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What is Twilightcore on TikTok?

Gen Z is going through its 'Twilight' phase.

 

Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Published Oct 28, 2021   Updated Oct 29, 2021, 10:10 am CDT

Last week, a viral tweet did what it’s designed to do: divide the people. In this case, a photo of a long-sleeved grey Dolce & Gabbana top with a ruffled white bust was the inciting item. Those wondering what kind of top it is were directed to the “twilightcore tag,” which caused even more debate (and some roasting). 

“Twilightcore does not need to exist when dark academia is right there,” one commenter said. 

Twilightcore refers, aesthetically, to the late-aughts vampire franchise Twilight, and it’s having a moment. But it’s really just a new name for an old style. Like so many TikTok trends, it’s always been here. 

What is Twilightcore?

While the original poster didn’t specify which Twilightcore tag they’re talking about, the aesthetic has flourished on TikTok. The twilightcore hashtag has more than 18 million views; the twilightoutfits tag has more than 6 million.

@raspberry1uvr

closet favs!!! i’ll probably do a part 2 of this, what do you guys think? #closetfavs #twilightcore #gilmoregirls

♬ original sound – cici

Exactly what constitutes Twilightcore is fairly open-ended. The look is often referred to as Bella Swan-inspired, referencing Kristen Stewart’s character, or Alice Cullen-inspired, referring to Ashley Greene’s. I absolutely dressed like this in the late ‘90s when I religiously shopped the dELiA*s catalog

The layered, muted styling on Twilight is meant to mirror the Pacific Northwest locale and the time (2008). Costume designer Wendy Chuck bought many of the items from Portland thrift shops or stores like Nordstrom Rack, so these were clothes teens could actually access. The tags grunge fairy, dark cottagecore, and dark academia are also used on this part of TikTok, and Twilightcore is tangled up with The Vampire Diaries’ Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) who’s also inspired TikTok trends. 

In August, fashion analyst thedigifairy detailed the look—but acknowledged it’s not really Bella Swan-inspired—and the history of the empire waist, which figures heavily into a lot of twilightcore clothing.

Of course, there’s already been criticism. Millennials who already lived through the Twilight aesthetic have been presented as gatekeepers (at least in comment sections); Gen Z is most likely finding an aesthetic (and film franchise) that’s new to them. 

This trend started becoming popular over the summer; as ModernGurlz pointed out in a video from August, Google searches for “Bella Swan outfits” peaked in July and appeared to coincide with Netflix putting all five Twilight movies on its platform that month. 

Twilight started trending again on TikTok last year, and its meme-ing continued into 2021, so this extension of it isn’t that surprising.

Twilightcore is lucrative

Despite the basicness of this kind of clothing, there’s demand for it, thanks in large part to TikTok propelling microtrends. Cottagecore, VSCO girls, and the strawberry dress all drove off-app sales. 

Brooke, who co-runs and curates vintage store Expired Threads, and sells on resale app Depop, says TikTok is “one of the reasons why we see these new microtrends happening so fast.”

You can find Twilight-inspired clothing for sale on Depop and Shein, a Chinese fast-fashion site with questionable production and labor practices. The Twilightcore tag has more than 900 results on Depop; “Bella Swan” has more than 9,600. A grey Abercrombie and Fitch babydoll top that has some visible wear and promises “major, major Bella Swan vibes” is going for $200. A green long-sleeved sweater from Arizona Jean Company is going for more than $400. Over the summer, a thread on r/depop turned cynical. 

“The TikTok revolution and its consequences,” said one commenter. 

https://www.reddit.com/r/Depop/comments/ozh2k1/bella_swan_core_is_this_what_we_are_doing_now/

Brooke adds that while Depop and TikTok aesthetic trends have helped small businesses, there’s still “a ton more over-consumption of fast-fashion brands making microtrends as well, which isn’t good.”

So is Twilightcore already over?

Trends come and go at hyper-speed on TikTok, but this look is so accessible it probably won’t disappear. TikToker onegirlhorrorshow asked in July: “What state of delusion do you have to be in to say that lace camisoles, plain long-sleeved shirts, or jeans are out of style or will be?” 

However, accessibility is the key here; this is not a look that you should be paying hundreds of dollars for. Which brings us back to the comments of that original Dolce & Gabbana tweet, and one commenter’s advice: “I mean, just talk to an overly nostalgic millennial woman. They’ll have about like 300 of these left over from high school, and you won’t get scammed by D&G for a ridiculous amount.”

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*First Published: Oct 28, 2021, 10:41 am CDT