The text of the first Harry Potter book describe the school uniform as a black robe with a black cloak, a hat, and dragon hide gloves when hand protection is needed, and I think that's pretty cool. The movies showed a boarding school uniform with a robe on top, and I think that's pretty cool too, because it visually calls attention to the mixed genres of the series. What was the first official wizarding world work to have a Hogwarts uniform style based on modern school uniforms?

I know there won't be a clear line between fully medieval witch robes and full uniforms with trousers or skirt, sweater vest, collared shirt, and color-coded tie. I think that this can be approximately as exact as any other history-of questions.

In this collection of American chapter art, the first obviously school-uniform based outfit is in 2005 with a V-neck jumper, collared shirt, and possibly a tie. In earlier books, Harry usually wears a shirt with one wide stripe across, and I'm not aware of that being a school uniform look. It doesn't look like anyone else wears that type of shirt.

This French cover art counts, and if I'm not mistaken, it was printed in 2003.

  • The text of the books never mentioned shirts, ties, jumpers, scarfs or badges as parts of Hogwarts' school uniform (maybe except Prefect badges). Several times it's mentioned that Harry wears a T-shirt or a sweater under his robe. Oct 25, 2021 at 8:35
  • There is no official work. What you ask about is movie adaptation, but books are consistent and in case it eluded you, the formal robes at Hogwarts included also a tiara as head cover. So only way for your question to work (and I suggest re-write), is if we treat Rowling's stamp of approval on movies, which depart considerably and consistently from books, or on cover artwork, which often doesn't require author's consent, as actual official recognition of movie as canon.
    – AcePL
    Oct 25, 2021 at 12:09
  • @Demosthenes. Thanks. That demonstrates that in book canon, the clothing under the robe is not part of the uniform. I wasn't sure if any later books had passing references or retcons about this.
    – Jetpack
    Oct 25, 2021 at 15:26
  • @AcePL, I agree that a rewrite would help. I'll think about what I mean by "official". I don't mean canon or something that Rowling personally vetted. I mean to exclude fan art, pirated printings, and bootleg merchandise. Maybe the term I'm looking for is "licensed work", which is the threshold used for which Star Trek works that memory-beta.fandom.com covers. I'd say if Rowling sold the rights to a publisher that sold the rights to a toy company that hired someone to make box art, that counts. P.S. Tiaras? Awesome!
    – Jetpack
    Oct 25, 2021 at 15:36
  • @AcePL What do you mean by "a tiara as head cover"? Something which looks like this: shopdisney.com/… or something whhclooks like this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papal_tiara#/media/…? Oct 25, 2021 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


Students in Britain still regularly wear uniform as ornate or more so than that of Hogwarts students

Ergo, we should conclude that the first book in the series, The Philosopher's Stone is the first to depict 'modern' school uniform. Or we must redefine what is meant by 'modern'.

The details on school uniform in Britain are taken from this Wikipedia page.

But you are saying, "these are all for university students, and mostly optional or only worn on certain days!"

Fret not, there still at least some private boarding schools in Britain that have a Hogwarts-esque uniform:

Christs Hospital school uniform as shown in a variety of students

The Tudor school uniform consists of belted, long blue coats, knee-breeches, yellow socks, and bands at the neck. The uniform has been in place since 1553

And there was an update (albeit for girl students).more recently:

A complementary uniform was introduced for girls on re-unification of the schools in 1985. This consists of a knee-length pleated skirt, summer jacket, yellow socks (for the boys and junior girls), and grey socks or grey/black tights for senior girls, as well as the long coat in winter, and the bands.

Now, maybe you don't consider 1553 modern enough, but it is still worn today, I would argue that makes it modern.

Even then, button up shirts with collars have existed for centuries, are they modern?

The history of School Uniform in England, shows that uniform wasn't adopted, uniformly, til some time around the late 1800s or early 1900s.

The appearance of a uniform at most schools was slow to develop, and was rare before the beginning of the 19th century.

So the idea that Harry Potter and pals wearing robes is out of place for the 1990s is really not accurate; we could easily have been told a non-magical story about the Boy Who Lived going to school at St Brutus's Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys and still see him wear robes and the like.

  • 5
    Christ's Hospital is very much an anomaly, and I think you'd be very hard pressed to find even a boarding school in the UK where the day to day wear includes a pointy black witch's hat as in Harry Potter. The question is clearly asking about works that adapt the uniform from that described in the books as the films do; your answer doesn't seem to address that at all.
    – Showsni
    Oct 24, 2021 at 19:17
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    Thanks for teaching me such amazing things! I hope people stop downvoting this answer. The original intent of my question was about things like jumpers, ties, and badges that remind the viewer of the tropes of boarding school stories. This answer might technically answer the text of my question, because JK Rowling was undoubtedly aware of academic gowns in universities. If you can demonstrate that she was deliberately invoking the Christ's Hospital style school uniform with the expectation that UK readers would recognize it, I might have to award this to you.
    – Jetpack
    Oct 25, 2021 at 1:41
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    @Jetpack Personally, I think she was invoking the uniform from the Worst Witch series - it is broadly similar, with the children at that boarding school for witches having a uniform for special occasions which consists of a black "long robe worn with a tall, pointed hat". Their everyday uniform is much closer to a regular UK uniform, though - "black gymslips, black stockings, black hob-nailed boots, grey shirts and black and grey ties" for winter, and a black-and-grey checked dress for summer, with a coloured sash (blue, yellow, red or green) around the gymslip to show which house they are in.
    – Showsni
    Oct 25, 2021 at 15:38

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