What is dark academia? An Etsy seller explains the brooding subculture
By Malavika Pradeep
Jul 9, 2021
Time and again, here at Screen Shot, we’ve been covering various internet aesthetics and subcultures ranging from uwu girls and soft boys to gorpcore and lovecore. Before most of these subcultures mature, however, they are usually yeeted off and swiftly replaced by a new one. But what if there was a subculture out there proving its love for all things ancient while boasting an evergreen demand? Is it even possible for a digital subculture to bleed that deep into the roots of our physical lifestyles? In a bid to break down this overarching trend, we decided to check up on a particular subculture that peaked early 2021 and has remained stable ever since: dark academia.
What is dark academia?
Picked up by young TikTokers as a response to the physical shutdown of schools and colleges during the pandemic, dark academia is a subculture that romanticises classic literature with a passion for knowledge and learning. Stemmed from European culture, it targets nostalgia for the 19th and early 20th century private schools in England.
“A thirst for knowledge and a love for old things,” summed up Madeleine Rafell, owner of Harper & Rafell—an Etsy store specialising in vintage and dark academia-themed printed photo packs, custom washi tape and stickers for both journaling and home decor. “The visual aesthetic is heavily influenced by classical art and poetry, Greek mythology and old universities in the UK,” she continued. If Rafell had to choose a city to represent dark academia, it would be Edinburgh. In terms of the classic novels, it would be The Secret History by Donna Tartt and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller—although the former “has a lot of problematic themes and lacks diversity.” “I would also include The Mummy film series and the recent Little Women remake as good visual examples [of the subculture],” she added.
Although Rafell was previously aware of the visual side of dark academia thanks to Instagram and Pinterest, it wasn’t until she joined TikTok last year that she started noticing other aspects of the subculture. “There’s a strong overlap between the neurodivergent, queer and disabled communities (which I belong to) with dark academia,” she said, acknowledging how the overlap also extends to a childhood love for Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, Tolkien, and the Narnia series.
“I think this is partly due to these kids feeling very out-of-touch with their surroundings during their childhood, so they lose themselves in fictional worlds that they find comforting,” Rafell mentioned. The Etsy seller also explained how a lot of neurodivergents had Greek mythology or ancient Egypt as a special interest as well. “It’s interesting to contemplate as a lot of these books contain conservative themes or poor representation of people of colour and LGTBQ+ individuals.”
In terms of the reasons backing the enduring interests for these books, Rafell highlighted the common themes of “chosen family, fighting for justice, feeling outcast among your peers, betrayal, abuse and lack of support from adult characters.”
“So even though these books were written by straight, white, conservative and sometimes transphobic authors, the experience of their characters is something marginalised communities connect with,” she added. Thanks for that, J.K. Rowling…
When asked if the seller is a dark academist herself, Rafell mentioned how her first reaction was to say no. “I hardly ever read books anymore, despite being an avid reader well into my teenage years.” Rafell’s love for learning, however, has endured—along with the desire to collect things that make her happy. The seller quoted typewriters, old cameras and books that she had bought because she liked the covers in this regard. “I also traveled to both Scotland and Italy in 2017 and loved the architecture, history and general vibe there. I felt at home in both Edinburgh and Venice and they’ve influenced my design work over the years.”
A brooding gap in the market
Rafell started her Etsy store, Harper & Rafell, in May 2021 to cater exclusively to the subculture. “The idea started last summer, when my sister requested steampunk and dark academia-themed journaling supplies for Christmas,” the seller reminisced, adding how the brand name is an incorporation of her own surname ‘Rafell’ with her sister ‘Harper’.
Back then Rafell followed a lot of journaling accounts on social media and discovered how most enthusiasts bought their products from either Wish, Amazon or Kmart. But the Etsy seller was also quick to notice their inconsistency. “I found that there weren’t a lot of companies catering to this aesthetic,” Rafell said. According to her, scrapbooking and stationery supplies are typically boxed into categories including country florals and shabby chic for crafty mums and grandmothers, rose gold and blush for boss babes (think Kate Spade), Asian-influenced pastels and kawaii-themed stickers for the bullet journaling community, and the overdone, 5-year-old Paris/hot air balloon/carte postale/Victorian aesthetic that’s literally everywhere.
“I wanted a more refined and subtle vintage look for myself and I could also see that there was a gap in the market for dark academia-themed products. Hence I started working on the brand and opened my store.”
So, is there any research that goes behind products that cater exclusively to a subculture? In this case, how does Rafell decide whether a motif or a colour is dark academia-esque? “While studying design at uni, I realised one of my strengths was being able to pull together a collection of images and figure out which ones had the same vibe.” Although the seller doesn’t use a checklist while selecting designs or images, she highlighted certain aesthetic distinctions within dark academia. The list includes brown, beige and cream tones, a grainy-vintage feel, a focus on textures such as stone, marble, ivy, tweed, old paper and leather as well as models with an other-worldly look.
“A lot of this is achieved through editing,” Rafell explained. Although some of the photos the Etsy seller uses are her own, most are sourced from stock image sites—which require significant changes before she’s allowed to sell them. “I also spend a lot of time curating my photo ranges to ensure they have a consistent feel.”
Some of Rafell’s best selling pieces include the Ivy and Stone Athena collection photo cards which features old buildings, trailing vines, vaulted cathedrals and quiet staircases. The seller dubs the photo set “perfect for lovers of dark academia and dreamers of Hogwarts.” Harper & Rafell’s washi tape sets are yet another popular choice. “One I’m really proud of,” Rafell added.
BookTok and the evergreen demand
As of 19 January 2021, the day when we published our first investigative piece on the subculture, #darkacademia boasted 400 million views on TikTok. Seven months later, it is presently on the verge of hitting 1 billion views on the platform. The content—which was previously restricted to aesthetic fashion trials and outfit ideas—has now branched out into activities like journaling, letter writing, study tips, room decor and tea time recipes to name a few.
The rise of BookTok is yet another factor looped into the evergreen demand of the subculture. At 13.2 billion views, the TikTok trend is currently sending decades-old books up the bestseller lists. One such read is The Song of Achilles that Rafell mentioned earlier. Authored by Madeline Miller in 2012, the book has clocked up 50.6 million views on TikTok to date. The novel currently sits third on The New York Times bestseller list for paperback fiction—selling close to 10,000 copies per week in the US.
When asked about the demand for her products over the pandemic, Rafell credited part of the reason for the creation of Harper & Rafell to the rising art and sticker market on TikTok. According to the seller, the more time people spend at home, the more effort they put into decorating the space around them while picking up new hobbies like journaling. “Dark academia is also a comforting aesthetic to a lot of people. And as reality becomes more and more stressful, we need more things around us that are comforting and relaxing,” she added.
Although Harper & Rafell has been trading for only two months, some of the feedback the store gets ranges between packaging to branding. Rafell added how these comments are encouraging—given the fact that she wants every aspect of her brand to form part of the escapism dark academia fosters. Her favourite response to date is from a customer in her home state who ordered three photo packs and messaged back saying that she was going to put them all up on her wall. “I love knowing that my products are being used in a way that will bring joy and beauty into someone’s life,” the seller shared.
Now that we’ve broken down some of the reasons backing the subculture’s present demand, it is also essential to check up on the criticisms it has received and its alleged way forward. Back in January, one of the major criticisms pulling dark academia from the spotlight included it being a “wealthy subculture not everyone can afford.” In this regard, dark academia was scrutinised for promoting capitalism and classist attitudes.
“For me, the issue with dark academia at first glance isn’t that it is expensive, but is definitely exclusive,” Rafell explained when asked about her take on these claims. The seller highlighted how the subculture—although rooted in the classist and colonial culture of the British Empire—is also really popular with conservatives who praise CS Lewis and Tolkien for their personal religious views. “So, I think when someone looks at the aesthetic from the outside, they get the impression that it’s not for them—it’s for straight white boys who spend their summers on daddy’s yacht and people who can afford marble statues and fine art in big gold frames.” One of Rafell’s priorities, hence, is to ensure that her products are both affordable and appealing to a broader target audience.
The seller also credited the internet for levelling the playing field, making it much harder to gatekeep or keep anything exclusive offline. “This is one of the reasons why I love social media—it’s making it more affordable and accessible to own beautiful artwork by connecting directly with artists and small businesses,” Rafell added. “We’re starting to take back the means of production, and that gives me a lot of hope.”
Now onto the pressing question. Dark academia has undoubtedly survived the internet’s test of time till date. But what about its future? How long does Rafell herself think the subculture has before it’s yeeted off? Does dark academia have the potential to survive as one of those classic subcultures in this regard? “I definitely think so,” Rafell said, stressing how the aesthetic has been around before it was even labelled. “I feel like I was peak dark academia when I was 15 and obsessed with old paper, quill pens, and typewriter fonts. I’m now 28 and it’s only the last few years that I’ve come across the term ‘dark academia’ and realised I was part of it.”
The Etsy seller outlined how downfalls usually dawn on a subculture when it enters mainstream media and big corporations pick up on it. “It becomes so over-saturated that everyone loses interest,” she said. Rafell quoted the Marvel universe as an example here. According to her, Marvel seems to have a subculture now, “but only after the hype of the big shiny superhero films died down and made room for more niche (and inclusive) content like the Loki series.”
Given dark academia’s strong link to marginalised communities and the fact that it hasn’t been adopted by the straight, neurotypical majority, Rafell feels it might just stay as a subculture. “I’ve seen a few people within the community saying they don’t want it to become mainstream and it should be kept for ‘true fans’ of the aesthetic. But I think art is for everyone and if it does become more popular, that just makes it more accessible. And when the hype goes away, all the dark academics will still be there.”
The collective way forward
Five years down the lane, Rafell plans to branch out both in terms of the concept and variety of her product ranges. Inspired by Greek goddesses, Harper & Rafaell’s first range is named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and is “pure dark academia.” “I’d love to branch out with a range inspired by Artemis, which will be more cottagecore with lots of green tones, or a Hera set with peacock colours and gold foil washi tape,” Rafell added. The Etsy seller also shared her plans for future ranges inspired by niche fandoms like Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events or Anne of Green Gables.
“I’m also working on tech accessories like iPad cases and mouse pads that align with the dark academia aesthetic,” Rafell exclaimed. This idea stemmed from yet another gap in the market that she discovered while browsing for her personal use. “I’d also love to get planners and notebooks printed to add to the range,” she added.
So, if your journaling instincts are awakened after reading this article, here are some tips from the dedicated seller herself: “Don’t let perfectionism ruin things for you. I think a lot of us who use journaling as an art form can be terrified by a blank page and collect things to use but never use them for fear we’ll do it wrong.” So go ahead and scribble on that first page, sample some washi tape, swatch your favourite paints or pens, anything to get something on there. Rafell also suggests trying out a lot of different aesthetics instead of being boxed into just one. And if you are just starting out, she suggests copying the layout of your favourite journaling accounts “so you can get an idea of how to build up the page and balance a lot of elements.”
So, sit back and make sure to enjoy the process. In the end, “You can always tear out the page and start again.”
A guide to dark academia
dark academia / winter capsule wardrobe
• a black turtleneck. preferably cotton or cashmere.
• a white collared shirt. silk, cotton or linen.
• a dressier top. something to wear with jeans when having poetry nights with your friends; i would still advise to go for black, but the style can be more extravagant – puff sleeves, maybe?
• a basic long-sleeved t-shirt. choose a dark, muted colour or go for black.
• an oversized knit. white, grey or black; wool is best at keeping you warm.
• basic knit. possibly black; doesn’t have to be boring in style – could be a wrap cardigan, a turtle or mock-neck, balloon-sleeved…
• a pair of black straight-leg jeans. stick to 100% cotton.
• a pair of black or dark grey trousers. wool or cotton is good.
• a black skirt. mini or midi; wool is, again, great for winter, but anything will do.
• a long-sleeved little black dress. pick a style you like, be it frilly or clean cut.
• a dark knit dress. just try to stay away from acrylic & polyester, they won’t keep you warm.
• a few pairs of bras. go for neutral colours & comfort.
• enough underpants. black or baby pink lace is always nice; cotton is good.
• different types of socks. black & white, thick & thin; make sure your ankles are covered.
• black tights. they keep your legs warm when you wear a skirt or a dress.
choose gold or silver, whichever suits you best, & stick to it.
• two dainty necklaces. you can wear them on their own of stacked together.
• a few rings. one bigger & more interesting, the rest more minimal to complement the more intriguing piece.
• a pair of everyday earrings & a more elegant pair. if you wear earrings; make sure both pairs fit your other jewellery.
• an over-the-shoulder leather bag. black or brown; it should fit your school papers & at least a few extra books.
• a small bag for special occasions. whatever style you like; it should go together with your little black dress & fit at least a lipstick & everything you might need at a party – a tiny bottle of vodka & a small notebook?
• a black or checkered (but dark in colour) umbrella. for those beautifully gloomy, rainy days.
• a leather belt. black or brown, depending on the colour of your bag & shoes.
• a scrunchie. black velvet or white satin.
• a pair of black or brown boots. either a chelsea boot or a dr. martens type shoe; these should be the same colour as your everyday bag.
• a menswear-inspired shoe. should match your bag; oxfords, brogues, derbys…
• occasion footwear. type depends on your style; could be heeled ankle boots, pumps, ankle-strap heels, loafers, ballerinas or even the same derby shoes from the previous point.
• a long woollen coat. preferably black; could also be a checkered dark grey.
• a tweed jacket or checkered blazer. in grey or brown tones; could be worn under the oversized coat for added warmth.
• a pair of mittens. in a dark colour; maybe a friend or a lover knitted them for you?
• a big long scarf. matches the mittens; favour natural materials for warmth.
dark academia / winter
• waking up in your warm bed, seeing the condensation on your windows & looking out to see all the snow that fell down during the night
• wearing your softest slippers to go get the post in the morning & noticing the thin layer of ice on the pavement faintly cracking at each step all the way to the mailbox where you pick up the newspaper that still smells of fresh ink
• making a big cup of ginger tea, wrapping yourself up in a thick blanket & reading prose in the soft armchair by the fireplace
• listening to j. s. bach’s oratorios while practising chess – you don’t quite know how to play yet, but you are determined to learn
• the fire crackling softly in the library as you are working, black ink sliding feverishly on thick, cream paper, to finish your very last essay before the holidays
• the cold, sharp air hitting your nose when you step out of the door & the smell of fresh snow all around you
• draping a long, warm scarf around your neck one more time as you look up to see delicate, light-as-feather snowflakes falling from the bright blue sky
• ice-skating on a frozen lake in the woods & taking breaks to drink warm cocoa, holding the warm cup in both hands to warm up your fingers
• feeling the little tingling on your cold cheeks as you get back inside, wearing your warmest wool jumper & putting up fairy lights
• drinking mulled wine out of an old russian tea glass & feeling the warm liquid make its way to your stomach as you are reading poetry about the darkness of winter out loud with your closest friends
Dark Academia is a complex aesthetic...
Let's all think of as many sub genres of DA as we can. A lot come to mind, right? In this post I've tried to narrow some down. Hope you enjoy :)
(& perhaps you might find the sub genre of DA that best suits you)
~ THE 1940s ACADEMIC~
These folks don't necessarily have a passion for ancient history or the classics… instead, they spend their time researching The Great War as thoroughly as possible. They wear brick red lipstick no matter the occasion. If you look around their home, you may find a collection of portable typewriters, or perhaps an envelope filled with old photographs of their parents or forgotton acquaintances. Their go-to wardrobe colour is either a rich brown or an army green. Cigars are their best friends, just like their idol, the newly elected prime minister, Winston Churchill.
~THE GOTHIC POET~
This person has as many candles as they do hairs on their head. True to their name, they spend hours writing elaborate lines of poetry, usually not bothering to change out of their lacy night gown, with ruffled cuffs and puffy sleeves. They are confident, flamboyant, & a sucker for Pre-Raphelite paintings. While their friend, «1940s Academic» happily taps their foot along to The Andrews Sisters, they prefer to stare at themselves dramatically in their looking glass, blasting Mozart until their stained glass windows begin to tremble.
~THE GENTLE FLORIST~ (Light Academia)
A typical «Gentle Florist» will wake on rainy spring mornings & peacefully pour themselves a steaming cup of mint tea. They spend their evenings with a light read, accompanied by their cat & the warm glow of their vintage floor lamp. If they are religious, they like to help out with charity events at their place of worship. If they are not, they happily volunteer wherever they are needed on weekends. They like to have lunch with their friend «Gothic Poet» although their re-enactments of Romeo & Juliet can get tiresome after a while. Their wardrobe colours are dark greens, browns, tans & creamy whites.
~THE MAD WRITER~ (Chaotic Academia)
A strong black coffee always helps to wake this academic up in the morning. They stumble out of bed late after an intense night of scribbling out ideas for plots and characters. They seem to fixate on the prospect of murder, which their secret lover, «Gentle Florist», finds slightly suspicious. Their room is littered with paper. Is that a receipt or an important writer's note lying beside the antique camera? We might just never know. They hate most people, especially crying babies on the train. They are brutally cold & sarcastic, but people can't stop falling for them. Their wardrobe colours are black, blood red, cold white & the occasional navy blue.
~THE VICTORIAN EXPLORER~
(Rachel Maksy has a great Victorian Treehouse vidéo which is a perfect example of this aesthetic)
Picture a vast room, its surfaces clad with antique brass artefacts. Things like old gramophones, flashlights, clocks, globes & magnifying glasses. There are maps pinned on every wall, & old atlases in foreign languages amongst yellowed illustrations of the English coastlines. Now picture the person who inhabits this room. They love old hats & sunglasses. Perhaps they have tan lines on their arms from when they were out searching for islands in Micronesia. People say this person & «Mad Writer » had a mysterious past, but neither of them ever mention it. Their favourite wardrobe piece is their trademark, a pair of antique boots, perfect for exploring various types of terrain.
~THE INQUISITIVE MYCOLOGIST~ (Cottagecore X Dark Academia)
This academic is obsessed with nature, but prefers to live in urban areas. They draw illustrations in the margins of their schoolbooks/ work notes of mushrooms & leaves & will often spend hours in the local library with their potential love interest, « Victorian Explorer », poring over mycology textbooks. Their favourite wardrobe item is of course their dark brown oxfords, with the laces replaced with red ribbons.
How to feel more DA from the comfort of your own home:
> Touch up any makeup or put on some of your finest red lipstick
> Light a candle & put it on a windowsil (or anywhere it won't catch something on fire)
> Read something challenging during the day (Shakespeare, James Joyce & my boi Edgar for example) & something easygoing in the evening (Agatha Christie, Huxley, Stevenson)
> Make a cup of coffee or tea either in a delicate teacup OR a real heavy duty mug (it's impossible to look even slightly suspicious if you're holding a normal sized mug ¯\_(ツ)_/)
> Listen to antique records on vinyl. If you don't have a player, there are some amazing Spotify playlists to use!
> If you're feeling uninspired, change up your outfit! I always feel my lowest when I'm in my pajamas all day, so I will usually put on a pair of corduroy trousers with braces & match it with a spiffingly hefty blouse
> Look at Instagram or other tumblr posts on DA and see what you find! create a mood board on Pinterest if you so wish!
> Learn to raise one eyebrow- if feeling like a pretentious scholar is your goal, this small action is a must!!
> Reach your daily goal on Duolingo- while you're doing it, it may not seem very DA, HOWEVER, when you're done you feel accomplished & smart, which is perfectly on brand. Plus, you get to learn a little more of your chosen language every day- & one of those days you'll be fluent!
> Style your hair- if you have longer (and straighter) hair, I recommend an updo such as a Gibson Tuck. Styling your hair makes you feel elegant & improves your mood heavily! Nowadays it's rare to see me without my hair up
> Reorganise/ decorate your space- even if it's just a little change, such as moving the plants around your room, it's still a breath of fresh air & allows you room to think about more permenant changes such as new paint or furniture
> Carry a book with you anywhere you go- even if it's just to the kitchen, this action will totally make you feel more book smart! A spiffing one to carry with you is "Schotts Original Miscellany" as you can read about almost anything, from identifying cloud types to commonplace Latin. Its super useful to have in your pocket- almost like a pre-written notebook just for you :)
> Practice a creative skill- like an instrument, writing or drawing. This improves your DA levels for sure
> Improve your humour to be witty & sarcastic! You can pick up tricks from basically any witty (or British) show like Sherlock or Doctor Who, & when you have sarcasm and wit up your sleeve, you aren't just unstoppable, you're also turning into that pretentious scholar you've dreamed of becoming! :,)
I hope this helps some people! Have an amazing weekend everyone & if you have any queries feel free to comment- happy Dark Academia-ing :)
A Beginner’s Guide to Dark Academia
tips for the baby aesthete’s out there
- actually study! study the things you love, the things you like, the things you know nothing about — the pursuit of knowledge lasts a lifetime, and there is so much to learn
- visit your professor’s office hours! it always helps to make yourself known to your teachers (i’ve been given grade bumps and had great conversations with my university lecturers)
- avoid and check yourself for the pretension that can often accompany academia — it hurts no one to be kind and mindful
- delve into the realm of philosophy (for starters: metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics) it will broaden your mind
- stay late at your university library studying (if you can do so safely, preferably with a friend). university campuses feel magical in the evening
- wear darker, muted colours
- plaid coats, pants, or skirts
- button-up shirts (Peter Pan collars are a bonus)
- tie your hair with a bow
- accessorise! a vintage watch adds sophistication to any outfit. try wearing it with a ring or three
- practice good posture — standing tall creates an air of elegance, confidence, and if paired with the right amount of nonchalance, mystery
- dead poets society
- the dreamers
- breathless (à bout de souffle)
- cléo from 5 to 7 (cléo de 5 à 7)
- handsome devil
- gilmore girls
- chilling adventures of sabrina
- black mirror
- the good place
- the politician
- the secret history
- the picture of dorian gray
- the goldfinch
- the line of beauty
- the collected poems of oscar wilde
- ovid’s metamorphoses
- listen to classical music as you sleep/read/study
- you can check outthis dark academia playlist for inspiration
aesthetic activities (think of this as a little checklist to get you underway as a fledgling aesthete)
- make yourself tea in pretty teacups (you can find plenty in secondhand stores!)
- light candles in your bedroom, and read by candlelight
- dry flowers for your room/desk
- explore secondhand bookstores for old, pretty editions of novels you may or may not have heard of
- give handwritten letters to your lovers/friends/yourself
- wake up before the sun rises to watch dawn break
- brood during a thunderstorm, and write extravagant, flowery poetry on parchment
- join a secret society
- exist in the real, with your books and art, and your turtlenecks and plaid coats, as a mystery. social media can give too much of you away
- host an unceasing bacchanal for you and your pals
I hope this serves as a nice little guide for some of you wanting to get more into the aesthetic! There’s no real right or wrong way to go about it, these are just my suggestions from my own experience and perception of and within the community.
how to learn new content and never forget it
save this for your next academic year and finals, and it’ll save your grades and time.
1. whenever you read a paragraph with new content, close the book/look away and ask yourself: “what have i just learned?” explaining the concept to yourself right away and asking follow-up questions will change the way you retain new material forever.
2. at first, it’ll be daunting, and it’ll be pretty hard to actually bring yourself to do this. trust me, it’ll be worth it - as this is scientifically proven one of the most effective study techniques.
3. to try this out, set yourself a timer for how long you estimate learning a concept might take. now take away 20% from that estimate. you won’t be able to reach this goal with basic highlighting and re-reading techniques - but with active recall, you will.
4. once you’ve understood the concept, use spaced repetition systems like anki flashcards to force yourself to retrieve this information in a set period of time. this way, your brain will always be reminded of this concept before it could possibly forget it.
5. teach it to others as much as you can. as with the old wisdom “see one, do one, teach one”, one of the only guarantees you’ve really gotten something is when you can effectively teach it.
hope these are helpful for you!!
more content like this on my instagram, @softmedstudent
some of my dream dark academia looks
- A button-down cuffed to the elbows, loose black tie threaded through the collar. A tweed blazer thrown over the forearm and a well-worn novel tucked into the elbow. Ink-smudged fingers and sleepless eyes.
- A rumpled white dress shirt. The top few buttons unbuttoned to reveal a golden locket, burnished by habitual rubbing. Wistful looks out the window.
- Clean and put together. A black cotton sweater, the white collar of a shirt folded out over the neck. Pegged pants and oxfords. Hair pulled into a low bun. The sleeves of a smoky gray trench coat conceal the frantically scribbled words that cover the backs of your hands and wrists.
- Black sweater, sleeves pushed to the elbows. Messy hair twisted into a bun and held up with a pencil used as a makeshift hair stick. Mumbling Shakespeare into a steaming mug of coffee.
- A white flower behind the ear. Hours spent poring over a book, lounging on a divan by the window as rain pours outside. A button-up of rosy, ghostly silk and soft gray pants. Bare feet propped up on the arm of the divan.
- Hair and face damp with rain, a coat with the collar upturned against the weather. Pulling a dry book from the inside of the coat with a sigh of relief.
- A cherished blazer; secondhand, ratty, and patched at the elbows.
- A dark swing coat hanging off of the shoulders like a cape. A cotton turtleneck and laced ankle boots. Hair pulled back from the face by a crown of braids, a few strands loose about the face.
- A creamy cotton turtleneck that peeks from underneath a black button-down, both tucked into tweed pants. A leather belt and matching dress shoes. A beaten copy of Hamlet clutched in one hand.
- An ivory cable knit sweater. Silver rings adorn the fingers, frequently fiddled with by anxious hands. Hair woven into a hasty braid. A camel coat over the shoulders.
- Lips and fingers stained with cherry juice. A black silk slip. Trading Oscar Wilde quotes in front of the fireplace.
- A burgundy cardigan; underneath, white shirt, black tie. Hands hooked in the pockets of black slacks. Walking, solitary, down the dark street.
- Black button-down, black pants, black oxfords, long black coat. The sky is overcast. Crows circle overhead. You count seven.
- Worn, rumpled sweater tucked into a brown plaid skirt. Combat boots. A satchel bulging with books.
- A faded, cream-colored button-up. Suspenders hooked on black slacks rolled up past the ankles. Bare feet in the grass, and a crown of white wax flowers on the head.
Latin phrases to use as incantations.
This is gonna be a long list.
- ab intra - from within
- ab origine - from the source
- absit iniuria - “let insult be absent”
- absit invidia - “let envy be absent”
- absit omen - “let omens be absent”
- ab uno disce omnes - from one, learn all.
- abyssus abyssum invocat - deep calleth unto deep
- a capite ad calcem - from head to heel
- acta non verba - actions not words
- ad altiora tendo - “I strive to higher things”
- ad astra - to the stars
- ad fontes - to the sources
- ad meliora - towards better things
- ad oculos - to the eyes
- ad undas - to the waves
- ad victoriam - to victory
- adsum - I am here
- a fortiori - from the stronger/from strength
- a mari usque ad mare - from sea to sea
- audeamus - let us dare
- audentes fortuna iuvat - fortune favors the bold
- audi, vide, tace - hear, see, be silent
- beatae memoriae - of blessed memory
- bona fide - in good faith
- bono malum superate - overcome evil with good
- capax infiniti - holding the infinite
- carpe diem - seize the day
- carpe noctem - seize the night
- cave - beware
- ceteris paribus - all other things being equal
- circa - around
- citius, altius, fortius - faster, higher, stronger
- clavis aurea - golden key
- cogito ergo sum - I think, therefor I am
- compos mentis - in control of the mind
- concilio et labore - by wisdom and effort
- concordia cum veritate - in harmony with truth
- concordia salus - well-being through harmony
- coniunctis viribus - with connected strength
- consummatum est - it is complete
- corruptus in extremis - corrupt to the extreme
- crescit eundo - it grows as it goes
- de novo - from the new
- de profundis - from the depths
- dies irae - day of wrath
- dona nobis pacem - give us peace
- ego te provoco - I challenge you
- esse est percipi - to be is to be perceived
- esse quam videri - to be, rather than to seem
- esto quod es - be what you are
- ex animo - from the soul
- ex luna scientia - from the moon, knowledge
- ex scientia tridens - from knowledge, sea power
- ex silentio - from silence
- ex undis - from the waves of the sea
- experientia docet - experience teaches
- fac et spera - do and hope
- fac fortia et patere - do brave deed and endure
- faciam quodlibet quod necesse est - I’ll do whatever it takes
- faciam ut mei memineris - I’ll make you remember me
- facta, non verba - deeds, not words
- fortis et liber - strong and free
- fortis in arduis - strong in difficulties
- gloriosus et liber - glorious and free
- hic abundant leones - here lions abound
- hic et nunc - here and now
- hic sunt dracones - here there are dragons
- hinc illae lacrimae - hence those tears
- hinc itur ad astra - from here the way leads to the stars
- igni ferroque - with fire and iron
- in memoriam - into the memory
- in nocte consilium - advice comes over night
- libra - balance
- littera scripta manet - the written words endure
- locus standi - a right to stand
- luceo non uro - I shine, not burn
- luctor et emergo - I struggle and emerge
- mare liberum - free sea
- memento vivere - remember to live
- more ferarum - like beasts
- natura non contristatur - nature is not saddened
- nec spe, nec metu - without hope, without fear
- noli me tangere - do not touch me
- ophidia in herba - a snake in the grass
- pro se - for oneself
- propria manu - by one’s own hand
- quaere - to seek
- quod abundat non obstat - what is abundant does not hinder
- resurgam - I shall arise
- semper ad meliora - always towards better things
- semper anticus - always forward
- semper apertus - always open
- semper fortis - always brave
- semper liber - always free
- stet - let it stand
- tuebor - I will protect
- vera causa - true cause
Here, a cheater course on caring for natural fibers!
1. Wool. Treat it like it has the delicate constitution of a Victorian lady and the conviction that baths are evil of a 17th century noble. (If I get in WATER my PORES will OPEN and I will CATCH ILL AND DIE.)
2. Cotton; easygoing. Will shrink a bit if washed and dried hot.
3. Silk; people think it’s like wool and has the constitution of a fashionably dying of consumption Victorian lady, but actually it’s quite tough. Can be washed in an ordinary washer, and either tumbled dry without heat or hung to dry.
4. Linen; it doesn’t give a shit. Beat the hell out of it. Historically was laundered by dousing it in lye and beating the shit out of it with wooden paddles, which only makes it look better. The masochist of the natural fiber world. Beat the fuck out of it linen doesn’t care. Considerably stronger than cotton. Linen sheet sets can last literal decades in more or less pristine shape because of that strength.The most likely natural fiber to own a ball gag.
Chilean dark academia
(It ended up being valparaiso dark academia, oops?)
- Layered clothing to face the ever changing weather.
- Hanging with friends in between periods in the sopaipilla stand.
- Trying to read in a bus that runs like a madman. Trying not to die too.
- Going to the beach after class. Finding pretty pebbles and putting them in your pocket.
- Getting lost in streets made without planning. Finding a mural museum and a nice coffee shop.
- Buying a cheap box of wine and drinking it on the beach at night with your friends.
- Using the eternal commute to review. If you're lucky, your friends will take the same train as you and you can talk for hours.
- Losing the sense of time in a library.
- Petting the stray dogs.
- Knowing that your peers and most of your professors have you back.
- Seeing the sunrise on the way to school.
- Seeing the sunset on the way home.
- The worst coffee you've ever tasted, but you'll end up liking it... eventually.
- The wind messing your hair at any opportunity it has.
- The smell of tobacco leaves.
- Thrift stores full of old books and rusty appliances.
- 4 elements tattoo
- Netflix bollywood series
- Postgresql sort array
- Purple hummingbird urn
- Dell inspiron 15 bios password generator
*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Read my disclaimer for more info.
Are you looking to find affordable dark academia outfits? If so, here are 40+ gorgeous outfits that are perfect for your next library visit.
Let’s talk about the latest popular social media aesthetic: the dark academia.
At first glance, you might think it comes from anime; but it doesn’t. The dark academia aesthetic is a trend that revolves around the pursuit of learning, classic literature, and academics.
The core appeal of the aesthetic, according to aesthetics.wiki.com, is “pretentiousness and romanticizing education”. Dark academia, true to its seemingly gloomy name, has themes centered around mystery, secret societies, and cults.
Overall, it’s a great trend to get inspired by, as it encourages more than just outfit styling – when done right, you embrace the whole concept of continuous learning.
How To Style Dark Academia Outfits
Now, let’s get down to the fashion part.
With roots in the UK, dark academia fashion gives off a prep school, Oxford vibe. Think of prep school outfits like plaid skirts and blazers. However, because of its UK roots and its association with cold weather, most dark academia outfits include thick layers, wooly sweaters, and long sleeves.
Dark academia outfits are centered on the scholarly aesthetic, so clothing is usually made up of somber and muted colors such as brown and other dark shades, plaids, corduroy overalls and dresses, tights, vests, tailored pants, wool coats, and boots.
Plus, it’s not a complete dark academia outfit without some kind of scholarly item on you like a satchel orreading glasses. Throw in some actual classic literature books and a silver watch, and you’re basically all set.
It’s pretty easy to find dark academia outfit pieces from any online shop and retailer since the aesthetics listed above are common and widely available anywhere.
However, if you want a special dark academia outfit set that can’t be found anywhere else or actual vintage clothes, then Etsy is your best shop.
Overall, these shops are your best bets to get dark academia outfits:
- Etsy (for vintage pieces)
- Uniqlo(lots of thick wooly clothing, sweaters, and dark trench coats!)
- Urban Outfitters
- Nasty Gal(up-to-date trendy plaid outfits)
- Madewell(for some classic, minimalist clothing)
- Shein(super affordable pieces!)
With this said, let’s jump straight into the best dark academia outfits that we could find online!
The Best Dark Academia Outfits To Shop This Fall
Get this sweater vest on Etsy
Get the outfit set on Etsy
Get this outfit set on Etsy
Get the dress on Shein
Get this set on YesStyle
Get the skirt on Shein
Get this outfit set on Etsy
Get this sweatshirt on Etsy
Get these shorts on Etsy
Get this outfit on Etsy
Get this jacket on Urban Outfitters
Get the brown plaid skirt on Etsy
Get this flannel shirt on Uniqlo
Get this underbust corset on Etsy
Get these pants on Etsy
Get this set on Shein
Get the tartan trousers on J.Ing
Get this outfit on Etsy
Get this cardigan on Shein
Get the blouse and skirt on YesStyle
Get this blazer on Nasty Gal
Get this blazer on Nasty Gal
Get these overalls on Madewell
Get this skirt on Shein
Get this dress on Etsy
Get this flannel shirt on Madewell
Get this set on Store Envy
Get this set on Etsy
Get this short on Etsy
Get these pants on Madewell
Get the blouse on Etsy
Get this dress on Madewell
Get this blouse on Etsy
Get this tailored jacket on Uniqlo
Get this dress on Shein
Get these pants on Nasty Gal
Get this cardigan on Shein
Get this mini skirt on Nasty Gal
Get this mini skirt on Nasty Gal
Get this overall dress on Shein
Get this shirt on Urban Outfitters
Get this cardigan on Shein
Get these pants on Nasty Gal
Get this overall dress on Shein
Get this blouse on Shein
Get this tailored jacket on Uniqlo
Get this blazer on Etsy
Get this sweater vest on Urban Outfitters
Get this jacket on Urban Outfitters
Are you ready to build your dark academia outfit with a few favorites from this post? Let us know in the comments section! If you’re still looking more fashion inspiration, check the posts down below.
Get More Fashion Ideas
45 Chic Light Academia Outfits To Get You Ready For Fall
20+ Casual Denim Jacket Outfits That Are Legit Cute
40 Comfortable House Dresses For A Chill Day At Home
Browse All Fashion Posts
Etsy dark academia
.Dark Academia Classical Music
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