Fashion Style guides

The complete guide to dark academia fashion aesthetic

Dark Academia is an unofficial novel genre-based aesthetic romanticising reading, writing and learning with a heavy emphasis on classic literature and arts. It was generated somewhere deep on the internet and became popular on TikTok. Dark Academia aesthetic is known for its special taste in traditional and classic fashion style.

Anaesthetic mood board for dark academia fashion aesthetic; a TikTok subculture.

What is dark academia aesthetic all about?

Think Greek and Roman mythology, classic literature, poetry and philosophy, Shakespeare plays, Latin, the 1800s inspired wardrobe, coffee and wine, Autumn and Harry Potter.

Dark academia fashion essentials

Dark academia aesthetic inspired female look; poc representation in dark academia
  • Jumpers/sweaters and turtleneck – Go for dark and muted tones. Green, brown, black, rust, deep red, beige, white, grey. This goes for the rest of the essentials and other pieces as well.
  • Mini or over the knee skirt– Pleated, plaid or tweed would be great for the aesthetic. But plain, dark or neutral-toned ones would work as well.
  • tailored pants– Cigarette pants would be my best recommendation -but whatever you decide to go for, make sure its fitted and tailored to perfection. You can go with dark and muted tones or opt for plaid ones. Plus points if you can put up a monochrome outfit with bottom and top in the same colour.
  • Coats & blazers– woollen, velvet or tweed ones are recommended but you can opt for lighter fabric like linen if the weather isn’t suitable. If you’re into prints, consider checks, plaid and houndstooth.

Related: Why blazer is the classic staple you need right now and how to style it

  • Oxford shoes and Mary Jane heels– They are the signature dark academia shoes. You can also substitute oxford shoes with chic loafers depending on your style or preference.
A fall look inspired by dark academia aesthetic, a TikTok subculture for a guide to dark academia fashion

Modern dark academia fashion staples

  • Slip dress – Slip dresses over solids such as tees and turtleneck is the more ‘dressed up’ combination that you can try. Other than that, you can also just layer a blazer over a slip dress for a DA inspired modern look.
  • Sweater vests – Oversized sweater vests are quite huge this fall! Not to mention they look unexpectedly chic too.
  • Waistcoats – Waistcoats add the androgynous DA vibes to any outfit. However, if paired with romantic blouses; especially pastel ones, they appear to be more preppy and conservatively girly.
  • Doc Martens (or similar) – If you want a modern take on dark academia footwear style, grunge style boots such as Doc Marten is the answer because they (ones with thick soles) are heavily in trend this fall.
Dark academia fashion shoes, turtleneck and a black skirt for a trendy fall look inspired from dark academia aesthetic.

Fashion under dark academia aesthetic exhibits a style that looks like being fashionable was never a concern. In other words, effortless.


  • Scarves – Avoid colourful patterns and crazy printed ones at all costs. (Follow this tip for the rest of the outfit as well)
  • Jewellery – Best of all would be traditional heirloom. But if don’t have those, vintage gold ones can be your staple jewellery.
  • Reading glasses – We’re romanticizing knowledge and learning after all.
  • Retro belts – Opt for thick leather (or faux leather) ones and try to match it with the shoes. Also, avoid designer logo.
  • Collar pins and classic brooches – Apart from classic vintage-looking jewellery, you can also add other accessories such as collar pins or brooches to dress up an outfit.
  • Leather watches – Older it looks, better it is. You can probably get one from your parents or grandparents. +1 if you can get a pocket watch instead.

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