Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Twee and Trending

I have discovered Twee. I am probably behind the eight ball on this trend but thought I would share with you. What is Twee?

Per Miriam Webster Dictionary:   ":  affectedly or excessively dainty, delicate, cute, or quaint"
                                            Origin: baby-talk alteration of sweet
                                             First Known Use: 1905

So the word is not new and you can whip it out at the next round of Scrabble play. From my research, and I am not working on my thesis, Twee is a cultural phenomenon as well as a fashion trend. You can read all about the cultural side of  Twee with a Google search that will bring articles from Salon and Harper's and others. You can also google Twee fashion images and get an idea of the trend. I've seen this trend on numerous sewing blogs. What I see repeating are defined waistlines (love), short gathered skirts (that ship has sailed), oversized Peter Pan collars ( like a lot), round toed Mary Jane shoes (comfy). Hair is almost always adorned with a flower, bow, or hat, the more three year old cutesy the better (too much). Skirts are short (fine), lots of hose (warm) and a specific posture. No, you don't stand a certain way if you are Twee, that is unless you are a Twee blogger. 
Twee Bloggers are an interesting bunch and they love to take pics, lots of pics, of their Twee outfits. The poses are quite reminiscent of a very young girl child showing off her new Sunday best. Hands hold out the gathered skirts so you can see the full twirl potential. Toes are pointed in the way someone who is wearing high heels for the first time might and heads are tilted to best display the aforementioned hair ornament.  Accessories and jewelry are very Hello Kitty. It is all very cute, very second grade cute.   

This trend is clearly not for those with a treasure of life experience in their personal bank. Not because we can't pull off the look, which I am pretty sure we can't, but because we were the ones who wore those navy blue suits fighting against and alongside the men we worked with to get equal consideration, respect, and opportunity. We needed  to look grown up, and equal to anyone we were dealing with in our careers. Looking like cute little girls going on a playdate did not equal dressing for successing. While we all know this country is pretty doggone sloppily dressed today, are we moving into a era when being taken seriously in the workplace isn't a goal anymore? Are we still trying to convince ourselves that appearance or first impression  makes no difference in the workplace or anywhere else? We all know otherwise. Can you picture Sheryl Sandberg, Martha Stewart, Meg Whitman, and Carly Fiorina being interviewed on Bloomberg with their bows and silk flowers in their hair? Who needs a good strong handshake when  you can twirl your skirts for an introduction? It just all seems such a dichotomy. I just had to get this off my chest. 

Here's what I think. Lots of this Twee is really pretty. Some of it is just too far gone childish, sort of like baby talk fashion. I dislike how it is stylized in photos, almost making models look like girlish victims. That's not good for any and all women. 
Here are some links to Twee type bloggers. Check them out and please let me know what you think of the fashion trend. This post is about the trend and the fashion, not the blogger.  

This first blogger has a style blog in Nashville. I think she is gorgeous and I like her version of twee, not so childish. Twee in the Garden
Twee does have a retro undercurrent as these two blogs and many others show. Scathingly Brilliant and Finch and Fawn
A tongue in cheek post on how to be Twee. How to be Twee

You can find much more by googling images of Twee or searching Twee on Pinterest. You will stumble across the look in some sewing blogs like See Kate Sew
My tongue is a bit in my cheek for this blogpost as well. I would love to hear your thoughts. This is just one trend out in the fashion world right now. There are numerous others. Be kind and tell everyone what  you think. Oh, and get ready for "Normcore" ;).....Bunny


73 comments:

  1. Ha ha ha - it's a word that is in common usage in the UK and probably to a lesser extent in Australia. My partner and I use it as a common descriptor but I didn't realise it was the name of a style. I would just always look at those things/outfits and think (usually) "that's too twee for me".

    It's definately not my style but that's hardly surprising as I'm closer to 50 than 40 and remember having peter pan collars and small floral prints on my clothes when I was a toddler.

    I also think liberty prints and ankle socks are twee.
    I'm bracing myself for the backlash!

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  2. Thank you! You are saying what I've been thinking, although you put it with more diplomacy and wit than I could muster. It's not quite as disturbing to see young women dress like little girls as it is to see little girls dressed in sexy clothing (rather, clothing that would be sexy if it were being worn by a young woman). however, i think both phenomena are linked -- they reflect a basic discomfort with what it means to be a girl/what it means to be a woman. That's my opinion, at least. Of course I don't think it easy to carve out an identity as a girl or woman! But isn't it worth the effort? An adult who dresses herself like a little girl imagining her first tea party just makes me sad.

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    1. Wow! What a great observation! Thanks for adding your thoughts to the convo.

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  3. Warning: I'm not real concerned about diplomacy here.

    I've never heard of this style until reading your post, and I went and looked at the links. My first reaction is to want to (figuratively) smack them upside the head and tell them to grow up and dress their age. Any self-respecting adult should be ashamed to appear in public dressed like a 6yo. I wonder if the trend has any connection to the fact that the young people pretty much refuse/are unable to grow up in other aspects of their lives.

    My second reaction is that it looks like those anime cartoons with the cutesy school-girl look, which I have always felt have some weird perverted undertone.

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    1. I think you may be on to something with the anime connection. I am definitely not a fan of that fashion as it sometimes is just a total costume. We have an "anime" group of kids in town here and they are laughed at wherever they go. Their clothes aren't controversial, just funny looking, IMO.

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  4. I wonder how much of the twee trends could be related to the styles for young girls in the last 15-20 years. Old Navy hit the scene in 1994 with plenty of khakis and hoodies, but not a lot of twirly dresses. If the young women of today never wore twirly dresses when they were young and didn't see their friends wearing them either, maybe they don't make the same associations in their minds that those of us who grew up in the 1980's and earlier do, and maybe they are trying to make up for not having those styles when they were younger. Maybe if they eventually have daughters to dress up in frilly clothes their styles will change.

    As far as work goes, I telecommute, so most of my business contact is by phone or e-mail. I can wear a twirly dress or slouch around in jeans or whatever with minimal impact on my professional image. I imagine there are others with similar circumstances, or who have to wear uniforms of some sort to work, so their personal style doesn't impact their work image either.

    My biggest peeve related to the twee trends is when people start to confuse twee items with actual vintage looks. Yes, there were plenty of full-skirted dresses in the 1950's, but they were not made of cheap polyester knits. They also did not sport 17 inch or shorter skirts, not for anyone over age 10 anyway. Most of the time when I see this kind of mislabelling, it's on pinterest, so I know the captions are as reliable as any unedited wikipedia entry, but it still drives me crazy.

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  5. Oh dear me no - in the UK it's definitely a derisive term, suggesting an immaturely over-cute style, perhaps a bit of arrested-development... It's a million miles away from 'cute'.

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    1. When used as a pejorative, it means "icky poo cute." Less negatively, it can mean frilly or sweet.

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  6. How old can you be to pull off Twee? I see grown women who want their dresses hemmed so short you can see their lady parts and they claim they are just guests at a wedding or rehearsal dinner. Their baby voices serve up a mix of little girl lost to a state a helplessness in search of a big he-man to save them. I cringe when seeing sewers using patterns I wore back in the 60's and 70's and cranking out garments with cheap fabrics. If, like me, you have saved some fashions from each era in your closet, the fabrics were substantial and wonderful. The current fad of blogs filled with grown women wearing "ice skater's dresses" makes me want to scream..."Are you an ice skater or cheerleader?" Do any of these people even have a job and do they wear these twirly swirly fashions to work and expect respect and a possible promotion? Can anyone take you seriously with a flower or bow in your hair and lacy edged baby socks and Mary Janes? Women of the 60's fought so damn hard for respect and equal pay and basic rights and it all seems to be going down the drain with the tiny girly helplessness way of dressing and pigeon-toed posing in an endless stream of photos to catch every angle of badly made clothes. I have even seen some posing with pigtails and lollypops to hark back to the Brady Bunch days of little whiny Cindy with her lisp...who needs this?

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  7. I'm with you Bunny. I'm not into twee and I detest the constant infantilism of women in fashion and especially in music. Lots of wispy pretty voices. I'm proud that I've raised daughters who buck the trend. One is a barrister (attorney in America I think) in training and the other a 1st year architecture student of considerable talent.

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    1. Congratulations on raising daughters who "buck the trend". My two are similar, one a dentist and the other senior VP of HR for one of the biggest companies in the country, can't say who. They get feminism and would just pass out before dressing like this. Congrats again. I think it takes as strong mom to raise strong kids.

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  8. I don't get the "twee" movement. Perhaps I am just too old. I wore lace-edged anklets and Mary Janes when I was 6, which means I can't wear them at 66!! But as they say, different strokes . . .

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  9. If I were early 20's I would be Twee. I am not a fan given that I am, ahem, several decades beyond that. It is great for the young. But you missed an opportunity to be "clever"-you should have named your post "Twee and Twending", of course!

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  10. If a woman came in for a job interview dressed like that, I would give her a cursory interview and then send her off without hiring her, regardless of her skill level. And if a woman came in to work dressed like that, I would send her home and tell her to come back when she learns to dress like a grownup. It's hard enough for women in the workplace to be taken seriously without undermining themselves.

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    1. I can't imagine that anyone who was a serious candidate for a straight, corporate job would come in wearing a twee outfit.

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  11. I'm still trying to get used to seeing pink hair (as well as any other "unnatural hair color." Oh well, to each her own. But I still think it looks odd. Call me old; it's OK.

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    1. I'm the same way...... blue hair? Pink hair? Yellow hair? I've seen it all.... and it just doesn't do the wearer justice. Not just that I don't like it - but those harsh tones seem to clash with skin tones. Oh well....

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  12. Not everyone is going to work in a serious job or cares to.
    Not everyone wants to be Sheryl Sandburg.
    There is more to being an woman than being a feminist. There is more to being a feminist than being a woman.
    ( The 60's were not a golden era of suffrage, I'm more likely to thank the women of the 1860's for their hard work for women's rights than the 1960's.)


    We're talking about skirts here. Let's get off each other's backs and tend our own gardens.

    -VioletPastille

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    1. I respect your opinion and you are right. It is fashion, not brain surgery. As fashion trends always have, this trend will illicit comment and opinion from the get go. It will also probably pass as quickly as it came. I do have a couple more trend posts in the hopper so stay tuned for that. Would love to know your opinion on those upcoming posts as well.

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    2. Thank you. I work in a creative field so I don't have to dress like a serious businesswoman all the time. I'm also a feminist. In a fluffy skirt. There's a thin line between looking cute and looking like a toddler, but I see nothing wrong with the former. Colourful prints make me feel happy about my clothes, excited to get dressed and excited to get sewing.

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    3. The 1960s and 1970s were VERY important for the feminist movement. For the first time, large numbers of women, many with college and advanced degrees, entered the job market. They laid the foundations for the opportunities many women taken for granted today. We still have a long way to go.

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    4. "It is fashion, not brain surgery."

      I'm not a fashionista, but as Fashion increasingly is seen as a meritorious area of academic study, it's recognized that trends reveal a great deal about our culture, generational attitudes, the role of women, etc. Discussions like this are definitely worthwhile.

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  13. Twee makes good blog fodder. It's very photogenic, appealing and unthreatening. It's easy to like a picture of a pretty girl in a pretty dress.

    I don't have a problem with twee--they can dress how they want to and, if it affects their careers, they can take the lumps. My guess is that a lot of the women with the twee-er blogs either work for themselves or in industries/for employers where it's accepted (no one's going to give you the side-eye for wearing a circle skirt at a little record shop, for instance). And a lot of young women these days know full well that the ship of economic prosperity so long as you play the game has sailed: they are facing record unemployment and underemployment, staggering student debt, and a future with considerably bleaker prospects than in the past. If they've decided to opt out and carve their own path, wearing whatever makes them happy, who can really blame them?

    For myself, frankly, I find a lot of corporate wear bland and lacking in personality. Surely there's room to express personality, even in a business setting. I don't go for twee, but I do go for a lot more colour and splash than most do. And why not? If they're going to underestimate me because I haven't tried hard enough to make myself look like an old white man, believe me, I will make that their problem, not mine.

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    1. "And a lot of young women these days know full well that the ship of economic prosperity so long as you play the game has sailed: they are facing record unemployment and underemployment, staggering student debt, and a future with considerably bleaker prospects than in the past. If they've decided to opt out and carve their own path, wearing whatever makes them happy, who can really blame them?"

      You really hit it on the head. It's also not just young women who feel this way.

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    2. True enough. I'm not a kid anymore myself, and I still know full well that--what with house prices, tuitions, etc., being what they are--I'm going to work a lot harder than my parents did and get a lot less for it. Which isn't particularly motivating, when it comes to being a good little worker bee in an office.

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    3. Another great point, blog1. But don't underestimate how long and hard many of those women before you worked. They did twice the hours the men worked for half the pay to prove they were worthy of the job, and often watched the men get promoted while they were left to rot, the thinking being that men were supporting their families despite the fact that those women were often single mums also supporting children.

      The point about the ship of prosperity having sailed is one that governments and large companies are on the whole declining to address. I have yet to hear a serious public discussion of these issues. How are we going to restructure society so that everyone can have a decent life while only a fraction of the population has a job? In theory, it's a great thing that computers have made so many mundane jobs redundant, but no-one is talking about the consequences in terms of take-home pay. I read years ago that the French had limited the hours of work so that you could be fined for working longer, or something like that: you couldn't have lights on in an office building at night without attracting attention; but I don't know how successful it was. At least they seemed to be making an effort to address the problem!

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    4. well, thanks, Tuppi, but you seem to be underestimating me, and overestimating how much has actually changed.

      I am still working harder, longer and better, and still earning less. Is it improved? Sure. Is it fixed? Far from it. Today, women can succeed just as well as men can, so long as they can act in the workplace like a married man w/ a wife at home raising the kids. As soon as that is no longer possible (usually childbirth), things go back to the way they were with absolutely astonishing speed. And I am a single mom supporting children on my salary.

      The thinking that equality for women in society would be achieved by women being as man-like as possible has run as far as it can usefully go. It is time to change tactics.

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  14. I definitely have twee tendencies in clothing. I suppress them because twee on a 60 year old woman says "crazy cat lady" not "professional whose advice you can trust"

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    1. An older woman who wears a blouse with a lace collar and a plain skirt does not look like a "crazy cat lady." That's how grown up women express their twee, or may I should say, romantic side.

      Regardless of age, anyone who does an extreme style from head to toe is going to look silly.

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  15. A large part of "twee" culture has actually been explicitly feminist. The origin point of this trend is fairly easy to find, in actress Zooey Deschanel, who is now the showrunner for multiple woman-focused shows, runs a forward-thinking website for twenty-somethings, and is a vocal, strident feminist. Part of twee is reappropriating traditional femininity--proving that pretty is not weak, empty-headed, or silly. Obviously, all followers of the trend are not so high minded about it, but many are. See Kate Sew, who is admittedly a blogger I don't read much anymore, runs her own business putting out women's and children's patterns. Despite what some might think about said designs, that takes gumption, work ethic, and drive. She's a really great example of twee paired with actual kicking of butts.

    All that being said, my own twee tendencies are tempering a bit, as I near thirty. I was never into hair accessories or cutesy things, but I do find the prints I choose to sew with being more mature, more womanly. I think we'll find that twee actually grows up into a generation of women who care about both fashion and their careers, even when they age out of cute and into glamorous or chic.

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    1. I agree that "twee" can be feminist, in the sense that it's dressing to please oneself without a focus on being sexually appealing to a man (although some men like a certain amount of girlishness).

      Zooey Deschanel may be a feminist behind the scenes, but that's not what she projects on screen. She was one of the original "Manic Pixie Dream Girls," a term a film critic came up with to describe young, flaky, unpredictable, zany, women characters whose main purpose was to support young men during coming-of-age crises. ZD's character in "New Girl," which I found unwatchable after two episodes, is in no way feminist. She's a rather long-in-the-tooth dreamy Lost Girl and a male fantasy.

      ZD is a very attractive and talented actor. I'm not crazy about her recent roles. Needless to say, Hollywood doesn't provide a lot of variety for women.

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    2. Thank you for putting this so well, Mary. Part of what feminism is today, for a lot of women, is rejecting the 1960-1980 idea that success in the workplace for women meant being quasi-men. As if "being serious" and "being taken seriously" were inherently tied to masculinity, which is itself a sexist idea. If being and looking like a woman in the workplace is still seen as being ineffectual, silly, superficial, or otherwise problematic, what does that say about the successes of second wave feminism?

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    3. What I don't understand is why young female professionals are still calling themselves "girls." The fact that ZD's show is called "New GIRL" is an indicator of how feminist it is. Feminists are women with agency, who take themselves seriously, no matter how they dress.

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    4. I always find the idea described by blog1 to be interesting as it puts the whole feminist development into a time perspective, but I also want people to realise how necessary it was at the time to fight men in business on their own ground. Those women had to don suits with huge shoulder pads to get to first base in the jobs arena: they were fighting fire with fire. It was like saying, okay, if you are saying only a suit-wearer can be CEO, look at this! It was just one battle in a huge war, but luckily for us, they were so successful in their efforts that it is no longer necessary to compete with men on the basis of clothing. But please don't forget what a monumental fight it was. So many of those women were real heroes. I am reminded of the anti-war dictum, "Those who don't learn by their history are bound to repeat it."

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    5. Tuppi:

      It was a little before my time, but I remember John Malloy's "Dress for Success" book. It was the sartorial bible of the day for the career woman, and suggested that women wear a feminized version of the male suit, including a little silk tie tied in a bow. As you said, it made perfect sense. They were trying to fit in. And they still are. Look at the numbers.

      "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

      It doesn't even seem like the past.

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    6. Regardless of how necessary it was (or seemed) at the time, it had unintended consequences. You can't improve the status of women in society by arguing that they can pretend to be men really, really well. Look at maternity leave in the US--still nowhere. And why? Because men don't need it. And if men don't need it, women don't need it. That's equality!

      It doesn't matter where the idea came from, or why. The unfortunate fact is that second-wave feminism did not really believe in women's equality. They, like everyone else at the time, implicitly believed that whatever men did and were was inherently superior to whatever women did and were. Working was better than raising kids at home. Wearing suits was better than wearing dresses. Being authoritative and dominating was better than being nurturing and building consensus. Women stopped learning how to sew because, like men, they now got their clothes from other people, pre-made--only those other people were now other, poor women, who were still exploited and abused. Women stopped learning how to cook, and bought their food pre-made.

      If what women did and were was really believed to be equal to what men did and were, we would have been fighting to teach our boys how to cook and clean houses. But we didn't. Why?

      Looked at from a certain angle, the entire second-wave movement (in N America, anyway) was a massive devaluation of women. Sure, women should be equal--but only to the extent that they could live like, look like, and act like men in the workplace.

      You want to know why young women today aren't doing it? Because it's sexist!

      Regardless of whether or not it was necessary thirty years ago, it is now correctly being argued that this devaluation of women and women's work was not actually for the benefit of most women, who, no matter what, are not all going to become lawyers, doctors and Directors of HR for multi-national corporations. That young women are now comfortable being girly, don't see it as inherently lesser-than, ineffectual, weak, superficial, vain etc., and are working hard and kicking ass looking like themselves, however they define it, should be embraced by anyone who does not actually think that men and masculinity are the barometers of the human condition.

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    7. Unless you were there, I really can't take this seriously.

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  16. Better 'twee' than ripped jeans, and athletic wear worn for every occasion.

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    1. I aim for "High Edwardian or Low Belle Epoque" but stopping short of looking like I'm wearing a costume.

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    2. I agree. I applaud anyone who is bothering to make an effort.

      VioletPastille

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  17. This is exactly why I don't care for some of the popular indie pattern companies. Their current offerings are way too twee for me.

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  18. I'm in my late 50s, have worn plenty of business suits, but I do have a twee side. For example, I like to wear Laura Ashley rompers in wallpaper florals in a non-business setting. I don't look like everyone else, but I do sometimes get compliments and I like how I look. I also like blouses with some frills. The key is not to overdo it. For example, when I was young and all the time wore Laura Ashley granny dresses and sailor suits I never wore matching shoes; I was more likely to wear boots.

    A lot of the "power" women you mentioned do look very polished (and no doubt spend thousands a year on maintenance) but their mode of dress is very similar. Almost any time the New York Times runs a feature on youngish successful corporate women who are stylish they invariably have long, straight hair, a fair amount of make up, tight-fitting dresses and ridiculously high high heels. I'll take a touch of twee.

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  19. I think of Lolita Fashion as "Twee" on steroids. Here's an explanation, although I grasped this intuitively:

    "Lolita fashion is thought to have been partly created to react against the growing exposure of the body and skin in modern society. Adherents fight this with modesty, presenting themselves as "cute" or "elegant" rather than "sexy".[5] One follower of the Gothic Lolita fashion explained:

    We certainly do not do this for the attention of men. Frequently, female sexuality is portrayed in a way that is palatable and accessible to men, and anything outside of that is intimidating. Something so unabashedly female is ultimately kind of scary – in fact, I consider it to be pretty confrontational. Dressing this way takes a certain kind of ownership of one's own sexuality that wearing expected or regular things just does not. It doesn't take a lot of moxie to put on a pencil skirt and flats. It's not, as some commentators have suggested, some sort of appeal to men's expectation that women should be childlike, or an attempt to pander to pedophiles. Pedophiles like little girls. They don't like grown women who happen to like dresses with cakes on them. I've never been hit on by a pedophile while in Lolita. We don't get into it because it is some sort of misplaced pedo complex or anything, and the objective isn't simply to emulate little girls, despite the name Lolita.[6]"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita_fashion

    No one is suggesting that this look is suitable for a conventional, business environment.

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  20. Bunny, there is an expression I heard many years ago, mutton dressed as lamb, I think it explains everything.
    Rosemary

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    1. Although I agree that people should dress appropriately, the definition of "appropriate" is very fluid these days. What's more, that expression is very sexist.

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    2. How is it sexist? As I understand it, the phrase was referring to someone mature/adult/not a child - dressing as a young thing, a child/teen. It could apply to men and women as I understand it.

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  21. Men who judged women in the workplace for wearing feminine clothing in the past: Misogynist

    Women who are judging other women in the workplace for wearing feminine clothing today: Feminist?

    No. That's not what feminism is. Let's work on making sure traditional feminine traits aren't seen as weak or childish, and getting people to judge us based on our minds and capabilities instead of the fact that we might be wearing a dress with cats printed on it.

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    1. I love it when a successful woman is comfortable enough to dress eccentrically if that's her style. Unfortunately, the media tend to give us consumerish examples of high-maintenance women who look very much the same.

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    2. True. A lot of the backlash against feminism when I was coming of age was due to women feeling as if they were still being told what they should and shouldn't be doing, only now it was by women. The feeling was that instead of being given more choices, they'd just been given a different set of choices to take if they wanted to be taken seriously as a woman. And in that, I have to agree - feminism should not be a new template for how to be a woman, it should be a set of much wider choices on the choices you can make and still be considered a valid woman.

      Saying that, twee or overly cute is not and has never been me, but certainly after years of seeing it some aspects no longer immediately give me the heaves ... maybe when the twee style is well and truly over, I'll finally embrace it because it's become so 'normal' to me, that's definately happened with other things.

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    3. tigergirl:

      First of all, I'm not anti-twee if the wearer thinks she can pull it off without undermining herself. The problem that Second Wave feminists have with younger women today is that the latter act as if the struggle is over, when it clearly is not. The success of Feminism so far has afforded more choices, but women should make responsible choices. To analogize, black people have made significant gains since the 1960s, but racism still exists. Black people who are pressing for constant improvement are dismayed when some members of their group act irresponsibly, for example, by spreading stereotypes and sexism through gross hip-hop songs and videos. It feeds into global racism: people all over the world who've never met an American black person think they know who "they" are. It brings everyone down.

      With group privileges come group responsibilities.

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    4. "The problem that Second Wave feminists have with younger women today is that the latter act as if the struggle is over"

      I can speak for me, my friends, the women I work with. That's just not true. We do NOT act as if the struggle is over. We talk about it all the time, we marry men who are feminists, we talk about raising girls (and boys) to believe in equality. I have to say, if you think we're acting like the struggle is over because we're wearing a flouncy dress, you're just not paying attention.

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  22. I'm loving reading the intelligent comments, whether they agree or disagree. My pet peeve - blogs where the only acceptable comment is Ooh girl you're so pretty, and you sew so perfect, and did I mention you're pretty

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  23. Now, let me state right off the bat that when it comes to what i personally will wear, i am picky to the extreme. One reason i sew for myself is how very difficult it is for me to find anything that meets my personal 'specs', as it were (and this is above and beyond the fit issues).

    However.

    I find making fun of the way other people dress very distasteful. I know, believe me i know, that people do in the real world judge other people by how they look - both by how they choose to present themselves as well as according to how god made them (how many times have i heard women assumed to be slutty, by people of both sexes and all ages, because the woman has larger than average breasts). So, while i would advise any person who wants to be taken seriously that, unfortunately, they'd probably get better results if they dress a certain way, at the same time i don't find this to be an admirable part of society and i do not want to encourage that trait.

    I believe that we should judge people by their actions, not their appearance. I don't appreciate that in order to be taken 'seriously' as women we have to downplay our feminine characteristics. I have yet to see any feminists scolding women for dressing like tomboys. This viewpoint of mine has to do with my own experience growing up. I'm 52 now, fortunately age has toned things down, but the universe saw fit to make me in the 'vavavavoom' mold of person. Blond, curly/wavy hair (and lots of it), big blue eyes, fair complexion, big breasts, long legs, tiny waist. I wasted more of my life than i care to contemplate doing my best to play down these assets in order not to be thought of as a dingbat sexpot, covering up in order not to 'distract' anyone. Of course it didn't really work, and plenty of people thought i was sleeping with the boss or the teacher no matter they had no evidence (cause i wasn't).

    Finally i got sick of trying to to meet other people's rigid preconceptions and prejudices, especially when i moved out to a hot climate - believe it or not, there are people who think that 'certain people' should cover up when it's 97F just because they have a nice rack. It's ridiculous and i'm glad i gave it up.

    So when i see young people having a good time with their style, it makes me smile. I have fun talking to them about what they're creating with their look, and some have said it's fun for them to see that they can look forward to having fun with style and being unique as they get older, too. Bunny, i'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but when you responded to another commenter's reply with, " We have an "anime" group of kids in town here and they are laughed at wherever they go." to me it came across like the people in your town are mean and small minded. But then, i've lived in the SF Bay Area all my life, i've been seeing twee all over the last 7-8 years and many more exciting style statements for decades longer than that!

    Anyways, it's just my own point of view. At the end of the day, i say if a certain style does not appeal - don't wear it! And go find one that does :) steph

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    1. This is a small isolated community, one I was neither born nor raised in. People here can be small minded. We have one
      "anime" young man who is a voracious reader and visits our library a lot. We always enjoy talking with him and discussing books. But patrons do roll their eyes and snicker. There is nothing we can do about that. I come from a lifetime of diverse environments but unfortunately I don't live in one now. The reality of where I live which is probably the farthest thing culturally from the SF Bay area that you can even imagine. Thanks so much, Steph, for your comments and I really appreciate you sharing your point of view.

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    2. Very small actions by a person in a position others look up to can change how others around them act toward those that are different. Like making sure others hear when that person says "Well I think you look like you're having a lot of fun".

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    3. Yes, thank you for this, tinyjunco. I had the same experience in my teens and twenties--more times than I can count I was openly propositioned on public streets in broad daylight while wearing my McDonald's uniform, and then the guy would not believe I meant no no matter how bluntly I said it. What you wear has an impact on how you are perceived, sure, but what you wear is modified by your body and the message that is received is a combination of both, filtered through that person's prejudices and expectations. I got used to (and ultimately enjoyed) challenging those preconceptions by dressing however I wanted and then rubbing their faces in my intelligence.

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  24. What I find funny is the commenters that take twee as a slap to women's rights and equality.

    I'm semi retired but when I was working it was in a business with a very conservative dress code. Suits, dresses, skirts w/blazers etc. but no pants. But guess what? On the weekends and my time off my wardrobe was a complete 180 from what I wore to work.

    I'm with tinyjunco. If that's the way they want to dress and express themselves let them. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they don't dress that way all the time. Maybe they have two wardrobes (I did) and you just don't see it on their blogs.

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    1. Debbie, I'm with you and tinyjunco.

      The worst of it: "This trend is clearly not for those with a treasure of life experience in their personal bank. Not because we can't pull off the look, which I am pretty sure we can't, but because we were the ones who wore those navy blue suits fighting against and alongside the men we worked with to get equal consideration, respect, and opportunity. We needed to look grown up, and equal to anyone we were dealing with in our careers... We all know otherwise... Who needs a good strong handshake when you can twirl your skirts for an introduction? It just all seems such a dichotomy."

      First off, one of the bloggers that was posted may dress creatively in her offtime, but I personally know this lady as an educated professional research analyst with a Master's Degree and plenty of life experience. She also happens to have a collection of boring business suits in her closet not featured on her blog. Secondly, I may choose to dress a bit "twee" in my off time, but I'm a West Point graduate and two-time Iraq War veteran who did my time fighting gender discrimination and harassment in the workplace too. I'm currently a corporate professional and full time MBA student. Oh, and I speak French and have lived on three different continents. I'd say for a 29-year-old I have a treasure of life experience.

      Don't judge a book by its cover, Bunny. The only dichotomy I see here is a generation of women who feel other women have to look a certain way to meet men on common ground, and a new generation that knows that we don't have to give up who we are to make an impact. I have a beautiful collection of business suits too, I just don't post blog outfit features on them.

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  25. I don't know how I feel about this now after reading so many different points of view. I think there is merit to many of the different thoughts. I couldn't think of who I had in my head when I thought of this Twee look until the poster brought up Zooey Deschanel. I could not get through two episodes of that show and can't watch when she is on a talk show. She seems so contrived.
    I do wonder about the comment thinking maybe they didn't get to wear girly clothes when young - maybe something there. So many of my friends used to say, "she just will not wear a dress" and let their children wear what they wanted. They never wore dresses. The words, "she just will not" was never uttered about anything by me. My kids till a certain age wore what I told them to wear.
    Bunny, very thoughtful topic. Thanks. Nancy F.

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  26. I don't understand the Twee love of polka dots, ditzy prints, lace collars, ruffles, full skirts, and the like, but I do get that other people have a different sense of style. What I don't understand is the posture: the inward-pointed toes and the I'm-too-shy-to-look-at-the-camera expression. If they were that delicate, they wouldn't be blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagramming, and Tumblr-ing a thousand pictures of themselves. It all just seems so fake.

    Don't get me wrong: I love sewing and fashion blogs, just not the studied I'm-so-shy attitude portrayed by so many of the younger bloggers.

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  27. This post got me thinking. I've wanted to respond to this ever since I read it last night. I actually thought about it all day at the office instead of focusing on my work. Speaking of work, I'm going to contextualize my statements with what I do for a living - I am a lawyer. Unlike many lawyers, I really enjoy my work. I work for the government. And, as a government lawyer, I get the opportunity to work on a lot of serious and significant cases. I've been practicing for a decade. I'm competent and professional. And people take me seriously. 

    I am aware that the feminists of generations past paved the way for my success now. I am so grateful for this. But the generations that fought that battle for equality in the professional world did so in large part by acting like their male counterparts. They dressed like the men, talked like the men, and acted like the men to prove that they could succeed like the men. Feminism gave me the gift of having more choices. I don't need to dress like a man (or the female counterpoint of a man) if I don't want to without being dismissed as "too girly." 

     I am too girly. I'm so twee it gives me cavities! I adore floral Liberty prints, swishy skirts, cute quirky shoes with shiny apple buttons, hello kitty, Peter Pan collars, adorable buttons, gingham, polka dots, lollipops, Mary Janes, and embellished cardigans. I struggle not to look like a 10 year old girl. I have accepted that my style is not chic, sophisticated, or sexy. It's cute. It's what I gravitate towards and it just feels like me. 

    And you know, people at work  just accept that I look and dress the way that I do and judge me by the quality of my work. I thank feminism for giving me this freedom of choice to be who I genuinely am and to succeed in a career looking like a girly girl.

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    1. I have no problem with women wearing twee clothes if they can get away with them in their workplace and it makes them feel good. Why does everyone have to be streamlined and sexy all the time?

      It's twee minds to which I object: young (and not so young) women who constantly call themselves "girls," who reminisce about the Fifties (Good Lord).

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  28. Very interesting discussion! Looking at the number of posts, it seems to have hit a nerve.

    Maybe those who detest twee the most might have lived through being laughed at for having the temerity to want a career, and had to be very tough to brave the slings and arrows of what today would be outrageously misogynistic attitudes and comments but at the time were just the norm. Today, I think may younger women have gained the benefit of those who fought so bravely before them, and some women of our generation got very little reward for those efforts. But after all, that was the point, wasn't it?

    So now Terrorsaurus Dax can not only have a career but also wear Peter Pan collars to work and still be taken seriously. That's a great thing, at least in theory. It means that people have learned to see past the surface to the cerebral activity beneath. But if you take that to its logical conclusion it means we should also accept sexualised clothing in the workplace: another form of dressing-up, but one that is bound to cause all sorts of power plays and dreadful repercussions, both for the wearer and for others around her, or him.

    So where I stand on this, I think – because it's a more complex issue than it seems – is that while I value the right of everyone to "dress up" and express themselves, and to have fun doing so because fun is so important in our lives, I also think there's a time and a place for different clothing styles.

    I love aspects of twee, and am repulsed by others, like biting on a too-sweet lolly and getting that sugar jolt that travels through the teeth right down the spine and makes your toes curl. But to me the point is that, as with all fashion, it has to be worn by the person, not the other way around! Some people look great in the most extreme styles, and others get drowned out by mild stylistic forms. So if you can wear it and it expresses your personality, do. But if you find the dress is wearing you and you're not comfortable with it, take it off. Find your own style. And that might mean several different styles for different aspects of your life: for work, relaxing, partying, romance and so on. I really value that at this point in history, we have the freedom to wear whatever we like. So as long as you're not hurting others, indulge in whatever you fancy.

    Regarding the issue of age, I have seen some fabulous pictures on thesartorialist dot com of mature ladies dressed up to the nines for a morning coffee and looking truly fabulous. But again, they are wearing the clothes and their personalities are what you notice more that the threads. So I intend to work on my natural tendency to try to wear age-appropriate styles, which so far has narrowed my choices quite a bit, and develop an outlandish streak which may even include bobby socks, if they're what appeals to me at the time. It's also known as ageing disgracefully. You only live once!

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  30. Hello there,
    I skimmed through the post and a couple comments since I saw a bit of traffic to by blog coming from this site. I've never heard of this "trend" before and was kind of surprised my blog post from last year would be listed as an example for it. That outfit was a mix of actual vintage pieces and items sent to me from Free People to style in a unique way. If one doesn't like the way someone styles an outfit, why spend so much time reading into it or trying to analyze the person behind the outfit? My opinion: if you don't like the way someone looks or dresses, move right along; don't get in such a tizzy.

    xo,
    K

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    1. Dear Ms. McCourt:

      My opinion: If you don't like discussion and at times, criticism of your choices, don't post photos of yourself on a public blog. In frankness, I don't recall which blogger you are and I'm generally fond of twee, but your position is a bit ridiculous.

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    2. And if you're going to comment and call someone's position ridiculous, be brave enough not to post as "Anonymous" and own your opinion.

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  31. Aubrey:

    I'm under no obligation to identify myself to you. My opinion, which I explained, is sufficient. And the position is "ridiculous."

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  32. It's also not a simplistic question of "owning" or not "owning" an opinion. Lots of people have very good reasons for wanting to protect their privacy on the web.

    But again, the idea that one would post a public blog and then complain that others are commenting on it even as one seeks notice, is patently silly. As I said, I don't even remember this blogger and I may actually have liked her blog.

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  33. Now I know the name of this fashion trend! Thanks! In my head I've always thought of it as toddler clothes that look like they're shrunken or almost outgrown.

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    1. I personally enjoy the juxtaposition of the infantilized clothing with the tatooed arms and chest. It reminds me of my punk rock days sort of. I don't know if these outfits are worn outside the blog pictures or if they are more recreation outfits (not work wear). At my job we have a strict uniform policy so don't have any reference. I do know I never see a doctor dressed like this.

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  34. I almost feel like it started in the late 80's/early 90s with the babydoll dresses. I know this is a look for the young things-- late teens early 20';s. Older than that.... well ymmv.

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