I have a confession to make: I missed out on Harry Potter Mania . In an act of rebellion against the biggest pop culture phenomenon of my generation, I proclaimed that I "wasn't into sci-fi or wizards" and that "the first book bored me, so I'm just going to go back to reading this magazine about the Backstreet Boys." Growing up, I never passed the night racing through a brand new story, never attended a midnight movie release, never played a game of pick-up Quidditch. To the utter disgust of every single one of my friends, I simply did not see the appeal.
Fast-forward to a month before the final book release. Amidst all the hype, I decided to give the series another go. To the surprise of virtually not one person on this planet, I got hooked. I devoured each book in single afternoons (OK, maybe Order of the Phoenix took a little longer), rewarding myself with an evening showing of each subsequent film. I dove deep into fan fiction and conspiracy theories, went down profound YouTube spirals watching interviews with every film star and of course with J.K. Rowling herself. So, despite being incredibly late to the party, I consider myself a pretty legitimate Potterhead.
And, if there is one thing I've learned as a (relative) newcomer into to the Potter universe, it's that every fan has their quirk — has that one thing they obsess over other than the story itself. For me, it's the fashion of Harry Potter. Yes, the fashion. Not only do I think about certain characters as personal fashion icons of sorts, but I also like to have some fun and consider who they would choose for style inspiration. Of specific interest are the various women of the Harry Potter world, for these are women that demonstrate intelligence, confidence, and power to everyone around them, and it would be nice to know how they do it.
Who better to top this list than Ms. Granger, indisputable head of the Harry Potter fashion class? Whether dancing at the the Yule Ball or destroying horcruxes in the Chamber of Secrets, Hermione takes perfection to another level when it comes to always dressing the part. This is a girl who is expertly prepared for journeying through the countryside (killer knits and crafty layering) and sitting through a potions class (intricate robe tailoring and iconic hair) very much in the vain of Emma Watson herself. Maybe it's her Muggle sensibility, but whatever the case, Hermione Granger knows what it means to "dress the part."
When describing Luna Lovegood, J.K. Rowling once stated that she was the "anti-Hermione Granger," providing perhaps the most apt description of the Ravenclaw's eccentric fashion sensibilities, which seem to be the Mary Kate to Hermione's Ashley. From the quirky touches she adds to her Hogwarts uniform to the nymph-like dresses she wears at every formal occasion, Luna allows her free spirt to seep into everything she wears. One could easily she her blending in with the likes of say, Lana del Ray, sporting an over-the-top yet still undeniable fashionable look that proves Quibbler cover-worthy.
Growing up with six brothers must not have been easy, but Ginny Weasley survived to tell the tale, emerging from their shadows with an inspiring confidence and an enviable personal style. Without trying to peg her into the girl-next-door, my best-friend's-little-sister hole, it must be said that Ginny's style is relatable — a casual chill not unlike that of the coolest girl band around, Haim. And like Haim, Ginny has mastered the art of tomboy-chic, in her case an undoubted product of making do with Weasly hand-me-downs. Whatever the circumstances, Ginny finds a way to craft a style all her own — it may not be as perfect as Hermione's or as unconventional as Luna's, but she makes it work.
Oh, Bellatrix. With an all-black wardrobe full of coresets, lace, and leather, the Dark Arts loyalist certainly marches to the beat of her own fashion drum. Her bloodcurdling laughter seems to find a physical manifestation in everything she wears, her inherent craziness (no doubt exacerbated by all those years in Azkaban) evident in each ensemble. She is the Queen of Goth who isn't afraid of a dramatic bold lip and dark smokey eye and who doesn't shy away from a bold accessory or two (or 10). One could imagine Bellatrix looking to women like Vivienne Westwood and even Lorde for some fashion inspiration — sure, they aren't nearly as insane, but their influence can nonetheless be seen in this Dark Queen.
SYBILL PATRICIA TRELAWNEY
To call Sybill Patricia Trelawney "eccentric" would be a gross understatement. The professor definitely leaves an impression upon anyone she meets, entirely unwilling to conform to any standards of typical dress. It's fitting that Trelawney taught her class on the seventh floor, for her earth-toned, Mrs. Roper wardrobe with its over-sized and over-flowing everything and, of course, her Iris Apfel glasses, makes it seem she would be more comfortable teaching her class at the top of a tree.
Fleur is one of those women whose perfection is almost off-putting, whose elegance and style would be something of loathing if she wasn't such a kind person. Hers is a classic beauty very much in the realm of the first Hollywood film stars, with elegant dresses and clean lines a la legends like Audrey Hepburn and Lauren Becall.
When Hagrid called Hufflepuff house a bunch of "duffers," he clearly forgot about Nymphadora Tonks (a.k.a. Tonks), one of the bravest members of the Order of the Phoenix. Such bravery extends to her fearless wardrobe, one characterized by choker necklaces, hoodies, and fuchsia hair. Tonks' pure uniqueness makes it clear that she really doesn't care what you think. Her personal style, characterized by risks and transformations, makes cool girls like Gwen Stefani and Hayley Williams her comparable fashion icons.
Professor McGonagall does not mess around when it comes to anything, personal style included. It doesn't matter if she is teaching Transfiguration class or if she is fighting off Voldemort's Army, McGonagall always maintains an air of dignified authority aided in large part by her classic wardrobe. While the cloaks, turtlenecks, and high witches' hats she wears might not be the most practical attire for an average Muggle, her look nonetheless provides inspiration in its refined consistency, easily on par with that of Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, and other timeless pop culture icons.
A character Rowling deemed "every bit as reprehensible as Lord Voldemort," Dolores Umbridge definitely does not (and should not) make an ideal role model. But she certainly owns a definitive personal style that deserves some recognition, if only because her wardrobe plays an important part in that whole aforementioned reprehension. Her look is a terrifying mix of Lily Pulitzer meets Chanel meets yards of Pepto Bismol-pink fabric that only exacerbates the sickly combination of her sweet-sour personality.
Perhaps including Helena Ravenclaw on this list is a bit of a stretch — she is a ghost, after all — but hers is a style of beauty and grace that rivals any living wizard, witch, or Muggle. Although she lived sometime in the 10th century, Helena's look holds up to this day. Sure, it's a bit dated, but when she decides to shows herself, Helena stuns in classically cut gowns that demonstrate an elegance typical of any Keira Knightley period piece — one that never goes out of style.
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures; Getty; Giphy