Six Reasons to Explore the Dark Academia Aesthetic

With social media apps such as Tik Tok and Instagram, there has been a surge of popularity of creating content that tailors to different aesthetics.  Some people have decided to decorate their rooms to fit the aesthetic while others spice up their wardrobe and personally look the part.  The most popular aesthetics include cottage core, dark academia, adventure core, golden hour, and more.  These different aesthetics each call to different people.  Those who like the same aesthetic often relate to one another extremely well and online communities of those who love a specific aesthetic have popped up over the years.  One of the most well-known aesthetics is dark academia- filled with warmer and darker tone colors, stormy nights, reading the classics, and exploring museums and art galleries, dark academia is something that should be on your radar, and here's why.

  1. 1. Dark Academia Clothing 

    People most often wear dark academia-style clothing during the fall and winter.  Some articles of clothing that are most commonly associated with the aesthetic include turtle necks, button-up, and collared shirts, oversized sweaters, dress pants, different darker color skirts, and blazers of different patterns.  Accessories are also important in this aesthetic- some choose to wear simple gold or silver jewelry while others wear over-the-shoulder leather bags.  Other things like wristwatches and glasses (real or fake) can also be worn to go along with looking the part of a dark academic.  The possibilities are endless when it comes to what you want to wear.

  2. 2. An Appreciation for the Classics, Poetry, and Philosophy

    books on bookstore shelf

    There is nothing a dark academic loves more than studying philosophy, reading the classics, reading poetry, and deep-diving into obscure topics.  Furthermore, dark academics love to read up on mythology and learn new languages.  The purpose of dark academia is to inspire you to learn something new; learning is one of the most powerful tools.  Picking up new hobbies such as painting, drawing, doing quizzes, etc are also included under this.  Dark academia is not just an aesthetic, it is a lifestyle that inspires you to always question what you know and explore what you don't.  

  3. 3. The Architecture

    Dark academia also includes architecture.  Buildings that stylistically incorporate Classic Greek or Gothic architecture fall under this category.  For example, the University of Edinburgh, Oxford University, and the University of Chicago all check the list of being dark academia-style campuses.  Furthermore, buildings such as old libraries and cathedrals also give off the moody dark academic tone.  

  4. 4. Glorification of Studying

    Studying is one of the key components of dark academia.  Whether you are studying in your dorm, at home, at a coffee shop, or in a library, dark academia stresses the idea that studying is not supposed to be something you dread; it is something that reaps great benefits and is a noble pursuit.  Studying does not just include the act itself- studying is a completely immersive experience.  It involves drinking a hot drink, lighting candles, and playing classical music as well.  Studying is not just something done just for schoolwork but it is also something that should be done in areas that personally interest you.  Learning outside of school is also something that is stressed by dark academia.   

  5. 5. Candles

    When one looks up dark academia on Pinterest or on other social media platforms such as Instagram or Tik Tok, candles are used almost constantly.  Whether to set the mood of a room or using a multitude of candles to light up a room, the soft glow of candles helps to create the moody atmosphere that dark academia centers around.  Candles can also be used to set the mood on rainy nights while one reads under cozy blankets.  The placement of candles, either by themselves or on candlestick holders, around a room creates the serious environment that dark academics love to be in while they read or work.  

  6. 6. Room Inspiration

    close up of desk with laptop, books, papers and coffee mug

    Dark academia features warm colors and lots of organized clutter.  It is an aesthetic that rooms that house it tends to be more on the maximalist side.  Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, globes, maps, candles, dark wood furniture, paintings with gold frames, and more encapsulate the moodiness and the focus of learning of the aesthetic.  

Movies such as The Dead Poet’s Society and books such as The Secret History are perfect representations of dark academia.  Overall, this aesthetic is a personal favorite of mine and I hope to incorporate some of the key motifs of the aesthetic into my daily life as well as in my bedroom.