Are you a lover of literature? Of the arts? Of history? Is the layered look and warm coats of Autumn your favorite fashion? Do you want to travel the world to see the great monuments and experience other cultures? Have you dreamed of walking the halls of Oxford or finding rare editions at antique bookstores? Do you just have an overall love of life? Then you, my friend, may find yourself at home in the Light Academia aesthetic.
“Light Academia is an aesthetic that is the emotional opposite of Dark Academia. This means it consists of lighter themes and visuals. It involves enjoying the little things in life, and life in general; the outdoors, enjoying the company of others, and the comfort of the ones around you. It also involves an interest in literature, music, art, history, and learning in general. Light Academia is very Eurocentric in concept, focusing on Classic and Renaissance architecture and art. The most significant core values of the aesthetic is a passion for learning and a love for life.”
There is nothing wrong with being able to describe your style with a word or two. In fact, it can be quite exciting and liberating to figure out exactly what you are into and how to expand your world to your liking. Self-discovery, self-expression, and self-love are some of the best things about this aesthetic… instead of wandering around bookshops, scrolling through Netflix, and searching through Instagram, you now know a fantastic jumping-off point to find things you will love. So, here are 5 ways to embrace the aesthetic of Light Academia:
1. The Aesthetic Of Light Academia
Light defined: categorized by enlightenment, hope and optimism, and the human condition.
Academia defined: the environment or community concerned with the pursuit of research, education, and scholarship.
The key motifs of Light Academia are reading and writing, poetry, cultural anthropology, European architecture, classical music, and the timeless fashion of the well-educated. The key values of Light Academia are curiosity, positivity, intelligence, and faith in humanity. Often, trips to museums to see your favorite Monet or to the theater to see a ballet are favorable over parties and barhopping, and your common wardrobe seems like you are “dressing up”. In this community, you will be with like-minded people that can spend hours upon hours talking about literature, cinema, art, philosophy, etcetera. Then, your introverted battery can be refilled when you go back to your happy place; your home that is filled with plants, needle-point projects, piles of books, with a collection of floral tea in the kitchen, and your cat on the couch.
2. Literature Of Light Academia
Donna Tartt’s novel The Secret History, published in 1992, has been credited with creating the dark academia literary genre and it is from dark academia that we have branched into light academia, romantic academia, writing academia, etcetera.
Though I could list dozens of other novel titles, I will try and keep it short:
Pride And Prejudice, Little Women, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, The Great Gatsby, Harry Potter series, and The Importance Of Being Earnest.
Novels that not only have a dynamic story but stories that address what it means to be human.’
3. Films And Television Of Light Academia
Though I could list dozens of other films, I will try and keep it short:
Little Women, Hugo, Pride And Prejudice, Hidden Figures, The Theory Of Everything, Enola Holms, Harry Potter series, Kill Your Darlings, The Goldfinch, Dead Poets Society, and Tolkien. Then, The Crown, Queens Gambit, Politician, A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Derry Girls, Franklin, Sex Education, and The Inbetweeners.
Films and television that not only have layered characters but curious plots that make you think.
4. Music Of Light Academia
Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven, Debussy, and Tchaikovsky… these are just well-loved, household names but also perfect for this aesthetic.
But, if you are interested in more modern options and podcasts, here is the shortlist:
Queen, Panic! At The Disco, Lana Del Ray, The Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, The Ink Spots, Billie Holidays, The Supremes, Camille, and Vampire Weekend. (There are many playlists on YouTube and Spotify to help with this, too.)
One can learn and be inspired by what they hear just as much as what they would read.
5. Fashion Of Light Academia
Professor or student, can you tell the difference? Light Academia fashion is the iconic look of the hardcore university students of The United Kingdom and American prep-schools between the early 1940’s and late 1950’s.
Though the main colors are Earth tones of white, cream, light brown, and gray, there are often pops of color with pastel pink, soft yellow, mint, and pale blue. Inspired by school uniforms and scholarly professionals, turtlenecks are often matched with plaid skirts, button-up blouses with high-waisted slacks, and shirt dresses with sheer tights. Usual fabric choices are more upscale, like cashmere, wool, and tweed, but linen and cotton are also very common. Thick peacoats and Oxford boots are common for outerwear, with complimentary leather gloves and wool scarves. Accessories are usually minimal, like thin bangles, simple rings, a small pendant on a light chain, and classic watches.
Perfect outfits for writing poetry at a museum, taking photos in a rose garden, reading a vintage book in a park, but most important, outfits sophisticated and comfortable enough that you feel like you rule the university halls you walk through.
Student Of The World
Though there are a few variations you might flirt with here and there – like Dark Academia, Romantic Academia, and Writer Academia – Light Academia is the aesthetic that umbrellas your life. Now, you can go forward knowing exactly how to describe yourself and where you belong. Now, you can also go forward and be inspired by new literature and films, music, and art that fit your interest. Now, you know exactly what to tell people when they ask for a holiday wish list. Comment below any other wonderfully Light Academia items I may have missed!