Light Academia Style Guide: Aesthetic Inspiration & Cute Outfit Ideas
Welcome to this light academia style guide. The light academia aesthetic has become very popular online, particularly on Pinterest and TikTok. Here, I’m going to be sharing light-academia-inspired outfits, but I also want to tell you about the aesthetic, what it entails, and where it came from.
What is light academia?
As the name suggests, light academia has heavy roots in academia, university life, and the general pursuit of knowledge. Light academia romanticizes life, art, literature, and nature.
The light academia aesthetic incorporates many vintage elements in its fashion, as well as motifs like letter writing and reading the classics. In a way, it’s a reinvention of the Romantic era (late 18th century going into the early 19th century).
A lot of the art and literature that is part of light academia aesthetic—John Keats' poetry or J. M. W. Turner’s paintings—are from the Romantic period.
The academic side of things and the whole idea of the pursuit of knowledge is a major part of this aesthetic. It’s particularly influenced by the two famous English universities: Oxford and Cambridge.
Another theme of light academia is libraries and books, and reading in general. Things such as a cozy book nook and also expansive libraries, whether it’s a university library or a very luxurious library in a stately home.
My favorite library is in Kenwood House in London. The ceiling is gorgeous. Wouldn’t you just want to sit in a library that has this ceiling and read?
Stately homes and manor houses, in general, have strong light academia vibes. Gorgeous historical homes filled with trinkets and stunning spring gardens. Don’t you just want to run through the gardens and live your light academia fantasy?
Also, going along with the whole pursuit of knowledge, the study of natural history gives off this vibe. Just think of vintage botanical prints and scientific drawings of butterflies.
Dark academia vs light academia
Dark academia also has academic roots and is focused on the pursuit of knowledge, but it’s very dark and moody. Whereas light academia, which you can guess from the name, is like dark academia but lightened up a lot.
You can learn more about dark academia in my previous tutorial: The Ultimate Dark Academia Style Guide.
What is light academia fashion?
Let’s move on to some light academia fashion and talk about how to dress in this style.
In terms of fabrics, we’re talking about light fabrics such as linens and cotton. In terms of color palette, there are many shades of beige, creams, a lot of lighter browns, tan, camel, light grays, creams, and whites.
You can introduce darker colors into your outfits; I would take one darker piece and then lighten it up with the rest of your pieces.
Light academia outfit 1
I have these really nice brown houndstooth pants that have got a slight flair to them. I’ve styled them with a light beige knit, some gold jewelry, and I put on some white sneakers to give them a bit more of a casual vibe.
Light academia outfit 2
As I mentioned, a big part of this aesthetic is the academic side of things. So when it comes to fashion, take inspiration from things like school uniforms. Pleated skirts are a big thing in the light academia aesthetic.
For shoes, a nice loafer is good. Also, Oxford shoes are very academic and literally named after Oxford University. I don’t think that you can get much more light academia than that!
Light academia outfit 3
Sweater vests, cardigans, and knits in those light beige colors are key elements. Accessorizing with headbands always gives a preppy schoolgirl look to outfits. I have a gorgeous one with pearl embellishments that I’m obsessed with.
Another thing is hair bows. My hair is not long enough to put up in a ponytail with a big bow, but if you could get your hair up into a beautiful, romantic, wispy ponytail and then have a gorgeous bow, that would look amazing.
Light academia outfit 4
You also might want to incorporate some vintage elements into the look, so anything that’s a bit Regency, Edwardian, even a 1940s silhouette would look great in the light academia style.
For jewelry, a lot of simple gold jewelry crops up in light academia, as well as pearls. Pearls always look very classic and vintage.
Light academia style guide
That is my guide to the light academia aesthetic and the fashion that goes along with it. Now that you’re clued up, you can begin to incorporate it into your wardrobe and into your life!
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