Dark academia is a popular, academic aesthetic that revolves around classic literature, the pursuit of self-discovery, and a general passion for knowledge and learning. It is one of several variations, each with a unique historical focus. Dark academia's best-known visual variations stem primarily from European cultures.

People who use this aesthetic are usually referred to as dark academics.

Español: Dark Academia es una estética que gira en torno a la literatura clásica, la búsqueda del autodescubrimiento y una pasión general por el conocimiento y el aprendizaje. Es una de varias variaciones, cada una con su propio enfoque histórico único. Dark Academia proviene visualmente de las culturas europeas, al igual que con sus variaciones más conocidas.


  1. While this aesthetic is not inherently negative, it has come under scrutiny as of late due to its seeming encouragement of classist attitudes (menial work being 'inferior' to mental work) and unhealthy behavior (sacrificing sleep, relationships, mental health, and personal care for study). If you are interested in this aesthetic, please be sure to embrace the positive aspects and be cautious of the potentially harmful ones.
  2. While the aesthetic lends itself to Eurocentrism, let it be known that every culture is welcome, and you are encouraged to find ways to blend your heritage with this aesthetic. Do not feel as if you are not Dark Academic enough because of where you are from. (And feel free to share POC book recs in the comments or in the main list.)
  3. The Style Guide is first and foremost a guide, not a uniform. Its purpose is to inspire, not hold you back. You should not feel inadequate if you cannot wear everything featured on the list; those are mere suggestions and what you wear is up to you. If you prefer following the aesthetic to a 'T', good for you; if you prefer taking inspiration from it and wearing bits and pieces, that's great too.
  4. There is no place for any type of shaming or bullying within the community. Be it against race, religion, social status, sexuality, education, ability, body type, etc., any form of discrimination is not welcome. The academic community is here for anyone who holds an appreciation for learning.


  1. Si bien esta estética no es intrínsecamente negativa, últimamente ha sido objeto de escrutinio debido a su aparente aliento de las actitudes clasistas (el trabajo servil es 'inferior' al trabajo mental) y el comportamiento poco saludable (sacrificar el sueño, las relaciones, la salud mental y el cuidado personal para estudiar). Si está interesado en esta estética, asegúrese de aceptar los aspectos positivos y tenga cuidado con los potencialmente dañinos.
  2. Si bien la estética se presta al eurocentrismo, deje que se sepa que todas las culturas son bienvenidas y se le anima a encontrar formas de combinar su herencia con esta estética. No se sienta como si no fuera lo suficientemente académico oscuro debido a su lugar de origen. (Y siéntase libre de compartir las recomendaciones de libros de POC en los comentarios o en la lista principal).
  3. La Guía de estilo es ante todo una guía, no un uniforme. Su propósito es inspirarte, no detenerte. No debe sentirse inadecuado si no puede usar todo lo que aparece en la lista; esas son meras sugerencias y lo que te pongas depende de ti. Si prefieres seguir la estética a una 'T', bien por ti; si prefieres inspirarte en él y usar partes y piezas, eso también es genial.
  4. No hay lugar para ningún tipo de vergüenza o intimidación dentro de la comunidad. Ya sea en contra de la raza, la religión, el estatus social, la sexualidad, la educación, la capacidad, el tipo de cuerpo, etc., cualquier forma de discriminación no es bienvenida. La comunidad académica está aquí para cualquier persona que aprecie el aprendizaje.


Art Academia: Based on classical art movements.

Chaotic Academia: A mixture of Dark Academia and 'chaotic' or 'feral' aesthetics like Goblincore. Cramming for tests at midnight and riding caffeine highs for days until you crash. Committing arson with your friends and shoplifting stationery. Spraying 'fuck the electoral college' on brick walls. Falling asleep in the school library and saving all your Monster Energy cans.

Classic Academia: A mix of the Academia family of aesthetics. Impeccable notes in class. Leatherbound bags crammed with textbooks and pens. Lots of coffee with scones, and even more late nights. A wide vocabulary (that people constantly comment on). Lives in the library.

Darkest Academia: Similar to Dark Academia, but with darker, even sinister visuals and more serious themes.

Fairy Academia: Based on the visual aesthetics of Victorian and Edwardian childhood.

Light Academia: Similar to Dark Academia, but with a distinctly lighter color palette and overall aesthetic.

Pagano-Lovecore: A hybrid of Academia aesthetics and Lovecore, based in love in Greco-Roman mythology.

Pastel Academia: Less mature than the other forms of academia, pastel academia showcases much more colour and a childlike "Kawaii" aesthetic. It is less Eurocentric and more based around Japanese styles of study and clothing.

Romantic Academia: More closely related to Light Academia with a focus on romance and elements of Baroque.

Theatre Academia: Based on plays, operas, and other musically inclined types of art

Witchy Academia: Similar to Dark Academia, but with themes of Witchcraft.

Writer Academia: Also known as Writercore or Poetcore, a branch of Academia specifically for writers. Writer Academia holds the belief that anyone could be a writer, or poet, as long as you enjoy writing and hold a passion for your work.


  • Antique books
  • Art museums, with people interacting and viewing the art
  • Blood, poison, and other murder imagery
  • British estates, especially oak-paneled rooms
  • British moors
  • Boarding school-related imagery such as uniforms and sneaking out
  • Campuses of prestigious universities such as Oxford and Harvard
  • Chateaus and palaces
  • Coffee and tea
  • Daggers
  • Desks that showcase the OP's stationary collection
  • Fountain pens
  • Gothic and Beaux-Arts architecture
  • Homoeroticism
  • Newspapers at cafes
  • Paintings in the Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, Academic, Aesthetic, and Pre-Raphaelite periods
  • Sculpture in the Classical, Hellenistic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Neoclassical periods
  • Smoking
  • Streets of antique European cities such as Paris and Florence




Please do not include works by the authors below. By author surname:

  • The Women in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe
  • The Lessons by Naomi Alderman
  • The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis
  • Bunny by Mona Awad
  • Possession by A.S. Byatt
  • The Shakespeare Secret by Jennifer Lee Carrell
  • The Glass Essay by Anne Carson
  • Belle du Seigneur by Albert Cohen
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Bacchae and Medea by Euripides
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Maurice by E. M. Forster
  • The Magus by John Fowles
  • The Likeness by Tana French
  • Mythos, Heroes and Troy by Stephen Fry
  • The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
  • The Lie Tree by Frances Harding
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  • The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
  • Dead Poets Society by N.H. Kleinbaum
  • A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  • Nada by Carmen Laforet
  • Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • Oleanna by David Mamet
  • The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller
  • Songs of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton
  • I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
  • The Satyricon by Petronius
  • In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust
  • If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio
  • Memoirs of a Woman Doctor by Nawal El Saadawi
  • Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  • Frankenstein, or: A Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
  • Antigone by Sophocles
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
  • Perfume by Patrick Süskind
  • The Glitter and the Gold by Consuelo Vanderbilt
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  • The Truants by Kate Weinberg
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar

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By author surname:

  • Dante Alighieri
  • Maya Angelou
  • Aristotle
  • Jane Austen
  • James Baldwin
  • Beat Generation (post-war literary movement)
  • The Brontë sisters
  • Albert Camus
  • Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Federico García Lorca
  • Nicolai Gogol
  • Donna Tartt
  • Homer
  • Franz Kafka
  • John Keats
  • Count Lautréamont
  • H.P. Lovecraft
  • Milton
  • Vladimir Nabokov
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Plato
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Alexander Pushkin
  • Arthur Rimbaud
  • Sappho
  • Friedrich Schiller
  • V.E. Schwab
  • William Shakespeare
  • Sophocles
  • Noel Streatfield
  • Leo Tolstoy
  • Virgil
  • Walt Whitman
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Virginia Woolf

Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan, Left) and Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe, Right), both have their hands held out as if to 'high-five'. Allen's palm is visible to the audience reveling a gash down the center, Lucien is holding the knife they used with his other hand. The characters are performing a 'Blood Oath' while at a party.

Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan, Left) and Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe, Right) are performing a blood oath while at a party.


Please do not include adaptations of literary works/plays. By year released:

  • The Invisible Man (1933)
  • Rope (1948)
  • Dial M for Murder (1954)
  • Compulsion (1959)
  • If... (1968)
  • Suspiria (1977 or 2018)
  • Another Country (1984)
  • Maurice (1987)
  • The Unnameable (1988)
  • The Chocolate War (1988)
  • True Believer (1989)
  • Dead Poets Society (1989)
  • Metropolitan (1990)
  • Scent of a Woman (1992)
  • School Ties (1992)
  • Peter's Friends (1992)
  • Shallow Grave (1994)
  • Heavenly Creatures (1994)
  • Total Eclipse (1995)
  • Good Will Hunting (1997)
  • Wilde (1997)
  • The Ninth Gate (1999)
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
  • Wonder Boys (2000)
  • The Emperor's Club (2002)
  • The Pianist (2002)
  • The Dreamers (2003)
  • Bright Young Things (2003)
  • Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
  • The Village (2004)
  • Capote (2005)
  • Like Minds (2006)
  • The Prestige (2006)
  • The Great Debaters (2007)
  • Brideshead Revisited (2008)
  • Detachment (2011)
  • Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
  • Kill Your Darlings (2013)
  • The Imitation Game (2014)
  • Testament of Youth (2014)
  • The Riot Club (2014)
  • The Theory of Everything (2014)
  • Victor Frankenstein (2015)
  • The Danish girl (2015)
  • Lady Macbeth (2016)
  • The Bookstore (2017)
  • Phantom Thread (2017)
  • Disobedience (2017)
  • Colette (2018)
  • Mary Shelley (2018)
  • Vita & Virginia (2018)
  • The Nightingale (2018)
  • Tolkien (2019)
  • Elisa y Marcela (2019)
  • Knives Out (2019)
  • Las Niñas (2020)


  • Dark Dice
  • The Magnus Archives
  • The Penumbra Podcast
  • Prose Talk
  • Unwell A Midwestern Gothic Mystery
  • The White Vault

TV Shows

  • The Alienist
  • Ares
  • Deadly Class
  • Endeavour
  • Freud
  • Gentleman Jack
  • Hannibal
  • His Dark Materials
  • House of Anubis
  • How To Get Away With Murder
  • Mindhunter
  • Murdoch mysteries
  • The Magicians
  • The Night Gallery
  • Ordeal By Innocence
  • Penny Dreadful
  • Pennyworth
  • Poldark
  • Prodigal Son
  • The Queen's Gambit
  • Sherlock
  • Taboo
  • The Umbrella Academy

Anime & Manga

  • 91 Days
  • Ancient Magus Bride
  • Baccano
  • Black Butler (especially the Public School Arc)
  • Black Museum: The Ghost and the Lady
  • Bungou Stray Dogs
  • The Cat Returns
  • Code Geass
  • Colorful
  • Doukyuusei
  • From Up on Poppy Hill
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo
  • The Garden of Words
  • Gosick
  • Hyouka
  • Joker Game
  • Little Witch Academy
  • Monster
  • Moriarty the Patriot
  • The Promised Neverland
  • The Royal Tutor
  • Saga of Tanya the Evil
  • Snow White with the Red Hair
  • Steamboy
  • Vampire Knight
  • Violet Evergarden
  • Whisper of the Heart!
  • Tales from Earthdsea
  • The Wind Rises
  • Your Name


  • Another Country
  • The Inheritance
  • Spring Awakening
  • Total Eclipse


  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Dogfight
  • Frankenstein: A New Musical
  • Hadestown
  • Jekyll & Hyde
  • Light in the Plazza
  • Natasha Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Spring Awakening
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Twisted


  • Sofonisba Anguissola
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat
  • Caravaggio
  • Camille Claudel
  • Roberto Ferri
  • Artemisia Gentileschi
  • Vincent Willem Van Gogh
  • Trevor Henderson
  • Jenny Holzer
  • Alfred Kubin
  • Michelangelo
  • Maldha Mohamed
  • Claude Monet
  • Raphaël
  • Rembrandt
  • Leonardo Da Vinci





  • Breezeblocks, Fitzpleasure by Alt-J
  • Symphony No.9 "From the new world" by Antonín Dvořák
  • Do I Wanna Know? by Arctic Monkeys
  • Icarus by Bastille
  • Goodnight Socialite by The Brobecks
  • Dionysus by The Buttertones
  • For the Damaged Coda by Blonde Redhead
  • Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens
  • Apocalypse by Cigarettes After Sex
  • Claire de Lune, La Mer by Claude Debussy
  • Yellow by Coldplay
  • Dreams by The Cranberries
  • Blind You by Didirri
  • Piano Concerto Op.54 by Edvard Grieg
  • Symphony No.8 "Unfinished" by Felix Mendelssohn
  • Violin Concerto No.2 by Felix Mendelssohn
  • Dog Days Are Over, Seven Devils, Shake It Out by Florence and the Machine
  • The French Library by Franz Gordon
  • Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 by Franz Liszt
  • Piano Trio No.2 by Franz Schubert
  • Etude No.11 by Frédéric Chopin
  • Achilles Come Down by Gang of Youths
  • We Fell in Love in October by Girl in Red
  • Cherry Wine, Dinner and Diatribes, Take Me To Church, Wasteland, Baby! by Hozier
  • Hungarian Dance No.1 by Johannes Brahms
  • Babooshka, Cloudbusting by Kate Bush
  • Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me To Have - but I Have It, Pretty When You Cry, Video Games, Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey
  • Flash by Lewis OfMan
  • I Want to Feel Alive by Lighthouse and the Whaler
  • The Louvre, Sober (II), Writer in the Dark by Lorde
  • Piano Concerto No.3, Piano Sonata No.8 "Pathétique" by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Body, Burning Pile, Oh Ana by Mother Mother
  • A Little Death, Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood
  • Ann Wants to Dance by Papooz
  • Lotta True Crime by Penelope Scott
  • Pruit Igoe by Phillip Glass
  • Feed the Machine by Poor Mans Poison
  • Dr Mabuse by Propaganda
  • Danse Russe (Moderato / Swan Lake Act 3) Violin Concerto by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Piano Sonata No.2 by Robert Schumann
  • Piano Concerto No.2, Sonata for 2 Violins Op.56 by Sergei Prokofiev
  • Piano concerto No.2, Prelude No.5 by Sergei Rachmaninoff
  • Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega
  • Breakout by Swing Out Sister
  • Persephone by Tamino
  • Theme for Bioshock 1
  • Reflections by Toshifumi Hinata
  • Your Woman by White Town
  • Fantasia in D Minor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Cape Town by The Young Veins
  • Nocturnal waltz - Johannes Bornlöf
  • O children - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds


  • An Unkindness of Ravens
  • Deadly Class
  • Fangs
  • Hooky
  • Morning Glories
  • Promethea
  • Purple Hyacinth
  • The Umbrella Academy
  • Unwritten
  • Your Throne

A violin rests on a bed of open faced books featuring sheets of music.



Black and white image of a regatta. The boat in frame holds eight rowers and one coxswain. The regatta is taking place in front of a tree filled landscape


  • Rowing
  • Fencing
  • Tennis
  • Badminton
  • Cricket
  • Rugby
  • Golf
  • Swimming
  • Polo
  • Equestrian sports
  • Running
  • Javelin, discus, wrestling while covered in oil (ancient Grecian Olympics)
  • Archery
  • Ballet, ballroom dancing, any traditional dance works
  • Pool (cue sports)

Black and white image of white men playing chess.


  • Chess
  • Croquet
  • Backgammon
  • Cards: rummy, poker, blackjack, speed, whist, etc.

Video Games


  • Realistic drawing
  • Calligraphy
  • Painting
  • Bookbinding



  • Museums
  • Art galleries
  • Places of historical interest
  • Pubs, bars, and cafés
  • Parks and gardens
  • Places of worship
  • Graveyards
  • Theaters
  • The opera
  • Concerts
  • Libraries
  • Art stores
  • Bookshops
  • Special events
  • Independent bookstores


  • Write essays
  • Research
  • Daydream
  • Read
  • Perform a play alone or to a pet
  • Play or practice an instrument
  • Fake your death
  • Draw or paint something
  • Reflect on the past
  • Journal
  • Admire cityscape/nature


The main inspiration for Dark Academic fashion comes from 1940s prep school uniforms. Elements of the 1950s suburban American preppy look are often incorporated, such as sweater vests or sweaters worn tied over the shoulders. The main colour scheme is black, grey, beige, brown, cream, ivory, dark green, burgundy, and soft yellow. Usual fabric choices are more upscale, like cashmere, wool, and tweed, but linen and cotton are also very common. Accessories are usually minimal, like bracelets, rings, pendants, watches, cuff-links, and other dapper add-on pieces.

(La principal inspiración para el estilo Dark Academic proviene de los uniformes escolares de preparación de los años 40. El esquema de color principal es negro, gris, beige, marrón, crema, marfil, verde oscuro, burdeos, un amarillo suave. Las opciones habituales de telas son más exclusivas, como la cachemira, la lana y el tweed, pero el lino y el algodón también son muy comunes. Los accesorios suelen ser mínimos, como pulseras, anillos, colgantes, relojes, gemelos y otros complementos elegantes.)

Stores & Brands


  • Turtlenecks
  • Oxford shirts 
  • Fisherman's sweaters 
  • Sweater vests 
  • Light blouses 
  • Large polo necks
  • Cable knit jumpers
  • Sailor-collar shirts
  • Jumpers
  • Shirt dresses
  • A-Line dresses
  • Blousons
  • Drop waist dress

Tumblr de1c5b8eaf6e37ea6464a5f2f58b721c 96fccb7c 640.jpg


  • Dress pants
  • Ankle pants
  • High rise pants
  • Trousers
  • Cigarette pants
  • Linen shorts
  • Tweed trousers
  • Plaid skirts
  • Mid-length or long skirts
  • Pinafore
  • Sailor skirts
  • Pleated skirts
  • Pencil skirts

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  • Cardigans
  • Blazers
  • Waistcoats
  • Pea coats
  • Suit jackets
  • Trenchcoats
  • Overcoats
  • Duffle coats
  • Chesterfield coat
  • Coat dresses
  • Smock
  • Dark coloured apron


  • Oxfords/brogues
  • Loafers
  • Wingtips
  • Boat shoes
  • Dr. Martens
  • Mary Janes
  • Chelsea Boots


  • Silver or gold jewelry
  • Broaches
  • Simple rings
  • Satchel
  • Wire-frame glasses
  • Short, neat fingernails
  • Belts that match your shoes
  • Knee-high socks
  • Watches
  • Sweaters tied over the shoulders
  • Undone or loosely tied ties
  • Dark-colored umbrellas
  • Kerchiefs/bandanas






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