dark academia outfits

Dark Academia Outfits: How to Effortlessly Create This Aesthetic

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If you’re in the mood for a style shift that still leans towards comfort and sophistication, you’ve landed in the right spot. In recent years, Dark Academia has become a very well-known style whose social media-coined name says it all. The aesthetic draws inspiration from classic literature, art, and intellectual pursuits while also often incorporating a darker, more mysterious feel through the use of accessories and certain colors.

While this doesn’t totally eliminate this aesthetic for the warm weather, there is a good reason why Dark Academia is ideal for a certain time of year. Long coats, cozy sweaters, and pleated pants become the allies of choice, making it the perfect layered style to brave on the cold with. With some of its origins in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 16 Dark Academia outfits – both for those looking to get started and those who are already self-proclaimed fans of this popular aesthetic. 

1. plaid blazer + Oxford shirt + straight-leg pants + wingtip derby 

dark academia outfits

blazer | shirt | pants | shoes 

Blazers are one of the most popular clothing items within the Dark Academia look, playing a crucial role when it comes to getting it right – so we’ve made sure to get started on the right foot. 

This simple outfit is the perfect place to begin if you are only starting to look into this style. Kick off your ‘fit with a double-breasted plaid gray blazer, worn on top of a classic white Oxford shirt. 

These straight-leg pants are the ideal choice due to their flattering design, which helps to break down the outfit – remember, it’s all in the fit! 

Finish off with another Dark Academia staple: the derby. By the way, this shoe style is a very comfortable pick. So comfortable, I wore them all over Europe!

2. long wool coat + turtleneck sweater + loafers + crossbody bag

dark academia outfits

coat | sweater | pants | shoes | bag

For a cold winter day, opt for a long wool coat as your final, ultra-chic layer. Pair with a classic turtleneck and some draped black pants for the right fit. 

When it comes to shoes, opt for these beautiful rich brown loafers to complement your coat and bring balance to your look. 

A beautiful messenger-style crossbody bag is your finishing touch, making you look like you’re headed to your next lecture of the day. 

3. black turtleneck blouse + A-line skirt + black tights + ankle boots 

dark academia outfits

top | skirt | tights | blazer | loafers

Turtlenecks are style staples for everybody at this point, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less of an essential when it comes specifically to the Dark Academic aesthetic.

This time, our turtleneck comes in the form of a beautiful black blouse – whether you wear your beautiful belted oversized blazer open or closed, the turtleneck detail will be visible and always ready to adorn your look.

Pair with tights and a pair of cream loafers to balance out the color palette of your outfit!

4. turtleneck dress + trench coat + knee-high boots + fabric hair bow 

dark academia outfits

dress | coat | boots | hair bow 

Dark Academia may be all about layering, but that doesn’t mean simple doesn’t cut it when it comes to taking inspiration from the style and making it your own. Long trench coats are, after all, a DA must-have! 

Start this look off with a simple turtleneck ribbed sweater dress that will keep you comfy and warm. Pair with knee-high black boots that instantly elevate the feel of the ensemble. 

A large trench coat is the last main piece, making for that layering effect and ultimate academic feel! 

Since Dark Academia takes inspiration from a wide variety of sources, the style has also become popular for somewhat romantic and vintage-inspired elements, ranging from ruffles to hair bows. To integrate a little bit of this romantic charm into this look, opt to include a fabric hair bow to wear on your hair in your favorite style. 

5. oversized blazer + mini skirt + cotton blouse with ruffles + tights + Mary Jane pump

dark academia outfits

blazer | skirt | blouse | tights | shoes

On that same romantic note – the main star of this look is the ruffle-detail blouse. With a beautiful high neck, this modest top is the perfect option to bring balance to a look without compromising its specific style. 

Make it the center of the look by styling it with an otherwise all-black ensemble. A classic short black skirt and black tights make for a foolproof DA vibe, while the oversized blazer can cover most of the other pieces for that layering aesthetic we’re going for. 

Finish it all off with timeless Mary Jane pumps for a truly elevated academia-inspired outfit. 

6. long-sleeve bodysuit + corduroy pants + crossbody bag + ankle booties 

dark academia outfits

bodysuit | pants | bag | booties 

If you haven’t already been exposed to Dark Academia, the mention of a “dark” or “mysterious” vibe may lead you to think that it’s all about black or other dark colors. 

While there’s no denying that black is a big part of this aesthetic, you would be surprised to see just how many browns and neutrals take the spotlight when it comes to this modern version of truly classic style. Often inspired by classic plaid colors like beautiful beiges, creams, and browns, these neutral color schemes are definitely easy to find when it comes to browsing DA looks.  

In order to take inspiration from this aspect of Dark Academia, we’ve chosen to go with a brown-centered option for this outfit.

Get started with a high-quality brown bodysuit. While regular tops can definitely work, a bodysuit is better at ensuring a fitted look, which is essential for this simple outfit to really work. 

Pair with corduroy pants, another extremely popular fabric and style within this style, arguably for its warmth, flattering fit, and stronger structure. 

To finish off, go with this beautiful luxurious handbag that ties it all together, along with some beautiful ankle booties that effortlessly add even more elegant charm to the look. 

7. straight jeans + button-up shirt + sweater vest + loafers + necklace set 

dark academia outfits

jeans | shirt | sweater vest | loafers | necklaces 

This basic look brings us back to the basics, showing off two different layering components that we haven’t seen yet. We’ve seen just how big knit sweaters are in the world of Dark Academia, and that goes for all of its different versions as well. 

First things first! The straight jeans make a great foundation, balancing some light color with the predominant darks that are going to be incorporated. Then, go for a white button-up shirt, and make sure it’s the right size for it to be tucked into your pants and for the collar to sit outside of your next layer. This oversized option makes it ideal for both, ensuring that you’ll be comfortable as you continue to create your look. 

On top of your shirt, this sweater vest makes it all happen. Fold the cuffs of your shirt and adjust the collar for the right fit, and finish it off with some classic black loafers that bring in yet another DA element. 

For a little romantic trinket, this mother-of-pearl necklace set is the perfect choice for a little whimsical touch. 

8. linen shirt + draped pants + leather belt + croc-effect flap bag + ballet flat

dark academia outfits

shirt | pants | belt | bag | shoes

For those of us who still love a little bit of color, this blue linen shirt is a great Dark Academia outfit element. We recommend that this shirt be tucked in and unbuttoned to expose the décolletage. 

Build the look with these famous draped pants that have earned their fame amongst fashion enthusiasts country-wide with their beautiful fit and elegant draped effect.

Finish off with some gorgeous brown accessories to bring together the color palette and create an entirely cohesive look. This brown messenger-style bag gives off the perfect DA feel, along with these stunning ballet flats with a delicate strap across.

A beautiful leather belt helps us to maintain the integrity of the outfit and the position of your shirt, while also, of course, adding yet another hint of charm to your final outfit. 

9. flare pants + turtleneck sweater + relaxed jacket + clogs + Apolline necklace

dark academia outfits

pants | sweater | jacket | shoes | necklace

For something extremely easy and effortlessly chic, the Dark Academia aesthetic would never leave you hanging. Create this next look with some basic flare pants; this style will hug your figure in all of the right places while keeping you super comfy. 

Can you tell we can’t get enough of these turtleneck sweaters? Add this cream design to your look for an instantly more elegant feel. For shoes, go for these stunning and comfortable clogs – they take on a lot of the same features as a classic “Dark Academia shoe” while still keeping their own slightly more modern flair. 

Just as you would any regular tweed blazers, throw on this oversized faux leather jacket to bring together your look while still letting your other pieces shine underneath. As a finishing touch, accessorize with a silver necklace that sits on top of your turtleneck. 

10. tapered-leg pants + leather belt + long-sleeve tee + bootie + shopper

dark academia outfits

pants | belt | tee | bootie | bag 

Take on the scholarly charm of Dark Academia once again with another pair of gorgeous pleated pants. As they taper slightly at the bottom, these pants pair perfectly with these classic black booties for that unmistakable intellectual feel. 

Add in a basic crew neck tee for a simple base, and bring those two main clothing elements together with a sleek, simple black leather belt. A large handbag is the perfect accessory – where else would we carry our leather-bound books?! 

11. cotton shirt + cashmere crewneck + bucket tote + straight jeans + loafers + claw clip

dark academia outfits

shirt | sweater | tote | jeans | shoes | hair clip 

From taking a daytime stroll through your favorite places to hanging around libraries and bookshops, this outfit will have you imagining far more than a couple of DA scenarios. 

Fun, stylish, but still laid-back, this outfit brings in the main elements of this aesthetic in a slightly more modern way. 

Begin with a pair of mid-rise straight jeans for a neutral (but very flattering) base. Continue by throwing on this blue button-up and making sure to have it tucked into your jeans.

Next, throw on this oversized sweater and bring out the collar of your shirt for the true Dark Academia nod. Top it off with a beautiful brown handbag and brown chunky loafers for balance and a gorgeous color palette. 

To keep your hair out of your face, this claw clip is the perfect DA practical accessory to keep nearby. 

12. mini skirt + v-neck sweater + oversized blazer + mary jane slingbacks + necklace set

dark academia outfits

skirt | sweater | blazer | shoes | necklaces 

In both fabrics, style, and design, this outfit is a true testament to the principles of Dark Academia. 

Start things off with this quintessentially classic mini skirt, pairing it expertly with a simple cashmere sweater for a refined combination. 

Add in a dash of edge with heeled Mary Jane inspired slingbacks, and guarantee the DA stamp of approval by topping it all off with this oversized blazer. 

Missing an accessory? These necklaces tie right in with your shoes, checking off all of the items on your checklist. 

13. button-knit cardigan + button-up shirt + knitted mini skirt + knit socks + monk strap shoe + headband 

dark academia outfits

cardigan | shirt | skirt | socks | shoes | headband

Where preppy outfits meet Dark Academia. If you are already into some of the elements of this outfit, this might be the perfect way to get acquainted with this similar style on your own terms.

Pair this button-knit cardigan and this knitted miniskirt to make a perfect, cohesive set. Rather than leaving it at that, go ahead and throw on a button-up shirt underneath for that DA collar pop we’re sure you’re familiar with by now.

With your loafer-style shoes, throw on a pair of short cream socks that add another layer to your look and take you right into the world of Dark Academia. For final touches, add on this white headband and get ready to turn heads.

14. wool midi skirt + openwork detail blouse + leather belt + knee-high boots

dark academia outfits

skirt | blouse | belt | boots 

Remember when we mentioned the aesthetic’s fixation with vintage-inspired pieces? Well, it’s time to make it the star.

This jaw-droppingly detailed blouse takes the spotlight in a heartbeat with its beyond intricate design. To keep the focus where it should be, add on this wool midi skirt whose gorgeous material instantly elevates your entire look.

For some fitting accessories, include this brown belt to bring both the top and the skirt together in a beautiful detail. Opt for knee-high brown boots to polish off the look just the way we like it. 

15. overshirt + turtleneck + plaid miniskirt + belt + Mary Jane + ankle socks

dark academia outfits

over shirt | turtleneck | skirt | belt | shoes | ankle socks

If it’s textbook Dark Academia you want, then that’s exactly what we’ll give you! This look is all of our favorite elements of the style put together into one, for the most classic DA outfit of the day. 

Get started with the puff-sleeve turtleneck – this top features both our beloved high necks and a romantic/vintage feel with its subtle puffed details on the shoulders. Pair it with this high-waisted plaid miniskirt, perfect for integrating both of your foundation pieces and getting you on track.

Next, add on the belt to cinch in your waist and give off that intellectual feel we want, along with some stunning classic Mary Jane shoes and cream ankle socks for that added charm (bonus points for a pocket watch accessory!). 

To really make everything cohesive and work together, throw on this leather effect overshirt. Even though it’s a men’s piece, its lightweight feel and classic dark brown color will bring together all of the great elements of this look flawlessly. 

16. drape pants + belt + long sleeve top + platform loafer

dark academia outfits

pants | belt | top | loafer

From textbook to remix! While we love the classic look of Dark Academia outfits, we also love taking elements we love and turning them into our own – “light academia”, anyone?

Pair a fitted burgundy top with these gray drape pants. With this top, we’re able to bring in some color while still keeping things generally muted for a more elegant overall result. Since we want to emphasize the contrast between the fitted top and the slightly loser bottoms, this ruched option is a great choice.

To bring in those two elements, use a classic wide leather belt for both variety and an instantly more put-together outfit. To finish things off in true intellectual style, opt for these platform-heeled loafers that reiterate the aesthetic we’re after.

Finding Your Perfect Dark Academia Outfit

As you can see, Dark Academia is a style characterized by a specific style of clothing, as well as an appreciation for literature, history, and a general love for academia.

Especially for the fall season and winter months, Dark Academia provides its loyal followers with endless aesthetic outfits – after all, it’s a style that is meant to look effortless while keeping things refined!

And just like any other fashion style or aesthetic, Dark Academia is composed of a rich variety of styles and continues to evolve today. This versatile style is a good option for anybody looking to try something new, even if you plan on starting small.

Starting with things as simple as leather jackets and button-down shirts can be a subtle way to bring in different ways to view your style choices.

Whether you want to give these looks a shy shot, integrate a few Dark Academia pieces for your own personal style, or go all in, there’s nothing you can’t do! It’s time to experiment and see what fits and feels just right. Remember, when it comes to fashion, our main goal is always to feel good. 

Want to get to know some other style aesthetics? Up Next: What Are The Different Fashion Aesthetic Types You Should Know?


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making mychicobsession.com a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.