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Men's Guide to Dressing Like a Dark Academic

Taha loves investigating and writing about trends in culture, fashion, and media.

While browsing on the internet, you wouldn’t find as much inspiration and guidance on how to dress as a dark academic man as you would for women. Keeping that lack of material in mind, this article will explore and, to some extent, define a dark academia look for men. While reading, remember that this article is only supposed to spark a conversation about what’s out there for men in terms of clothes to dress as a dark academic. It’s a foundation not a capstone. Bonus: at the end of the article, I would also give some book recommendations that you can read to better understand an indescribable longing, an unquenchable thirst for learning, and a strange fascination with death – all the main themes that are usually associated with dark academia.

We will take a bottom-up approach here to dress our dark academic man. This is because once we have set our foundation right, we have better chances of getting our overall look perfect. Let’s start with shoes.


Two words – black and formal. Yes, I know that I’m not leaving much space for debate here but it’s a necessary evil. Dark academia, quite naturally, is a more formal aesthetic. Sneakers, timberlands, runners, and slippers are all out of question. Think oxford, derby, loafer, Chelsea boot, and Chukka boot. And no, brown shoes don’t work. They take the ‘dark’ out of the dark academia.


You have two options here – chinos or dress pants. I personally prefer chinos as they are easy to wash and iron while dress pants need to be dry-cleaned. In terms of colors, gray, black, brown, beige, and burgundy work the best. Avoid bright colors at all costs and this advice actually applies to all pieces that go into creating your overall dark academia look. I know what you’re thinking – what about denim? Though some dark academia style gurus are okay with wearing jeans, I think it takes the seriousness out of the overall dark academia look. Remember that there’s an intensity about the dark academia aesthetic that cannot be compromised.



You can’t go wrong with a classic white dress shirt here. If you want something different, a beige or a grey turtleneck would also work. Avoid anything too dark as that would overwhelm your outerwear. Shirt serves as the foundation on which your whole outfit stands but we don’t want to make it the center of attention.


Tweed sports jacket in various shades of grey and beige are the most common outerwear for men in the dark academia aesthetics. You can also go with a plain old black suit if it’s hot outside or with a camel trench coat if it happens to be a chilly day. Avoid leather, denim, and bomber jackets. In fact, anything that you could wear with a casual outfit should be considered out of question.


A watch with a leather band and a white face, a necktie or a bow tie in dark colors, and a black leather belt are all classic accessories that you can incorporate in your dark academia outfit. Another great accessory is glasses. A pair of horn-rimmed or metal frame glasses really step up your dark academic game. If you happen to wear prescription glasses, you already have that taken care of. But even if you have a perfect eyesight, you can grab a pair to give a finishing touch to your dark academic look.


Book Recommendations

As promised, I'm going to finish off here with a few book recommendations.

Paradise Lost by John Milton

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

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