Have you ever envisioned yourself strolling through a campus in the 1940s or meandering over the English countryside in 1847? With this aesthetic, you can stop dreaming it and start living it. There is much more to this style than just clothes. It is motivated by a quest for knowledge, as well as the beauty of century-old architecture and the soft pattering of rain on the windows. Look no further whether you’re new to the aesthetic or wish to incorporate it into your everyday outfit. Dark academia costumes are a cool style since they are genderfluid, ageless, and nostalgic.
Dark Academia is a subculture based on the romanticization of knowledge, classical studies, and literature. These are frequently found in the halls of Ivy League or Oxbridge universities, with settings ranging from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Films set in the 1920s-1950s with themes of murder, intrigue, or a quest for self-actualization are the most common. It veers towards the darker side of these intellectual references, as the name suggests — think rainy days in dark libraries and deserted museums. The aesthetic has its roots in the wealthy and upper classes of the pre-WWII era. Films frequently feature storylines about Eurocentric characters, particularly guys who are extremely wealthy and who stroll the halls late at night and drink excessively. As a result, undesirable habits such as excessive caffeine use and sleep deprivation may develop. Today, various subcultures with more inclusive and current allusions and influences may be found, since the style embraces a quest for knowledge. Plaid pants, button-down shirts, and layers of neutrals are among the aesthetic’s mainstays. Today, BIPOC, the queer community, and everyone who appreciates the style embrace this aesthetic.
Aesthetic Differences Between Dark and Light Academia
The color palette is the primary distinction between these two aesthetics. While the two are identical, the brighter version will skip the somber tones that Dark Academia is known for. Both aesthetics have a third element for knowledge. Light academia, on the other hand, will concentrate on the classical period, whilst dark academia will favor gothic literature and works. The brighter side is frequently connected with optimism and friendliness, whilst the darker side will embrace the gloomy character of its influences. You may image them as siblings; they’re connected, yet one is reading books in the garden while the other waits for the rain to stop so they can study with a cup of coffee.
Outfits for Dark Academia
Blazers in Tweed
The allusion to a uniform, which includes tweed blazers, is a trademark of the Dark Academia Aesthetic Shop. These pieces are adaptable, meaning you can wear them in a variety of ways. They can be big, rolled at the cuff, or fitted to fit you properly. They’re usually worn with a button-down shirt, either with a cable-knit sweater or on their own. Wear it with a dark or neutral turtleneck, a pair of checked pants, or a mid-length skirt as an alternative. Emulate the hues commonly seen in school or university settings for a more realistic look. In a monochrome style, a Harris or Houndstooth looks wonderful, but a herringbone or Prince of Wales can go with a variety of colors.
Coats in Dark Wool
At least one scene in the Dark Academia films and TV programs takes place during the winter. Layering isn’t a new notion, but it’s practically required in this design. Dark wool coats will enhance the earthy tones you’re wearing and will keep you warm. The length of the outerwear isn’t normally important, but it depends on the subculture of the aesthetic you’re trying to emulate. Choose a coat that cuts at the shin if you want to emulate something from the 1959 film The Dead Poets Society. You can get away with something a little shorter if you prefer the 60s scenario from The Dreamers.
Shirts in White
Whether you’re at a library or dashing through the halls of a museum, the Dark Academia style demands a literary reference. This can be accomplished by wearing white shirts. This shape is timeless and goes wonderful with a variety of styles, from ruffled blouses to button-downs. Pair it with a bulky sweater and checkered trousers for a relaxed and modern twist on the trend — swap out the bottoms for a pinafore and you’ve perfected an alternative yet chic outfit. Take inspiration from everywhere, whether it’s TikTok or images of Jean Shrimpton in a 1960s issue of Vogue.
Long Skirts with Turtlenecks
While the main design of Dark Academia leans genderfluid, there are lots of ways to give the movement a feminine spin. A turtleneck with a long skirt, for example. This style is ageless, elegant, and classic, making it ideal for a dinner party with friends or a family gathering. Wear a black roll neck with a plaid full-length skirt and end with an oversized coat and Chelsea boots or loafers if you want to stay true to the look. If you prefer the look of Modern Dark Academia, however, combine the past with present in a monochrome ensemble. The complementing colors will produce a multi-dimensional and sophisticated ensemble that will last a long time.
Pants with a Tailored Fit
Tailored trousers are a wardrobe must-have, just like the movies, books, and TV shows that influenced the look. They’re versatile and flattering on all body shapes, and they’re a great alternative for gender nonconformists. Wear them with a turtleneck, a cardigan, or a white or blue button-down. The layering and color palette you chose are important to making this outfit appear intellectual. Stick to darker colours for the lower half of your body; this allows you to wear shirts, coats, and accessories in any color you like. Boots or loafers complete the look. They’re ideal for cold, wet days spent in a cafe or beside a fire.
Skirts in Plaid
These plaid skirts, like a school uniform, can be worn by anyone and look great. You may dress them up or down and wear them in every weather without sacrificing your taste. To keep warm and attractive in the winter, wear thick wool tights in dark or neutral colours with a white shirt or polo neck. When summer arrives, replace the heavy knits with a light cardigan or a linen shirt. Lighter colours, such as taupe or camel, can be used, but it all relies on the subculture of the aesthetic you want to replicate (like Light Academia).
Oxfords or brown or black boots
The shoes you wear are often one of the most underestimated but crucial aspects of dressing for this aesthetic. Brogues, oxfords, loafers, and ankle boots are the most frequent styles. Because of their utilitarian designs, they are familiar with the academic world, leaving you looking polished and well-groomed. Brown and black are the perfect colors for this footwear because they go with almost any outfit and can be worn in any weather. If you’re going to wear a skirt, use ankle-baring shoes to give the impression of longer legs. With tailored trousers, you can wear almost anything, but if you want to show off your new shoes, pull up the bottoms of your pants.
Much of the popular culture around Gloomy Academia revolves around scenes set in dark and ominous weather. In light of this, the necessity to stay warm is paramount. Tights come in handy in this situation because they’re warm, cozy, and complement your attire nicely. Choose anything made of thick wool or opaque in color to complement your attire perfectly. Wear them with a button-down or polo-necked midi or above-knee skirt. A checkered dress or pinafore, along with a pair of oxfords or brogues, is another option. If you like to mix it up, go for a pair in bottle green, navy blue, or burgundy — they’ll look excellent in monochrome or duochrome.
While this aesthetic is frequently regarded as comfortable, warm, and comforting, it frequently demands for a hyper-feminine and dainty look. This is where hair accessories can help. Make a half-up, half-down style, a low bun, or a ponytail, and finish with a delicate ribbon or bow. You can easily recycle fabric from a gift or box, or go with a clip-on design for a quick fix. Accessorize your outfit with these accessories, which will spice up your Dark Academia look. Their adaptability is what makes them so appealing. It’s a crowd favorite whether you want to match it to your color pallet or add a new shade to the mix.
Books about Dark Academia
You can’t explore the world of Dark Academia without knowing about some of the aesthetic’s most cherished novels. There’s a novel for every era you can imagine, from gothic and Byronic heroes to the turbulent scenes of private school fraternities. There are a few books you should read if you’re new to the subgenre:
Movies from Dark Academia
Without a few iconic films, the aesthetic would not be what it is today. There are a few from more recent years, but the 1980s and 1990s are undoubtedly the ‘Golden Age’ of these films. They’ve become synonymous with Dark Academia’s entire style, color palette, and influences, and they’re still a fan favorite among film fans worldwide. Some examples are:
Music from Dark Academia
Enjoy a cup of coffee while listening to Dark Academia-inspired music while you’re not buried in a book. Classical music is frequently encountered since it was once highly esteemed and connected with academics. There are numerous various versions of this era, such as Baroque (think Vivaldi) and Romantic (think Beethoven) (like Tchaikovsky). Modern musicians frequently title their work based on the emotion it generates, thus you can discover modern replacements to this historical allusion. For example, if you search Spotify for ‘running around the corridors of an old university’ or simply ‘Dark Academia,’ you’ll find a diverse selection of music to help you relax or study.