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Aesthetic Detective: Tweecore

BY Jenessa Williams

26th Jan 2022

Aesthetic Detective: Tweecore
In a new series, Jenessa Williams unravels the aesthetics trends emerging on social media and advises on how you can embrace them for yourself. This month: Tweecore
Where does this trend come from?
(Outfit 1: Boden Cardigan, Wes Anderson Book, And Mary Necklace, Massimo Dutti Ballet Flats, Toast Scarf, UStudio Tote Bag, Los Campesinos! ‘Hold On Now Youngster’ vinyl, Modcloth Dress, Fender Ukelele)
Not to be confused with indie sleaze (which is also gaining nostalgic new life on TikTok), tweecore is a wholesome re-embodiment of early noughties popular culture, with a penchant for the quirky, independent and nostalgically wholesome. Encapsulated by the emerging blogger culture of the 2010s, tweecore celebrates a ramshackle approach to fashion, music and cinema, wearing your creative influences proudly as a resistance to the ‘uninspired’ mainstream.
From ‘Outfit Of The Day’ blog updates to Ukelele YouTube covers, tweecore fans use the internet to connect with like-minded outsiders, and often spiral into creative projects together; zine-making, ‘stich and bitch’ knitting circles, book clubs. 
Tweecore communities often overlap significantly with left-leaning positions of social advocacy, actively seeking to create safe spaces for marginalised women or LGBTQIA+ communities.
"Tweecore is a wholesome re-embodiment of early noughties popular culture, with a penchant for the quirky, independent and nostalgically wholesome"
While it is not immediately obvious why tweecore has re-emerged in popularity, some suggest that it may be as simple as the passing of time; although micro-blogging formats such as Twitter and Instagram are now everyday staples, there is a sense of nostalgia for a time where online expression felt a little less restrictive or inherently tired to money-making and algorithmic visibility.
As a result, tweecore’s current resurgence feels like a homage to the rose-tinted (and definitely horn-rimmed) glasses of yesteryear, an antithesis to our current hypersexualised influencer culture.
The political element may also play a part; with today’s teens becoming more aware of current affairs than ever via social media, the desire to align yourself with alternative communities as a means of seeking societal change feels like something of logical appeal. 
 What does it look like?
(Outfit 2: Stella McCartney Glasses, Monki Jumper, ‘Juno’ Soundtrack Vinyl, Alexa Chung Hair Bow, LF Markey Skirt, Lotta From Stockholm Sandals, Miss Patina Socks, Crossley Vinyl Player)
Think indie-librarian chic, with a hint of hipster thrown in.  Sweet and sentimental, the tweecore aesthetic is often heavily accessorised and pattern-clashing, drawing on silhouettes of the promising 1960s and 1970s teen.
Wes Anderson’s movies provide a great benchmark for tweecore colour theory; warm saturated pastels, natural tones of wood and tan, with a penchant for jewellery that borders on the novelty. Somewhere between meticulous creation and haphazard clutter, the sartorial results are that of an artistic mind, wanting to have fun with fashion but also being ‘more’ than a mere mannequin for consumerist trends.
Given the aesthetic’s emphasis on creative pursuits, influences are worn clearly. Band t-shirts and slogan tote bags are commonplace, as are embroideries, jewellery and prints that dictate a favoured passion; often birds and woodland creatures, or homages to romanticised, retro technologies; vintage bicycles and record players, rotary phones and penny sweets. 
"Think indie-librarian chic, with a hint of hipster thrown in"
To nod most specifically to the 2010’s blogger image of tweecore, style often matters more than practicality. Perhaps in keeping with the image of the ‘dreamy feminine’, the noughties image of tweecore often suggested that the wearer wasn’t truly aware of the season, sporting flimsy ballet flats and thin cardigans even in winter.
While tight tailored trousers and skinny jeans are an option, brightly-coloured tights are an instrumental feature of the look, teamed with feminine circle skirts, short shorts and tea dresses.
Though brands like ModCloth, Collectif and Toast offer up great retro and replica items that perfectly suit the look, the tweecore aesthetic can also be achieved much more cheaply, heavily reliant on activities of charity shopping, online thrifting and community ‘clothes swap’ events.
How can I embody it for myself?
(Outfit 3: Collectif Sweater, New Girl Season 1 DVD, Field Notes Notebook, The Seamstress of B Shorts, Clarks Shoes, Uniqlo Bag, H&M Tights, Alexa Chung Coat, The Traveller Hairpin)
If tweecore is all about consuming pop-culture and sharing it, a great place to seek inspiration is from the altar of noughties twee queen herself, actress Zooey Deschanel.
The star of long-running sitcom New Girl (in which she plays Jess, a quintessentially tweecore primary-school teacher), Deschanel also performs as part of the musical duo She & Him, and has starred in some core movies of the genre: 500 Days of Summer, Bridge To Terabithia, and to some extent, Almost Famous (although the latter film certainly moves more typically towards a wider rock’n’roll aesthetic).
Speaking of movies, independent or cult film soundtracks often offer up some great tweecore finds. The Kimya Dawson-heavy soundtrack to the 2007 movie ‘Juno’ is a staple, as is ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’.
For wider musical inspiration, you might turn to the early works of Cardiff band Los Campesinos!, or dabble in the ‘bubblegum indie rock’ and ‘jangle rock’ of late 90s-early 2000s acts; Belle & Sebastian, Pavement, Camera Obscura, Broken Social Scene, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. Essentially anything that blends the canon of indie and pop music goes, but bands who incorporate both male and female vocals are often attributed most firmly to tweecore and its associating sounds.
In keeping with the subculture’s love of sentimentality, childhood books often experience a second life. Modern classics by Roald Dahl, Tove Jansson and Maurice Sendak frequently inform the aesthetic, while books of letters or coffee table art retrospectives tie into the romanticised notion of wholesome, intellectual pursuits.
Though some elements of tweecore do risk tipping over into a less healthy degree of personal superiority, it all fundamentally revolves around a passionate, vocal interest in what you love, even when that thing might seem uncool to others. As luck would have it, its revival is perhaps proving that those shared interests are more collective than any of us might have known.
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