• Character

dress code: dark academia

Updated: Jan 1

Calling all dedicated students with heads in a book, rounded glasses and fancy leather shoes - it's finally our time to shine!

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash.

It's the aesthetic that's driving TikTok insane; cosy, intellectual and stylish, dark academia has been around for centuries. The focus revolves around black coffee, the use of quills, indulging in classic literature, and a never-ending pursuit of knowledge - all things we can get behind.

So, how do we begin the transformation to looking slightly pretentious but nevertheless cultured and unbelievably clever? When it comes to styling, the focus is cosy vintage. A lot of pieces are usually picked up at second-hand shops or passed down by grandparents. Think thick material, dark or neutral colours and best of all, comfort! The rule of thumb really is you can't go wrong with tweed.

We've put together some of our favourite dark academia styling ideas below, paired with a fitting book to get your teeth into so you don't just look the part, but feel it too!

The Goldfinch

by Donna Tartt

'Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.' - Goodreads.


A Little Life

by Hanya Yanagihara

'When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity.' - Goodreads.


The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

by Muriel Spark

'At the staid Marcia Blaine School for Girls in Edinburgh, Scotland, teacher extraordinaire Miss Jean Brodie is unmistakably, and outspokenly, in her prime. She is passionate in the application of her unorthodox teaching methods and strives to bring out the best in each one of her students. Determined to instill in them independence, passion, and ambition, Miss Brodie advises them, "Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth, and Beauty come first. Follow me." And they do--but one of them will betray her.' - Goodreads.


Truly Devious

by Maureen Johnson

'Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. "A place," he said, "where learning is a game."

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym "Truly, Devious." It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester.

But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.' - Waterstones.


Frankenstein: The 1818 Text

by Mary Shelley

'For the first time, Penguin Classics will publish the original 1818 text, which preserves the hard-hitting and politically-charged aspects of Shelley’s original writing, as well as her unflinching wit and strong female voice. This edition also emphasizes Shelley’s relationship with her mother—trailblazing feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who pennedA Vindication of the Rights of Woman—and demonstrates her commitment to carrying forward her mother’s ideals, placing her in the context of a feminist legacy rather than the sole female in the company of male poets, including Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.' - Penguin Random House.


Party Girls Die in Pearls: An Oxford Girl Mystery

by Plum Sykes

'Pimm's, punting and ball gowns are de rigeur. Ursula Flowerbutton, a studious country girl, arrives for her first term anticipating nothing more sinister than days spent poring over history books – and, perhaps, an invitation to a ball. But when she discovers a ghastly crime, she is catapulted into a murder investigation.


Determined to unravel the case – and bag her first scoop for the famous student newspaper Cherwell – Ursula enlists the help of her fellow Fresher, the glamorous American Nancy Feingold. While navigating a whirl of black-tie parties and secret dining societies, the girls discover a surfeit of suspects. From broken-hearted boyfriends to snobby Sloanes, lovelorn librarians to dishy dons, none can be presumed innocent.' - Bloomsbury.



Dead Poets Society

by N.H. Kleinbaum,

'Todd Anderson and his friends at Welton Academy can hardly believe how different life is since their new English professor, the flamboyant John Keating, has challenged them to make their lives extraordinary. Inspired by Keating, the boys resurrect the Dead Poets Society - a secret club where, free from the constraints and expectations of school and parents, they let their passions run wild. As Keating turns the boys on to the great words of Byron, Shelley and Keats, they discover not only the beauty of language but the importance of making every moment count.' - Waterstones.

Let us know your favourite dark academia hobby below!