion sites like Twee.net for user-submitted playlists.
Enjoy twee literature.Twee people often like to consider themselves as being well-read, so a twee person will usually be quick to discuss their favorite pieces of literature and show off their book collection. A twee person's tastes in literature will (stereotypically) reflect their emotional nature and childlike curiosity for the world around them. Just a few samples of twee reading material include:
- The Catcher in the Rye(a twee classic)
- Dave Eggers, Miranda July, Arundhati Roy, and other modern twee masters
- Esoteric non-fiction (e.g., books about obscure historical events, nature, etc.)
- Whimsical children’s books (Where the Wild Things Are, etc.)
Watch twee films.Though the term "twee" may not often be used on the silver screen, certain movies are indelibly associated with the twee lifestyle. These movies usually portray quirky romances and/or a character's struggle with his or her looming adulthood and often use both comedy and drama to achieve a bittersweet tone. Below is just a short list of movies that are often considered to either be "twee" or to portray twee characters:
Have a twee living space.Twee people take pleasure in designing the aesthetics of their living space to reflect their twee tastes. The rooms of twee people are their "sanctuaries" of twee-ness — places where they can be immersed in their twee interests. Try adding some of the following touches to your room to make it a little more twee:
- Retro/out-of-fashion furniture
- Lots of books and/or vinyl records
- Old-fashioned wallpaper or pastel-colored paints
- Posters, etc. for twee media
- Somewhat childish flourishes (bunk beds, etc.)
- When in doubt, use bedrooms as portrayed in Wes Anderson movies as style guides — the director's aesthetic is unmistakably twee.
Have twee hobbies.As noted above, twee people tend to enjoy simple, yet satisfying pursuits. Typical twee hobbies are delightfully whimsical — sometimes even bizarrely formal. Most of all, however, twee hobbies are natural expressions of the participant's twee sensibilities. Just a few twee hobby ideas include:
- Tea parties
- Art exhibitions
- Twee music concerts
- Wine tastings
- Indie film screenings
- Browsing libraries
- Try shopping at thrift & antique stores. You can find some really unique pieces for cheap if you don't mind wearing used. Make sure you wash everything well though!
- The internet is great for music, clothes, jewelry - everything you'll ever need! Try Shana Logic, Etsy and little odd-forest. Watch out for shipping though!
- Don't wear too much make-up. A little eye make-up is fine, but don't overdo it.
- Be confident. You should be proud of your unique self!
- Learn to knit! You'll save tons of money!
- Check record label websites. Most of them offer free mp3s.
- Black can still be worn, but minimally.
- Claire's and Ardene are great for hair accessories since they cater to the younger crowd mostly.
- Bands to check out: Beat Happening, Belle & Sebastian, Second Hand Furniture, Heavenly, Tiger Trap, Talulah Gosh, Ko mon, The Luck smiths, 14 Iced Bears
- Most people don't know what twee is.
- Downloading music is fine, but if you really love a band you should support them by buying their records.
- Many people will never have heard of the music you listen to.
- Don't overdo the childish act. There's a line between cute & annoying.
- if you're very new to twee, or aren't getting what twee is, you should just stick to basic twee, and then shape and form your own unique style as you understand more; twee isindiependant!
Sources and Citations
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