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How to Dress Twee. And maybe become a MPDG!
August 6, 2008 6:21 AM   Subscribe

How to Look Twee. And maybe become a Manic Pixie Dream Girl!
posted by mattholomew (84 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Several years ago, I met and tried to date a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Words cannot fully express how happy I am that it didn't work out.
posted by cog_nate at 6:27 AM on August 6, 2008 [2 favorites]



I hear that in some states it's totally legal to kill them, and soon there may be a bounty? Or is that rabbits? Small fury animals isn't my strong suit.
posted by mattoxic at 6:32 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Twee is not the name of a subgenre. It's a disparaging term for the overly precious. I don't care what wikipedia says.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:33 AM on August 6, 2008 [7 favorites]


Wait, so Urkel was twee?

Stop revisionisting my TV history!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:35 AM on August 6, 2008


Scarves, home knit hats & mittens, polka dot patterns, BIG glasses, cardigans and bright, warm colors are the basics.
I have to call my mom and let her know that her stuff is back in fashion again!
posted by mullingitover at 6:37 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought they were cute. Twee would be Precious Moments, i.e. cute to the point of nausea. This was just...cute. Of course, it helps if person inside the twee is themselves cute. If they aren't, it's trying too hard.
posted by DU at 6:39 AM on August 6, 2008


Yup, it's legal
posted by mattoxic at 6:40 AM on August 6, 2008


I thought I would hate this post but I didn't. I liked the comparison between Magical Pixie Dream Girls and Magical Negroes, because it's really a fantasy that perpetuates prejudice and not at all an emulatable rolemodel, and I thought the style-guide caught the thing perfectly.

I should mention that I'm a straight-laced nebbish who likes putting people in boxes with obscure names on them.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:48 AM on August 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Twee. Twee.
posted by vers at 6:54 AM on August 6, 2008


Manic Pixie Dream Girl is Hollywood's new Wonderful Magical Black Person.

And vice versa.
posted by Mister_A at 6:57 AM on August 6, 2008


I think the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" trope is just a common sense combination of two other story elements: the love interest, and the foil.

Characters that serve the same role are in tons of films, and are not always female. A very conservative, boring protagonist will almost always end up dealing with a crazy friend/neighbor/partner/girlfriend. In buddy copy movies, one is usually a loose cannon and the other one usually does everything by the books. It makes sense that in romances and romantic comedies the love interest would be the foil.
posted by burnmp3s at 6:58 AM on August 6, 2008


Fashion rule 1. Attractive people can wear any damned thing they like.
posted by pracowity at 6:58 AM on August 6, 2008 [22 favorites]


Dang it panacea. Did one of the articles talk about MPDG v WMBP? I was just looking at the pictures.
posted by Mister_A at 6:59 AM on August 6, 2008


How did they not mention Sarah Jessica Parker as "SanDeE" in LA Story? I guess she's more of a straightup ditz than a MPDG.
posted by DU at 7:02 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the pictures I see that twee = dressing Nordic.

Stop putting my people down!

Scarfs, woolen hats and large-frame glasses are very practical in parts of the world where it rains sideways 6 months out of the year.
posted by Kattullus at 7:05 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I thought these looked familiar, they're from the now-dead twee fashion blogspot.

I thought the whole twee thing ended when Belle & Sebastian started to suck.
posted by rottytooth at 7:07 AM on August 6, 2008


Twee is not the name of a subgenre. It's a disparaging term for the overly precious. I don't care what wikipedia says.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:33 AM on August 6


Agreed.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:07 AM on August 6, 2008


Yeah, the AVClub piece made the comparison explicitly, though it didn't develop the significance, which I think is the key bit. Twee is a style designed mostly for women looking to emulate a cinematic stereotype that involves having little depth, sense, or value except insofar as she can cheer up the men in her life.

I've known a lot of people who dress this way, and this flight from full personhood to bubblegum simplicity, from protagonist to buddy or love interest, is a general feature for all of them. It's a way of resisting the demands of adulthood, of signaling that your don't want the burden of being taken too seriously. I didn't know it had a name, but now that I do I believe my social and musical taxonomy is complete.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:08 AM on August 6, 2008 [12 favorites]


mattoxic: I hear that in some states it's totally legal to kill them, and soon there may be a bounty?

It's true. Connor Oberst & Wynona Rider had several hundred children, most of them changelings, offshoots of one particularly larcenous clan of Siddhe that infested Yeats' home county of Sligo. The poet, with the help of Augusta Gregory and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, had bound them underground with magic ropes that held up for almost a century. But they kept digging, always digging, with seven times the patience of dandelions. Finally, with the release of Lifted: or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, all twee hell finally broke loose, a hell of two thousand fey little shoe-polishing hands.

Ever wonder why your power cables tie themselves into crazy knots behind the television, and then your wallet goes missing? Or why your shoes sometimes look so professionally cleaned and buffed?

Beartraps. Sugar water set out on beartraps, just before dawn. It's legal under Irish common law, and I'll tell ye nae more.
posted by kid ichorous at 7:13 AM on August 6, 2008 [20 favorites]


On the one wringing hand: I'll start by over-thinking the socio-political role of 'twee' as it relates to 'hipster' with all the attendant fascinating issues of identity.

And on the other hand, two co-dependent MPDGs for your consideration: Raffaëla Anderson and Karen Lancaume as a rape victim and a prostitute on a killing spree in Baise-moi.
posted by xod at 7:15 AM on August 6, 2008


I thought this was going to be about traditional african dress as there is an african language called twi or twii or twee or something...
posted by keepmathy at 7:21 AM on August 6, 2008


I'm going to print out the How To Look Twee page and show it to Stephen Pastel while hissing 'J'accuse!' at him.
posted by jack_mo at 7:24 AM on August 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


I dated a MPDG once (read: raver). After a few months of fun she started throwing pots and pans at me from the kitchen when she got mad and running out into the rain to wander about for a few hours when she got frustrated. It was like living with an overgrown six year old.
posted by Pecinpah at 7:42 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Huh. I've always thought of this look as the "Happy Hipster", although I'm another who thinks of the definition of "twee" as overly precious.
You learn something new every day...
posted by Heretic at 7:54 AM on August 6, 2008


I couldn't really identify the common thread in all the outfits in the first link. I'm willing to accept that may be because I don't know things about fashion, but...what?

Also those are some seriously impractical glasses, I mean whoa.
posted by danb at 8:01 AM on August 6, 2008


The definition of "twee" is overly precious. It was originally applied as a term of disparagement, and was later defiantly self-applied because it sounded good / was accurate / etc. This happens all the time, the most obvious example being "punk." I don't see what's so mystifying about it.
posted by grobstein at 8:04 AM on August 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


er sorry for symmetry the words "overly precious" should be in quotes hope no one's confused I wasn't trying to be clever
posted by grobstein at 8:08 AM on August 6, 2008


Never, ever, EVER go out with a girl who wants to be Holly Golightly. Or a man who wants to be HG, for that matter. They're not MPDGs, they're all desperate wannabes terrified of their ordinariness but not interesting enough to come up with a schtick of their own.
posted by Hogshead at 8:09 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't see what's so mystifying about it.

I'm not mystified. I'm reclaiming the word as one indicating disparagement.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:12 AM on August 6, 2008


While I have used "twee" as a pejorative in the past (usually about people I found whose conversations ran from what they had to lunch to their new puppy's recent hijinx), I can get behind using it to describe, as the twee site does on its front page, say, the Juno soundtrack. Seems a perfectly cromulent appropriation to me.
posted by Sparx at 8:13 AM on August 6, 2008


"The music is characterized by its lighthearted lyrics, catchy melodies and shambling guitar sound."

Wow. When I think of shambling, I think of a Shambling Mound or a Shoggoth. Something dark and plodding and unholy that moves in a perpetual state of falling apart and reforming itself. I need to hear this music that combines dark, plodding, sludgy guitar with upbeat and cheery lyrics. I imagine it would sound like a combination of Frantic Dogpaddle and The Sundays. I listened to the two of the songs they mentioned that I could find in some form online and I don't hear the shambling guitar, though. It's more "peppy." But now I must hear this cheery, shambling music that is fomenting and roiling in my head.

"Like most indie dress styles, it’s all about being yourself & comfortable with what you’re wearing. That being said, there are certain pieces that come up often in twee fashion."

Lighten up! Have fun! Be yourself... according to THESE RULES.

"Have the state of mind. Be happy! Pessimism has no place in twee. Always try to look on the bright side of things. That makes you genuinely twee."

Cheer up! Don't be sad! Ever. Just, um, think of a puppy. Yeah! And smile. Smile for all you're worth or so help me, I'll kill that puppy. 'Kay? =D

"Black can still be worn, but minimally."

[a bunch of pictures where people are wearing mostly black follows]

The best thing about subcultures is they go ahead and outline themselves with a whole bunch of guidelines, which provide easy hooks for anyone who wants to mock them. Thanks for defining yourselves! It's much easier to ridicule a well defined, homogenous group than a disparate mass of multidimensional people! *big twee smile*
posted by Eideteker at 8:21 AM on August 6, 2008


Hey now, Shambling Mounds get peppy when they're electrified.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:26 AM on August 6, 2008


I think "shambling" is perhaps being used just to mean something like "clumsy" or "unskilled," so it's still compatible with being peppy. There was a decent essay about this music in Pitchfork a while back . . . here. Discusses the terminology as well and the joke from which it gets its title.
posted by grobstein at 8:28 AM on August 6, 2008


I knew it would be kind of a stretch to see her in that AV club article due to age, but I was really hoping to see Maude (of Harold and..., not the Bea Arthur sitcom) listed. She's the epitome of the whole MPDG thing.
posted by LionIndex at 8:54 AM on August 6, 2008


I should hate this, but.. I just can't. I have some friends who dress this way and they are seriously so adorable I want to put them in my pocket and feed them little pieces of chocolate.

I'm too burly to do it myself, though. Twee+curvy = dumpy.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:57 AM on August 6, 2008


Twee is not the name of a subgenre. It's a disparaging term for the overly precious. I don't care what wikipedia says.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:33 AM on August 6

Agreed.


Agweed! Hehe.
posted by srboisvert at 9:01 AM on August 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


I do like polka dots though.
posted by liquorice at 9:10 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Manic Pixie Dream Girl is Hollywood's new Wonderful Magical Black Person.

See also the Wonderful Magical Retard. Some works combine them for a double-whammy of magic, like the Magical Retarded Negro in The Green Mile.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:36 AM on August 6, 2008


Ha! That's my Ultimate Stereotypical Wonderful Magical Black Person, ROU. You're right though, he straddles Magical Retard and Magical Black Person–that character is an orgy of condescending feel-good type-casting.
posted by Mister_A at 9:44 AM on August 6, 2008


The latest cool subculture- adults who won't grow up.
posted by Zambrano at 9:48 AM on August 6, 2008


What we need to bring this all to a halt is a retarded, bubbly, sexually attractive, magical black girl who dresses like her mom dressed her. For her magic trick, about half an hour into the film, just when it's getting really creepy, she could turn to the viewer and say, "You twerps! Why don't you watch a real movie!" And then the screen goes black. The End. And after about a minute, the real movie starts.
posted by pracowity at 10:09 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


You'll have to forgive me for being young or impressionable or perhaps just not very bright, but I find girls who dress in this fashion (whatever you want to call it) incredibly attractive. Much, much much moreso than the typical sorority/party girl fashions that predominate among people my age. Of course, I find punk and goth fashions equally attractive. I guess I'm just a sucker for any sub-culture that's lies outside the majority.

Of course, when I see guys following this fashion trend I want to punch them in the face. Not quite sure what that says about me.
posted by Caduceus at 10:10 AM on August 6, 2008


looking at the movie list, not that I've seen them all, it seems like twee is a word used for a certain sect of emotional predators. It's not a subculture or style. It's just a old method of controlling others.
posted by kigpig at 10:15 AM on August 6, 2008


I've had this idea in my head for years of a homemade t-shirt that says "Twee as Fuck" in pink, glittery letters. But not everyone who listens to Heavenly is into making their own clothes.
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 10:23 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I would watch a movie like that, pracowity! I would also watch a movie if the ethereally pretty retarded African-American with magic powers used said powers for evil! That would certainly turn things on their heads!
posted by Mister_A at 10:34 AM on August 6, 2008


I really like Obscure Album by Band You've Never Heard Of, because it gives me a feeling of smug superiority whilst allowing me to express my unique individualism.
posted by swift at 10:35 AM on August 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


There's a whole section of tweesters born of the mid 90s boom that's now hitting its late 30s, and it's ... not quite mid-life crisis in a snowboarding jacket and shades, but it's close.
posted by bonaldi at 10:36 AM on August 6, 2008


Bah, we used to call this music and style anorak back in Glasgow in 1986.

Best twee band ever: Trixie's Big Red Motorbike.
posted by scruss at 10:42 AM on August 6, 2008


How to be loathesome.
posted by joe defroster at 10:46 AM on August 6, 2008


What we need to bring this all to a halt is a retarded, bubbly, sexually attractive, magical black girl who dresses like her mom dressed her.

I dunno about you, but I'd feel a bit ashamed about being sexually attracted to retarded chicks.

At least until I paid their mom, anyway.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:47 AM on August 6, 2008


If I was born in the 90s and was now hitting my mid- 30s, I'd have a midlife crisis too.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 10:48 AM on August 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


Well, I see Belle and Sebastian suckage and the Juno soundtrack suckage have already been brought up, so I really have nothing to add to this conversation.
posted by naju at 10:56 AM on August 6, 2008


I have to admit that this "Twee" phenomenon is completely new to me. Every time I encountered the term it seemed to stand for "fruity".

Seeing how some "twee" people are dressed, I think my impression was not all that far off.
posted by splice at 10:56 AM on August 6, 2008


If I'm going to be some sort of acronym, I'd much rather be a C.O.L.O.U.R.S. (Cool Outrageous Lovers Of Uniquely Raw Style)
posted by stvspl at 11:03 AM on August 6, 2008


You'll have to forgive me for being young or impressionable or perhaps just not very bright, but I find girls who dress in this fashion (whatever you want to call it) incredibly attractive.

I'm not young by any definition, I don't think I am at all impressionable, and it's a toss up as to whether I am very bright or not, but I also find them attractive.

not quite mid-life crisis in a snowboarding jacket and shades

Please expound. I'm not all that far from a mid-life crisis and I would like to know all my options. I've not heard of this one.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:16 AM on August 6, 2008


Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos in Monster?
posted by xod at 11:18 AM on August 6, 2008


soundofsuburbia to thread
posted by mr.marx at 11:19 AM on August 6, 2008


So, like Housemartins fans, but younger.
posted by everichon at 11:21 AM on August 6, 2008


MPDG submittal No. 4 for your consideration: Chiaki Kuriyama as Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill: Volume 1.
posted by xod at 11:34 AM on August 6, 2008


And Delerium from Sandman.
posted by kid ichorous at 12:04 PM on August 6, 2008


Also those are some seriously impractical glasses, I mean whoa.

I thought the same thing - and how does that work, do they get dimestore glasses and have the lenses replaced, or are they ruining their eyes for the sake of tweedom?
posted by mattholomew at 12:07 PM on August 6, 2008


So twee is now redefined to mean impossibly perky? Eh.

Wake me when tweed becomes the new girl style. mmm, ♥ h e r r i n g b o n e
posted by JHarris at 12:10 PM on August 6, 2008


MPDG candidate: the male lead in "Knocked Up"
posted by grobstein at 12:15 PM on August 6, 2008


It might be a Glasgow thing, Ynoxas, but there are way too many late-40s dudes cutting about in snowboardy or club gear, all paunches and pumping house.
posted by bonaldi at 12:43 PM on August 6, 2008


MPDG = Magic Pixie Drunk Guy

/waves

/flutters

/passes out
posted by Sparx at 1:45 PM on August 6, 2008


If I was born in the 90s and was now hitting my mid- 30s, I'd have a midlife crisis too.

Is this a joke or have you been defeated by math?
posted by dame at 2:18 PM on August 6, 2008


Oh god all it takes is hitting post and then the universe is clear. My glasses must be too small.
posted by dame at 2:19 PM on August 6, 2008


...do they get dimestore glasses and have the lenses replaced, or are they ruining their eyes for the sake of tweedom?

It looks like a couple of them just pop the lenses out and wear the frames alone.
posted by glycolized at 2:27 PM on August 6, 2008


MPDG = Magic Pixie Drunk Guy

This guy?
posted by thivaia at 2:27 PM on August 6, 2008


Step one: Create Meme/Term

Step Two: Write Article

Step Three: ????

Step Four: Annoy!!!!
posted by tkchrist at 2:46 PM on August 6, 2008


thivaia - looking at what he's drinking i don't imagine he's VERY drunk!
posted by kumonoi at 3:51 PM on August 6, 2008


tkchrist, I think you mean Step Twee.
posted by emelenjr at 4:07 PM on August 6, 2008


I finally found a subculture that makes me spontaneously think 'I'd rather be emo'. Congratulations, twee!
posted by jacalata at 4:20 PM on August 6, 2008


O-oh. I was twee all my mid to late teens, and never knew it!
posted by subbes at 4:21 PM on August 6, 2008


Every since the late 80s (when we called in jangley music...) I've felt there is a notable dearth of Snoopy-like leather aviator caps in the indie kit.
posted by bendybendy at 4:36 PM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I especially love the line "learn to knit -- you'll save so much money!!1!"

Sweetie, if you knew what I spent on yarn in a month...
posted by pxe2000 at 5:20 PM on August 6, 2008


I am so thankful for heavy metal music.
posted by sciurus at 5:25 PM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hey now, Shambling Mounds get peppy when they're electrified.

Is it any wonder I like this place?

The peppy thing is annoying, and unfortunately, infectious. I've known sane, intelligent people to remove their brains and put them out of sight so as to not bring the party down. As for the fashion, I hate any subculture that requires its members to insist that they are each simply pursuing their individual style and not at all adhering to a predefined aesthetic.

Ok, that's as much grumpiness as I feel I need to share today. I'll keep the rest inside, until some twee soul decides to try to cheer me up.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:10 PM on August 6, 2008


My first thoughts were: I am so old. Is this how my kids are going to dress?

(Note that I'm 30 and have no immediate plans to have kids.)
posted by salvia at 7:38 PM on August 6, 2008


If there's one thing that guides the choice of clothes I put on in the morning, it's a fear of being twee. Well, that, and smell.
posted by tehloki at 2:39 AM on August 7, 2008


They look like hipsters.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:14 AM on August 7, 2008


bonaldi wrote: It might be a Glasgow thing, Ynoxas, but there are way too many late-40s dudes cutting about in snowboardy or club gear, all paunches and pumping house.

I think it's pretty universal. A friend of mine stage whispers 'Never, ever trust a man over 30 in a hooded top' in a sinister Dracula-type accent whenever such dickheads pass by. (Which doesn't look funny at all when written down, but it is. Honest.)
posted by jack_mo at 6:38 AM on August 7, 2008


Twee is too easily confused with inane peppiness. I think most people who identify with this trend just find its DIY, slightly clumsy aesthetic charming. That it's a fashion based around frumpy, comfortable clothing is a feature and not a bug - though it, like anything else, can be taken too far (as evidenced by the fashion blog.)

Though I also regularly wear cardigans and love mittens, and so am perhaps not the most unbiased observer.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:21 PM on August 7, 2008


You'll have to forgive me for being young or impressionable or perhaps just not very bright, but I find girls who dress in this fashion (whatever you want to call it) incredibly attractive. Much, much much moreso than the typical sorority/party girl fashions that predominate among people my age. Of course, I find punk and goth fashions equally attractive. I guess I'm just a sucker for any sub-culture that's lies outside the majority.

Dude, you should move to Chicago. Half the white chicks under 50 here dress like this and come to think of it so do half the white chicks over 50. But then again, I guess that would make it almost a majority and you'd probably get sick of it. I know I have!
posted by Jess the Mess at 7:05 PM on August 7, 2008


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