We know we’re all about the Cottagecore girls here, but we know the guys need some help with their style and fashion, too! If you’re looking to find out what Dark Academia for guys is, then you’re in the perfect place.

Dark Academia grew through the late 2010s and the early 2020a as book publishers advertised Young Adult dystopian books and a rise in excitement over the 19th-century, upper-class European culture such as Gothicism and American Prep.

This thriving subculture has a heavy focus on the aesthetic of reading, learning and writing – anything traditionally academic. And this carries over into the fashion and style of the trending aesthetic.

If you’re unsure, think leather satchels, brown cardigans, poetry books, tweed pants, brooches, and loafers.

On top of this focus on learning and intelligence, Dark Academia sometimes includes darker motifs such as murder, secret societies, danger, criminality and cults.

Dark Academia Fashion

guy studying at dark library

This sub-culture encapsulates the high-class, vintage style of various historical periods; predominately American Prep, which lends the sweater vests, blazers, pleated skirts, and the stereotype of the humanities-teacher-fashion-sense.

The fashion is typically more autumnal due to the fact it centres on the most prestigious universities housed in the cooler climates such as the United Kingdom and New England.


For a masculine Dark Academia outfit, opt for a professional button-down with structured collars. These can be left as is, or layered under a sweater vest, oversized sweater, and worn with dressy slacks.

One of the most important top of the Dark Academia aesthetic is sweaters. Not only does this item contribute to the autumnal and nerdish persona, it adds warmth.

We highly recommend turtlenecks – what was once gross and embarrassing is now sexy and sophisticated!


Formal dress pants are essential for this aesthetic; we suggest finding pairs with sturdier materials such as tweed, as well as choosing patterns such as check and herringbone.


This is the most prominent item in a Dark Academia guy’s wardrobe! If you want to look like sophistication personified, you need an assortment of blazers, cardigans, and coats.

The idea of your outwear is not just to add warmth, but to add texture and structure to your outfits, so the fabric chosen is incredibly important. You want a sturdy, tailored pieces that fit you really well.


Leather dress shoes such as brogues, loafers and wing0-tips will typically be the day-to-day shoes in this aesthetic – they are timeless and professional, while being neutral enough to suit the entire outfit.

However, we can’t say no to the occasional white high-top converse for a more laid-back outfit.


  • leather vintage satchels
  • tote bags
  • ties
  • pocket squares
  • cufflinks
  • leather belts
  • glasses
  • solid gold or silver pendants
  • brooches
  • stacked rings
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Our Hot Tips

boy studying

  1. Don’t think you have to buy an entire closet of Dark Academia clothes all at once – you can build it slowly over time. We actually believe this is better than you can, make sure you truly love every piece that you bring in and ensure it fits with your style perfectly
  2. You don’t have to go full-on Dark Academia every day! Some days you need to lounge around your home in some sweats and a baggy shirt, and that’s okay. We also understand some workspaces won’t allow you to dress in your own personal aesthetic. Don’t let this stress you.
  3. Despite its inspiration, you don’t need to be a student or teacher to take part in this aesthetic.
  4. You don’t need to enjoy learning to enjoy the fashion and style of Dark Academia.

Where Should You Shop?

If you are on a budget, look in:

  • Thrifts stores
  • Ross
  • Antique stores
  • Kmart
  • Depop
  • TJ Maxx
  • Poshmark
  • Target
  • Marshalls

If you’ve got a bigger budget, we highly recommend you look in:

    • H&M
    • ASOS
    • Etsy
    • Urban Outfitters
    • Anthropologie
    • Topshop
    • American Eagle

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