Exploring the Dark Academia Aesthetic: What Is It and How to Get the Look?

flatlay with dark academia elements

In the realm of beauty, style, and enigmatic vibe, the dark academic aesthetic deserves a very special pedestal. Rooted in classicism and characterized by its moody, vintage-inspired vibe, dark academia offers a unique and captivating aesthetic that feels both aloof and approachable. If you're intrigued by the idea of self-improvement, studying, reading ancient tomes, and listening to classical music – you are welcome to join! Here is everything you need to know about the world of dark academia aesthetics: its main features, inspiration, and the origin of the style.

What Is a Dark Academia Aesthetic? 


Dark Academia is an aesthetic and cultural movement that romanticizes knowledge, literature, art, and the pursuit of intellectual growth. It draws inspiration from classic literature, history, and academia, creating a style that is both timeless and mysterious. At its core, dark academia encourages a love for learning, introspection, and embracing the beauty of the past. This aesthetic celebrates intellectual pursuits and values the appreciation of art, literature, and culture.

  • What Are the Origins of Dark Academia Aesthetics?

The term "dark academia" first appeared on Tumblr in 2015, but it wasn't until the coronavirus pandemic – which, by the way, is still ongoing – that it really became popular. Increased interest in dark academia has been credited to the shutdown of schools.

Dark academia is often associated with themes of mystery, intrigue, and the pursuit of knowledge. It can also be seen as a way to escape the stresses of modern life and to indulge in a more intellectual and creative lifestyle.

collage with dark academia aesthetic elements

What Are the Main Features of Dark Academia Aesthetic?


To fully embrace the Dark Academia aesthetic, it's important to understand its defining features:

  • Classic Fashion

Dark Academia fashion is characterized by timeless pieces such as tweed blazers, turtlenecks, dress shirts, pleated skirts, and vintage accessories. Earthy tones like brown, beige, olive green, and navy blue dominate the color palette.

  • Vintage and Antique Items

Incorporating vintage and antique elements into your style is key to achieving the Dark Academia look. Think old books, vintage typewriters, leather-bound journals, and antique furniture.

  • Books and Literature

A deep appreciation for literature and books is at the heart of Dark Academia. Displaying shelves filled with classic novels and spending hours lost in their pages is a common practice. Some of the most popular works of literature associated with dark academia include Picture of the Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

  • Intellectual Pursuits

Dark Academia promotes intellectualism, so engaging in activities like reading, aesthetic journaling, writing, studying classical languages, and attending lectures can help you align with the aesthetic.

  • Mood Lighting 

The ambiance plays a crucial role in dark academia. Large corridors, study halls, candlelight, massive shelves with books and small sculptures, dim lamps, and other dark, cozy interiors create a mysterious and contemplative atmosphere.

  • Art and Creativity 

Many Dark Academia enthusiasts are drawn to the arts, including painting, poetry, and music. Incorporating creative pursuits into your daily life adds depth to the aesthetic.

three images with dark academia outfits for women

How to Create a Dark Academia Wardrobe? 


Achieving a Dark Academia-inspired wardrobe is an exciting journey. Start by curating classic pieces that exude a vintage and intellectual charm:

Invest in Classics: Acquire wardrobe staples like tailored blazers, pleated trousers, button-down shirts, and loafers. Thrift stores and vintage shops are excellent places to find unique, timeless pieces.

Embrace Earthy Tones: Build your color palette around earthy tones like brown, beige, forest green, and deep burgundy. These colors evoke a sense of history and sophistication.

Layering: Layering is a key element of Dark Academia fashion. Combine a turtleneck with a blazer or cardigan, and add a scarf or a beret for that extra touch of elegance.

Accessorize Thoughtfully: Vintage accessories like pocket watches, leather satchels, and round glasses can elevate your look to match the aesthetic.

beautiful woman in a dark academia outfit is posing in the fiield

  • Dark Academia Makeup is a Must!

Completing your Dark Academia look requires careful attention to makeup, as it's an essential component of the aesthetic that adds depth and refinement to your overall appearance. Here are some valuable tips to help you achieve the perfect dark academia makeup aesthetic:

Subtle Elegance: Keep your makeup understated and natural. Opt for matte, earth-toned eyeshadows, and neutral lipstick. A subtle cat-eye or winged eyeliner can add a touch of vintage elegance.

Peachy Blush: Use a soft peach or rosy blush to add a natural flush to your cheeks. This enhances the classic, romantic vibe.

Defined Brows: Well-defined yet natural-looking eyebrows are essential for a polished look. Use a brow pencil or powder to shape and fill your eyebrows.

Minimal Contouring: Dark Academia makeup is not about heavy contouring. Instead, focus on a soft, natural contour to define your features without looking overly dramatic.

Matte Finish: Choose matte foundation and setting powder to achieve a flawless, velvety finish that complements the vintage aesthetic.

Let's Wrap Up...


Dark Academia is more than just an aesthetic; it's a celebration of intellectualism, art, and a deep love for classic literature and fashion. By incorporating classic clothing pieces, vintage items, and a touch of intellectualism into your life, you can fully embrace the captivating world of dark academia. Remember, it's not just about appearances; it's about cultivating a mindset that appreciates the timeless beauty of the past and the pursuit of knowledge. So, go ahead and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of dark academia – you'll find a wealth of inspiration and creativity waiting for you.

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