Step into the world of academia’s darker side with a distinctive blend of vintage charm, intellectual allure, and moody elegance. Previously, we took a deep dive into the subculture, explaining how dark academia has captivated fashion enthusiasts with its literary-inspired aesthetic characterized by timeless pieces, rich textures, and a hint of scholarly mystery. When it comes to completing the perfect ensemble, eyewear plays a key role in channeling the essence of this aesthetic — here’s a look at how. 

Key eyewear pieces for the dark academia aesthetic

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Rooted in literature, art, and all things academia, this trend resonates with individuals drawn to the romanticism and charm of vintage styling. In terms of clothing, heavy inspiration is taken from characters like Beth from The Queen’s Gambit, Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, and Spencer Hastings from Pretty Little Liars. Plaids, tweed, and wool in dark color palettes are the most common fashion features in this trend. However, thoughtful details matter, too, and incorporating the right eyewear style into your dark academia-inspired wardrobe is the final touch that can bring your outfits to life. Here are some of the best eyewear styles that exude a dark, preppy literary vibe.

Tortoiseshell eyeglasses

📸 Instagram I @emmachamberlain

If you’ve been inundated with dark academia ‘fits on your social media feeds, you’ll notice that dark and warm neutral hues are a core element of this trend. This extends to eyewear, and since prescription eyeglasses have been embraced by fashion girlies like Emma Chamberlain and model Rianne Van Rompaey, nerdy spectacles that complement bookish looks are now everywhere. For eyeglasses that won’t look out of place in your dark academia wardrobe, select frames like the tortoiseshell Miu Miu MU01XV glasses. Meanwhile, fashionistas on a budget can go for the VO5441 tortoiseshell glasses from Vogue Eyewear, which capture the same intellectual spirit. 

Sleek black sunglasses

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Since dark academia fashion is all about fusing darker gothic elements with preppy Ivy League style, you can’t go wrong with an elegant pair of sleek black sunglasses. Dark sunglasses should be a staple in your wardrobe, regardless of the aesthetic you prefer, since they are extremely versatile and will never go out of style. Think of them as an investment piece and opt for designer sunglasses made of premium materials that offer comfort and durability. On Sunglass Hut, you’ll find a myriad of classic styles like the PO3186S by Persol. The brand’s patented Meflecto temples offer a secure fit, while crystal-tempered sunglass lenses provide protection with distortion-free vision. Plus, Sunglass Hut provides free personalized adjustments at any time to ensure a perfect fit. 

Clubmaster-style frames

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Combining an oversized shape, semi-wired rims, and geek-chic browline frames, Clubmaster-style eyewear epitomizes the dark academia aesthetic. Famously worn by legendary activist Malcolm X, this shape is a staple for literary types. Take inspiration from superstar Janet Jackson, who was spotted at Thom Browne’s 20th-anniversary celebration donning an oversized gray tweed coat paired with round-frame glasses in the Clubmaster silhouette. To cop her look, opt for Ray-Ban Clubmaster Optics in Matte Black or Polished Dark Havana. Layering is key to this aesthetic, so pull out your best wool coat and flannel scarf and finish off the outfit with a preppy tie. 

From distinctive tortoiseshell spectacles to sleek black sunglasses, selecting the right eyewear can elevate your dark academia look to new heights, effortlessly blending preppy vintage charm with a touch of intrigue and sophistication. 

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