Last week, I had a wonderful birthday and then caught a virus, so I was out of commission from Wednesday to Sunday. Since I needed some extra momentum, I decided to do a really fun challenge this week! Fall puts me a bookish adventure mood and October always puts me in a costume frame of mind, so I decided to draw some bookish inspiration from the Harry Potter series.
My challenge: put together an outfit for each of the Hogwarts houses, drawing on the house colors and traits.
Right at the get-go, I’ll fully admit that I’m not a dedicated Potterhead. I just enjoy the books (and most of the movies), so I leave the intensive trivia to my friends. It’s very similar to my relationship with Star Wars. But I do love the whole aesthetic of Hogwarts and the pageantry that comes with school houses and (being me) the costumes are mainly what I remember.
You know those Harry Potter fan friends I told you about? Well, last year one of them threw a theme party where we all were sorted into houses (via a quiz) and I was sorted into Ravenclaw. That’s flattering, because Ravenclaw is the most academic of the houses. Witty, clever, sharp, surprising. Luna Lovegood, my favorite character, comes from Ravenclaw. All very cool. I was happy to start off the week in a Ravenclaw state of mind, because I needed all my wits about me.
The house colors are blue and bronze. Since most of my wardrobe is blue, it wasn’t difficult to put together this outfit.
I wanted this outfit to give academic uniform vibes without looking like a costume. So I kept to a subdued color palette and added texture details. I loved wearing this outfit. The elements are very simple (jeans + sweater + blazer), but it looked sharp and I felt sharper than I had in days. After being home sick, I always feel like my brain is trying to catch up. This was a great way to start the week.
The clothes elements were very basic, so this outfit needed details to make it feel like Ravenclaw. Knit scarves are one of the most iconic elements of Hogwarts uniforms, but I didn’t have four rugby stripe scarves to wear each day. So I chose a gray scarf that reminded me of Hogwarts, but kept with the navy and gray color scheme. The white stripe on the navy sweater also helped give the impression of a school uniform without going into the whole white-collar-with-tie thing. For the bronze accents, I added my favorite heels (a bronzey faux snakeskin pair from Clarks) and some long earrings. Voila! A smart, sharp, blue-and-bronze Ravenclaw look!
I always feel a little sorry for Hufflepuff, the most underappreciated Hogwarts house. It feels like a catchall for the kids nobody else wanted to pick. Ravenclaw for the smart kids, Slytherin for the ambitious kids, Gryffindor for the brave kids……and Hufflepuff takes all the rest. Hufflepuff is the alto section of Hogwarts houses. But looking at the attributes of the house, I want to be more like a Hufflepuff. They are hardworking, loyal, kind, down to earth. They are also great at finding things and keeping plants alive, two attributes that I DESPERATELY WANT, BUT DO NOT HAVE. Some notable Huffles include Cedric Diggory and Newt Scamander, who are two of the kindest and noblest characters we encounter in the magical world. They are in-the-bone kind. I’d rather be kind than clever or powerful or bold. But the good thing is that we don’t have to choose. We can be clever, ambitious, brave, and deeply kind. There’s probably one attribute that we’re more drawn to and one that we need to work on, but they all need each other. Hufflepuff is great. It’s not an afterthought house. Kind, hardworking, loyal people will always be in high demand.
Poor old Hufflepuff – their colors are yellow and black, like a bumblebee. Or a taxi. At least they have a cool house animal, which is a badger. I definitely felt like a honey badger on Tuesday, because honey badger don’t care.
This was the only outfit I needed outside help on, because I don’t own any yellow clothes. But I’ve always admired my sister’s goldenrod yellow sweater and I was curious if the color would suit me. It is pretty adorable. But the adorable sweater is also very warm, which is why I chose to wear a comfy skirt (for the very practical purpose of airflow and not sweating at work). After all, Hufflepuffs are practical and don’t care about looking sleek. I was considering wearing skinny black jeans, because I knew skinny jeans would look better with the sweater, but it was more practical to wear the comfy skirt and not overheat. Admittedly, not the sleekest look, but SO COMFORTABLE. I may have to buy a yellow sweater myself! So cheery and cozy. (But I probably still wouldn’t pair it with black.)
I didn’t have any trouble assembling a Slytherin look. I own a ton of black. I’m also more than a little dramatic and have great villain eyebrows. Also, ambitious and sometimes shrewd. Good at keeping secrets. Yeah, there’s a lot in there. But ambition (and eyebrows) can be used in a positive or negative way. It’s all about who’s in control of who. If my eyebrows and ambition controlled me, I’d be in big trouble. As long my eyebrows and ambition are under control, it’s okay to have copious amounts of them.
I wanted this look to be sleek, strong, and a bit more magical than the last two. Slytherins WANT to use magic and look powerful. Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs could probably adapt pretty well to muggle life, but Slytherins wouldn’t like muggle life at all. The Slytherin colors are green and silver, their animal is the snake. Pretty stereotypical bad guy colors, because the green makes us think of poison and snakes and silver reminds us of the always changing moon and the inconstancy of water. While black isn’t technically part of the color scheme, can you imagine somebody who graduated from Slytherin NOT wearing black? I can’t imagine Professor Snape in any other color. So I chose black as the base, then layered on the green jacket. The jacket isn’t a very strong green, but it green enough and it has a power shoulder that went so nicely with the theme. This jacket is the most wizardly item of clothing I own.
I do wear a lot of black, so I wanted to make this outfit a little more interesting by adding texture. The sequins kept this black on black from looking drab and matte. Also, sequins look like snake scales (very on brand for Slytherin House). The jacket is a faux suede, so that added a little textural dimension as well. I added my favorite black oxfords and a pair of stabby silver earrings that look legitimately dangerous. For added sharpness, I pulled my hair back into a high ponytail and added a little more eyeliner than I would normally use. I’d definitely wear elements of this outfit again, but probably with different earrings (to soften it up a little bit). I love the idea of looking sleek and intimidating, like Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, but it’s not a natural look for me and it usually takes more effort than I want to put into it.
Gryffindors are bold, courageous, nervy, and chivalrous. They are hero material. If Hufflepuff is the alto section of the Hogwarts choir, Gryffindor House is the soprano section. You can always tell where the Gryffindors are, because of all the loud boldness happening. It is easy to get annoyed at Gryffindors and other extroverts, but when I get annoyed at extroverts, the annoyance is tinged with envy. I envy their nerve. I envy their loudness. I wish I had effortless charisma and confidence. Courage does not come naturally to me, but that’s why I work on it. Because a life without courage is a life that never changes. A little more Gryffindor wouldn’t be a bad thing.
I was kind of rushing out the door on Thursday, so I relied on Gryffindor confidence to see me through with this outfit. Fortunately, the Gryffindor colors are red and gold. It’s pretty easy to look confident when you’re wearing bright red. The blazer gave that feeling of a uniform without looking too much like a school child. I wanted my hair to have lots of volume and feel like a lion’s mane, because the Gryffindor animal is a lion. I don’t know how to do good hair and it just turned out normal/sort of curled. But it had a bit more volume than usual and just the knowledge of effort made me feel cute all day, so it was a win.
It’s finally cold enough start wearing these brown boots again and I’m so happy about that. They are sturdy and comfortable and give me so many adventurer-steampunk vibes. I actually forgot to add anything gold, but gold earrings or a cool necklace would have been a great accent to this look. Believe me, I kicked myself when I realized that I had neglected one of the house’s signature colors. But I did wear my glasses, because Harry Potter. The whole idea of this outfit was just to feel confident and courageous and I think it did just that.
Friday: The Monster Book of Monsters
Once I went through all houses, I had an extra day and I decided to go for the gusto and be the Monster Book of Monsters. A magical book about magical beasts. So I had owls on my shirt and dragony shoes and so much faux fur. It was such fun. One thing I realized this week was that I love having a secret, so I just might do it again.