The first part of this pinup Hermione post focuses on the trip I took with friends to the WB Studio Tour, all in vintage styled Hogwarts costumes. While preparing for that event and ruminating on what exactly I would wear to be a pinup style version of literary badass nerd Hermione Granger, I found myself thinking up a lot of different ideas for this costume that could all be kept and worn again as my normal non-costumed self after the trip. I wanted something that would look school reminiscent when styled that way but wouldn’t be too uniform-feely outside of that context, so that I wouldn’t be paying out for something I wouldn’t wear again. Looking at all my costume options with that in mind got me thinking ahead to Halloween.
I’m not a huge Halloween person, but I do love the chance to don a costume. Most people love that for the chance it presents to be someone else entirely, but I love being a pinup so much that these days when it comes time to think up a costume, whether for Halloween or otherwise, I find myself thinking of iconic celebrities or costumes from my favourite vintage eras, or even ways to give other customs a pinup spin. I’m also not someone who likes to spend out on an elaborate costume that probably won’t be worn again. I like to try to make a costume out of things I already own, or perhaps with additional touches of things I can craft myself to make the costume more recognisable or custom make it cheaply. Bearing both of those things in mind, I decided this year to launch a Halloween series of costume ideas that can all be styled with a vintage feel for those of you who don’t want to forsake your winged liner even for the most spooky of eves.
The one challenge I set myself is that all costumes I devise to share with you must either rely heavily on a simple crafting project I (and therefore you too) could do myself, or that the repro clothing used was either pre-existing in my wardrobe or might be items readily available in the repro clothing world that you could happily buy and wear again as your real-life, non-Halloween pinup self after the night is over and the fake spiders packed away.
First off, we’ll start with the brightest with of her age. Hermione Jean Granger.
I knew there were several things I needed to include to make this vintage Hermione. Having vintage styled hair would be a big part of making any character costume feel retro rather than simply an accurate portrayal of the character, but Hermione is known for her huge frizzy hair, so I chose to do tight wetset pincurls so that I had a voluminous, slightly frizzy brush out. I also needed a time turner, which I got cheaply on eBay (no, that means it’s not an official time turner, but I have an official one from the Noble Collection that lives in its display case which I don’t wear.)
My wand is obnoxiously yellow because that, too, was a cheap eBay knock off, but I didn’t have time to repaint it before the day, and for your own wand really you can get as rustic as you like with a cool looking stick rather than spending out on a wand, whether unofficial merchandise or otherwise.
Since Hermione is a book lover, adding a nondescript hardback would be an easy additional clue to layer into your costume, and if you have a beaded handbag, which I don’t, that too would be a canon representation of our favourite witch.
The little details handled, that brings us finally to the main bulk of the outfit; the clothes. If you own a Hogwarts robe, jumper or cardigan, obviously that makes things easier, but I don’t and I didn’t want to spend out on one when I knew it would get minimal re-wear. If you already have a dress or skirt, whether swing or pencil, that’s grey or black as the basis, you’ve got a great head start, same if you have a retro white blouse. I owned none of these, so I would be creating a Hermione-esque look from scratch.
Personally I wanted either a grey or plaid based dress or skirt to form a school uniform feel to the look, but knew black, white and maroon colours would also work. I came across several options in my search. All those items that would make a good base for a Hermione costume are listed below, varying across a range of budgets, and all are real repro pieces, not costume pieces, which means that if you choose to buy the one you love best to build your costume around then you will be adding a piece you genuinely love to your pinup closet for wear long after Halloween is over. It’s easy to buy a sew on Hogwarts or Gryffindor badge on eBay, as well as a Gryffindor tie, so adding either or both of those touches to any of these pieces can really help build your costume.
I opted for the Lindy Bop Vanessa dress in Chocolate tartan and paired it with the Elizabeth bolero from Collectif that I already owned, as well as with some Mary Jane heels I also already owned, from eBay. Overall, I was really happy with my costume and I know I’ll wear the dress again easily, particularly now we’re in autumn and winter.
I’m excited to share some more pinup halloween costumes with you over the next couple weeks, so if you’re feeling a bit stuck for ideas this season, or if it turns out you get a last minute invite and aren’t sure what to wear, remember to check back for more inspiration.