Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Function of Robes

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    circlemidnight
    Guest

    Function of Robes

    I'm wondering about the usage of robes long ago, especially in Victorian and Rococo times, where everything was over the top. I remember that robes wore worn over Muggle clothes for the Trio, but it seems impractical for the Marie Antoinette dresses. I'm confused and need help on this!

  2. #2
    The Salt Lake Queen
    Guest
    To me, robes seem to be capable of functioning in a similar way to dresses - just look at the creativity of Yule Ball costumes. On the other hand, the whole point of robes is that they're traditional garb. They've been worn among Muggles for centuries, for various reasons, and the design hasn't changed a whole lot.

    And then you think about the ghosts: Nearly Headless Nick dresses more like a Muggle of the 15th century than a typical robed wizard.

    My suggestion would be a mixture of the two. Wizards, despite their lack of understanding of Muggle culture, do borrow an awful lot from it, and it seems probable that their fashion sense through the ages would be influenced by the Muggle to some extent. Robes are a versatile garment - they can be embellished, decorated, reshaped for the wearing of fashion-conscious historical witches and wizards.

    The big question in my mind is corsetry. Would they or wouldn't they?

  3. #3
    sorrow_of_severus
    Guest
    originally posted by circlemidnight
    I'm wondering about the usage of robes long ago, especially in Victorian and Rococo times, where everything was over the top. I remember that robes wore worn over Muggle clothes for the Trio, but it seems impractical for the Marie Antoinette dresses. I'm confused and need help on this!
    Most people seem to think that Muggle clothes are worn under robes, but I don't remember that being mentioned once during the books. Remember, in the first book, Hermione says that they will soon be at Hogwarts, so the boys need to change into their robes. Of course, there could be more formal Muggle clothes worn under robes instead of jeans and t-shirts, but I think that if that were part of the uniform, it would need to be purchased. If it needed to be purchased, it should be on the Hogwarts letter. When Harry gets his Hogwarts letter, the clothing section reads
    UNIFORM
    First-year students will require:
    1. Three sets of plain work robes (black)
    2. One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
    3. One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
    4. One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings

    -Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, p. 66, American edition, hardcover
    Therefore, it seems to me that the robes themselves are the clothing, not something to be worn over clothing. The idea that Muggle clothing is worn under robes seems to me to be drawn from the movies/fanon, not canon.

    My conclusion about Muggle clothing not being worn over robes can be backed up by wizard's knowledge (or lack thereof) about Muggle clothing. When the Quidditch World Cup occurs, one of the few people to pull of the look of a Muggle is Mr. Crouch. Most other witches and wizards look ridiculous. The same can be said of Order members when they visit Grimmauld Place during OotP. If they are wearing Muggle clothing under their robes every day, why aren't they more familiar with how it should look? So if adults' robes aren't worn over Muggle clothing, why would kids' robes be?

    Of course, since everyone seems to think that robes are worn over Muggle-style clothes, I may be missing something here. If anyone knows that I am in fact wrong about clothing not being worn under robes, feel perfectly free to correct me.

  4. #4
    SilverLily_13
    Guest
    Most people seem to think that Muggle clothes are worn under robes, but I don't remember that being mentioned once during the books.... Therefore, it seems to me that the robes themselves are the clothing, not something to be worn over clothing.... If they are wearing Muggle clothing under their robes every day, why aren't they more familiar with how it should look? So if adults' robes aren't worn over Muggle clothing, why would kids' robes be?
    I agree! Except there are a few exceptions. The Weasleys for instance usually wear Muggle clothes--the kids do, at any rate. The books may say so, but I'm not sure. JKR says the Weasleys do wear Muggle clothing frequently (on her website in the section about the Weasley family specifically) and that's partly why they're known as "blood traitors". Also, Ms. Weasley knits her children sweaters. :) (I find that so sweet!) I'm sure wizards wear sweaters... but they'd have to wear them under their robes, or with pants. (I'd certainly hope they all wear pants under their robes! I mean... that could turn out badly in some cases, if not.)

    So I believe it depends on the individual wizard, whether they wear anything under their robes.

    I think, in regards to your question specifically circlemidnight, that in times where the Muggle fashion was very extravagant, wizards would probably have had extravagant fashions as well! Dress robes from the Yule Ball had to originate somewhere, right? I'm sure there was a time when the dress robes were considered every-day wear. They may have looked very similar to the Muggle gowns and such, but with little twists like, I don't know--enchanted birds on their hats that would burst into song? Ribbons that would readjust when they came undone? I assume they'd have taken the mundane Muggle fads and made them magical.

    Then again, there is the chance that wizards were in hiding too often to have developed a fashion scene of their own, and the Yule Ball dress robes were inspired after that era in Muggle history had passed. Wizards may have always simply had robes, plain old boring robes, because they couldn't afford to draw too much attention, what with being hunted and burned at the stake and all. If you've read the Tales of Beedle the Bard, it mentions that often wizards were in hiding, or pretending to be simple-minded servants to avoid being turned in to the authorities of the day (see 'Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump' commentary! at least, I think it's there...).

    Anyway, I think you pretty much have free rein over how wizards dress. If in your mind, they magicked the enormous, unruly dress skirts to stay under their robes, then say that's how it was! (I don't think that men would have had an issue with wearing robes over their clothing though. Tights wouldn't exactly have gotten in the way, would they? The huge puffy sleeves are something else altogether, however.)

    Hope this hectic and extremely long post was of some small help!

    ~SilverLily_13

  5. #5
    sorrow_of_severus
    Guest
    originally posted by SilverLily_13
    I agree! Except there are a few exceptions. The Weasleys for instance usually wear Muggle clothes--the kids do, at any rate. The books may say so, but I'm not sure. JKR says the Weasleys do wear Muggle clothing frequently (on her website in the section about the Weasley family specifically) and that's partly why they're known as "blood traitors". Also, Ms. Weasley knits her children sweaters. (I find that so sweet!) I'm sure wizards wear sweaters... but they'd have to wear them under their robes, or with pants. (I'd certainly hope they all wear pants under their robes! I mean... that could turn out badly in some cases, if not.)

    So I believe it depends on the individual wizard, whether they wear anything under their robes.
    I'm just going on memory here, but I think it's mentioned in the first or second book that the Weasley kids tend to wear Muggle-style clothes during holidays from school, but Mr. and Mrs. Weasley still tend to wear robes. As for the sweaters, I don't know if they were intended to be worn under robes. They could be meant more as cozy weekend wear in a drafty castle. As for pants under robes...
    Snape had directed his wand straight at James; there was a flash of light and a gash appeared on the side of James's face, spattering his robes with blood. James whirled about; a second flash of light later, Snape was hanging upside down in the air, his robes falling over his head to reveal skinny, pallid legs and a pair graying underpants.

    -Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, p. 647, American edition, hardcover
    As far as I know, this is the only passage in the series that directly deals with what is (or isn't) worn under robes. Because of it, I would assume that the lack of pants under the robes would be typical for two reasons.

    First, if it pants were a required part of the school uniform, Snape would have to have been wearing them. Even if pants were merely customary, not mandatory, Snape probably would have been wearing them. They would have probably have been raggedly old cast-offs from his father, but Snape's memories from the Pensieve scene in DH shows that he does own Muggle clothes.

    Second, the funny part about Snape hanging upside down in midair is seeing his scrawny legs and worn-out underwear. If people usually wore pants under their robes, James would have assumed that Snape would have been wearing them. He probably found another way to him. (Using a Vanishing Spell on Snape's clothes, perhaps?)

    Yes, the lack of pants under robes turned out very badly in this case. However, if Snape hadn't been humiliated in the way he was, he might have never called Lily a Mudblood. Who knows what ramifications that might have had. Lily and Snape might have stayed friends, or their friendship would have ended differently, at least. That could have affected if or when Lily and James got together and if or when Snape became a Death Eater. Harry Potter may not have ever been born, or may at least had a very different life. All this just because of the lack of pants under robes. Little things do make a difference.

    originally posted by Salt Lake Queen
    And then you think about the ghosts: Nearly Headless Nick dresses more like a Muggle of the 15th century than a typical robed wizard.
    Nearly Headless Nick's full name is Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington. "Sir" is a title that denotes knighthood. Since their seems to be no royals, nobles, lord, or the like in the wizarding, it seems likely to me that Sir Nicholas was knighted by a Muggle king. He could have served in the court of that king, since he died a full two centuries before the International Statute of Secrecy went into effect in 1692. That would explain Nearly Headless Nick's interest during CoS in joining the Headless Hunt, as hunting was a widespread pastime of the kings' courts during his Nick's lifetime. If Nick had served a king, he probably would have dressed like others in the court, not as a wizard.

    Oh, and where is Nick's clothing described in the books, anyways? Am I forgetting where it is, or are you just assuming how Nearly Headless Nick looks in the movies is also how J.K. Rowling pictured him, Salt Lake Queen?

    Specifically on the subject of dress robes, I think that wizards (at least the ones in Europe) have been wearing robes for a long time, at least since the Middle Ages. As Muggle fashion evolved, the magical community just stuck with their robes. For wizards and witches, robes are everyday where, and dress robes are just a fancier version of them. Dress robes are probably made of nicer fabrics and may be cut differently than regular robes.

    originally posted by circlemidnight
    I'm wondering about the usage of robes long ago, especially in Victorian and Rococo times, where everything was over the top.
    I doubt that witches a hundred years ago or so would be trying to get a dress with a big hoop skirt under their dress robes. First off, why cover such a lovely dress? However, I doubt such a thing was in fashion for witches. At the time, purebloods were the ones in the magical community with money and power, so they probably set the standards of dress. Since they despised Muggles, it's highly unlikely that they'd want to imitate their clothing. I think they probably would have favored dress robes, since they hark back to an older time where the magical community had much more power/

    I think that wizards (at least the ones in Europe) have been wearing robes for a long time, at least since the Middle Ages. As Muggle fashion evolved, the magical community just stuck with their robes. For wizards and witches, robes are everyday where, and dress robes are just a fancier version of them. Dress robes are probably made of nicer fabrics and may be cut differently than regular robes.

  6. #6
    Hopeful_song
    Guest
    I agree, I think Muggle clothes under robes are a fanon derived from the movies. For example, in the Quidditch World Cup, when Harry and Ron are in line to get water, there's a wizard in front of them wearing a nightgown. He was arguing with another wizard who tried explaining that Muggle women wore it he responded that he liked "a healthy breeze around [his] privates". This with Snape's Worst Memory shows us that only underwear is worn under the robes.

    It's always bothered me when in fics authors put the characters in rock t-shirts and jeans when in their homes, especially Draco or any of the Malfoys for the matter. Sometimes they put them in more classier clothes, but still, the fact of the matter is that a Malfoy would never be caught dead wearing Muggle clothes, much less in their own house.

    ~ Samarie

  7. #7
    HARRYHARRYHARRYs_twin
    Guest
    As far as I know, this is the only passage in the series that directly deals with what is (or isn't) worn under robes.
    False. In GoF, we have one of my favoured characters, Archie, with his infamous line, "I like a healthy breeze 'round my privates, thanks."

    Oh, and where is Nick's clothing described in the books, anyways?
    I'm not sure of the exact place, but I'm fairly sure we get a base description of his clothes in the books. Ah, yes. GoF/OotP. The Lexicon says:
    Nick wears a doublet, a dashing plumed hat, and a tunic with a ruff to hide the fact that his head is nearly severed.
    By his dates, we can assume he was a wizard in the court of Henry VII, and he was executed for witchcraft (not stated in the books, but on Jo's website she posted the Ballad of Nearly Headless Nick). If any ghost has the right to wear Muggle clothes, it's him. And on this topic, I find it interesting that all the House ghosts have a Muggle title in their names - The Fat Friar, Nearly Headless Nick, the Grey Lady, and the Bloody Baron. Makes you think about what things were like back around 1000 AD, doesn't it?

    To address this question, we first need to understand two things. The wizarding world is very different from the Muggle world, and with time comes change.

    I doubt the wizarding world ever went to such extremeties as Muggle fashion has. The wizard view of women has been very different from Muggles in the past. Women are on much more equal footing, so they wouldn't be constricted in the same ways. Why should witches be forced into corsets when they can be just as active and powerful as warlocks? Back in the 1700s, there was at least one witch high up in the Ministry, if I remember correctly from Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them.

    The wizards have slowly become more, for lack of a better word, similar to Muggles around Harry's time. It seems like Arthur and Molly's generation wore robes as casual wear, but the Weasley children as well as Tonks all wear Muggle clothes over vacations and in casual situations.

    For witches, robes are essentially dresses. They could be similar to Muggle fashions of the times (For example, any wizards arriving in America with the Puritans might dress in similar colours and styles), but probably allowed for more freedom of movement. These women could hold important, active jobs, and their clothes needed to do more than look pretty. And, of course, there's always the opportunity for decorations. I'm sure men's fashions were more plain, and looser all around. They'd probably stick with darker colours, leaving the brighter stuff for the women.

    Isn't there three basic types of robes? There's 'work robes', like are required for Hogwarts, dress robes for fancy occasions, and there's got to be another, which is just for day-to-day wearing. Work robes would be frequently black, I'd assume, so they wouldn't show stains (though we do see differently with the Magical Maintenance department at the Ministry, with their blue robes). Formal robes can be anything. We don't get great descriptions of them from the books other than colour (as Harry is our focus, and I doubt he was worrying about cuts and styles during the Yule Ball). Casual robes would, I assume, bridge the gap left in clothing. They'd be the jeans and a shirt of wizarding clothes.

    xxSelina

  8. #8
    First Year Gryffindor
    Setting Snakes on Hapless Relatives
    Mina's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    18
    Quote Originally Posted by sorrow_of_severus
    My conclusion about Muggle clothing not being worn over robes can be backed up by wizard's knowledge (or lack thereof) about Muggle clothing. When the Quidditch World Cup occurs, one of the few people to pull of the look of a Muggle is Mr. Crouch. Most other witches and wizards look ridiculous. The same can be said of Order members when they visit Grimmauld Place during OotP. If they are wearing Muggle clothing under their robes every day, why aren't they more familiar with how it should look? So if adults' robes aren't worn over Muggle clothing, why would kids' robes be?
    I'd just like to posit a little theory that I've been kicking around: perhaps wizards' inability to wear Muggle clothing properly is willful. Muggles vastly outnumber wizards; it's impossible for a wizard to completely avoid seeing them. And given that the wizarding community is legally obliged to hide its existence from Muggles, the logical thing to do would be to learn how to blend in with them. And yet many wizards - particularly older generations, from what we've seen - are simply incapable. So either (a) all those witches and wizards wearing ponchos and kilts are morons or (b) they don't want to blend in.

    If you figure that Voldemort and the Death Eaters were more of a symptom of a growing anti-Muggle, anti-Muggle-born movement than the cause of it, then for perhaps the past 100 years wizards have become increasingly disdainful of anything Muggle. So perhaps angry pureblood wizards would start to mismatch their Muggle clothing when forced to wear it as a way of stating their utter disgust and disregard for Muggle ways of doing things, and that trend caught on and trickled down through wizarding culture until, by the 90s, it was mostly subconscious - wizards simply thought it natural to ignore Muggle fashion. I can imagine wizards taking a bit of pride in looking at a pile of Muggle clothing and not having the least idea of what to do with it. Mr. Crouch, on the other hand, would be much too no-nonsense to bow to that kind of social pressure, and would have done the morally / legally correct thing of observing and precisely copying Muggles.

    If that's the case, then it seems most likely that wizards in other countries might be better at dressing Muggle, and might even wear Muggle clothing under/instead of robes. I mean, if only for the comfort factor - pants are just so much warmer than a big flowy skirt when a draft comes along. And in places where it's very hot, long dark robes certainly can't be standard.

    Also, in OotP, Tonks was wearing a Weird Sisters' T-shirt. Unless it's home made (which would be a bit stupid, since she'd only be able to wear it around Muggles who wouldn't get the reference), that means the Weird Sisters' sold T-shirts and expected their fans to want to wear them. I suppose they could be radical blood traitors or something, but then why wouldn't there be an uproar from the conservative purebloods when they were hired to play the Yule Ball? So my guess is that about Tonks generation and younger were, for the most part, becoming more accepting of and interested in Muggle clothing.

    I don't know anything about the history of fashion, but I would guess that wizarding robes share a common origin with the robes of priests and monks and the white lab coats doctors and sometimes students wear. Wizards obviously considered themselves a highly educated society if every single witch and wizard went to school for seven years from at least the 10th/11th century on. So the robes would have been a symbol of their superior social status among Muggles. But once wizards went into hiding, the robes become meaningless - they're just traditional. I can certainly understand wizards continuing to wear robes in an academic setting (don't Oxford students still wear robes or something like that to take their final exams?) - but wearing robes every other day of a wizard's overly-long life? Robes don't offer much room for innovation in terms of fashion before they become dresses, and fashion has always been an art form for those with any kind of free time. I can see two forces dictating wizarding fashion: one set by the wealthy purebloods that consists mostly of elaboration on clothing of the past generation and is imitated by other wizards; the other would be Muggle elements of clothing introduced by Muggle-borns/half-bloods that would slowly trickle up to purebloods. So wizarding fashion might be superficially very different from the contemporary Muggle wear, but be actually based on Muggle styles from several decades previous. The anti-Muggle movement of the 20th century could account for a quick reversion to conservative robes even as everyday clothing for most wizards, but perhaps in the centuries before, witches were wearing elaborate dresses and wizards were wearing something similar to pants.

  9. #9
    The Salt Lake Queen
    Guest
    I doubt the wizarding world ever went to such extremeties as Muggle fashion has. The wizard view of women has been very different from Muggles in the past. Women are on much more equal footing, so they wouldn't be constricted in the same ways. Why should witches be forced into corsets when they can be just as active and powerful as warlocks? Back in the 1700s, there was at least one witch high up in the Ministry, if I remember correctly from Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them.
    Hmm, I'm not actually convinced that the wizarding world was necessarily more free of sexism than the Muggle world. There was the odd witch who assumed a powerful position in government, but same-same in the Muggle world - it's a modern myth that no woman ever held power before Germaine Greer showed up. And the fact that witches could be just as active and powerful as warlocks doesn't solve gender bias, because Muggle women can be every bit as clever and active and skilled as Muggle men but that didn't mean an end to sexism.

    I mean, I'm with you to an extent. We certainly don't have any information that there was ever a women's liberation movement among witches, or that sexism ever entered the public consciousness in the way it did in our society. But as far as I can tell, HP is modelled off a patriarchal society, which puts the women at an automatic disadvantage.

    Which is a long-winded way of saying I don't think corsetry is automatically ruled out for the wizarding population.

    I can see two forces dictating wizarding fashion: one set by the wealthy purebloods that consists mostly of elaboration on clothing of the past generation and is imitated by other wizards; the other would be Muggle elements of clothing introduced by Muggle-borns/half-bloods that would slowly trickle up to purebloods. So wizarding fashion might be superficially very different from the contemporary Muggle wear, but actually based on Muggle styles from several decades previous. The anti-Muggle movement of the 20th century could account for a quick reversion to conservative robes even as everyday clothing for most wizards, but perhaps in the centuries before, witches were wearing elaborate dresses and wizards were wearing something similar to pants.
    That sounds really good to me. Also, I'm thinking that there is a possibility robes became everyday wear because of the International Statute of Secrecy. If wizards were able to live and work alongside Muggles in days past, their cultures would mingle - that's generally what happens in such circumstances. The ISS isolated wizards from the Muggle world, and in retreating off to their own world it's easy to see how their fashion would start to diverge very dramatically from that of Muggles. They had to foster their own identity, apart from Muggles. Prior to that, if they were integrated into the Muggle community then, while they may well have worn robes as status symbols, there would also have been a lot more room to play around with Muggle fashion.

    And, as Mina says, fashion is what happens when people have time to kill. Wizards with time to kill would surely get tired of wearing only robes, all the time.

  10. #10
    Fifth Year Gryffindor
    I See Dead People... In Mirrors
    msk8's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Tunneling out of my Homework
    Posts
    225
    I suspect old robes, at least for more pureblood wealthy types, would probably be only slightly different from the dress robes worn by people to Bill and Fleur's wedding and the Yule ball. They'd probably be fancier and more extravagant with a lot of embriodery and brocade. Also, Ron's dress robes for the Yule ball are secondhand and frilly, so I would guess that they're supposed to be really old-fashioned, so maybe old robes would be something like that, but probably with a bit better taste. And, about undergarments, Sirius says he found Kreacher crying over his mother's old bloomers, and since that's basically old fasioned underwear that muggles wore too, I suspect that corsets were worn.
    Kinda really hiatus-y at present.
    And Julia, this avatar is really pretty. Je l'adore.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •