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Wilde for Dark Academia By Linit Freydenson

Recommendation: Read this accompanied by the ambiance of this playlist

Immerse yourself in the world of vintage castles, infinitely-burning gothic candelabras, Greek statuary, leatherbound journals, and brown tweed blazers. Imagine that you’re listening to the emotional music of Mozart, Vivaldi and Bach as you prepare your outfit for tomorrow's classes. You light a scented candle and fill your favorite mug with herbal tea as you crack open your parchment paper journal, where you set your thoughts on fire as they litter the page before you from your pen. You look out your window longingly, and take in everything around you - the scent of burning incense, the sound of rain, the taste of raspberry tea, and the moist ink of your journal. This is Dark Academia.

When I say Dark Academia, I am not just referring to the vintage Pinterest boards littering Tumblr - I am speaking of a unique lifestyle with its own music, clothes, literature and character. If one were to get acquainted with this said culture, then one must understand that Dark Academia is a marriage between the gothic and the academic; it is the pursuit of knowledge spanning centuries, and an appreciation of classical literature, Greco-Roman art, Gothic architecture, as well as art from days past. Characterized by a vintage, dark, stuffy professorial aesthetic, dark academia has become a subculture of today's social media platforms, and continues to amass a cult following.

Patching One’s Outfit

One’s clothes are one of the telltale signs that they are a connoisseur of the Dark and Academic, so if you are interested in immersing yourself in this enchanting world, you must own some staple items. To find these staple items, let us journey into the nearest thrift store.

The first thing we are looking for is a blazer, preferably of a darker color (brown, grey, black, sepia - extra points if it has elbow patches!) - but, do not approach this task lightly, as the process of finding the perfect blazer is akin to buying your wand in the world of Harry Potter. Once you have found YOUR BLAZER - with a strong emphasis on the “your” - you have unlocked infinite outfit combinations for a dark academic.

In our continued journey through the thrift store, we find ourselves in search of a pair of trousers - also of a darker tone, or possibly even of checkered print if you’re feeling adventurous. We then make the difficult decision of whether to buy a tucked, collared shirt or a sweater, which in reality, has a fairly simple answer: both!

Now that you have pulled your skeleton out of the thrift store closet (because that's what we have so far), remember that an outfit is nothing without accessories - so we are now in search of what will define your outfit as uniquely yours. A good leather belt can [literally] pull any outfit together. Also, in your life as an academic, you’ll find yourself perpetually surrounded by books, so you must have a place to put those prized possessions! With that, we turn to finding ourselves a scintillating satchel. Again, we are aiming for darker colors, and preferably a leather texture to add an air of sophistication to your scholarly pursuits.

Now that we have amassed the clothes and accessories of a dark academic, only one thing remains (and my personal favorite): the shoes. Just like a blazer is a staple item, so are a pair of loafers. I recommend investing in a good pair of leather loafers, because they look more polished, will last longer, and are more soft and breathable. But you mustn't break the bank, so you can find a good pair of vintage, second-hand, leather loafers in many places. A personal favorite touch of mine is a pair of brogues, because the stitched design is reminiscent of an era long forgotten that is fitting to the dark academic aesthetic. And with that, you are halfway to your PhD in Classics! You may not possess the knowledge, but you have certainly dressed the part.

Aesthetic Activities of Academics

Now that you are dressed for the part, let me introduce you to the hobbies of Dark Academia. Due to the nature of Academia, adherents of the style are typically avid readers. You’ll find most of them taking trips to indie bookstores, local coffee shops, or dusty libraries. Aside from reading, creative writing is also a common pastime of dark academics. It is common practice for a dark academic to own a journal to be used in any way one pleases. You can fill it with poetry, postcards, polaroid pictures, pressed flowers, letters, your thoughts - and most importantly, your journal will be a reflection of you. Your journal will be littered with your handwriting, your coffee smudges, your occasional tear drops, your nonsensical sketches - it will always be a version of you! Aesthetics and trends aside, your style is and always will be uniquely yours, so never feel as though you must copy others.

With this, I leave you to your ponderings, and I wish you the best of luck on your journey into the mysteriously beautiful world of Dark Academia.


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