Fashion Clothing Light Academia Is the Style Likely to Dominate the Fashion World It's sweet and soft like cottagecore, but with a preppy twist. By Samantha Sutton Samantha Sutton Instagram Samantha is InStyle's senior fashion editor. She joined the brand in 2019 and oversees the site's fashion coverage, including trend reporting, fashion exclusives, celebrity style interviews, and Fashion Week coverage. InStyle's editorial guidelines Updated on October 24, 2022 @ 02:34AM Pin Share Tweet Email Photo: Getty Images/InStyle I, a self-proclaimed whimsical fashion lover, will likely always own a puff-sleeved smock dress and enjoy bow embellishments. But, as trends move forward, another Internet-famous aesthetic has bubbled up to the top, threatening to replace all things regenycore, balletcore, and cottagecore in my wardrobe. Light academia continues to trend among fashion influencers and "soft girls," thus influencing my own shopping list and outfit choices. If the name sounds familiar, that's because the light academia trend has been on-the-rise. You also might be familiar with its sister trend dark academia, which embraces schoolcore to its fullest, combining structured blazers and button-downs with plaid skirts, sleek trousers, and bulky boots. In short, the look is basically what a brooding, mysterious cool kid would wear in a magical YA novel. Regencycore Is the Fancy, Regal Fashion Trend We've Been Waiting For Getty Images However, light academia is a bit more romantic. While there's still the whole preppy vibe, the pieces are looser and softer, and the preferred color palette also tends to be a bit lighter. Instead of favoring shades of gray and black, it's all about the beiges, whites, and, for spring and summer, the pastels. Think optimistic, super sweet main character, who enjoys reading books under a tree in a cozy sweater. Clearly, I could write a novel based on this whole look — or I can give you actual visuals, courtesy of street-style photos. The good news is, if you've been recreating Kendall Jenner's vest outfits and invested in a tennis skirt after that whole '90s resurgence, you're pretty much ready to recreate these outfits using the pieces you already own. 13 Ideas For How to Color Coordinate Your Closet and Keep Your Clothes Organized 01 of 09 Break Out the Tennis Skirt Getty Images Preferably one that's in a lighter colorway, like beige or white. Then, pair it with a floral sweater or even a polo shirt to make the look complete. Jennifer Lopez Is Correct — 2022 Is the Year of the Maxi Skirt 02 of 09 Slip On a Pair of Loafers Getty Images A platform option will really pop against the crisp, classic basics that help make up this trend, and will look extra sweet when styled with a simple shirtdress. 03 of 09 Try a Pair of Mary Janes Getty Images Give your go-to puff-sleeve dresses a schoolgirl twist by wearing them with crew socks and Mary-Janes — aka babydoll shoes — instead of your favorite sneakers. 04 of 09 Say Yes to Khakis Getty Images By adding beige or cream trousers to your outfit, you're halfway there when it comes to nailing the light academia aesthetic. A baggy blazer or collared shirt will help complete the look. Malia Obama Channeled Her Dad in Khaki Pants 05 of 09 Layer with a Sweater Vest Getty Images The light academia trend favors soft, cozy items that still feel somewhat polished, so you'll definitely way to invest in knit staples. A Kendall Jenner-approved sweater vest is an easy layer that instantly amps up any basic outfit, adding an academic twist. Plus, on warmer days, you can even wear this piece as a shirt. 06 of 09 Knot a Sweater Around Your Shoulders Getty Images Aside from being a famous prep school styling trick, it's also a convenient way to carry around that extra emergency layer. 07 of 09 Add a Sweatshirt Getty Images Combined with collared designs, solid sweatshirts, and especially those with text and logos on them, create a school uniform-like look. Complete with your khakis or plaid skirt, and you'll look ready for class — in a good way. 08 of 09 Make Use of Your Cottagecore Staples Getty Images Puff sleeves, big collars, elaborate headbands, and bows are all details that still work for the light academia trend. The key is to balance them out with structured designs, like a pleated skirt or long khaki shorts. Since Miu Miu's Micro Mini Is Trending, Here Are 9 Pleated Skirt Outfits to Wear Now 09 of 09 Layer With a Large Button-Down Getty Images This timeless wardrobe staple is extremely versatile. While you can tuck or tie it to enhance your outfit, or spice things up by unfastening a few buttons, another way to wear one is by layering it over your outfit. Think of this piece as a replacement for a cardigan or light jacket.