Fashion - Style Lead

Dark Academia Fashion – How To Blend It In Your Style?

Dark Academia Fashion

You are probably here because you want to dress like one of those scholarly characters who read classical novels sitting in a dim-lit library in the dead of night, oblivious to the passage of time. 

Or you might be inspired by that intellectual detective that has never failed to solve any case and roams around the dark streets of Birmingham. 

So, let’s come to the point. How do you dress in a dark academia aesthetic? In the next 8 minutes or 6 minutes, if your reading speed is good, I’ll show you how to dress up according to dark academia fashion.

The Dark Academia Aesthetic

Academia fashion is blooming, and everyone is familiar with the dark, gothic vibe of the trend. However, not many know about its origin. Dark academia is a subculture, or simply put; it’s an aesthetic style associated with certain characteristics.

You will see the portrayal of this gothic style through over-indulgence in studies that usually lead to self-actualization. Dark academia, as the name suggests, revolves around the dark aspects of life. 

What Clothing Style is Dark Academia?

Dark Academia Fashion


As you might have seen in movies or read in books, it is all about murders, mysteries, intriguing facts, dim-lighted museums and libraries, and pouring rain. The subculture mainly draws inspiration from the pre-World War 2 era.

So, when it comes to fashion, dark academia is all about imitating the vibe of medieval fashion trends, the ones we usually see in classical movies – long skirts, tweed blazers, tailored pants, long coats, etc.

Dark Academia vs. Light Academia Fashion? Which One Is Best For You?

If you are here reading about dark academia aesthetic fashion, you have likely heard about light academia as well. Now, you might wonder what’s the difference between the two. 

Just like the names, the concept of light academia is strikingly contrastive to dark academia. While dark academia focuses on the themes of murder, mystery, and escapism, light academia is all about optimism, gratitude, and a positive attitude toward life.

Regarding the academia fashion style, there is no significant difference other than the colors. Whereas the primary choice in dark academia style is dark colors like black and brown, light academia requires you to go with lighter tones to portray a relaxed and cozy vibe. 

11 Ways To Spice Up Your Basic Outfits With Academia Fashion Style

When it comes to academia aesthetic fashion, most people think it’s about fancy corsets, frilled dresses, puffed sleeves, and vintage clothing. However, the modern academia fashion trend focuses on styling your basic outfits in such a way that you can recreate the dark academia vibe. 

So, if you want to look like one of those intellectual gothic characters you see in classical movies, you must add these 11 items to your wardrobe. 

Spoiler: Most of these items are already a part of your fall outfit wardrobe.

1 – Wool Coats

Who doesn’t have wool coats in their wardrobe? It is one of the most common ways of layering used in winter. But in academia fashion, it is kinda mandatory, as you must have seen characters from your favorite classical movies putting on coats when heading out of the home.

Here, all you need is a dark-colored coat, and you can instantly turn your basic outfit into something gothic. Regarding the length of the coat, there are no specific requirements. However, long coats, coming up to the length of your shin, are preferred.

You can pair the wool coat with a simple top and plaid or tailored pants. You can also wear it with ankle-length dresses and pair it with boots and leggings. 

2 – White Blouse

When recreating the gothic style, frilled or puffed sleeves are standard designs for shirts and tops. Though there can be many designs, white color seems to be a must-have. Keeping in view dark academia is mainly about dark colors, a white blouse balances the overall tones of the outfit.

Besides, you must have a white blouse or frilled/pleated top already stacked in your wardrobe. So, it’s high time you take that out and style it according to your favorite dark academia aesthetics. 

You can pair it with plaid skirts or pants, tailored trousers, or long skirts. Besides, wearing sweaters over a white blouse/shirt is never the wrong choice. Also, if you happen to have a corset, pairing it with a white shirt will be the best idea. 

3 – Long Skirts

Whether you have a long pleated skirt or a bodycon skirt, if you style it right, you can create the perfect dark academia look. As you already know the color palette for dark academia aesthetics, it will be easy to select which skirt suits you the best.

For the top, a white blouse or shirt looks amazing with all dark-colored skirts. However, you don’t need to stick to dark colors for the skirt. You can also pair a dark-colored shirt with a light-colored skirt. As long as you balance the tones, you will end up looking amazing. 

If you want to spice up your look, you can add a belt and finish your look with boots. Wearing a cardigan or wool coat over the skirt will also look phenomenal. 

4 – Turtlenecks

If you want to skip the basic tops and shirts and go for something extra, I would suggest turtlenecks. Plain turtlenecks are a great idea when you are short on options and want a different look.

You can pair it with skirts or pants. For layering, you can go with either blazers or coats; both look amazing. 

Do you know the one thing that makes turtlenecks look even more voguish? Pendants! Accessorizing your turtleneck outfit with simple pendants is an elegant choice. Also, it shows that the person is detail-oriented, which is a common trait of dark academia’s characters. 

5 – Tailored Trousers 

Tailored trousers are the best choice when it comes to modest fashion. (Plus Point: they are hijab-friendly.) You can pair them with shirts, coats, and cardigans. They are an elegant option to wear with sweaters.

When it comes to color selection, I would suggest choosing dark-colored tailored pants. This way, you will have plenty of choices in selecting the shirt or top. You can pair everything from white to neutral shades with dark-colored pants. 

Let me tell you a secret for creating a scholarly look, the type we usually see in period dramas. It all lies in layering – sweaters, coats, blazers, leggings, etc. Tailored pants give the perfect opportunity to add layers. Also, belts look super cute with tailored pants. 

6 – Tweed Blazer

Tweed blazers are commonly seen in period settings, worn mainly by students and intellectual peers. So, if you want a scholarly look, tweed blazers are a must-have. The best thing about these blazers is their versatility. You can style it in as many ways as you wish. 

The most acceptable way of styling tweed blazers for dark academia outfits is to pair them with tailored pants and a plain shirt, preferably a neutral shade. However, if you are more into modern academia aesthetics, you can style it with a turtleneck or cable knit sweater. 

7 – Plaid Pants and Skirts

Modern prints like graphic, character, baroque, and geometric prints, are not a part of academia aesthetic clothing. So, if you are looking for some chic print to spice up your dark academia aesthetic outfits, the best choice is plaid pants and skirts.

Plaid pants and skirts are those clothing items that never disappoint. You can style it in thousand ways, make it a part of a plus-size outfit, or wear it in summer, winter, or fall, and it will always look elegant. 

For dark academia, you can pair it with a black shirt and boots. On days when you feel like dressing according to the light academia aesthetic, you can pair it with lighter tones, such as camel or beige. 

8 – Sweaters 

Coats and blazers are not the only options for layering in dark academia outfits. Sweaters are also an elegant option; you can wear them beneath blazers and coats. Besides, when you are primarily using neutral tones, knitted sweaters are a chic addition to your simple outfits. 

You can either go with monochrome sweaters or choose a sweater with multi-colored hues. Sweaters are an essential part of uniforms, as you might have seen in Harry Potter, so they can help you create a perfectly aesthetic back-to-school look. You can wear a white collared shirt under the sweater for a polished look. 

9 – Boots

The most significant part of dressing that most people don’t pay attention to when deciding on their outfits is shoes. Boots are the foremost preference for footwear when creating a gothic look.

Whether you want to look like a scholarly member of the secret society working among the elite class of England or a detective running errands in the dungeons of a deserted castle, boots are the perfect way to elevate your basic look. 

Firstly, they make you look polished. Secondly, you can pair black boots with every outfit. You might already have a pair of brogue, ankle boots, or loafers. All you need to do is style them in the right way. 

Wear skirts with brogues or loafers without socks; it will make your legs look longer. When wearing pants, you can give your outfit a contemporary touch by cuffing your pants and flaunting your shoes. 

10 – Leggings

As said, dark academia settings mainly involve pouring rains and foggy mornings. Most classical movie characters are also dressed according to this setting, i.e., they wear wool coats, scarves, hats, etc.

Leggings are one of the most versatile clothing items that almost all academia women wear and, I believe, would be already present in your wardrobe. Plain black leggings are all you need to level up your basic outfit. 

You can wear them with skirts, wool coats, cardigans, blazers, etc. Also, leggings with brogues or loafers give the perfect medieval look. 

11 – Hair Bow Ties

Though academia fashion is said to be gender-neutral, one thing that instantly deems your look hyper-feminine is hair bow ties. Classical hair accessories are usually referred to as extravagant. 

So, if you want to create a minimalist look, hair bow ties are perfect. Whether you are styling your hair in a bun or half-up half-down style, adding hair bow ties makes your hairstyle elegant.

Another option for hair accessories is ribbons. It looks trendy, but not many can manage it. So, if you are going for ribbons, make sure you are comfortable with the choice.  

Some Favorite Looks 




Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What shoes go with dark academia?

Ans: The best footwear choice for dark academia outfits is loafers, brogues, and ankle boots. For the colors, the trend requires you to go with dark neutral colors, such as black, brown, burgundy, etc. 

Q: Can I wear jeans with dark academia?

Ans: Yes, but there are certain things you should keep in mind. Academia fashion is all about a cozy and vintage vibe. So, wearing skinny or ripped jeans is never a good idea. If you want to wear jeans, go for straight-leg jeans. Choose black or dark grey jeans, as they can be styled with numerous tops. 

Q: Are dark academia outfits smart casual?

Ans: Yes, you can wear them as smart casual. It all depends on how you choose to style it. The neutral tones give a professional and polished vibe. For comfort, you can choose fabrics like wool and linen. Regarding style, you can wear blazers for a formal and sweaters for a semi-formal look.

Alishba is a 19-year-old literature student currently on the journey of figuring out life. She is just an unbroken optimist drifting through life using writing as a coping mechanism (and also as a source of livelihood). She is notorious among her friends for being too self-obsessed, a trait she proudly describes as self-love. She is a bad but enthusiastic painter and loves reading fantasy books.

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