Remember last year’s cottagecore trend? Well, here comes fashion, ready to give us yet another trend with a questionable moniker. This time, it’s dark academia. While it absolutely sounds like a class that would be taught at Hogwarts, it’s actually much more about fashion than it sounds. The dark-academia aesthetic takes its origins from Donna Tartt’s novel The Secret History, and is, in essence, about wearing blazers and looking like you love reading. In recent years, and especially in 2021, it’s picked up speed thanks to TikTok. Over the past few months, the trend has been spiking on Google Trends with searches starting to go up in October 2020 and hitting a high in February this year.
From what I can gather, this look is all about a particular style. The New York Times describes it as “traditional-academic-with-a-gothic-edge,” and blazers, shirts, checks, and sweaters are what you need. But I think the danger with these trends is that they can end up looking a little like you’re doing cosplay rather than latching on to a trend that’s genuinely chic. The good news is that this look has absolutely seeped into the A/W 21 runway trends. From Dior to Cinq à Sept, there are plenty of designers showcasing academic-inspired looks, including pleated skirts, oversize sweaters, and tweed blazers. To help you style this look, I’ve delved into Instagram to hunt down how to do dark academia without looking like you’re about to head off to Platform 9 3/4. Keep scrolling to see the best way to pull off this trend and then where you can find the ultimate dark-academia items.