Dark Academia Outfits: A Guide to Scholarly Fashion

How to put together Dark Academia outfits

Dark Academia outfits are slowly taking the forefront when it comes to online style. If you’re a fan of the Classics and have a passion for fashion, you’re already halfway to completing the Dark Academia aesthetic. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about this internet trend and why it’s one of the best ones yet.


What is Dark Academia?

As the name suggests, Dark Academia outfits have roots in old-fashioned school uniforms but with a touch of the Gothic aesthetic. One common misconception, however, is that it is simply a way of dressing. Many people who enjoy this aesthetic apply the same concepts and principles to their daily lives. This includes interior design meant to recreate a Dark Academia room. You’ll find preppy wallpaper and various décor being marketed toward this specific niche. 

There isn’t a single point of reference for it, either. People may pull ideas from films such as Harry Potter, popular Dark Academia books like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, and even from various historical periods. Some might say that this is the thing that sets it apart from other trends that originated from platforms such as Twitter and TikTok.


Fiction Meets Fashion

Long trench coat on top of a dress, Dark Academia outfits
Photo by Nida from Pexels

People who love the Dark Academia aesthetic also tend to express an interest in the Classics. This includes the study of languages such as French, Greek, and Latin. They enjoy learning and think of it as an art form, rather than a chore. Of course, it wouldn’t be called “dark” if there wasn’t a hint of mystery to it.

In a case of life imitating art, “Dark Academics” have a penchant for the occult, the unusual, and the unknown. You’ll find similar themes in The Secret History, which is just one of the books often referenced by fans of the aesthetic. As intimidating as that might sound, you might be surprised that being part of this community is more akin to being in a book club rather than a secret society.


Dark Academia Style Aesthetic For Women

Dark Academia aesthetic is often the same for men and women. This is usually characterized by earthy tones, preppy vintage look, coupled with some unique vintage accessories. To give your look a bit more drama and character, a glass of wine, a stack of worn-out books, and a cigarette hanging precariously from between one’s lips can complete your aesthetic outfits. 


The hair is often styled with loose waves or pulled up in a ponytail and decorated with silk bows. Old-fashioned glasses (preferably horn-rimmed ones), leather-strapped watches, vintage brooches, are common accessories that completes the look.

Dark Academia Hair For Women



Unlike other similar trends such as Cottagecore, Dark Academia has a much darker autumn-esque color palette. Earthy tones consisting of dark brown, black, burgundy, forest green, cream, and gold colors make up the Dark Acamedia aesthetic. This applies to both the wardrobe for men and women, as well as the eyeshadow or makeup palette for women. 

Dark Academia Makeup For Women



Long dresses and plaid skirts, knitted sweater vests, and trench coats are very commonly worn among men and women. Aside from clothes, you can also get creative and put together cute nail ideas using these cozy colors.  Shoes are kept simple and often paired with knee-high socks.. Rather than a specific style, there are a few favorites within the community including Mary Janes, ballet flats, Chelsea Boots, and Oxford Shoes. 

Dark Academia Wardrobe Basics For Women


Dark Academia Style Aesthetic For Men

Dark Academia clothes need not come from a designer brand in order to look good. In fact, most would purchase their pieces from vintage or thrift shops, then give it their own spin. You can even learn how to crochet your own scarf instead of purchasing one! Remember, that most Dark Academics appreciate the air of nonchalance embodied by poets, writers, and other artists when it comes to carrying themselves. 


For men, hair is often kept down in it’s natural texture, often long and wavy or cropped and sleek, that conjure up a sophisticated yet traditional style.

Dark Academia Hair For Men


The Dark Academia aesthetic, both for men and women, is characterized by a preppy vintage style. If you want to start switching up your wardrobe to keep up with this trend, make sure you have a couple pieces of oxford shirts, trench coats, blazers, tweed trousers, and plaid pants. For the shoes, Franco Sarto loafers, Dr. Martens boots, brogues, Chelsea Boots and Gothic boots are often worn by men. 

Dark Academia Wardrobe Basics For Men


10 Dark Academia Outfit Ideas For Inspiration

The fun thing about Dark Academia clothes is that it can be interpreted in many different ways. You don’t need to commit to the look entirely and just take a few ideas that you like. To help get you started, here are some fall outfits you might want to try out!


Dark Academia Outfit #1 – Inspired by The Beat Generation

Dark Academia outfits inspired by the Beat Generation.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The film Kill Your Darlings (2013), a primary reference for many Dark Academics, focused on the most popular authors of the Beat Generation. Lucien Carr, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Herbert Huncke inspired generations of writers and also lent certain elements of their style to the Dark Academia aesthetic. Key looks include: thick-rimmed glasses, bedhead, and thrifted knits. While you’re at it, why not learn how to use a French press? This way, you’ll always have a nice cup of coffee to complement your scholarly outfit.


Dark Academia Outfit #2 – Inspired by Jo March  from Little Women

Layering is a key element in Dark Academia fashion.
Promotional still of Saoirse Ronan as Jo March in Little Women

Stay warm during the colder and gloomier months by taking your layering game up a notch. Saoirse Ronan’s portrayal of Jo March in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is a fan favorite for many in the Dark Academia community. Her styling is often referenced, thanks to the great use of layering and the different mix of materials used to create Jo’s ensembles. From her windswept locks to her scuffed boots, Jo March is definitely a Dark Academia inspo.


Dark Academia Outfits #3 – Inspired by Camilla Macaulay 

Dark Academia style but with a romantic twist.
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

Just because it’s called “dark” it doesn’t have to be drab and heavy. By adding just a bit of color and lighter fabrics to your outfits, you’ll be able to achieve a more feminine take on the aesthetic. If you’re looking for Dark Academia fashion for women, this is a great option to try. This style is inspired by the character of Camilla Macaulay in The Secret History. She was described in the book as “a wisp of silk in a forest of black wool”.


Dark Academia Outfit #4 – Inspired by Miss G from Cracks

Masculine and feminine fashion find balance in Dark Academia style.
Promotional still of Eva Green in the movie Cracks

Let boys be feminine and let women be masculine; this certainly applies to Dark Academia. Those who follow this aesthetic understand that it’s all about how you carry yourself. From hyper-masculine looks to ones that toe the line, as long as you have all the essential elements, you can make it work. Take this androgynous look from Miss G as an example! 


Dark Academia Outfits #5 – Minimalist Look

Dark Academia outfit for a professional setting.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

If you’re not too fond of colors and prefer a more minimalist approach to Dark Academia clothing, try this style instead. Instead of tweed trousers, you can also opt for a neutral-colored plaid skirt. If you need to adapt the trend to a corporate or professional setting, this works just as well. It’s an understated look that still exudes the vibe Dark Academia is known for. This look can take you from the workplace to your favorite jazz bar by just adding a few simple accessories to it.


Dark Academia Outfit #6Light Academia

A subdued color palette also works for Dark Academia outfits.
Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Dark Academia for men often includes pantsuits. However, the great thing about this style is that it tends to be fairly unisex. Take some inspiration for the Light Academia aesthetic and choose colors from a nude palette. In this example, you have all the key pieces such as tailored blazers and trousers but in pastel colors. This should help you transition the style to summer and spring.


Dark Academia Outfits #7Dark Aesthetic

Dark Academia meets streetstyle.
Photo by Анна Хазова from Pexels

Academia and streetstyle might be two things you’d never expect to go together, but they can create a look that’s truly eye-catching. You can keep things cool and casual by opting for lighter fabrics instead of the usual wool or knit. Swap out your leather brogues for some sleek sneakers and you’re good to go. When it comes to the Dark Academia aesthetic, how you style your hair and your accessories can easily change up your entire look. Don’t be afraid to play around with different ideas!


Dark Academia Outfit #8 – The Romantic Style

Dark Academia couple outfits.
Photo by Вениамин Курочкин from Pexels

Take cues from Dark Academia icons Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley by matching your outfit with your partner. This is one romantic gesture that doesn’t involve you carrying around your dead spouse’s heart! Kidding aside, Dark Academia fashion might often feel very masculine but simple details such as ruffles and bows can help add a more feminine touch to any ensemble. Since this trend is quite unisex, it is completely normal for men to have these details in their clothing as well. 


Dark Academia Outfits #9 – Dark Academic New Yorker

To elevate your Dark Academia outfit, try a statement accessory.
Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels

If you’re in a more playful mood and want to take your Dark Academia fashion up a notch, an eye-catching accessory such as a hat will do the trick. It will give your outfit a bit more style, while also still exuding that mysterious and elusive vibe. The color red is also a great addition to any Dark Academic outfit. When paired with monochromatic pieces, it will pull together your look and give it a bit more life. A luxurious fabric such as velvet would make for a refined outerwear option as well.


Dark Academia Outfit #10 – Heirloom Pieces Completes The Look

It's all in the details when it comes to Dark Academia style.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

You don’t have to purchase new clothing items just to recreate the Dark Academia look. By adding a few simple accessories, you can easily turn your usual blouses and shirts into something more apt for the trend. You can add bows or pin your favorite brooch (plus points if it’s an heirloom piece) to your blazers. If you learn how to embroider, you can even add your favorite poems to your clothing! 


Give Dark Academia Outfits a Try!

If you’ve been thinking about changing up your style, why not delve a little deeper into Dark Academia? Not only is it the perfect fall aesthetic, you just might find something that’s completely new and exciting for you as well.