I suppose it’s possible there could be regular readers of this blog who don’t know that I’m a big Harry Potter fan, but following this post that won’t be likely. Because after at least a year of having this idea sitting in my drafts folder, I’ve finally carved out the time to create this styling series that was suggested by my good friend Mand; the Hogwarts houses, vintage style.
Once a week for the next four weeks I’ll be creating a vintage style outfit in the theme of each of the Hogwarts houses, and dedicating each post to sharing some of my own Potter story; how I got into the series, the friends I’ve made along the way, how my dad’s death entwined with my love of the books, why these books meant I traveled across the world to attend the wedding of someone I had never met, and, of course, which Hogwarts house I’m in. I’ll also be adding in snippets about my favourite characters, favourite book, and which parts of the story have most touched me.
Today, we’re going to start with Hufflepuff, the house of kindness, patience, hard work, loyalty and fair play. And, kind of more importantly, the house of yellow, because hello mustard!
Top: Isidora-mustard top C/O Miss Candyfloss
Bangles: Splendette Charcoal and Black Fakelite
Hogwarts Pin: Old Primark Hogwarts Houses pin set
Hair decoration: eBay
Skirt: Gothic Chic Clothing
Shoes: Marigold Turn Back Prime flats from Modcloth
I obviously wanted to incorporate the Hufflepuff colours of yellow and black into this outfit but I didn’t want to end up looking too bumblebee, so I swapped the more vibrant yellow we associate with Huffies for mustard and added grey into the mix to help ground the outfit without needing to use too much black. I added the golden leaves hair decoration to represent the earthy nature of the Hufflepuff common room and as a shout out to their head of house, Herbology teacher Pomona Sprout. The small Hogwarts pin was part of a house themed set sold by Primark several months back. The overall vibe is quite school-girl uniform, I suppose, and yet I would totally wear this outfit in public without it being a Hogwarts themed costume.
Hufflepuffs in my life
My mum, my older sister Sarah, my eldest niece, my friend Kat Andrusco, and, quite possibly…me?
Wait, what? I know. I was a self-identified Ravenclaw throughout my entire reading of the books. When Pottermore launched in Beta I was shocked to find myself a hat-stall, tied between Ravenclaw, Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. I was able to choose which house I wanted to be sorted into from those three so I chose Ravenclaw. A couple years back when Pottermore relaunched and required we take the sorting quiz again, I was surprised once more to find I was sorted into Hufflepuff.
Looking back, my intelligence and my success in schooling was the attribute I most prized in myself when I was younger, as well as what other people most praised me for. However, the older I get the more important I consider it to be kind in life, to try to understand other people’s struggles and stories, and to give people all the support you can. In the books, obviously, no matter what doubts Dumbledore had, you get sorted at age 11 and that’s the house you stay in for life, no matter how you grow and change. At 11 I most certainly would’ve been a Ravenclaw, but as an adult a Hufflepuff sorting does make sense now, even if it isn’t how the system works. Let’s just call me a Ravenpuff.
How I Got Into The Books
– Movie Apathy and Reading Out of Order
I wasn’t even aware of the book series until Goblet of Fire was released. I remember noticing that two girls in my year were lugging that (so it seemed then) impossibly massive book in to school with them in order to sit reading it on their breaks, rather than talking with their friends as they usually did. What was the big deal, I wondered, why would you be so desperate to read this huge book that you would bring it with you into school to dive into for 15 minute intervals?
I had no interest in the series and, indeed, at that point didn’t know much about it. That remained the case even when one of my friends made me watch Philosopher’s Stone on VHS one time when I was round her house, and further still when another friend showed me Chamber of Secrets on VHS the following year. I felt pretty apathetic towards the movies after those viewings, but my friend Laura insisted I take Chamber home with me for my little sister to watch.
My younger sister, Rachel, is my only sibling who is younger than me, and by 7.5 years, making her 9 at that time. She loved the movie, so much so that she watched it on repeat in our lounge at home until I knew all the spells and all the characters even when she didn’t. Over time I came to realise I…kinda liked that I knew all these little details, Ravenclaw that I was. The friend who had shown me PS still loved the series and she insisted I should read it.
So I did…Out of order.
I know, I know. Blasphemy. But hear me out! I was 17 and it was the summer between my first and second year of college (college is only a 2 year affair here in England.) I decided to see if my local library had the third book, because I still wasn’t sure I was even going to like these riddikulusly popular books and I didn’t want to read the first two when I knew what happened in them. The hiccup was that the third book wasn’t available at my library, so…
I read Goblet of Fire first.
It scandalises people to this day, but my introduction to Harry Potter was: Movie 1, Movie 2, Book 4, Book 3, Book 1, Book 2, Book 5. I read Goblet of Fire, with it’s Riddle’s House introduction and it’s Triwizard Tournament, having no clue who Sirius Black was, missing endless callbacks to previous books, just generally muddling through it as best as I could whenever I encountered a character I was clearly supposed to know, yet didn’t. And still–I loved it. I was working part time as kitchen staff at my local country pub that summer and I sat there for 2.5 days straight between shifts powering through Goblet of Fire.
As soon as I finished it I knew I would be reading them all. I immediately ordered all 5 books that were currently released from Amazon and borrowed Prisoner of Azkaban in the meantime from my friend. That took me 2 days to get through, then I cycled back to Philosopher’s Stone and then Chamber of Secrets, taking less than a day to read through each. That brought me to Order of the Phoenix, which took me 3 days to finish, though I had to abandon my reading mission on the Friday night to go to my friend’s birthday sleepover…where her friend, Phillipa, discovered I was reading that newly released fifth book for the first time, and asked ‘Have you got to the bit yet where Sirius dies?’
ARE YOU KIDDING ME, PHILLIPA? THAT’S NOT HOW YOU ASK SOMEONE WHERE THEY ARE IN A BOOK, HOW VERY DAAAAARE YOU!
That fury aside, I returned home the next morning to the book and the now-spoiled Ministry of Magic section I had left off at the afternoon before. I finished quickly. And then there it was, within 11 days of picking up my first Potter book (which was, as we’ve covered, distinctly not the first Potter book,) I was done. And I was in love.
Over the next two years, I joined the online fandom in my first ever wait for A Book The Whole World Wanted, joining in on speculation, reading up on past JK Rowling interviews, re-reading the books and making friends across the world through the not-so-magic-yet-very-magic glowing box in the corner of our second lounge, the modem screeches that sounded like Mandrakes threatening to wake my mum in her room above as I hopped online early each morning. The time between reading Order of the Phoenix and the release of Half Blood Prince was the most difficult time of my life, as I coped with the death of my dad, my granddad (who had lived with our family my entire life) and the transition from full time schooling to the what-the-fuck-do-I-do-now reality of young adulthood. Through it all, having more books and movies to look forward to was something reassuring on the horizon of the future that otherwise seemed so hazy and unformed.
These books have genuinely enriched my life, entertaining me, testing my probing reading skills (have you EVER re-read the books without finding at least one new mind-blowing tiny fact, hint or clue that you’ve never noticed before?), and introducing me to friends that, fifteen years on, I can still rely on–although there’ll be more on those people later.
My Favourite Hufflepuffs
If you’re a big fan of the books I’m sure you’ll be aware that Hufflepuffs are kind of overlooked in the series as a whole. Their common room is the only one never to feature in the canon (although it’s incredibly cute in the Hogwarts Mystery app game) and most of the Puffs we spend time with in the books are either fobbed off with barely more than a few lines across the series, get killed off, or they’re Zacharius Smith–yuck. So, saying that, there’s not really a lot to choose from, which sort of forces my hand in saying my favourite Hufflepuff is…Tonks?
I can barely remember quite how I felt about Tonks back when she existed only in the books and not on film. I think I found her funny, and I definitely rooted for her and Lupin once the end of HBP revealed it was he she had been pining over all year when Harry had suspected she was grieving a secret love for Sirius. But the movie Tonks annoys me so much it makes me grit my teeth, and I find it hard to get that annoying aura completely off the character when I return to the books,sort of like how the movies also completely decimated Ginny Weasley, turning her from a fiesty, take-no-shit, feminist into a bland, monotone, wooden stick figure. Maybe I’ll just say that Teddy is my favourite Hufflepuff, despite the fact that we know almost nothing about him.
And special shout out to Cedric Diggory, for generally being an upstanding young fellow and for being appropriately embarrassed by his dad, who was a twat. Although…I cry every single time I watch the scene in which his dad sees his dead body, so I guess I can forgive him that.
Why I Love Hufflepuffs
Huffies make the world go round. They’re the friend who will share their lunch with you when you forget yours even though they were really looking forward to that tuna sandwich and don’t actually want to share it, but they hate being hungry and they don’t want anyone else to suffer, so down the middle that sandwich goes. They’ll remember the offhand comment you made once about how you always wanted a Beanie Baby as a kid but you weren’t allowed one because they were too expensive for a cuddly toy that wasn’t very cuddly and whose tag you had to keep on, so they’ll surprise you with one out of nowhere next time you hang out, even though you’re both adults now, because they saw it in a charity shop and remembered you mentioned it that one time. They tell you when you’ve got lipstick on your teeth, and they will remind you as you leave work that you need to iron your blue dress for that thing you were telling them about, because you asked them to remind you but you 100% didn’t actually expect that they would. They’ll send you a text out of nowhere on a random Monday telling you they’re so glad you’re in their life and you make them happy. Hufflepuffs are the happy doggos of the human world, and I like that.
So, time to share–how did you get into the Harry Potter series? What house are you in? How do you feel about Hufflepuff?