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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

Fashion is an iconic concept constructed by society’s necessity to explore popular trends, especially in dress or ornamentation. It is just one of the essential features of an “aesthetic” or a “core” – both terms used to describe a style or look that follows specific themes. For example, one of the top trending aesthetics is Barbiecore, dazzling the world with pink and glitter. However, one of my personal favorite aesthetics is academia (both light and dark). Provided is a guide on how to master the look of a dark/light academia person.

Color Palette

In my opinion, one of the two most important things about academia fashion is the color palette. Light academia tends to have light browns, beiges, whites, and pastel colors. Dark academia, on the other hand, includes colors such as blacks, dark browns, and grays. You can even adjust your colors to the seasons. In summer, wear light academia colors with a hint of yellow; in the spring, you could try a pastel pink. For dark academia, try dark blues in the winter and reds in the fall. 


There are a few different materials or fabrics associated with academia fashion. Thinner, more breathable fabrics such as silk or linen can work well for base layers. Wool, corduroy, or tweed are great options for pants or outerwear. For patterns, one of the most popular options is plaid since it is highly associated with academics. However, knitted fabrics, as seen in the gray vest below, can be great contenders for an academia pattern.

Tops and Bottoms

Button-ups, blouses, turtlenecks, and sweaters make great choices for tops. Try to avoid t-shirts and hoodies; they are casual and comfortable, but they don’t tend to match the academia aesthetic. For bottoms, you can wear skirts or pants. Slacks, tweed pants, or plaid skirts will work exceptionally. Like tops, there are bottoms to avoid, which include sweats and jeans.

Shoes and Accessories

There are plenty of great, scholarly shoes that will match your top and bottom. Loafers, ankle boots, oxfords, Mary Janes, or even a simple heel can give your outfit the academia aesthetic edge. These footwear should be leather that continues to provide a sleek and clean appearance. Let’s not forget about socks, which can be slightly higher than the ankle to knee-high. Though jewelry is minimal in academia fashion, feel free to throw on a long coat, scarf, watch, and belt.


Combining all of the elements above is not enough to make you a true academia fashion icon. The other most important thing, aside from color, is the vibe. A true academia-styled person wears his or her clothes with simplicity, sophistication, elegance, and intelligence. You’ll see in many of the examples below how these models wear the fashion and ace the vibe check!

Nayelis Rivera is a new participating member of Her Campus at the Tampa chapter. She writes articles that explore a variety of topics from pop music to college lifestyle to fashion choices. Rivera is a second-year junior at the University of Tampa, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in art therapy. She is also a member of the Honors Program at the University of Tampa, which grants her a broader range of knowledge and experiences. Nayelis takes pleasure in listening to music, spending time with family and friends, creating art, and writing poetry or short stories. Alongside being home with family and attending classes, Nayelis tends to keep herself busy at her job with Waffle House. https://nriveraportfolio.wordpress.com/