The Dark Academia Aesthetic is an aesthetic inspired by old literature.

The Dark Academia Aesthetic usually revolve around these themes:

  • Literature
  • Strong Friendship
  • Love (mostly queer love)
  • Academia (often lives in private schools)
  • Teens becoming adults
  • Death
  • Socialclass differences
  • Classical music
aesthetic, school, and uniform image gossip girl, high school, and preppy image

The Books That Inspired The Aesthetic

Truth be told, the aesthetic is based on a genre inside novels. There are some specific books that has inspired the aesthetic. Here are a few you can read if you want to follow the dark academia aesthetic:

If We Were Villains by M L. Rio

" Oliver Marks has just served ten years in jail – for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day he's released, he's greeted by the man who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, but before he does, he wants to know what really happened a decade ago.

As one of seven young actors studying Shakespeare at an elite arts college, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But when the casting changes, and the secondary characters usurp the stars, the plays spill dangerously over into life, and one of them is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless."

bibliophile, bookish, and books image Temporarily removed

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

" A young man named Dorian Gray owns a portrait painted of himself. The artist, Basil Hallward, thinks Dorian Gray is very beautiful, and becomes obsessed with Dorian. One day in Basil's garden, Dorian Gray meets a man named Lord Henry Wotton. Lord Henry Wotton makes Dorian Gray believe that the only thing important in life is beauty. However, Dorian realizes that he will become less beautiful as he grows older.

He wishes the portrait Basil painted would become old in his place. Dorian sells his soul so he can be beautiful forever. His wish comes true. However, every time Dorian does something evil, mean, or selfish, his picture ages."

oscar wilde, poetry, and the picture of dorian gray image dorian gray, ben barnes, and movie image

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

" Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last - inexorably - into evil."

Temporarily removed friends, the dreamers, and run image

The Movies That Give Hope

The aesthetic does not follow only books, but also movies. The movies inspired by the Dark Academia Aesthetic often educate. These are the movies that will make you cry, but also laugh a second later. Here are my two favorite Dark Academia Movies:

Dead Poets Society (1989)

" The new English teacher, John Keating, is introduced to an all-boys preparatory school that is known for its ancient traditions and high standards. He uses unorthodox methods to reach out to his students, who face enormous pressures from their parents and the school. With Keating's help, his English students break out of their shells, pursue their dreams and seize the day."

dead poets society, neil perry, and charlie dalton image

Kill Your Darlings (2013)

" In the early 1940s, Allen Ginsberg is an English major at Columbia University. Dissatisfied by the orthodox attitudes of the school, Allen finds himself drawn to iconoclastic colleagues like Lucien Carr, William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Together, this gang would explore bold new literary ideas that would challenge the sensibilities of their time as the future Beat Generation. However, for all their creativity, their very appetites and choices lead to more serious transgressions that would mark their lives forever."

Temporarily removed


The Dark Academia Aesthetic is known for its special taste in fashion. Here are some fashion tips that will make you feel like a 1940s dark academia student:

Invest in a tweed blazer, and a pair of oxfords for your feet. Cardigans and sweaters are your best friends. Green, burgundy and caramel are the colors you want. Tweed trousers, a fisherman's sweater and glasses is the perfect look.

fashion, green, and style image friends, dress, and phoebe tonkin image

Makeup And Hair

The aesthetic does not focus on makeup - not as much as others aesthetics. So, try to go as natrual as you can (and feel comfortable with); natrual beauty is the best! Pink blusher and boyish brows are often seen in dark academia movies.

Some perfume worth trying is Habit Rouge - Guerlain, Hypnotic Poison - Dior, and Chergui - Serge Lutens.

When it comes to hair, braids are popular within the aesthetic, but natrual hair with bows wins the prize.

babe, babes, and bohemian image aesthetic, loona, and love4eva image


Classical music is without doubt the greatest genre when it comes to Dark Academia. You can find my classical music playlist here:

If you are not a fan of classical music, the aesthetic also follows artists such as Hozier and Lorde. I have a playlist for that kind of music too, inspired by the movie "Kill Your Darlings", which I mentioned earlier:

piano, Mozart, and music image aesthetic, Beethoven, and brown image

Some Small Aesthetics That Define Dark Academia

Poetry, both written by yourself and others; falling asleep in the library; coffee in the morning; carrying a book with you at all times; Latin; wristwatches; wood; lazy summer afternoons; soft whispers; broken glass; the exciting feeling you get when listening to a horror story; true crime; urban legends; wind trough hair; walks alone.

malin 🍂
malin 🍂