With roots dating back to the 19th century, Dark Academia fashion has recently seen a rise in popularity on social media. Countless posts that revolve around this aesthetic have been made on Instagram and Tiktok, making it hard to miss.
Although the name suggests that it is intended for those in higher education, the Dark Academia aesthetic extends beyond classrooms and lecture halls. The style draws inspiration from Gothic 19th century fashion, but with a modern twist.
Think Hogwarts student meets high fashion – a preppy and vintage look. Oxford shirts, blazers, waistcoats, trousers, brogues and loafers are wardrobe staples. The main colour palette consists of black, dark brown, navy blue, forest green and burgundy.
If you’re already a fan of these, then the Dark Academia style might be perfect for you.
How to build a Dark Academia wardrobe
Do not shy away from outerwear when putting together a DA outfit. There are a variety of clothing pieces for you to choose from, such as classy jackets, turtlenecks, cardigans and knitted sweaters. These will contribute a subtle texture to your look.
Keep the preppy element in mind when selecting tops. The must-haves in a dark academic’s wardrobe are oxford shirts, polo tees and short-sleeved button downs. Simplicity is key.
Classic, tapered trousers are where it’s at when it comes to bottoms. Should you want to opt for patterns, go for dark plaid pants. Be sure to coordinate the colour tones of your bottoms and tops.
You will be spoilt for choice when selecting shoes. Look for chelsea boots, oxford shoes, loafers and brogues. It is a good investment for your wardrobe, as they can be worn on both casual and formal occasions.
Anything that screams vintage. Leather watches, messenger bags, gold-rimmed glasses- heck, wear a pocket watch if you’re feeling a little extra. These accessories emphasise the ‘academic’ aspect of the style.
Dark Academia fashion is a little on the pricey side, so it is recommended not to buy everything at once but rather build your wardrobe over time. This is also a good way to explore different brands and the clothes they release throughout the seasons.
Anyone can embody this charming and alluring style, despite not being a self-proclaimed dark academic. (Though if you feel like it, you can start reading and reciting poetry, start a sketching journal or ponder about art at museums.) This style in particular is among a few that enables you to achieve a polished, gentlemanly demeanor. It is okay to experiment with different fashion styles to see what works best for you.