Harry Potter: Style Icon

If you're as big a nerd as I am, you're anxiously awaiting the opening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows next month. This is the first time I've ever written about a fictional character as a style icon, but in the case of Harry Potter, I think it's a very appropriate title.

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Still from Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone, 2001 | Warner Brothers

The thing about Harry is that in many ways, he's an average person living within a grandiose world populated by wizards, dragons, goblins, and all sorts of mythical creatures. His style reflects that paradox. His hair's always a mess, his clothes are too big, but he wears John Lennon glasses, he's got a wand made from a phoenix feather, and his pet is a snow-white owl... how glam is that?!

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Still from Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince, 2009 | Warner Brothers

Harry's style is, of course, the invention of his creator — J.K. Rowling — but it's also become a part of the general zeitgeist, inspiring everything from Halloween costumes to web-based wand shops with names like Alivands or Whimsic Alley.

I came to the Harry Potter books late, after they'd all been written, but when I started I was immediately sucked in to Rowling's unique universe. I plowed through the books, week by week, and — like many others before me — I loved the sense of total immersion in a world that was at once unbelievable and very palpable. Rowling is a visual writer who uses setting to great effect.

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Cloister at Lacock Abbey, used as a set in the Harry Potter films

A 2005 post from Apartment Therapy quotes this lovely passage from Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince:

    The room was strewn with various possessions and a good smattering of rubbish. Owl feathers, apple cores, and sweet wrappers littered the floor, a number of spell books lay higgledy-piggledy among the tanged robes on his bed, and a mess of newspapers sat in a puddle of light on his desk.


Everything in this description is recognizable and real, but the world is tipped slightly out of balance with the introduction of the feathers (not many people own an owl) and the spell books and robes, which conjure up an old-world academy that's part of our collective, ancient, mythical past.

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Still from Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix, 2007 | Warner Brothers

The movies achieve a similar feeling through very different methods. Special effects and dramatic soundtracks provide that sense of awe and excitement, while actors dressed in blue jeans and sweatshirts remind us of our everyday lives. For more Harry Potter style inspiration, surf through the links below and the photos above...

HARRY POTTER STYLE
Harry Potter, Interior Designer: Old fashioned, comfortable, cozy & dishevelled
Half-Blood Prince: Fashion-forward metallics
Order of the Phoenix: Vintage British style from the Ministry of Magic
The Weasleys' Home: A lovable haunted house
Folk-tastic Fairy Tale Decor: Inspired by wizards, dragons, and wands

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Still from Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, 2010 | Warner Brothers

HARRY POTTER FILMS TO WATCH FOR ENTERTAINMENT & INSPIRATION
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (Part I coming Nov. 2010, Part II coming 2011)
Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix (2007)
Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

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Kings Cross Station, Platform 9 3/4

HARRY POTTER BOOKS TO READ FOR ENTERTAINMENT & INSPIRATION
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (2007)
Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince (2005)
Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix (2003)
Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire (2000)
Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)
Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (1998)
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone (1997)

OTHER STYLE ICONS


Photos: Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows | Warner Brothers (1), Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone | Warner Brothers | IMDB (2), Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenx | Warner Brothers | IMDB (3), Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince | Warner Brothers (4), Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince | Warner Brothers | IMDB (5), Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows | Warner Brothers (6), Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows | Warner Brothers (7), Cloister at Lacock Abbey | Wikimedia Commons | Used Under GNU Free Documentation License (8), Kings Cross Station, Platform 9 3/4 | Wikimedia Commons | Used Under GNU Free Documentation License (9), Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban | Amazon.com (10)