Before you go mourning the loss of your summer wardrobe, think of all the cable knit sweaters, plaid wool skirts, turtlenecks, and leather jackets you’ll be jumping into this fall. A cozy autumnal vibe indeed, this is commonly referred to as the “Rory Gilmore aesthetic” in honor of the many cable-knit pullovers and chevron sweater vests donned by the younger protagonist in the hit TV series Gilmore Girls.
It’s been over 20 years since the show first aired, but interest in Rory’s fashion style has only increased in demand. American clothing retailer Boohoo reports that the search term “Rory Gilmore aesthetic” has seen a surge of 402% on TikTok, and remember that oversized cream-colored cable knit sweater Rory always wore in Season 1? It’s seen a resurgence of 910% on Pinterest.
Fisherman sweaters aside, there’s a particular subset of Rory’s closet that the internet is obsessing over: “dark academia.” According to Boohoo, “dark academia aesthetic is a romanticization of studying and going back to school or university, typically popular during colder, gloomier months.” The aesthetic leans into plaids, maroons, dark greens, browns, blacks, and anything that embodies “prep.” Sounds like Rory, don’t you think?
From oversized sweaters and plaid skirts to sweater dresses and suede boots, here are a few fashion staples that lean into both the Rory Gilmore aesthetic and dark academic trend.
1. A Classic Oversized Cable-Knit Sweater
You can’t call yourself a real Gilmore Girls fan and not own a baggy cable knit sweater, a là the queen of knitted sweaters, Rory Gilmore. This cozy number pairs best with a chunky book and hot cup of coffee.
2. A Signature Cozy Cardigan
If you prefer open cardigans to pullover sweaters, this cardigan may make a great addition to your wardrobe. It has pockets and buttons so you can wear it open or partially closed. The dark green, black, coffee, dark purple, and navy color options would all match the dark academia aesthetic.
3. An Easy (But Chic) Mock Turtleneck
For last-minute errands and mornings where your snooze button gets the best of you, it’s always handy to have a slew of basic long-sleeve tops you can throw on as you’re running out of the door. Plus, you’ll need something to wear under all those oversized cardigans in your cart. *Wink, wink.*
4. This Dreamy Sweater Dress
We love sweater dresses because you can dress them up or down. For a more work-appropriate look, pair the dress with tights and a cute pair of booties. If you’re going out, add a belt to accentuate your waist and don knee-high boots. Conversely, you can dress it down with sneakers.
5. An Argyle Sweater Vest Straight Out of Rory’s Wardrobe
This preppy sleeveless sweater vest screams Rory Gilmore. The designer has nearly 40 patterns and colors to choose from, but this purple and red combo is my favorite.
6. The Pocketed Plaid Wool Skirt Your Bookish Heart Deserves
Lorelai wishes she had this wool skirt. Available in a variety of sizes and colors, the skirt features an A-line figure, an elastic waist (as if we need to say more), and pleats for added movement. Plus, pockets!
7. A Ruby Red Wool Trench Coat
Real Gilmore Girl fans may remember the ruby red peacoat Rory donned during Seasons 5 and 6. This red wine, double-breasted wool jacket is a dupe everyone will be talking about. It has deep pockets, a belt, and a collar to protect you from harsh weather.
8. A Sweater Vest You Can Wear ~Everywhere~
So you like the idea of a sweater vest, but aren’t fond of chevron patterns? This loose-fitted, cable knit v-neck is the answer to your sweater vest prayers. You can wear it as is or pair it with a white collar button down.
9. Chunky Block Heel Ankle Booties to Pull It All Together
Alright, no Rory Gilmore or dark academia ensemble is complete without a pair of suede booties. We don’t need to tell you that black goes with everything, but in case you already own a pair of trusty black boots, there are five other colors to pick from.
10. An All-Seasons Plaid Overall Dress
Skirts aren’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in all the plaid fun there is to be had. However you style this dress — whether it be with tights and a t-shirt or a fitted turtleneck — this dress can carry you from fall to winter to spring.
11. A Faux Leather Blazer That’s Giving Lorelai
The characters of Stars Hollow live for their leather blazers, and they look good doing it. This pleather jacket has a classic style: fitted in the shoulders and loose everywhere else. It’s not oversized nor made of super stretchy material. So, if you’re more into the baggy look or plan on layering with thick sweaters, you may want to order a size up.
12. Fall’s Quintessential Cable-Knit Sweater Dress
The thigh-high slit in this dress would cause Emily Gilmore and the DAR to do a double take, but Lorelai would say all the more power to you! The style also makes it so you can wear ankle or knee-high boots.
13. Boots With a Bit of Sass
Made with faux crocodile leather, LifeStride Women's Stratford boots are fierce. You can play both sides of the field with the dark chocolate brown color, whether you’re wearing all black or beige. The heel is a little under three inches.
14. A Comfy Crewneck You Can Dress Up or Down
Pair it with off-white cargo pants and sneakers for an easy fall look. Conversely, you can opt for fitted light wash jeans and brown or black heeled boots for a girls' night out.
15. Perfectly Plaid Wide-Leg Pants
Rory loves her plaid, which is so dark academia of her. These pants are super versatile: perfect for the office, going out, running errands, and school events. And there are 30+ colors and patterns to choose from, so you could technically wear a different pair every day and not be an outfit repeater.