Dark Academia is an aesthetic that revolves around classic literature, the pursuit of individuality, and a general passion for knowledge and learning. Common themes within this aesthetic are books, poetry, friendship, prep/private schools, classical music, coming of age, existentialism, death/murder, social class, and romance. Writing poetry in notebooks, reading the classics, going to local coffee shops, bookstores, libraries, and museums also fuel this aesthetic.

Dark Academia books

Books 

  • Books of Blood by Clive Barker
  • The Wild Girls by Path Murphy
  • Les Fleurs du Mal by Baudelaire
  • The Lessons by Naomi Alderman
  • Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Belle de Seigneur by Albert Cohen
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
  • In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust

Authors/Writing Styles 

  • Lemony Snicket (pen name)
  • Sappho
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • P. Lovecraft
  • Jane Austen
  • Beat Generation (post-war literary movement)
  • Shakespeare
  • Greek Tragedies
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Walt Whitman
  • Emily Dickinson
  • John Keats
  • Scott Fitzgerald
  • Rimbaud
  • Lautréamont
  • E. Schwab

Movies 

  • Rope (1948)
  • Dead Poets Society (1989)
  • Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
  • Heavenly Creatures (1994)
  • Wilde (1997)
  • Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
  • Kill Your Darlings (2013)
  • The Riot Club (2014)
  • I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (2017)
  • Call Me By Your Name (2017)
  • Colette (2018)
  • Postcards From Londen (2018)
  • Little Women (2019)
  • Handsome Devil (2016)

Artists 

  • Claude Monet
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Rembrandt
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Caravaggio
  • Michelangelo
  • Camille Claudel

Outings 

  • Museums
  • Art galleries
  • Places of historical interest
  • Pubs/Bars/Cafes (bonus points for sketching people around you)
  • Parks and gardens
  • Churches/Synagogues/Temples/Graveyards/Quaker meeting houses (these are quiet places to think, most will be welcoming as long as you are respectful, and remember to not take pictures.)
  • The theatre
  • The opera
  • Art stores
  • Sporting Events
  • Special events (memorial services, tours of local schools/universities, open houses, etc. It’s an opportunity to learn and spark local intrigue because of your dark, mysterious, and alluring demeanor.)
  • Searching for small independent bookstores

Things to do When Bored 

  • Write essays (doesn’t have to be intellectual, just about something you are passionate about)
  • Research
  • Daydream (about preventing the burning of the Library of Alexandria)
  • Write about a murder/heist.
  • Read something light (suggestions above)
  • Read aloud
  • Dress up
  • Perform a play alone or to a pet
  • Play or practice an instrument
  • Take a bath
  • Fake your death (murder perhaps?)
  • Draw or paint something (it doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be yours)
  • Write a narrative piece
  • Watch a movie
  • Write a movie review
  • Reflect back on the past
  • Journal
  • Read philosophy
  • Admire cityscape/nature (wherever you’re at)
  • Read a physical book
  • Write poems for compilation
  • Watch every single ‘Greek God as vines’ compilations on YouTube and count that as studying (but actually study if you need to, that’s definitely DA)
  • Practice calligraphy
  • Learn bookbinding

Style

The main inspiration for Dark Academic style comes from 1940’s prep school uniforms. The main color scheme is black, grey, beige, brown, cream, ivory, dark green, burgundy, a soft yellow. Usual fabric choices are more upscale, like cashmere, wool, and tweed, but linen and cotton are also very common. Accessories are usually minimal, like bracelets, rings, pendants, watches, cuff-links, and other dapper add-on pieces.