Aesthetics Wiki

Chaotic Academia is an aesthetic that involves haphazard routines, messy habits, unusual or banned literature, and studying with a passion. This subtype of Academia promotes the acceptance of messy or seemingly uncomposed traits some students may have.


Chaotic Academia can be defined as:

  • An academia movement that welcomes the disconnection between appearance and personality. The aim is to normalise and humanise the academic aesthetic and reclaim it from the elitism of days gone by.
  • This aesthetic intends to focus on the process of learning instead of stressing over looks and trying to perfect one's secondary aspects, like fashion.
  • Chaotic Academia acknowledges the pretentiousness of classic academia, subtly mocking it at times. Nevertheless, as an academic subculture, it participates in it as well. Chaotic academics know this, and embraces it.


Chaotic Academia originated with the text post from tumblr user chiafett-main saying, "Chaotic academia is 1.) Intense obsessions that last maybe two weeks but consume your soul 2.) Spacing out in class but loving to learn 3.) Swearing and slang while discussing deep academic topics".[1] This was posted on September 27, 2019, at the same time as the popularization of Dark Academia and the aesthetic variations being built off of this, such as with Light Academia.


The idea is to accept and stop judging the less visually pleasing or perfectly performed tasks and processes. Unlike some other genres, it doesn't inherently agree to follow the rules and implies some visual or behavioral variety from the all-accepted idea of the prim and proper academics. Be yourself, have fun, and enjoy studying. For some, the floor is the best place to study, people can lack time management, scrawl poetry on a napkin, and not in a notebook, use vandalism for help on an exam, and have anarchism quotes all over notes. And it's fine!



Chaotic academia books fall under 2 categories: banned literature, and books that weren't banned but are still chaotic (in a good way) in their own right. For instance, Ella Minnow Pea wasn't widely banned, but as the book goes along, the author stops using certain letters of the alphabet.

Banned literature, listed by book name in alphabetical order:

  • Anything written by Oscar Wilde
  • Anything written by Dan Brown
  • Anything written by Edgar Allan Poe
  • Anything written by Douglas Adams
  • Anything written by Sylvia Plath
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
  • Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Lord Horror by David Britton
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Rage by Stephen King
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Catcher in the Rye by Jerome Salinger
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Stowe
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre

Literature that wasn't banned, listed by book name in alphabetical order:

  • Anything written by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Anything written by Ian McEwan
  • Anything written by Donna Tartt (especially The Secret History)
  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
  • Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
  • Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz
  • S. by J. J. Abrams and Doug Dorst
  • The Familiar (Series by Mark Z. Danielewski)
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • The Tunnel by William H. Gass

Movies & TV

  • The Breakfast Club (1985)
  • Heathers (1988)
  • My So-Called Life (1994—1995)
  • Good Will Hunting (1997)
  • Dawson's Creek (1998—2003)
  • 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
  • Harry Potter (2001—2011)
  • Primer (2004)
  • The Da Vinci Code (2006)
  • Angels & Demons (2009)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
  • The Imitation Game (2014)
  • Inferno (2016)
  • The End of the F***ing World (2017—2019)
  • Forever (2018)
  • Freud (2020)




There are endless ways in how academic chaos performs in one's lifestyle. Some activities it's associated with are:

  • Performing rituals in class with books and other things
  • Spending days on the grounds of the school
  • Handing in homework at the last minute
  • School uniforms getting torn or being dirty
  • Food fights
  • Study parties at 1 am
  • Sneaking out of school or skipping class
  • Reciting useless facts
  • Drinking cold tea
  • Reading banned books
  • Leaving annotations in the margins of library books (bonus points if they're memes)
  • Always losing your pens
  • Covering your bedroom wall in sticky notes
  • Discussing conspiracies about Shakespeare with your friends
  • Collecting foreign books that are in a language you don't understand
  • Intense and quick obsessions that consume your soul (and ranting to your friends about them 24/7)
  • Spacing out in class
  • Drinking tea or coffee from shot glasses or drinking liquor from teacups
  • Swearing and slang while discussing deep academic topics
  • Emptying your pockets at the end of the day and coming to a total of four pens, a pocket notebook, two receipts, and a highlighter
  • Using a rubber band to tie your hair back
  • Taking a "quick break", then waking up in the middle of the night
  • Drinking energy drinks from vintage teacups
  • Stealing school property, although this is discouraged
  • Going out during a break in the rain deliberately to get wet
  • Putting your feet up on the desk while you think with your pen behind your ear
  • Sneaking into the library after hours to "borrow" restricted fiction
  • Standing on desks
  • Painting/writing/doodling on walls
  • Writing too many unorganized and uncoordinated annotations
  • Aggressively mouthing lyrics to blaring music while studying
  • Fidgeting around with supplies
  • Scattering papers across the desk or floor
  • Choosing to train home alone when friends were easily accessible
  • Sleeping late every night due to neverending thoughts


The style doesn't have to be strictly formal and proper. The uniform should be fun! You can mess with a shirt a little, altering it to one's liking, and cut and fix it in different places. Convenience and comfort are a priority. Anything school-related or quick and easy will do. Be yourself!

Some of these examples are:

  • Button downs open over logo tee shirts
  • Messy eyeliner
  • Heavy boots
  • Mismatched socks
  • The same hoodie or sweater every day
  • Patched or torn clothes
  • Too many cardigans and sweaters
  • School uniform but worn incorrectly; neckties around heads, ripped stockings
  • Large blazers
  • Sandals or crocs (when you’re too lazy to put on boots)
  • Jeans
  • Untied laces
  • Leg warmers
  • Oversized Earth tone Sweaters