What is Dark Academia Fashion Style? 12 Best Examples to Understand Quick and Easy

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission(No Additional Charge to You). The commission I earn will be used for creating great content in this blog and thank you for your support.

Do you wanna try dark academia fashion? If so, the first thing you have to do is understand what is dark academia fashion style.

In this post, I am going to help you understand what dark academia fashion is, what characteristics it has, and how to recognize it.

Also, I will show you some iconic examples which are real fashion products that are related to dark academia fashion so that you can understand better.

Alright, let’s begin!

What is Dark Academia Fashion Style?

Dark Academia Fashion is a kind of fashion style that looks literate or scholarly and features dark colors. Any outfit or fashion item that looks like that can be considered dark academia fashion.

Here are some points of Dark Academia Fashion:

  1. If it’s hard for you to imagine what is dark academia fashion, just think of what these people wear: scholars, students, professors like Robert Langdon in the novel/movie The Da Vinci Code and other series, and even detectives like Sherlock Holmes. By the way, a lot of dark academia style clothes and accessories are inspired by school uniforms.

  2. Other than having a literate image, dark academia fashion also makes an intelligent, mysterious, and vintage impression on people. And compared to light academia fashion, dark academia has more melancholy vibes, simply because the color is darker.

  3. Since dark academia fashion features dark tone colors especially brown, it is a popular style to wear in fall and winter. And the fabrics like knit, corduroy, and wool, which are commonly used in fall/winter fashion, are the iconic fabrics of dark academia fashion as well. (I will mention these fabrics later in detail.)

After learning the basics of dark academia fashion, I’m going to show you the examples you can easily see in the real life.

Dark Academia Color

Neutral Color

It is common to see neutral colors in dark academia fashion rather than vivid colors.

Besides brown, you will also see gray and black as the main colors of a dark academia outfit.

Light neutral colors like ivory, beige, khaki, and ecru are great for pairing with other dark tone colors but those light colors should be a small part of the outfit, otherwise, it will become a light academia outfit instead of dark academia.


Dark Brown

Brown is the most iconic color for dark academia style. I believe one of the reasons is that brown is a dark tone color, has retro vibes, and reminds people of old vintage things, which somehow matches the concept of dark academia.

Colors like brown, chocolate, and mocha are not only repeatedly used in dark academia fashion but also in dark academia style interior design.


Dark Green

Dark green like olive or moss is a good alternative when you get tired of brownish colors.

Plus, since green is relatively less common in dark academia fashion, it’s easier for you to stand out with your unique green dark academia outfit!


Dark Academia Pattern

No Pattern

Solid (no pattern) clothes like shirts and blouses are essentials of dark academia outfits. When you have one of them or both, you can pair it with other items and create several different looks.

And you know what? You totally can create a dark academia outfit without wearing any patterned clothes! Just pick the clothes in the colors that I mentioned above, and choose the clothes with certain fabrics that have dark academia vibes, which I will mention later.

By doing so, you will have a very chic dark academia outfit. In addition, you can add some dark academia style accessories to complete your look such as leather belts, watches, glasses, dark tone jewelry, etc.



Plaid pattern is the most common pattern in dark academia fashion. You can literally see it in almost every dark academia outfit.

One of the best things about a plaid pattern is that it can be formal and casual. So when you have plaid patterned clothes, you can switch the look whenever you want.



Houndstooth pattern generally fits dark academia outfits as long as you choose the right style of clothes, fabric, and color.

However, I have to say that brown houndstooth blazers are one of the fashion items that I highly recommend for dark academia fashion.

It perfectly blended the vintage brown and classic houndstooth pattern and therefore, it is not only suitable for dark academia outfits but also can make the outfits a lot more stylish.


Dark Academia Fabric


Compared to thick fabric like corduroy and wool which are more often worn in cold weather, knit is the one that you can wear every season because it has more variations, in other words, you can wear thin knit clothes like jersey tops in summer and wear thick knit clothes like sweaters in winter.

A solid knit top is an extremely great item for a dark academia outfit because it matches various clothes. Besides, sweaters, sweater vests, and cardigans are dark academia wardrobe essentials as well.



Corduroy has a unique texture and natural faded look. In addition, most corduroy clothes are khaki and brown colors. That makes corduroy clothes look retro and because it’s such a unique fabric, it’s a waste not to wear corduroy clothes for dark academia outfits.



Wool blazers, coats, pants, and skirts are brilliant dark academia style fashion items. Each of them perfectly matches solid shirts, blouses, and knit tops, which I mentioned earlier that they are essentials of dark academia outfits. Also, wool clothes can make your outfit look chic and sophisticated.


Dark Academia Item

Pleated Mini Skirt

There are many school uniform-inspired dark academia fashion items and pleated mini skirts are one of them. Whether it’s a solid, plaid, or corduroy pleated mini skirt, they all fit dark academia looks.


Satchel Bag

Satchel bag is a kind of bag for carrying books and it’s also a classic school bag for students.

It is not only a chic retro bag that is perfect for dark academia outfits but also a durable bag that can carry at work and use for a long time without getting out of style.


Oxford Shoes

It is said that oxford shoes are the type of shoes that students used to wear at Oxford University. And I believe that explains the connection between oxford shoes and dark academia fashion.

If you prefer wearing pants instead of skirts or dresses, I highly recommend you get a pair of oxford shoes for your dark academia outfit because it goes really well with pants, especially the slacks.

If you want to pair oxford shoes with skirts or dresses, it will be better to wear socks or knee socks with oxford shoes.


Those are the iconic dark academia style fashion items. Hope this post helps you get to know about dark academia fashion a little bit more.

Also, if you want to know what are the essentials to create perfect dark academia outfits and wonder where are good places to buy dark academia style clothes, accessories, etc., you can check out the posts below!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission(No Additional Charge to You). The commission I earn will be used for creating great content in this blog and thank you for your support.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *