this question is about the Harry Potter BOOK canon (including Pottermore and other Word of God-type information), not the movies.

Is there any data about the difference between witches' and wizards' robes? We know that there is a difference, from this scene in Half-Blood Prince in which Madame Malkin

was distracted all through the fitting of Ron’s and Harry’s new robes, tried to sell Hermione wizard’s dress robes instead of witch’s [HBP, Ch. 6]

Clearly there are different types. Do we know anything about the characteristics of these robes?

  • 1
    I edited in the relevant quote from the scene in question. Feel of course free to revert or modify if I inadvertantly changed your intention.
    – BMWurm
    Nov 18, 2015 at 12:41
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    @BMWurm I think your edit was a useful one, but I think it's surely better to quote from The Half-Blood Prince, rather than that cheap spin-off Half Prince Blood ;)
    – Au101
    Nov 18, 2015 at 21:25
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    Thank you BMWurm, this is exactly the quote I had in mind. I was on my phone with no access to the books so I couldn't quote, sorry ^^
    – Pwassonne
    Nov 18, 2015 at 21:41
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    @Au101 You might have a point there ;)
    – BMWurm
    Nov 18, 2015 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


As far as I know, there's no canon information detailing the differences in the books (I could have forgotten something). I suspect that's just a throwaway line intended for slightly humourous effect (a girl in boy's clothing!), and also to indicate just how busy it was - Madame Malkin is so rushed off her feet that she can't even take time to look at her customers and determine whether they're male or female.

Regular school robes

Men and women tend to have different body shapes, especially after entering puberty. I'd suspect the difference - if there is one - in school robes would likely be in the cut to suitably fit those differing body shapes.

Dress robes

The quote says "dress robes" which are robes worn for formal occasions. Hogwarts students required dress robes for the Yule Ball in Harry's fourth year (the events of Goblet of Fire), and they likely would have also worn dress robes for Bill and Fleur's wedding (beginning of Deathly Hallows). In addition to reflecting the different body shapes, I'd imagine there may also be different patterns and colours for women's dress robes rather than men's.

  • They'd probably look visibly different too -- consider regular student uniforms
    – Pyritie
    Nov 18, 2015 at 16:41
  • The French book covers had the main trio in shapeless robes, seemingly identical. But of course, these are not exactly canon... I'd assume women's robes are more fitted, while men's are more shapeless? Yet I can't imagine witches in restrictive clothing because of my own headcanon... There are inconsistencies in the books regarding clothes (underwear, Muggle clothing...) anyway so it looks like I'll have to use my imagination. I think I'll go for slight differences in cut that don't affect the overall impression given. ^^ EDIT I'll wait a bit in case someone can find something in canon.
    – Pwassonne
    Nov 18, 2015 at 17:34
  • They definitely wore dress robes for Bill and Fleur's wedding "...and his dress robes felt hot and tight in the full glare of a summer's day" "...said Fred, tugging at the collar of his own robes" "I told Daddy most people would probably wear dress robes, but he believes you ought to wear sun colours to a wedding" etc. :)
    – Au101
    Nov 18, 2015 at 17:55
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    @Au101 I assumed they did, but couldn't remember exactly so figured I'd phrase it cautiously. Thanks for the confirmation though. Nov 18, 2015 at 18:02
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    Do the robes have buttons? Female and male muggle clothing frequently have buttons on opposite sides of each other. Nov 22, 2015 at 23:45

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