Beige Simple Tender Minimalist Brand Mood Board Photo Collage 2

Exploring the Light Academia Aesthetic

Before it was a trending aesthetic, the movies of the 90s gave us a glimpse into this wonderfully costumed world of Academia. Blazers, plaids, trousers, loafers, and bowler hats gracefully enhance characters like Sally Albright, Kathleen Kelly, and John Keating. We find ourselves, through the power of sartorial cues, prancing through New York in the fall or strolling down grand university corridors. It's Hogwarts with shoulder pads and a side of Harry Connick Jr.

For all those who long for a bit less reality and a bit more reading in the quad under an orange oak tree, the world of light academia can transport you to beautiful places by just donning a blazer, putting on a great playlist and grabbing your favorite book.

We'll explore the style side of this light academia world, but just know to truly embrace the aesthetic experts suggest reading Louisa May Alcott in public (preferably in the form of a hardback, linen bound copy), making modern classical music part of your personality, take a course or two in literature again, and practicing your photography skills on a film camera.

5 Light Academia Outfits

The lovely thing about dressing for an aesthetic means you can be as subtle as you want. You don't have to feel like you're wearing a costume unless you fancy the idea. The following outfits are ones that I have styled to be in line with the aesthetic if you're looking for some daily inspiration. The outfits are also styled in a YouTube that is included down below if you prefer your outfit inspiration be a bit more fluid.

"You're in Your Folklore Era"

One of my favorite secret weapons for the summer into fall season is a good sweater and shorts. Add a pair of loafers and you'll basically be Taylor Swift in her Folklore era.

Shop the Look

Simply Retro Photos 1

"You Belong in Hufflepuff"

A muggle's version of light academia meets Hufflepuff. Personally, I'm a Ravenclaw, but Hufflepuff would be my second choice.

Shop the Look

Simply Retro Photos 2

"You're Meeting the Dead Poet's Society Tonight"

No girls allowed? Rubbish! We'll bring snacks and Keats - what more could you want in a new member?

Shop the Look

Simply Retro Photos 6

"A Modern Day Jo March"

Forever an inspiration to women around the world, Louisa May Alcott made her protagonist both classy and strong. It's not hard to imagine how she would dress in the modern day.

Shop the Look

Simply Retro Photos 4

"You Were There When Harry Met Sally"

Or when Joe Fox met Kathleen Kelly? Take your pick, they're all good. A simple trouser and sweater set makes a perfect bookstore browsing outfit.

Shop the Look

Simply Retro Photos 5

A Few Guideposts for Light Academia Style

  • warm-toned neutrals make the aesthetic. Think brown, beige, tan, brown-based plaids. Even olive greens are acceptable.
  • texture is key. Mix your textures with a wool sweater, cotton trousers, and ribbed boots.
  • head ornaments are encouraged. Think hats, ribbons, scarves, and headbands. It's a touch preppy but not quite fully Blair Waldorf.
  • snazzy trousers belted up are a great starting point
  • straight leg denim also belted will work
  • a casually tucked turtleneck is always encouraged.
  • white leather tennis shoes and brown-toned boots will go with everything.
Beige Simple Tender Minimalist Brand Mood Board Photo Collage 2

Additional Thoughts to Get You into the Light Academia Spirit

  • aesthetics is a cultivating of an image, but if you haven't fully mentally embraced the image yourself then the point is moot. You'll only feel silly in your own skin and that's definitely not a light academia vibe.
  • looking to dip your toe in the shallow end to see how it feels? Might I suggest donning this cable knit cardigan and working to this playlist.
  • create a Pinterest board or just get inspired by searching the light academia aesthetic keyword on Pinterest. Check out my Pinterest profile for fall and academia inspiration.
  • watch some beautiful academia aesthetic movies. May I suggest When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, The Dead Poet's Society, Sleepless in Seattle.
  • read a favorite classic book - preferably outside if possible.