How To Achieve Your Ideal Instagram Aesthetic – Dark Academia


There are many different types of aesthetics that social media influencers flaunt to their followers. From Royalcore to grunge, e-girl/e-boy to academia, everyone has their own personal preference when styling themselves.


This series of short articles will help you discover how to begin your fashion journey toward your ideal aesthetic. Today, we will be looking at the counterpart to the last article – dark academia.


What is dark academia?


Dark academia is very similar to light academia. They both have scholarly roots and take inspiration from classic literature. However, dark academia was the original ‘academic style’, and has more of a Victorian Gothic theme. This means that the colors of the clothing worn by individuals are much darker: brown, black, and dark shades.


The lifestyle itself celebrates learning, wit, and even being pretentious, and people often dream of success using famous classic quotes to show their learning. Interests include old architecture, classic literature, creative writing, nature (especially dreary weather or ‘dark’ animals such as ravens), history, and anything that associates itself with ‘old money’.


More about the aesthetic can be found at Aesthetic Wiki.


What type of clothing should I look for?


To dress in the classy, vintage dark academia style, you should look for the following items of clothing and accessories:


  • Collared shirts – plain or ruffled, possibly with puff sleeves or lace
  • Cable knit jumpers
  • Checked or tweed smart trousers
  • Pleated skirts – also in a tweed or check pattern
  • Long skirts with buttons down the front
  • Pinafores
  • Doc Martens or lace up boots
  • Vintage shoulder bags
  • Ties and cufflinks
  • Brooch
  • Leather belt


Where can I buy these pieces?


As with light academia, the popularity of the style means that you can often easily find items on the high street, online, and through secondhand/thrift shops. Try places like Shein, Primark, TK/TJ Maxx, and Amazon, your local charity/thrift shop, or an independent store such as The Dark Academic.


What is an example of an outfit?


For men, an example of an outfit would be a collared button-up shirt, a tweed jacket, smart matching trousers, brogues, or Doc Martens, and finish off the look with a leather belt, cufflinks, and a handkerchief tucked into the jacket pocket. Women can also rock the suit with a waistcoat added to the ensemble and maybe a skirt instead of trousers if preferred.


For women, a collared shirt with short puff sleeves, a dark red pinafore with brown buttons, lace-up boots, a vintage dark brown satchel, and finally finish off with pearl earrings and a brooch pinned in the center of the collar.

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