Academia fashion: How to nail that cozy & stylish Zoom look with Naan
“Once you find that staple piece that fits well and makes you feel good, you know you can get through the day.” —Naan
By Samia Abbasi, Editor
In the beginning of the pandemic, we saw alarming statistics of clothing sales decreasing drastically and sweat pant sales increasing significantly. To be honest, I didn’t touch the blouses in my closet for the first couple of months of the pandemic and opted to wear comfortable shirts from my drawers while working from home. Around the same time, I came across Naan (@ba.naan) on TikTok and was obsessed with how badass and creative her outfits are. I was especially excited to see South Asian representation in the TikTok academia fashion & aesthetic space, which I hadn’t really seen before. Naan is a writer, poet, Master’s student, and content creator based in the U.K., who has a growing TikTok community of over 31,000 followers. Her TikToks span topics such as academia fashion, writing, lifestyle, mental health, and more. Get to know more about Naan’s personal style, what academia fashion means to her, and how you can get that cozy, yet put-together Zoom look—nude lipstick rec. included.
Q1. Tell us about yourself, Naan!
I am a 22-year-old South Asian writer and poet, who lives in the U.K. and goes by the name Naan. While working towards my Master’s in International Journalism, I make fashion/styling and study TikToks in my spare time! I’m also working on publishing a poetry collection with my partner this year.
I started making TikTok videos as a joke, because my partner and I used to see TikToks on Instagram all the time. I made my account over holiday break last year, so it's almost going to be a whole year since I've been on TikTok. I never thought that I'd have so many followers as I do now—I was never doing it in a serious way. Now, I love it. The community has been so supportive and uplifting.
If I’m wearing suspenders and a waistcoat, you know I was excited to make that video.
I love creating styling outfits for different moods and recreating outfits from different TV shows and trends I see. I remember seeing one of those “Day in the Life” videos and was excited to make one, too, and that did really well.
Q2. How has your personal style evolved? What are your favorite clothing shops and clothing items?
My style has changed so much, especially over the last couple of months. I love incorporating all kinds of aesthetics, like, “Today I kind of feel like doing cottage core look. Tomorrow, maybe I'll do an alt girl look.” Lately, I’ve been wearing a lot of darker academia looks, which I’ve been loving.
In terms of where I like to shop, I’m in university right now, so I’m a sucker for discounts and sales.
I don't think anything in my closet has been bought at full price; every single item was on discount, from Depop, or from a charity shop.
A go-to place to shop is H&M, because they have a lot of simple pieces for affordable prices. I really love their formal trousers. If I’m going to a charity shop, I’ll often look for brands like H&M. I’m also a huge fan of this brand called Monki. I love a good printed button up shirt, and they have the cutest prints!
One of my favorite clothing items is this pair of thigh high boots that I’ve worn in a couple of my videos. The retail price was for £60, and after a couple of discount codes, I got it for £10!
Q3. So, what is academia fashion?
Academia fashion is a style that incorporates a lot of browns and beiges. In terms of patterns, you see a lot of checks, argyle, gingham, houndstooth. Some of the staple pieces would be: a collared shirt, turtleneck, trench coat, and Mary Janes or loafer. There are so many branches of it—dark academia, art academia, pastel academia, green academia, and more.
What I love about academia fashion is that everybody can find a niche that works for them and still be part of the aesthetic.
It incorporates a lot of knit material and loose-fitted styles, which is super comfortable while studying from home.
Q4. I’m obsessed with your makeup looks on TikTok. What’s your everyday makeup look and products we should check out?
My go-to everyday makeup look is some concealer, eyeliner, and a little bit of lipstick. I love doing orange, pink, and brown eyeshadow looks. It’s hard to find eyeshadow palettes that are pigmented and show up well on darker skin tones. The Morphe 3503 Fierce By Nature Artistry palette has all of my favorite colors and is very pigmented. My other go-to is the Beauty Bay eyeshadow palettes, which are also super pigmented and affordable. Sometimes, I’ll wear really simple makeup and put a bit of glitter on my face. A new favorite product I use to turn my eyeshadows into eyeliner is Inglot Duraline.
In terms of lipsticks, I love a good maroon or nude lipstick. I love the GOSH lipstick in Matt Chestnut (dark pink shade). I wear it all the time! Another lipstick I love that’s a little bit on the expensive side is the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Medium lipstick (a matte warm berry pink shade). It’s the perfect nude shade for me, so it’s worth the money, for sure.
You can watch my quick, everyday makeup routine here.
Q5. What are your style tips for people who want to look good and feel comfortable while they work/study from home?
If you’re in a Zoom meeting, of course, it’s all about the top up. So a lot of times, I’ll put on a nice blouse and just wear shorts as bottoms. Boom! You’ve got a Zoom outfit. Sometimes, I’ll feel like wearing check trousers, so I’ll incorporate a cute, comfy tank-top.
On days when I wake up and it’s almost 9AM and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I have to join a Zoom call!” and have only a little bit of time to get ready, I always put on a liquid eyeliner. I love the NYX Epic Wear Eyeliner; I’m guilty of going to sleep with makeup on, and this one does not budge at all! If you've got the NYX eyeliner on during a Zoom call, it'll make you look ready and awake.
I feel like you can’t go wrong with a classic white button-up shirt. You can wear it with anything. Another clothing item I recommend is a black leather skirt. A good leather skirt with a simple top can make you feel really put together.
Once you find that staple piece that fits so well and makes you feel good, you know you can get through the day.
Cover photo credit: Naan, @naan.b_