Dark Academia is an aesthetic that has grown in massive popularity over the past few years. From books to movies to music, this aesthetic has made its way through media and into all sorts of activities and actions. The aesthetic, as Urban Dictionary defines, “is inspired by old and classic literature/philosophy, as well as themes of existentialism”. Although many individuals critique the aesthetic for its way of romanticizing over studying, others love the motivation and vibe it brings.
As dark academia is centered around academic institutions, lots of the activities involve academic hobbies. For instance, a widely known activity for dark academia is theater/drama. As this involves lots of history and literature, it has become a staple for the aesthetic. More activities include playing chess/checkers/cards, badminton, archery, instruments, and taking part in activities such as debate, journaling/poetry (typically in calligraphy), drawing/painting, embroidery, reading philosophy, ballroom dancing, thrifting, baking, and studying. The aesthetic also includes visiting museums, cafes, and parks frequently, therefore, making it ‘your spot’.
The style of dark academia leans more on the casual but well-put-together side. The color palette consists mainly of neutral and dark tones (i.e. cream, beige, brown, grey, black). Layering is a big aspect of dark academia fashion so there are lots of items that go into a look. The main styles of clothing include blazers, turtlenecks, sweaters (oversized, fit, and vests), cardigans, wool/trench coats, tennis skirts, pencil skirts (both long and short), corduroy pants (sometimes in the pattern of plaid), long socks, and Dr. Martins to finish off the look. Accessories include vintage jewelry, a scarf, and messenger bags.
A typical dark academia playlist consists of tense classical music or artists like Hozier, The Neighborhood, and Bon Iver. I have linked a few of my favorite playlists below so be sure to check them out!
- Dark Academia
- Studying With Poets Long Gone
- You’ve Discovered Rival Secret Societies Within Your New School
- Art Museum Date
- The Secret History
- Studying at Oxford
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
- The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
- Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
- Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
- The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
- Vicious by V.E. Schwab
- The Binding by Bridget Collins
- The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
- Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
- The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake
- Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
- A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee
- Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates
- Bunny by Mona Awad
- The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl
- Dead Poet’s Society
- Little Women
- The Picture of Dorian Gray
- Mary Shelley
- Sherlock Holmes