“Won’t you sit right down and stay while…”
For we millennials who were teenagers during the great twee era of the early 2010s, that line from She & Him’s “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” sends an icky shiver down our spines as we remember the patterned tights, apron dresses, and wingtip shoes we tried so hard to pull off but couldn’t because we were literally 15. And that song has been everywhere lately because TikTok has pinpointed it as the viral anthem behind what’s being called the great twee resurgence of the 2020s.
Throughout the last few months of 2021 and into 2022, countless users on the app have layered that song over throwback photo slideshows of the aesthetic twee they attempted about a decade ago. Fashion-wise, the look is defined by feminine silhouettes of the 1940s and ’50s, bright, sometimes-clashing colors, and an intense dedication to ballet flats and menswear-inspired dress shoes. Now, tell me: with all this twee hullabaloo happening online, have you actually seen anyone dressed like that out in real life? Probably not.
The consensus on TikTok seems to be that fashion trends come and go so quickly, no one has a chance to really try them. While that might be true in this case for fashion, beauty is another story. Because — that’s right, folks — twee hair is going to sit right down and stay awhile.
What constitutes twee hair? Look to none other than Zooey Deschanel as an example. She’s pretty much always had and will always have what I consider peak twee style and, more importantly, haircuts: long, barely-there layers and thick, eye-framing bangs that land somewhere in the middle among curtain, blunt, and side. Plus, a dark shade of brunette — I don’t know what it is about the aesthetic twee, but it seems to revolve heavily around brunette hues (which are also very trendy as of late. Hello, expensive brunette).
If you check the #twee tag on TikTok, you’ll see exactly what I mean because most of the people posting there have this exact style of hair — whether these people have been recently racing to their salons to get this chop or have always had them and are just now coming out of the woodwork, I’m not sure. All I know is that the last time I saw this Many people with Zooey Deschanel-esque hair, I barely had a driver’s license and was really into this upcoming artist named Ke$ha.
If you ask Columbia, Missouri-based hairstylist Colissa Nole, she’ll tell you this retro haircut never really went away to begin with. “Those trends are here to stay and stay forever — it’s not a social media blip, honestly,” she explains. “I believe they actually never left. I just think the people wearing those full fringes, soft layers around the face, and heavy curtain fringes were waiting in the shadows.”
Whether or not twee hair is coming back or never left, it makes all the sense in the world that it would be trending at this particular moment in time. After all, as New York City hairstylist Luis Miller once told me, “Beauty trends circle back. It all comes back to the ‘new age’ in one form or another; they just put the word ‘modern’ in front of it.” In 2020 and 2021, everyone wanted either shags and curtain bangs — styles from the 1970s — or Y2K-inspired bobs and lobs. If the 1990s and early 2000s were in last year, it would only make sense for 2010s trends to circle back next (and the 1980s, but that’s a story for another day). Nole calls this very phenomenon “beauty in regeneration.”
If you’re looking to experiment with a more polished version of your high school hair — or, at least, the hair you wished you could’ve had in high school — here’s what Nole recommends discussing with your hairstylist: “Cutting these types of haircuts requires a lot of disconnection between the front half of the head and the back, with softness in-between,” she explains. “Think of starting with the fringe area and elevating the hair to create a curtain bang, then bringing everything from the back of the head forward to match.”