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Are you captivated by the allure of vintage bookstores, the smell of old leather-bound books, and the romanticism of a bygone era? If so, you’re not alone. The dark academia aesthetic has an enduring appeal, offering a unique blend of nostalgia, intellectualism, and timeless style. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through a plethora of dark academia outfit ideas, ensuring you look effortlessly chic while embracing your inner scholar.

Let’s start with the building blocks of any dark academia wardrobe: These essential pieces form the foundation for countless outfit combinations.


Vests and waistcoats

Layer a vest or waistcoat over your Oxford shirt or sweater for a sophisticated, scholarly look. We love a versatile piece of clothing, and these can be added to regular tees or worn on their own to instantly change up the vibe of your outfit from dark academia to 90s chic. 

(D)Dark blue velvet vest (on sale for $39) 

(E)Brown Vest ($25)

(F)Tailored vest top (on sale for $36) 

Button-down shirts 

A staple piece that exudes refinement, perfect for layering or wearing on its own. A button-down transcends seasons and trends, and is a valuable addition to every wardrobe. (If you’re looking for a looser fit, try looking at men’s shirts so they get that blousy look when you tuck or tie them).  

(A)Fitted Oxford Shirt ($25)

Oversized cotton shirt (on sale for $42) 

Blue striped button down (on sale for $16) 

Turtleneck Sweaters and Tops

These timeless classics come in various colors, but shades like burgundy, navy, black, or beige work best for achieving that scholarly look. Pair them with a skirt or tailored trousers for a polished ensemble.

(B)Black Turtleneck Top (on sale for $5)

(C)Brown turtleneck top ($16) 



Ideal for layering over your turtleneck or Oxford shirt, adding warmth and style. Opt for a chunky knit for a cozier, homey feel and more refined fabrics like cashmere when you’re looking to add a touch of elegance. 

(G/H)Rib-Knit Cardigan ($20)

(I)Long cardigan (on sale for $30) 

(J)Knit cardigan (on sale for $46) 


High-Waisted Trousers

High-waisted trousers are a must-have for achieving the dark academia aesthetic. Choose well-fitted pants in classic colors like black, brown, or herringbone patterns. They create a flattering silhouette and can be effortlessly dressed up or down.

(K/L)Extra High-Waisted Taylor Linen-Blend Trouser Shorts for Women – 6-inch inseam (on sale for $18.47, usually $37) Stay cool as we transition into fall with these linen-blend shorts while maintaining your dark academia style.

(M)Powersoft Wide-Leg Pants in Sedimentary ($45) These have the look of dress pants but the feel of yoga pants/activewear. Perfect for looking put-together while staying cool and comfortable.

(N)Extra High-Waisted Pleated Taylor Trouser Wide-Leg Pants for Women ($50)


These versatile skirts will help achieve the dark academia aesthetic without the use of trousers. Faux leather and tweed are both fantastic for bringing in the fall vibes while keeping your outfit sophisticated and scholarly. 

(O)Faux Leather Mini Skirt ($25)

(P)Women’s High Rise Tweed Mini Skirt ($30)


No dark academia outfit is complete without a pair of classic shoes. These timeless choices exude sophistication and are perfect for both men and women. Black or dark brown shoes can elevate any ensemble to scholarly heights.


(Q)Black Chunky Loafers ($35)

Brown Lug-Sole Loafers ($40) 

Chelsea Boots 

(R)Brown water-resistant Chelsea Boots ($70) 

(S)Black Chelsea Boots ($40)



Stay warm and cozy while still exuding those delicious dark academia vibes with a classic plaid scarf. Pro tip: Bigger scarves can double as blankets for your lap if you get chilly in the library. 

(T)Brown Plaid Scarf ($10)

(U)Brown scarf (on sale for $5.39)


Dark academia jewelry tends to be on the understated side, but even small additions can have a major impact on an outfit. The use of pearls can take an outfit to new elegant heights, while hoops can keep an outfit on the side of casual refinement rather than opting for no earrings at all. 

(V)Anchor Hoops ($30)

(W)Pearl stud earrings ($65) 


Looking to add some warmth to your dark academia outfit while still utilizing your skirts? Add a pair of tights underneath! Go for black for a contrast or a tone closer to your skin color to give the illusion your legs are still bare, all while keeping warm during the colder fall days. 

Opaque Tights (various colors) ($12)

Capezio shimmer tights ($15) (these are the Taylor Swift tights everyone was looking for during the Eras Tour) 

Layering with Dark Academia Style

Layering is key to mastering the dark academia look, as it adds depth and complexity to your outfits.


Invest in a collection of cardigans, ideally in rich, deep colors or classic patterns like argyle. Layer them over your turtleneck sweaters or button-down shirts for an added touch of elegance.

Vintage Scarves

Accessorize your outfits with vintage scarves featuring intricate patterns or muted tones. You can wear them around your neck or tie them to your bag for a pop of dark academia flair.

Trench Coats

For those chilly autumn days, a trench coat is your go-to outerwear choice. Opt for a timeless beige or camel-colored trench to achieve that classic academic look. Belt it at the waist to accentuate your silhouette.

Fall Perfection

As the leaves change, so can your dark academia wardrobe. Layer a wool vest over a crisp white shirt, add your trusty tweed blazer, and complete the look with knee-high leather boots. Don’t forget a beret for that extra touch of sophistication.

Unlock Your Scholarly Style

With these dark academia outfit ideas, you can embrace the enchanting world of scholarly chic. From classic staples to seasonal variations, thoughtful accessories, and versatile tops and bottoms, you have all the tools you need to curate a wardrobe that reflects your love for academia and timeless fashion. So, don your cardigan, slip into your loafers, and immerse yourself in the captivating realm of dark academia style.

Note: While I have linked to specific stores for these pieces, they can easily be sought out on second-hand sites as well! To save some money, I highly recommend looking at places like Poshmark, Ebay, or Nuuly Thrift. If you’d like to read more about scoring second-hand finds, click here

By Hannah

Lover of all things geeky.

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