how to style light academia aesthetic outfits: easy guide

Last Updated on 22/05/2022 by Rashi

After Light Academia took over fall 2020-21, I say spring/summer 2022 will also build a runway for Light Academia aesthetic outfits.

If you’re not sure what it is, Light Academia is a subculture of “academia aesthetic” that romanticizes academic life, art, culture, music, history and is inspired by European aesthetics and style. The concept, however, is now being expanded to include academic pieces, music, and clothing from non-western and European cultures and works by non-white, and non-English-speaking artists, writers, poets.

Light Academia vs Dark Academia aesthetic

The difference between light academia and dark Academia aesthetic is that, as the name suggests LA is the ‘lighter’ version of DA. While Dark Academia typically involves intense and often negative concepts, like literary tragedy, contemplating the existence of life, heartbreak, oppression, escapism, and death. In contrast, Light Academia holds generally positive themes, focusing on optimism, sensitivity, joy, gratitude, friendship, hope, and happy endings.

Check out: Dark Academia aesthetic fashion: a complete style guide and outfit ideas

A good example to distinguish between the two would be, the shows ‘How to get away with a murder‘ for Dark Academia and ‘Anne with an E‘ for Light.

Light academia clothing pieces and outfits

Though you can style dark pieces as per your liking, it usually includes light shades like white, tan, cream, gold, and soft pastel colors.

Let’s start with staple clothes for this aesthetic.

1. Blazers

Go for a relaxed style or oversized single and double-breasted blazers. Checked or any print that feels vintage is +1.

If you tend to prefer your outfits more feminine, you can also style a cropped blazer (that’s a major AW trend). You can pair trousers and a turtleneck, or a collared knit dress with the cropped blazer to maintain the academia vibes.

2. Turtlenecks

Talking about any Academia aesthetic and not including turtleneck is a sin I refuse to commit.

For LA, use turtlenecks in lighter shades to layer under chunky cardigans, blazers, button-ups, coats, and strappy dresses.

3. Cardigans

Just like oversized sweaters, this comfy outerwear is a must-have for the light academia inspired outfits. If you prefer skin-fit cropped ones, try structured and loose trousers with reading glasses to maintain the academic charm. And if you prefer chunky ones, you can tuck them in cute skirts (ex- tennis skirt) to still look trendy.

4. Oversized sweaters

This is your excuse to hoard cozy cable knit, crewnecks. Not only do they rarely ever go out of trend, but dressing with oversized sweaters is super easy as they fit any style of aesthetic!

For the Light Academia aesthetic, you can style the sweaters over a collared shirt, dress, or blouse for the feels. You can also get a turtleneck one and pair it under a chunky sweater when it gets colder.

A light academia aesthetic outfit on a brown blogger consisting of a white sweater, beige shirt and white jeans.

5. Coats

Trench coats and long coats are the next staples for LA -that again, you can easily find in any closet.

6. Blouses

Look for blouses that give off vintage vibes. It shouldn’t be hard given the number of trends that are inspired by old gems. Collared ones, cropped blouses with a mock neck, puff-sleeved ones, milkmaid tops, or ones with lace detailing, or classic embellishments. These styles of clothes are perfect for dressing for this aesthetic.

An outfit styled by a brown style blogger consisting of a white milkmaid top and white pants for light academia aesthetic vibes.

7. Button-ups

Do I even need to expand on here? You most likely already have two-three in your closet (or someone else’s closet in your house).

Other than being a Light Academia aesthetic essential, this one can single-handedly save you from the “I have nothing to wear” situation.

8. Slightly flared or straight leg trousers and jeans

A more covered-up option for bottoms for the colder days. Or options. Or if you simply do not prefer skirts.

8. Pleated skirts

Tennis skirts stayed on top of the whole internet throughout last year. So staying midst spring and summer light academia outfits in 2022 aren’t surprising. And this tennis skirt trend has definitely made all pleated skirts more trendy.

Now, trendy clothes and styles fit well in the aesthetic.

Check Out: Trendy outfits to try this fall season

10. Ribbed tops

These lightweight basics are not only super on point with the aesthetic (I recommend layering them under blazers and cardigans in fall and winter) but are also the best transitional clothes. They also aren’t going off trend any time soon.

A pastel polo top used in a light academia aesthetic outfit with white jeans and cream sweater hanging from shoulder.

11. Sweater vests

Yep. The grandpa trend that has been booming since fall 2020 is gracefully moving to 2022. While spring and summer see pastel, and cropped sweater vests, for transitioning to fall, all neutrals especially dark shades in outfits will match better the somber vibes of light academia.

13. Slip dresses

Slip dresses are one of the most versatile pieces you can add to your closet and not just for light academia. They are easy to dress up or down according to the situation and can be paired with many pieces. In addition to that, they look super sophisticated.

14. Knit dress

For the days you are not in the mood for cropped, fitted cardigans and pretty blouses but still wanna look cute as a button.

In addition to being perfect minimal pieces for light academia aesthetic, knit dress is warm AND trendy enough to be your AW staple piece this year.

16. Tweed

What’s says vintage and academia more than tweed? Not only is it the best basic outfit topper but it also adds chicness to ANY outfit. You can style an outfit with light academia basics and then add a tweed jacket -or style outfit around a tweed dress. You can also style a stylish yet cozy fit with a tweed skirt or top -make sure your other pieces are not that fancy though. We are styling outfits inspired by light academia aesthetic not old money aesthetic.

16. Ribbed sets

Ribbed sets are comfortable, effortlessly chic, cute, and super versatile. Other than being perfect loungewear, they can be worn as separate pieces for a trendy Light Academia outfit.

modern academia aesthetic outfit with a cardigan-tank knit set paired with checked pants

17. Waistcoats

Androgynous fashion and light academia style are pretty good friends you see. And with so many fits by fashion people and runway looks including this piece in 2021, waistcoats are guaranteed major trend.

Light Academia Aesthetic Accessories

  1. Chains– Whether you prefer chunky ones or dainty ones. chains are a must-have accessory for light academia aesthetic fashion.
  2. Pearl jewelry– If you prefer more trendy pieces, try baroque pearls. If not, you always have classic pearls.
  3. Bucket hats– So just because light academia has vintage vibes doesn’t mean you can’t wear the cutest accessory trend at the moment.
  4. vintage jewelry– locket necklaces, coin necklaces, pendants, cuffed bracelets, and dainty dangling earrings, for example.
  5. Reading glasses– we’re romanticizing knowledge and learning after all.
  6. Knee-high socks
  7. classic brooches– antique-looking ones, such as locket ones.
  8. Leather watches
  9. Chunky boots and loafers– classic pieces for aesthetic, and thick soles for the sake of trends.
  10. Thick leather (or similar) belts

Check Out: Popular TikTok Aesthetics and Outfits inspired by them