A woman discovered 2012-style clothing making a comeback at Zara while joking that she’d thought we had “more time”.
Fashion influencer Rachel OCool (@rachelocool) shared clips of different clothing items at Zara that looked like they had been ripped from the pages of a 2012 fashion magazine in a recent TikTok. The footage was set to the tune of Gotye’s 2011 single “Somebody That I Used to Know,” which was inescapable at the time. OCool wrote in the caption, “2012... she’s back…”
In the overlaid text, the influencer wrote: “I thought we had more time,” before showing viewers multiple pieces of clothing, including a blouse with a studded collar, bomber jackets, plunging V-neck T-shirts, a denim bralette, and a blouse with an embroidered collar. Each of these, according to Glamour, were trendy in one way or another back in 2012. According to the outlet, trends like peplum pieces, wedge sneakers, neon shades, statement collars and pants were all the rage.
The video has since received over 822,700 views, with many in the comment feeling anxious about the decade-old trends coming back in style for better or for worse.
“I’m beyond terrified,” one user wrote, while another added: “Please no it’s too soon I can’t do it.” A third commented, “If I’m forced to relive 2012 then One Direction need[s] a comeback.”
A lot of the styles popularised in 2012 were inspired by the so-called twee movement of the 2010s, which Cracked hilariously described as “if Wes Anderson and Zooey Deschanel hosted a tea party with a mandatory dress code of Peter Pan collars, mustache finger tattoos, and ballet flats that are equally uncomfortable and smelly.”
Camilla Blacket, a screenwriter who worked on TV shows that notably rocked twee aesthetics, like the Deschanel-led New Girl and the original Skins, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she was vehemently against the aesthetic. “The TikTok girlies are saying 2008-2010 twee aesthetic is coming back and I’m fuming,” she declared. “We cannot go back to ballet flats and white tights!”
In a 2014 article for The Atlantic, James Parker dubbed the twee movement “terrifying”. Author Marc Spitz gave the movement its name with the release of his book, Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film.
The style aesthetic itself reportedly takes the uncool and flips it on its head. It’s gentle and almost too sweet, but that’s the point. The hipsters updated vintage silhouettes and classics, while also paying homage to the wholesome influences of the past.
The TikTok girlies are saying 2008-2010 twee aesthetic is coming back and I’m fuming! We cannot go back to ballet flats and white tights!
— Camilla Blackett (@camillard) January 2, 2022
While some may groan at the idea of 2012 aesthetics coming back, some were excited at the prospect of the resurgence of mid-2010s Tumblr fashion trends, with someone writing below OCool’s video: “One era closer to the Tumblr 2014 revival.”
Tumblr 2014 styles took its inspiration from both the twee aesthetic and the indie sleaze movement that ran from 2006 to 2012, ultimately becoming something else entirely, which has long been associated with artists like Lana Del Rey, Arctic Monkeys, and The 1975. Artfully shot pictures of Doc Martens, Peter Pan collars, and American Apparel were on everyone’s Tumblr feeds along with the lyrics of songs from the aforementioned artists.
As the trend cycle has become faster than ever, the return of the Twee and 2014 Tumblr aesthetics isn’t much of a surprise. According to Vice, the 20-year-trend cycle has collapsed, and instead of discernible fashion movements, “every trend, every era, every reference is happening everywhere all at once”.