Skip to main contentSkip to footer

On Wednesday the Princess of Wales visited the Vsi Razom Community Hub - a support centre in Bracknell, Berkshire that helps Ukrainian families who have settled in the area.

Kate helped pack donations of essential items such as food, clothes and toiletries with young Ukrainians who have moved to the UK in the last year, which will then be transported to Ukraine to those affected by the conflict in the country.

The Princess' recent style agenda has suggested she's a fan of the ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’ rule, by wearing numerous different trouser suits over the last month, which exude a sense of appropriateness - not matter the occassion. But she opted for a radically different look for today’s outing and her simple transitional weather jumper is utterly TikTok approved.

MORE: Princess Kate just wore the most surprising suit trend of 2023 

READ: The Core glossary: From Barbiecore to Coquettecore and more 

The Princess of Wales wears a sweater vest and matching tailored trousers for a royal engagement in Bracknell© Chris Jackson
The Princess of Wales wore a sweater vest and matching tailored trousers for a royal engagement in Bracknell

Kate wore the chicest grey sweater vest from cool-girl label Cefinn, layered over a white long-sleeved shirt with the collar peeking out, and paired with grey tweed straight-leg trousers. 

The Princess’ tonal outfit combines luxury minimalism with the preppy, school uniform-like trend that TikTok’s fashion subcultures have named the 'academia' aesthetic.

BRACKNELL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04: Catherine, Princess of Wales smiles as she arrives for her visit to Vsi Razom Community Hub, in the Lexicon Shopping Centre, on October 04, 2023 in Bracknell, England.  The Princess was there to hear about the work the organisation has been doing to support those who have arrived in the local area from Ukraine as a result of the ongoing conflict. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)© Chris Jackson
The Princess wore the chicest all-grey ensemble

What is the 'Dark Academia' aesthetic?

The trend name is pretty self-explanatory (unlike normcore, clean girl or tomato girl perhaps) and encapsulates the polished, put-together aesthetic that is reminiscent of school or university (be that as either the teacher or the student). Think tapered trousers, collared shirts under knitted vests, pleated skirts, loafers and plenty of tweed.

Dark academia is the specific term used for outfits donned in hues of brown, dark greys, navy and black, whereas Kate’s outfit slots into ‘light academia’ category - more airy colours like light greys, pastel blues and white or creams. 


Do you like light or dark academia outfits? 📖🤎Let us know in the comment👇 #nakdfashion #benakd #academia #fitspo

♬ original sound - nakdfashion

As of October 2023, the #darkacademiaaesthetic has 710m on Tiktok, whilst #lightacademia has 725 million, proving the stratospheric influence of the school preppy trend. Hailey Bieber nailed the trend in a pleated skirt and jumper street style look recently, whilst Jenna Ortega’s style both off-screen and as Wednesday in the hit Netflix series encapsulates the desired look.

Princess Kate surprised us with her new look today but proved she’s absolutely always on trend, whatever she wears.