Exploring Dark Academia Fashion

Sweater: Dry Goods, Denim: Amazon, Shoes: Steve Madden, Shirt: Fashion Nova

I have been seeing so many Dark Academia Tik-Tokers on my feed lately and I just can’t stop thinking about the style, hence my church outfit last Sunday. The fashionista in me got the better in me and I started doing some digging. Normally I would’ve just considered Dark Academia a revival of 90s prep and I still see those features and realized this is bigger than that.

First let’s answer the question, “what is dark academia?”. Although there are various definitions of this subculture in fashion it can be summarized as a subculture that values scholarly achievement of the arts in specific. This includes literature, arts, reading, writing, poetry, etc. Think of them as fashion forward theatre kids.

This style has a lot of high society influence, this style mainly was popularized by the “Ivy league” type of student style, just with gothic influence. The different between your “old school prep” and “Dark Academia” fashion is your traditional preppy look is more clean cut and polished. Whilst Dark Academia is a little more grungy and relies heavy on it’s gothic influence. Who knew we would ever mix goth and preppy? That’s the beauty of fashion, you can do whatever you want.

So, now for the zeitgeist behind the Dark Academia fashion aesthetic, think about the state our schools are currently in. We are slowly trickling back into normality but who knows how long it will be before we are 100% normal? I mean we had students gain their diploma via zoom for the past year. It makes sense that fashion has leaned towards a more preppy college approach since that is something we are lacking stability in. So, we do the next best thing, mimic the style.

Love this look? Here are fashion brands to check out to get this Dark Academia aesthetic for yourself! I made a list just for you, so that you can shop different places to create the perfect Dark Academia look that best fits your styles, weather you’re wanting a little flare to experiment with.

Where to Shop?


Brandy Melville

Urban Outfitters

Dolls Kill


Until Next Time!

In the meantime, check out my Instagram for multiple outfit updates throughout the week and fashion history videos!


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