The rise of social media has made creativity and subculture accessible to everyone. It’s easy to get online and share your interests and ideas with other people. When something becomes popular online, or “trends”, it often spills over into real life. This is easy to see in modern fashion, which is heavily influenced by social media trends, or aesthetics. Aesthetics are certain styles of dressing based on a certain theme. Dark Academia is one example that’s become popular recently. Read on to discover more about this aesthetic and how to incorporate it into your rotation.
Dark Academia is an aesthetic based on intellectual and cultural pursuits, like higher education, poetry, and the arts. It’s influenced by gothic literature, ancient architecture, and the mysterious and illicit. Think puzzles, magic, unsolved murders, and secret cults. The mood of Dark Academia is melancholic and brooding. The fashion includes clothing associated with prep and Ivy League schools. It’s also influenced by classic literary works, like Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, The Odyssey, Macbeth, and Crime and Punishment.
Dark Academia and Light Academia are both part of the broader Academia aesthetic. The two share some similarities, like romanticizing classical architecture and literature. Whereas Light Academia is more positive and uplifting, though, Dark Academia takes on darker, more intense themes. The aesthetic explores tragedy, melancholy, escapism, and grief. The two also differ in color schemes, with Dark Academia utilizing much deeper, darker tones.
The color palette of Dark Academia can best be described as prep school meets Gothic design. It consists mainly of black, white, dark brown, navy blue, forest green, and burgandy. These are sometimes contrasted with lighter colors, like orange, gold, and cream. Use objects, themes, or characters that fit the aesthetic to inspire your own palette. When in doubt, go for deep, rich, shades, like plum and wine, and dark neutrals, like tan, olive, and gray.
Fabric inspired by preppy and vintage academic fashion fit the Dark Academia aesthetic best. This includes wool, velvet, cashmere, and tweed. These fabrics are rich and durable with a luxurious look and feel. Certain fabric patterns, like plaid and houndstooth, also fit the Dark Academia aesthetic well. They’re easy to spot in the scholarly world as they’re often used in school uniforms. Corduroy is another great fabric choice for Dark Academia. The unique texture, faded look, and brown tone of men’s corduroy pants, for example, fits perfectly with the aesthetic.
Tailored, formal clothing is ideal for creating Dark Academia-inspired outfits. When it comes to silhouettes, there are plenty of options. On top, go for cardigans, blazers, vests, and men’s button-down shirts. Pair these with tailored pants on the bottom. Dress pants, corduroy pants, and chinos all work well for the Dark Academia look. A typical outfit may include dark pants, a white button-down shirt, a leather vest, and matching leather brogues. You could also wear dark pants with a turtleneck sweater and matching pea coat.
To complete your Dark Academia look, you need the right pair of men’s shoes. Go for classic styles in leather for maximum style and versatility. A pair of loafers or brogues, for example, look smart while being comfortable to wear. Lace-up men’s boots also work well. They can be styled for your Dark Academia outfit, and with other clothing in your rotation, too. Choose a pair of shoes in neutral colors, like black, brown, or gray. These match well with everything, so you get more wear out of your shoes. And don’t forget socks! Argyle and plaid socks work especially well for the Dark Academia mood.
Accessories are a great way to improve the overall look of your Dark Academia outfit. There’s plenty to choose from that fit the aesthetic. Eyeglasses, for example, are commonly associated with academics. You can also use men’s ties to enhance your look. Keep it sleek with a classic necktie, or add a pop of personality to your look with a patterned bow tie. You can also use hats, scarves, belts, cufflinks, watches, and men’s jewelry to put the finishing touches on your Dark Academia outfit.
There are so many fun ways to experiment with the Dark Academia aesthetic. Start by immersing yourself in music, literature, and photographs that fit the theme. Let yourself get inspired and begin introducing new fabrics, colors, and patterns into your wardrobe. You may even find you already have a lot of what you need; you may just need to style it in a different way. Mix and match any men’s pants with a men’s sweater or shirt, for example, to create a base look. Then, add a few accessories and a great pair of shoes to go full Dark Academia.