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20+ Affordable Dark Academia Fashion Brands

by Alex DiBacco

Dark academia fashion is trending big-time right now, but because this style is relatively new (at least in name), there aren’t many stores that specifically offer dark academia fashion options.

A quick Google search for dark academia fashion brings up a few general sites as well as some Reddit threads that point to used clothes suppliers. Neither of those are particularly helpful.

As someone who loved dark academia fashion long before it had a name (did anyone else try to dress like Harry Potter students during childhood?), I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching dark academia fashion stores.

Today, I put together a list of my 11 favorite places to buy dark academia fashion pieces. These shops are all pretty affordable (some are insanely affordable while some are more moderate) and they all have great options.

I added details about the pricing of each store as well as my favorite sections to find dark academia fashion pieces below!

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11. Uniqlo

dark academia fashion

Uniqlo is one of my favorite places to shop for dark academia fashion. You can get everything from classic coats to sweaters, trousers, and accessories.

I especially recommend checking out the blazers and trench coats. You need to sort through the other coats to get to them, but I’m still amazed by how affordable the outerwear is (usually well under $100 and sometimes under $50!). 

The sweater collection also has some lovely pieces, including crew necks, turtlenecks, and sweet cardigans.

Pricing: Uniqlo prices are really affordable, especially for pretty decent quality items! If you need to buy a lot of pieces or you need a good coat or blazer on a budget, Uniqlo is a good place to start. Expect to spend anywhere from $30-$70 per item.

10. Brandy Mellville

Brandy Mellville is hot on TikTok for a reason, and not just because it’s a one-stop-shop for teens. There are tons of cute dark academia finds on Brandy that are pretty affordable.

Dark academia is all about layering the basics. While Brandy Mellville isn’t the best place to find statement pieces, like a gorgeous tweed blazer or a frilly blouse, you certainly can find the basics.

When you’re looking for dark academia fashion pieces at Brandy Mellville, I recommend checking out the cardigans, turtlenecks, sweater vests, and the collared shirts and dresses.

Pricing: For most people, Brandy Mellville is pretty affordable. You definitely won’t get Shein prices, but you can get most pieces for anywhere from $20-$40. I recommend Brandy for mid-quality pieces that are seasonal or cozy.

9. Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren is a classic for a reason. The pieces do tend to be a bit on the preppy side, but as long as you steer clear of the ultra-preppy items and choose based on the academic vibe, you can find some really beautiful and high quality fashion items.

I especially love the blazers and feel that they’re great investment pieces. Ralph Lauren also has some lovely tailored pants that are super classic dark academia fashion.

Pricing: Ralph Lauren is one of the more expensive stores on this list. Most items will be around $100, while more permanent pieces (such as coats or blazers) will be well over $200. I recommend Ralph Lauren for quality pieces that are timeless, if you want to make the investment.

8. Urban Outfitters

dark academia fashion

Urban Outfitters is a hit or miss for dark academia fashion pieces, but they do have some really awesome pieces at somewhat affordable prices, depending on what you consider to be affordable.

There’s a blend of boho/eclectic and dark academia fashion pieces on Urban, so you do need to pick through a bit. 

I personally love some of the corduroy and plaid topsthe cardigans,  and plaid and dark skirts.

Pricing: Urban Outfitters is right in the middle, price-wise. You can find some great pieces for only $30, but most dark academia fashion pieces will cost you anywhere from $50-$100. 

7. Aritzia

dark academia fashion

Aritzia is super popular right now for good reason. It is one of the more expensive dark academia fashion shops on this list, but almost every piece is 100% worth it.

You’ll find edgy British-inspired dark academia fashion options as well as cozier pieces like button-up cardigans, soft turtlenecks, and ultra-comfy pants.

I also love shopping at Aritzia for neutral, high quality skirts, stunning wool coats, and gorgeous silk blouses. You could honestly put together a full wardrobe of dark academia pieces from Aritzia, but the only downside is that it is a bit expensive; most items are well over $100.

Pricing: As I said, Aritzia is much more expensive than other stores on this list, but it also has some of the sweetest items. I typically invest in a few key pieces per season.

6. Topshop

dark academia fashion

Topshop is one of my favorite stores right now! It’s especially useful if you’re looking for dark academia fashion pieces. It’s relatively inexpensive as well as super trendy.

My only issue with Topshop items is that they can be a bit too trendy. You’ll want to make sure that you stick to classier pieces (for true dark academia fashion) and only add in a trendy piece or two per outfit.

Topshop has some really great coats (especially gorgeous long wool pieces) as well as great workwear options.

Pricing: Topshop is relatively inexpensive if you shop the sales. For a brand new coat in the new arrivals section, you might pay well over $200, but you can find decent items in the sales section that are only $30. It’s pretty variable.

5. Mango

dark academia fashion

Mango is another one of my absolute favorite stores for dark academia fashion! I find that literally every piece of clothing at Mango is gorgeous and fits the dark academia bill quite nicely.

The long wool coats are especially gorgeous at Mango and are relatively inexpensive for great quality. There are some gorgeous tweed coats available right now.

The cardigans and sweaters are sweet as well. I recommend opting for neutral colors as Mango tends to change up the colors by season.

Pricing: Mango prices aren’t astronomical, but they aren’t the lowest fast fashion prices either. You’ll find that most items are $50-$100, except shoes and coats, which can be a bit more pricey. 

4. Nasty Gal

dark academia fashion

Nasty Gal is most well-known for ultra-trendy styles, but they have some low key dark academia fashion pieces that are SO affordable!

If you want your dark academia fashion to be ultra-affordable and a little trendier than normal, Nasty Gal is definitely your shop. You will need to sort through some seasonal pieces to find the classic items that fit the bill.

Now, I don’t typically go to Nasty Gal for the basics such as tops and dresses. I find that they’re edgy (bordering on punk) which doesn’t really fit the bill of dark academia fashion.

Instead, I shop at Nasty Gal for blazers and coats (especially plaid), pants, and most importantly, shoes. Nasty Gal has the best insanely affordably shoes, including flats, booties, and boots.

Pricing: Nasty Gal is super affordable! You can find pieces for anything from $15-$50. I especially love the shoes since they’re all well under $50. I just purchased 4 pairs of boots for $32 each!

3. H&M

dark academia fashion

H&M is another one of my favorite shops for dark academia fashion. I love how all of the pieces are oversized yet are perfectly tailored. I also find that there are many neutral options in traditional dark academia fashion colors.

H&M offers a variety of cozy sweaters (including thick knits, turtlenecks, cardigans, etc.) that are all very traditionally academic in fabric and thickness. 

I also love the blazers. They’re affordable, oversized, and timeless. The skirts and pants are also great, although I do find that they’re a bit on the looser side, so you need to be into that dark academia fashion style.

Click here to shop.

Pricing: H&M is very affordable for dark academia fashion pieces. You can find the basics for $30-$40, while more expensive pieces, like blazers and coats, will be right around $100.

2. Madewell

dark academia fashion

Madewell probably isn’t the first store that comes to mind when you think of dark academia fashion, but they do have the cozy thing down pat. Dark academia fashion is all about warm layers, so I find that some Madewell pieces work quite well.

I tend to avoid Madewell if I’m looking for basics, but I find most of my dark academia fashion accent pieces here. I especially love the tops; they’re just so darling and come in many neutral colors.

I also love the dresses. Madewell has so many gorgeous dresses in a variety of neutral flower prints. They work well under dark blazers or coats with lace up boots and tights for a classic look.

Click here to shop.

Pricing: Madewell is a bit more expensive but offers really quality pieces. Expect to spend $60-$120 on an item, but you can also expect that item to last you for some time.

1. Shein

dark academia fashion

I know a lot of people try to avoid Shein, and I get it: fast fashion just isn’t the best choice. At the same time, if you’re on a budget, Shein has many dark academia fashion pieces (especially basics) that are just incredibly affordable.

I typically search dark academia using the search function. Right now, there are over 480 options available. Click here for a link to the search.

Now, I wouldn’t go crazy buying everything on Shein. Because the quality can be hit or miss, I’m pretty picky about what I purchase. I also make sure that I get a large enough order to earn free shipping and free returns since I almost always need to make returns.

Click here for a post I recently wrote all about my experience with Shein.

My favorite academic pieces on Shein include sweater vests, cardigans, turtlenecks, dresses, and skirts. The skirts are especially darling (I love the plaid and tweed options) and most of them are under $10!

Click here to shop dark academia fashion on Shein.

Pricing: Shein is by far the cheapest on this list. Most items come in at well under $20. Occasionally, you’ll spend more, but you can easily place an order for 20+ items and only spend $250.

These are my 11 favorite stores for dark academia fashion pieces! Someday soon, I’m sure we’ll have entire sections dedicated to dark academia fashion at most large stores and boutiques, but for now, this is what we’ve got.

Are you a fan of dark academia blog posts? Let me know in the comments and if there’s enough interest, I’m happy to write more!

 

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