13 pieces you need to achieve the dark academia aesthetic

Academic but make it fashion.
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Academic but make it fashion. That’s the vibe we get from the dark academia trend. 

It’s like dressing up as one of the cast members of Dead Poets Society or Mona Lisa Smile but without the need to rummage through your parents’ wardrobes because the pieces are readily available. 

And there is an abundance of them now — especially since this trend, which was started and popularised via TikTok, continues to rise

More than an aesthetic, it has helped in the formation of communities. There’s a 30,000-member-strong sub-Reddit dedicated to it. Of course, there’s also the TikTok sub-culture, where videos posted about the aesthetic have garnered more than 890 million views.

READ MORE: 7 floral and embroidered cardigans we’re obsessed with

If you don’t want to dive deeply though, you can still definitely wear the trend.

Don’t know where to start? Here are the key pieces you need to have: turtlenecks, sweaters, or long-sleeved blouses for tops; trousers and skirts for bottoms; oversized cardigans, blazers, and tweed coats for outerwear; Mary Janes, Oxfords, and loafers for shoes.

Ready to start styling? Here are a few options from Arket, ASOS, & Other Stories and more that we’ve specially selected for you.

Buy now

Unisex Oversized Double-Breasted Dad Blazer in Heritage Check, £50, ASOS COLLUSION

Unisex Oversized Double-Breasted Dad Blazer in Heritage Check, £50, ASOS COLLUSION – buy now

This oversized blazer’s great – not just for the Dark Academia look, but also with just about any casual look you want to upgrade.

Flared High Waist Trousers, £85, & Other Stories

Flared High Waist Trousers, £85, & Other Stories – buy now

Pair it with a plain tee and you’re good to go.

Chunky Leather Oxfords, £120, & Other Stories

Chunky Leather Oxfords, £120, & Other Stories – buy now 

These shoes are a must-have for achieving the aesthetic.

READ MORE: 13 blazers to wear to look smart on Zoom

Monki Classic Beret

Classic Beret, £8, Monki – buy now

Wearing hats can be intimidating if you’re not used to it, but this classic beret is a good gateway to this realm of accessorising.

Arket Oversized Poplin Shirt

Oversized Poplin Shirt, £59, Arket, – buy now 

An oversized white shirt is a wardrobe whether you’re dressing for the aesthetic or not.


Knitted Waistcoat, £27.99, Zara – buy now

This beige piece is incredibly versatile and easy to pair and layer with just about anything for that preppy look.

UNIQLO Merino Wool Turtleneck Jumper

Merino Wool Turtleneck Jumper, £24.90, UNIQLO – buy now

As you may know by now, turtlenecks are a staple in the dark academia aesthetic. This one may seem basic, but it may be the only thing you’ll need to pull off so many different looks.

COS Oversized Trench Coat

Oversized Trench Coat, £150, COS – buy now

A coat for all occasions, this one’s a staple for sure.

Single Breasted Blazer in Camel, £60, Topshop via ASOS

Single Breasted Blazer in Camel, £60, Topshop at ASOS – buy now 

For lighter outerwear, opt for a blazer. This one’s a delicious camel colour too.

READ MORE: 2021 Trends: 6 ways to update black leggings in 2021

Arket High Waist Leather Belt

High Waist Leather Belt, £59, Arket – buy now

This would look great over blazers as well as dresses and oversized shirts.

Weekday Kimber Cropped Sweater

Kimber Cropped Sweater, £25, Weekday – buy now

Pair it with dark neutrals for the dark academia look or dungarees for something urban-inspired.

GH Bass Mid Brown Weejuns 90s Layton II Kiltie Leather

Mid Brown Weejuns 90s Layton II Kiltie Leather, £115, G.H. Bass via Urban Outfitters – buy now

Loafers are trending in 2021. Opt for a brown pair for the bookish look.

best dark academia fashion buys - Zara Check Mini Skirt

Check Mini Skirt, £29.99, Zara – buy now

A check mini skirt is a must-have to achieve the look. This Zara one reminds us of Chanel, but with an edgier vibe.

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