Summer dark academia outfits

Stylish Summer Dark Academia Outfits To Try This Season

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Good news: it turns out that transitioning your favorite dark academia aesthetic into the summer months doesn’t mean putting away your favorite look until fall comes around again. While often associated with the colder months of the year, dark academia is an aesthetic many love, with foundations in academic pursuits, classic literature, and sprinkles of gothic and romantic charm.

We know this aesthetic thrives with the use of thicker materials, darker colors, and various layers, but that’s not the only way! Summer offers a fun and unique opportunity to explore a lighter, breezier side of dark academia, ensuring your outfits remain comfortable, practical, and, of course, super stylish. Ready to dive in? Let’s take a look at what it takes to think up some of the best dark academia summer outfits for the season! 

How To Adapt Dark Academia Outfits for Summer

Summer’s social calendar looks a little different from the other months of the year. One day you might find yourself at a backyard BBQ where the dress code is “surviving the heat,” and the next, you’re attending an elegant event that requires a more sophisticated look.

Whether you’re dressing for a relaxed meetup or a more formal event, dark academia’s versatile essence can easily shine through. It’s about striking the right balance – choosing outfits that fit the occasion while maintaining this aesthetic’s distinctive look.

How? Swap out heavy fabrics for their breezier alternatives, keeping the essence you want without overheating! Linen and thin cotton, for example, can become your best friends. 

Of course, your location also plays a significant role in your dark academia summer adaptation. In a big city, sharp lines and structured pieces can still work well, especially when you opt for breathable fabrics. A light linen blazer is a great example of a piece that brings the aesthetic while also working functionally in hot weather. 

For outdoor events that lean towards the country or the coast, embrace more relaxed fits. Soft and flowy dresses, trousers, or skirts that can catch the breeze are perfect choices! These pieces make it possible to maintain the dark academia fashion look through the use of color, silhouettes, and styling tweaks, while also keeping things practical. 

Let’s get into some summer dark academia outfit ideas, shall we?

1. mini skirt + oversized linen shirt + lug sole loafers + crossbody bag + belt + pendant necklace

summer dark academia outfit

skirt | shirt | loafer | bag | belt | necklace

A must-have in every dark academia wardrobe, this outfit might just be one of the most traditional looks of this aesthetic. A mini pleated skirt and Oxford shirt combo make for a fool-proof combination for lovers of dark academia.

When tailored toward summer weather, this outfit begins with an oversized linen shirt, keeping your look polished while allowing you to feel comfortable under the sun. 

On the bottom, this knitted wrap mini-skirt provides that familiar texture often associated with the style. While this fabric is slightly thicker than the ideal summer materials, its short length and pleated details make it a great choice for this look.

Accessories are always a great way to bring an outfit together, adding elements that give it more personality and flair. Add a black leather belt for structure and a touch of gold that pairs beautifully with the pendant necklace in the look.

This structured crossbody bag also works beautifully with the ensemble, adding a touch more of the “academia” flair and bringing the other elements together at the same time. 

For shoes, this pair of lug sole loafers adds some weight to the look, and once again contributes to the beloved dark academia aesthetic as one of this style’s classic pieces.

2. boxy linen shirt + wide-leg pants + Mary Jane flats + belt + handbag

summer dark academia outfit

shirt | pants | flats | belt | bag

Even if you have to leave some aspects of the dark academia aesthetic behind for summer, the dark colors that often define this style are not one of them. This black look works to keep you cool and confident, making for an elegant, effortless look that still pays ode to the style you love.

While there are definitely great looks that make use of light colors within this style, deeper tones can work just as well when styled intentionally for the warmer months of the year.

Start with this boxy linen shirt, perfect for pairing with a variety of bottoms throughout the summer season. Made out of linen, this piece features the silhouette of classic button-up shirts, as well as short sleeves and breathable comfort all day long. 

On the bottom, these wide-leg pants match the essence of the shirt. Also made from linen and featuring a breezy structure, these airy trousers make this combination look like a chic set that can take you from your errands to a sophisticated brunch. 

While mixing black and brown in the same outfit has been a controversial move in the past, this color palette can result in an incredibly chic and well-styled look with the right pieces. This small crossbody bag adds the dark academia essence you’re after. Featuring a beautiful flap and a shorter handle, this accessory is perfect for keeping your valuables safe and your look elevated. 

Match the tone of your bag with this beautiful buckle belt, perfect for breaking up your look and adding another subtle elegant layer to this ensemble. Keep things classic and feminine by opting for a classic pair of black Mary Jane flats. 

Related: The 10 Right Tops to Wear With Linen Pants for an Effortlessly Chic Look

3. barrel pants + muscle tee + Mary Jane flats + hoop earrings + hair clip + crossbody bag

summer dark academia outfit

pants | tee | flats | earrings | jaw clip | bag

Whether you are headed to spend the day at the museum or off to meetings during the week, this next look prioritizes both style and comfort for whatever your schedule has in store. 

Blending fashion-forward trends and classic styles, this outfit is perfect for those wanting to experiment with new pieces while also incorporating your favorite closet essentials into the same look. 

These barrel pants kick things off, featuring a high-rise fit, barrel leg, and waistband side buttons for easy adjustments. These intentional design choices make for a perfect fit when it comes to this piece, instantly elevating your entire look. Depending on your preferred fit, chosen size, and height, these trousers can also feature a more cropped length that is perfect for showing off your shoe of choice. 

On top, trade in your black turtleneck for this organic cotton muscle tee. Featuring super soft and breathable fabric, this t-shirt features double-layer cap sleeves and exaggerated shoulders for a special touch. 

We know just how much hair can impact a final look, and this jaw clip is here to make that happen. A “half-up half-down” hairstyle works perfectly within this aesthetic, playing into the academic aspect while also keeping things casual and relaxed. For earrings, these simple gold hoops add a delicate touch and frame the face.

Opt for a shoulder crossbody bag that is easily adaptable to your different needs throughout the week, and a pair of these mesh Mary Jane flats to keep things current, fun, and interesting wherever you go!

4. pleated linen shorts + linen vest + belt + square-toe ballet flats + shoulder bag

shorts | vest | belt | flats | bag

From long sleeves and sweater vests to linen sets – there’s definitely a way to do dark academia outfits in the summer, and if you still don’t believe me, this outfit proves it! 

Kick things off with this pair of pleated linen shorts. Featuring a good mid-length and pleated details, this piece keeps your outfit chic and breezy, instantly elevated by its luxurious, airy fabric. 

A matching vest lends this outfit that coveted intellectual flair, while once again keeping things cool and perfect for spending a comfortable day strolling outside. Here, brown accessories work perfectly alongside the main pieces of the look, working to enhance, balance, and elevate the off-white linen color all at the same time.

This belt works to break up the look, providing some more structure and visual interest to the midsection. With this same color palette in mind, opt for this delicate, timeless yet modern shoulder bag that features a more narrow design and super clean lines. Bring it all together with a pair of square-toe ballet flats for a trademark dark academia touch. 

Related: The Best Linen Clothing Brands To Try for Spring and Summer

5. tank + high-rise straight pants + v-neck cardigan + ballet flats + skinny headband

summer dark academia outfit

tank | pants | cardigan | flats | headband

Heavy layers might not be included in the summer closet lineup, but that doesn’t mean that light layers can’t make their way into your summer closet for the perfect dark academia look. 

Simple, elegant, and comfortable, this outfit works with closet staples and classic silhouettes to make for a clean and subtle look within this aesthetic. Incredibly versatile, this look can be worn for a variety of different occasions, and easily styled to be dressed up or down according to your mood.

This funnel-neck tank is the perfect choice for those who are looking to elevate their closet staples. After all, it’s clear that a small change in silhouette and design can completely transform a look! This high neckline and sleeveless detail make for an instantly chic look that also elongates your torso.

On the bottom, these high-rise crepe pants keep things airy and free with their clean design and light fabric. Wrinkle-resistant fabric makes this piece even more ideal for the everyday, whether you plan on sitting in your car during a road trip or commuting to the office in the morning – talk about a versatile closet staple!

For when the sun goes down or the day is particularly windy, this ivory cardigan is the perfect third piece for this look. Made from organic cotton, this piece features a slim fit and slightly cropped length, layering beautifully on top of your tank.

For this look, the accessories are once again essential for giving off the dark academia aesthetic you know and love. A pair of classic Mary Jane flats and a skinny headband take this look further into the territory of this style, making for the ideal final look.

6. tank top + wide-leg jeans + slide sandals + belt + shoulder bag + coin pendant necklace

summer dark academia outfit

tank | jeans | sandals | belt | bag | necklace

Perfect for a relaxing summer afternoon, this outfit uses closet staples to keep you cool and comfortable without missing out on style. These vintage wide-leg jeans subtly give this look the romantic and classic flair that dark academia clothing is known for, while a basic black tank keeps the look clean and sleek.

A timeless leather belt gives this look some more structure and complements the buckle shoulder bag, bringing this look together. For accessories, opt for this coin pendant necklace, tying in perfectly with the hardware on your other accessories and it offers a subtle nod to a classic jewelry piece of the dark academia aesthetic. 

Keep your feet comfortable and airy all day with these waterproof slide sandals that might just become your new go-to summer shoe. 

Want a free wardrobe shopping list so you can put together the perfect wardrobe for all seasons? I have one you can access by signing up here!

7. asymmetrical denim skirt + belt + scoop-neck tee + Mary Jane flast + claw clip + plaid crossbody bag

summer dark academia outfit

skirt | belt | tee | flats | claw clip | bag

For a casual day out with your family or friends, this look is one of many great options to have on hand. Ideal for warm weather, this outfit works in both trendier items and pieces that look straight out of your dark academia Pinterest board.

Start this look with this soft, lightweight knit tee, featuring a scoop neck detail and some subtle texture. Comfortable and easy to wear, this tee brings in a slightly deeper neutral shade often used in dark academia looks (no matter what season!). 

On the bottom, pair your t-shirt with this asymmetrical denim skirt. Having risen back in popularity over the last few years, these skirts infuse this look with a more contemporary and trendy flair. Featuring a front slit detail for comfort, this skirt also includes five different pockets, a back-slit hem, and a frayed hem for an extra touch of casual cool. 

Once again, there’s no skipping the accessories! Subtle touches can truly bring all of the elements together into the dark academia territory you want to be in. This plaid crossbody bag is ideal for this look, bringing in a pattern that is very much beloved by the aesthetic. While plaid is easy to work into outfits during the colder months of the year, this bag gives you the perfect way to integrate this pattern in a cooler, breezier way. 

This brown, skinny leather belt further works to bring structure and shape to this look, while also complementing the bag and bringing the look together at the same time. 

A claw clip makes for one of many great dark academia accessories, making you look like you belong in the middle of tall library stacks and a runway at the same time. Last but not least, opt for a pair of nude Mary Jane flats for the icing on the cake. 

8. flared skirt + ribbed tank top + loafers + crossbody bag + hair clip + earrings

summer dark academia outfit

skirt | tank | loafer | bag | clip | earrings

Lean into the romantic side of dark academia with this delicate outfit that works with some of my favorite neutral tones – even during the summer! 

This elastic panel flared skirt kicks things off, featuring an a-line silhouette and a flattering high waist fit. The wide elastic panel on the waist differentiates this skirt from other styles like it, giving it a more fashion-forward, modern flair that can be fun to experiment with in tons of different ways.

For a timeless, classic look, I recommend going for this simple brown tank top; its cropped and fitted design is perfect for pairing with this skirt for the perfect proportions. 

A pair of classic brown loafers complement the tank beautifully, while also adding a more traditional dark academia touch to the ensemble. When it comes to your bag, a structured crossbody bag with brown lining and an off-white color brings the look together, while also playing into the aesthetic at the same time. 

Finish things off by leaning even more into the romantic with a feminine bow in your hair, and delicate gold earrings that match the hardware of the bag. 

Effortlessly Styling Your Summer Dark Academia Outfits

It’s clear that the essence of dark academia doesn’t have to be compromised by the weather. With a little creativity, some linen, and an open mind, the aesthetic outfits are endless when it comes to creating a functional and stylish look within the dark academia vibe! 

As you continue to curate your ideal summer wardrobe, think of it as an extension of your year-round style. No matter what plans you have in store, your summer dark academia style is all about bringing together functionality, comfort, and – if you’d like – a touch of romance to the mix. 

Do you have any upcoming travels on your calendar? Figure out the perfect thing to wear to balance comfort and style: Comfy Airport Outfits to Elevate Your Summer Travel Wardrobe

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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.