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Hogwarts Bears
Posted on Thursday 22 February 2007 at 12:30 am

Ponderings on Wizarding Clothing

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As an undeniable Harry Potter geek, I've spent more time than I should admit pondering what exactly witches and wizards do or do not wear under their robes. Tonight I had a new thought which just confused me even more.

I remember when the first film was released there was big hoopla over the Hogwarts uniforms. I didn't have a problem with them, but some people were really opposed to the idea of students wearing uniforms under their robes. People rather vehemently argued that Harry is told to purchase three black robes, which are intended to be his uniform. There was debate as to whether students would wear "normal" clothing under the robes or nothing beyond normal undergarments, but the main wank was in regards to uniforms. Fortunately the fervor over that has died down over the years.

Back when the DA publicity photo was released, I asked why it was that Ginny is wearing trousers in that photo when every female student in the movies, including Ginny at all other times and all the other girls at that moment, always wears a skirt. I'm still bothered by this but it is a minor issue.

Within the book verse, I've often pondered the question of Wizarding dress. There has been evidence that Wizards don't wear "normal" clothing under their robes. Harry's thought, at Uncle Vernon's questioning, that he'd never seen Molly or Arthur in anything the Dursley's would consider normal, many Wizards and Witches general ineptitude for dressing Muggle, and the Wizard at the Quidditch World Cup who refused to give up his healthy breeze (suggesting he might prefer commando and literally wearing nothing under his robes) spring readily to my mind. But there is also ample evidence that Wizards and Witches do wear Muggle clothing when not in robes and should be familiar with it. Examples of this would be Tonks in jeans and a t-shirt, Remus frequently described as wearing trousers, and all the Weasley children when not at school.

In addition to general familiarity with Muggle clothing, there is some evidence the students wear something under their robes. When Ron and Harry change into their robes on the train in the first book, it specifies they remove their jackets and pull on their robes with no mention of removing any other articles of their Muggle clothing. I don't remember what it says about changing into robes in any of the other books and I'm quite frankly too tired to look at the moment. I will say I find it hard to believe that the parents and authorities in the Potterverse would plan for preteen and teenage hormone crazed children to arrive at the platform in Muggle dress so as not to draw too much attention and then strip to their undergarments on a coed and largely unsupervised train in order to don their robes. Not gonna happen.

With so much contradictory evidence, I'm a bit confused. I don't know what to assume Witches and Wizards wear under their robes. I've personally always leaned toward the view that Wizards and Witches wear something beyond minimal undergarments under their robes. I think there is better evidence for it and I see nothing sexy about removing a robe and being left in stockings, shoes, and gender appropriate undergarments and nothing else (why do all my arguments in favor of more clothing seem to keep coming back to sex? I'm beginning to think I should have put a rating/warning on this post.). Maybe if you remove the shoes and socks before the robe...

I now have a new problem, brought on by today's photos of a young Snape and MWPP. I was discussing the photos with mrstater when a question suddenly occurred to me: if the students have uniforms on under their robes, how does flipping Snape upside down reveal his underpants? This not only poses a problem for the movie people, but also messes with my whole "they have to wear something under their robes" theory.

Ignoring the fact that I feel a right idiot for never making this connection until the picture of young Snape in a uniform forced it to the forefront of my consciousness today, I can't decide what to do with this new thought and am stuck with several questions.

What are the movie people going to do with this scene (because just being upside down really isn't all that embarrassing if one is wearing trousers)?

What should I think about what Witches and Wizards wear under their robes in general?

Shall I assume Wizards and Witches generally wear robes with only underclothes on underneath? If so, why would any Witches and Wizards wear Muggle clothing at all? Most importantly, why would Remus Lupin, a man with dwindling money and job prospects, buy Muggle clothing in addition to Wizarding clothing? It seems like the expense of two separate wardrobes, one arguably completely unnecessary, would be unjustifiable in his situation. Is Muggle clothing perhaps cheaper, making it cost effective to purchase a robe or two for wearing only when necessary and Muggle clothing for daily wear? Would this also explain the Weasley children?

Shall I assume Wizards and Witches generally do wear something under their robes but Snape didn't in that book scene? If so, why was he not wearing anything other than his shorts?

Shall I assume what to wear under one's robe is entirely a personal choice with a wide range of acceptable options including, but possibly not limited to, nothing, undergarments, and Muggle style clothing? If so, I'm back to the randy teenagers on the train problem.

Thoughts? Comments? Numbers for the local insane asylum because I've clearly lost it, assuming I ever had it to begin with?
Feeling: contemplative
Listening: Superman (It's Not Easy) - Five For Fighting


gijane7702 at 5:45 am on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
I've always written it as that the older or pure-blooded wizards go 'traditional' with their robes. As in they go commando.

But the younger generations and the Muggleborns of the wizarding world they do a combo of robes and clothing. Like in the movies. Cause they might be magical, but Muggleborns arent going from wearing clothes to wearing just robes. And I can see the younger generation following their lead.

Funny...my friend and I were discussing this same thing in YIM earlier!

Here's an icon for you ;)
bratty_jedi at 6:06 am on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
I'm not addicted. I don't know what you're talking about.

Even the women go commando? Wouldn't some type of upper body support be nice? Or is that built in to the robes?

I can buy it for the Muggleborns, but the younger generation following their lead doesn't make sense to me. Why would this generation (or the past couple of generations) suddenly follow the lead of Muggleborns when your implication is that no previous one has? Why would the Weasleys already be wearing Muggle clothes when they'd never had much, if any, contact with Muggles or Muggleborns?
Rainbow Haired Auror
auror_ithilien at 5:57 am on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
It's very clearly mentioned that Harry puts his wand in the pocket of the T-shirt he is wearing under his Quddich robes in PoA, when he first learns to use a patronus.
bratty_jedi at 6:01 am on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
Oh good. More evidence for something under the robes. My preference may be right yet.

Except that could be an exception, just like him having the wand. And it still doesn't explain Snape's lack of trousers.
devonwood at 11:35 am on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
To make it work in the scene, they could flip Snape upside down, and then have his trousers just...fall off, or something, exposing his underwear.

I was always a supporter of they wear uniforms under their robes. Actually, I don't really care much. But it just seemed natural for the characters to wear uniforms. It made it easier to distinguish between minor characters in the movie. But I think Snape would always be one to go commando. ;) I have a feeling that wizards and witches wear normal clothes under their robes, but not normal Muggle clothes. I mean...think of 90's fashion, lol. XD
bratty_jedi at 4:34 pm on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
James threatens to remove Snape's shorts and then the scene ends. I was wondering if the movie people might have James actually remove his trousers, then have Lily interrupt, then James threatens to remove his shorts, then older!Snape grabs Harry. It might work.

Normal clothes but not normal Muggle clothes like what? Do you mean they wear old fashioned clothes, like from another era? Or they wear trousers, skirts, shirts, etc. but they've just developed different fashion wise as a separate and distinct culture? Or they wear some items of clothing but they don't really have counterparts in the Muggle world because the evolutionary paths of Muggle and Wizading clothing diverged so long ago they don't even begin to resemble each other any more?
devonwood at 7:43 pm on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
Not from a different era, per se, but their clothes might be a little behind/ahead of the fashion. Or, there could be a product under the robe that acts as underclothes. Kind of like a skort-- it looks like a skirt, but there are shorts underneath. :)
bratty_jedi at 1:53 am on 23 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
*pictures Remus in a skort*

*dies laughing*
bratanimus at 11:40 am on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
"And it still doesn't explain Snape's lack of trousers."

Perhaps it's seasonal. SWM was at the end of the year when it might be rather warm outside. And if Teen!Snape is prone to sweat (which wouldn't suprise me), he may have chosen not to wear trousers. But even so, wouldn't the robes look rather silly at the bottom when you're sitting at your desk? i.e., there's your hem, there are your shoes and socks, and there are your bare ankles. Not the greatest fashion statement.

I'm glad I saw your post, because I haven't checked Mugglenet in a while and had not seen the NEW PICTURES! Snape works for me. I think Sirius and Peter look fab - very canon in my opinion - but I'm less impressed by James and Remus. James just looks kind of, well, too friendly and perhaps a litle geeky (maybe it's just his posture; he's kind of slouching). And he's got brown hair, not black. And Remus ... well, there's the combover again, prematurely. Argh. Oh well. I guess they had to make sure Sirius was really a lot better looking than the other three. ;)

What do you think of the new pics?
bratty_jedi at 4:38 pm on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
I totally agree with the bare ankles being a poor fashion statement. Another reason I think there must be something under those robes. Anything less is just tacky!

Sweating and personal choice could be possible. How would that play into uniforms, though? If you are required to be in uniform, how much trouble could you get in for not wearing your trousers under your robes? How likely are yo to get caught if a couple of arrogant idiots don't decide to dangle you upside down?
bratanimus at 5:34 pm on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
I agree with you that there should be the school uniform under the robes, and I like how the movies have shown that. (Don't get me started about all the Muggle clothing they seem to wear at all times in films 3 and 4. ;))

I wonder if removal of pants was part of the spell? (I can't remember the name of the spell just now, can you?) I know JKR merely says it turns you upside down, but could pants removal be part of it? Hmm.
bratty_jedi at 5:38 pm on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
I'm OK with them wearing Muggle clothing when not in classes, even when at school.

I don't think so. Harry uses what is presumably the same spell on a sleeping Ron and it flips Ron without removing his pj bottoms.
Rainbow Haired Auror
auror_ithilien at 2:30 am on 23 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
My theory is that Snape is pure blood crazy so it would make sense that he would be a purist when it comes to clothes. Strangely enough my friend brought up this exact topic at lunch today.
Raving Lunatic
molly_coddles at 2:23 pm on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
Easy! Young Snape was wearing a kilt that day. ;)
bratty_jedi at 4:35 pm on 22 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
A kilt! Excellent solution!

That could also work for the gentleman and his breeze.
littlepixiechic at 3:37 am on 23 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
All good points. All points that I have thought about recently and discussed with people at work. See, I always had the feeling through the books that the kids are wearing clothing under their robes, because the train changing scenes in some of the later books are coed (although in the first book when Harry and Ron are going to change into their robes, Ron asks Hermione to leave so they can change. Which is a strange request if they're just pulling robes on over clothes. But in Book 5 Hermione is in the compartment with the boys and they all pull on their robes).

Maybe kids are forced to wear stuff under their robes so you don't have that randy teenager, train, unsupervised situation.
bratty_jedi at 4:04 am on 23 February 2007 (UTC) (Link)
We all know Ron is a bit weird. Maybe that's why he has Hermione leave when all the boys do is remove their jackets?

So is it like some kind of rite of passage? I'm not a randy student anymore, I'm a randy twenty-something so now I don't have to wear anything under my robes if I don't want to?

Of course, I'm still stuck on Snape obviously only wearing shorts under his robes, which is an image I'd really rather not be stuck on. I think I might just have to dismiss it as "Snape is weird."

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