Inside: 57 Lovely Light Academia Outfits To Wear This Fall.

Light academia, or academia as a whole has been one of my favorite aesthetics for a while. It’s more than just dressing like you’re an edgy kid in prep school, it’s really diving into the culture and literature that surrounds us that so many of us tend to ignore.

Tapping into this aesthetic opens your eyes to so many rich sides of different types of media that we don’t normally tap into.

Dark academia of course focuses on more of the darker elements and the darker sides of these media like books, movies, music. While light academia shows us the sunshine, the breezy, and the romantic forms of these arts.

Watching the movies, reading the books, and listening to the songs that inspire the overall aesthetic will definitely encourage you to dive deep into this vibe, and you may not ever turn back. It’s such a lovely space to live in, romanticizing everything you’re into is a positive and healthy way of living.

Once the inspiration is there, it’s easy to dress the part.

Need some inspo? I got it for you right here.

Four light and lovely outfits

The Difference Between Dark And Light Academia

We’ve already touched on this briefly, however, the difference between the two is so subtle yet so stark that it’s almost an obvious miss sometimes.

Dark versus light academia is only different in the coloring of the aesthetics. On the surface level, that’s it. That’s all. The two wear the same styles, the same cut of clothes, the same everything… Except dark academia wears it all in dark colors and light academia wears it all in light colors. As if you couldn’t have guessed all of that.

Now, when it comes to how they dress and how they look on the outside, that’s the only major difference. Dark academia can tend to look more grunge and preppy while light looks more soft, but that’s all in the tiniest details of the aesthetic. And even light academia can look a little light colored grunge sometimes!

When you dig down to the core of the aesthetic, it’s all about the love of education and the genres that you love of each. There’s a very deep and thought-provoking concept behind both dark and light versions of this aesthetic, but they each cater to their own genres of these kinds of books and movies.

Dark academia really highlights the macabre, the more deep sides of life that are almost difficult to comprehend and process without literature and movies that spark intrigue and deeper thoughts.
Light academia touches on the same elements of poetry, literature, and so on, but instead of reading and writing about the existential crisis of man like with dark academia, we’re thinking more on the romantic themes of these kinds of works.

Romanticism is a common theme in writing and art, that doesn’t always highlight the pleasures and beauty of reality, but more so the beautiful and whimsical fantasies that can also be present.

It’s the idea of finding the wonderful parts of life and idealizing them, and capitalizing on the
Romance of life itself.

The beauty of the wind in your hair, the steam rising from your morning cup of coffee, the idea of lovers spending their days together, totally infatuated with each other… There’s romance in everything, and light academia focuses on emphasizing the romantic parts of life to best understand the why’s of time and life.

What Is The Light Academia Style?

Essentially, both of these styles are preppy, but one is dark and one is light.

Darker preppy tends to teeter more towards grunge, and while light academia can totally be a soft grunge or light grunge, there’s a little bit of a softer edge to it.

Soft or light academia is a really open style of clothing, as it can be anywhere from cottage core to preppy to artistic neutral. Ultimately, it’s any soft neutral concept aesthetic that begins to blend with an academic style inspired by school uniforms and otherwise school vibe type of outfits.

But let’s break down the basics of some of these styles on their own.

Cottage Core: Cottage core has been a rage and a big niche trend for a while now, and really emphasizes on a very whimsical and classic fashion style. Peasant sleeves, floral patterns, midi length are all staples of the cottage core fashion. It’s a very simple and pretty style. Think spring fabrics and styles.

Preppy: Preppy can look pretty different depending on the kind of preppy you’re thinking about, but overall there’s an underlying theme relating to university prep-schools that are common in the upper and middle classes. It’s what we know of more universally as private schools, where uniforms of plaid skirts and button down shirts are required for attendance. This is where academia moments begin, as it is an extension of the education aesthetic and makes it more of the love of education.

Classic: You can never go wrong with building a base for light academia from a very classic and pretty style. It may not be super prep-school inspired, and it may not be very whimsical, but a cute and classic cropped sweater with a pair of cream slacks and a white sneaker will be a perfect look for this. Then accessorizing with dainty gold jewelry, vintage pieces, or pearls can really tie the look together. Another good word for this kind of style would be vintage. Reminiscing on the more elegant and classic eras is a perfect way to start a light academia wardrobe.

Three girls in the city wearing light academia looks.

Light Academia Outfit

1. Plaid Pants
2. All Cream
3. Beige Trench Coat
4. Stockings
5. Big Bow
6. Plaid Blazer
7. Pinstripe Dress
8. White Cardigan
9. Sweater Vest
10. Neutrals
11. Striped Button Down

Four cute and whimsical looks

Aesthetic Outfit Ideas

12. Lace Top
13. Baby’s Breath
14. Tucked Turtleneck
15. Cropped Baby Top
16. Brown Layers
17. Printed Dress
18. Silk Skirt
19. Khaki Palazzos
20. Dead Poets Society
21. Low Key Draped Sweater
22. Silk Top

Three casual academic looks.


23. The Basics
24. Cable Knit Sweater
25. Cropped Cardigan
26. Blue Button Down
27. Turtleneck
28. Light Cocoa Sweater
29. Tee And Khaki
30. Shacket
31. Wool Sweater
32. Romantic Dress
33. Light Plaid
34. White And Brown
35. Cardigan

A girl wearing jeans and a white ruffled top.

Museum Outfit Ideas: Light Academia

36. Ruffle Sleeve
37. Trouser Shorts
38. Pleated Skirt
39. Light Sweater
40. Casual Pieces
41. White Ruffles
42. White Pleated Skirt
43. Striped Sweater Vest
44. Plaid Vest
45. Plaid Blazer
46. Cottage Core Blouse
47. Quarter Sleeve Sweater
48. Floral Blouse
49. Polka Dot Dress

A girl wearing a beret standing on a European balcony.

Ideas For Women

50. Tied Blouse
51. White Slip
52. Bow And Beret
53. The Basics
54. Sage
55. Tan Slip Dress
56. Tiered Dress
57. Floral Sun Dress

Light academia outfits are nothing more than a romantic way of living outside of the realm of more modern aspects. While it’s nothing like cottagecore in the sense that you reject modernity, it’s more the idea that you have found other mediums of entertainment more encouraging and lighthearted in a way that you enjoy filling your mind with it.

Going to museums, going on picnics, and educating yourself with the beautiful and bright eras of history and art is a lovely mental space, and I aspire to spend my time here more often than on my phone.

It’s a healthy aspiration, and while it’s a cute clothing aesthetic, it also stems from a love of education and romanticism. As you start to dress the part, you tend to find yourself wandering into the mental space easier and find yourself drifting towards these ideas and activities.

The basis of this look is a lot of spring colors, so check out these spring photoshoot outfit ideas for some fun looks that you can transform into light academia.

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