Dark academia is a favorite aesthetic of many, especially since it’s blown up on social media lately. While light academia shares many stylistic elements with cottagecore—light color palettes and breezy fabrics—dark academia has a completely different tone.
Though both light and dark academia come from a love of historically academic topics, like beautiful libraries and classic literature, dark academia favors Edgar Allen Poe more than Jane Austen.
If this sounds like your dream fall look, here are some tips to put together a dark academia-inspired outfit fit for your next visit to a haunted library.
Warm Tones and Muted Colors
The color palette is one of the essential elements of this style. Dark academia’s color palette typically includes a lot of earthy neutrals, such as browns, grays, and blacks, and muted colors, like forest green, maroon, and navy. If you prefer colors like yellow, cream, and tan, light academia might be more your style.
Use these colors to construct the basis of your outfit, but feel free to add lighter colors as accents. Using warm tones in your outfit will make your look more cozy than somber. Dark academia is a versatile aesthetic, so start with the basics and make it your own!
Layers on Layers
When building a dark academia wardrobe, your statement pieces won’t usually be your shirts—these tend to be basic, neutral items. The pieces you wear over the shirts are what make the outfit.
Think Dead Poets Society—layer cardigans, sweater vests, or sweaters over your basic turtleneck. Over that, add a duster or trench coat. Thrift stores can be great places to find many of these items; “grandpa” sweaters usually look great put together with a dark academia-inspired outfit. Long skirts or patterned slacks look great with this style, but black or gray jeans can work just as well.
Don’t Forget the Accessories
This is where you can let your personality shine. There aren’t any rules about how many accessories you can add, so do what feels right to you. Add accessories based on your interests, such as Greek mythology or classical music. Or you can pay homage to your favorite author or novel with a book-shaped bag or themed jewelry. Victorian-style jewelry, like brooches or cameo necklaces, also looks great with this look.
This aesthetic is also easy to mix with others, such as witchcore or steampunk, as those can have similar base outfits. Add moons and stars for a more witchy feel or gears and bronze details for steampunk vibes. Any accessories loosely related to academia or the Victorian era will blend well.
Dark academia is a beautifully moody aesthetic that’s perfect for fall. So the next time you feel like wandering around a library while listening to classical music, add a dark academia outfit to complete the vibe.