Do Wizards Wear Pants? #robegate, answered.

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da fuq is up with that?

I know you all (including 11yo Rupert Grint) have been wondering this question. Well, the time has come to finally answer it, and through long and silly reasoned debate, my companion Naomi Louchouarn and I have reached an undeniable conclusion: the answer is not a simple yes or no. First of all, allow me to backpedal and tell you that yes, of course we are talking about the Harry Potter universe (is there any other wizarding universe worth discussing in incredible detail?). Second, for context, Naomi and I have been concurrently re-reading the entire series and having regularly over-involved conversations about its nuances, which are many and delightful. I also listen to a Harry Potter podcast called Witch, Please (which would be an extremely good use of your time) where the hosts have repeatedly posed this question during their own re-reading: do wizards wear pants under their robes? Listeners of the podcast have taken to twitter to speculate on this phenomenon, yet the mystery of #robegate seemed to be unsolved…


YES. Thank you Hannah Bee. My friend Naomi and I came to the same conclusion a few months ago, and finally I have gotten my wits about me to assemble the evidence.

So do wizards wear pants? It seems like a simple, even silly question. But I am here to reveal to you not only the cold hard facts gleaned from examining the evidence, but also to show you that asking weird questions might actually be the best way to get to know and love those books you know and love even better.

Allllrighty, so: let’s take you through the evidence. And bonus: courtesy of Naomi, illustrations are provided to guide your journey. Please note that I of course claim no ownership of the content below…because that’s [AH DUH] J.K. Rowling.

#1 (a flashback to Snape’s school days at Hogwarts):

But too late; Snape had directed his wand straight at James; there was a flash of light and a gash appeared on the side of James’s face, spattering his robes with blood. James whirled about: a second flash of light later, Snape was hanging upside-down in the air, his robes falling over his head to reveal skinny, pallid legs and a pair of greying underpants.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This seems at once the most damning evidence that wizards do not wear pants. Case closed: you use the Levicorpus spell (above used non-verbally) to turn a wizard upside down and his underpants show, erego, no pants. Or there is the possibility that since the Levicorpus spell seems designed to be a bullying spell, it also functions to remove the target’s pants. HOWEVER, Levicorpus is used suspiciously frequently and sans nudity-related embarrassment if either of these statements are true. For instance:


Pointing his wand at nothing in particular, [Harry] gave it an upward flick and said Levicorpus! inside his head.


There was a flash of light and the room was full of voices[…] Ron was dangling upside-down in midair as though an invisible hook had hoisted him up by the ankle.

“Sorry!” yelled Harry, as Dean and Seamus roared with laughter and Neville picked himself up from the floor, having fallen out of bed.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince


#3 (in the vault at Gringotts):

[Hermione] raised her wand, pointed it at Harry and whispered, “Levicorpus.”

Hoisted into the air by his ankle, Harry hit a suit of armour and replicas burst out of it like white-hot bodies, filling the cramped space. With screams of pain Ron, Hermione and the two goblins were knocked aside into other objects, which also began to replicate.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Do we believe that Harry accidentally exposed Ron’s underwear without great discomfort? Or that Hermione was like lol, you know what would be great to do to Harry in this inferno of a scorching hellscape? Expose his legs to third-degree burns. Especially when a simple Wingardium Leviosa would suffice? Codswallop in my opinion. Plus, can you even imagine a robe-like garment structurally sound enough to prevent accidental flashing? What happens when these garments are confronted by a strong breeze? Is this why there are separate Quidditch robes?? Quidditch robes are more structurally secure about the pelvic region??? Seems unlikely, especially with everyone changing into their Quidditch robes in co-ed dressing rooms. And Levicorpus is not the only example that suggests the presence of pants:


Madam Malkin dithered for a moment on the spot, then seemed to decide to act as though nothing was happening in the hope that it wouldn’t. She bent towards Malfoy, who was still glaring at Harry.

“I think this left sleeve could come up a little bit more, dear, let me just -”

“Ouch!” bellowed Malfoy, slapping her hand away, “watch where you’re putting those pins, woman! Mother – I don’t think I want these any more -”

He pulled the robes over his head and threw them onto the floor at Madam Malkin’s feet.

[…]And with that, the pair of them strode out of the shop, Malfoy taking care to bang as hard as he could into Ron on the way out.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

So like, let’s just rewind that for a sec. If wizards do not wear pants, did Draco just confidently storm out of that shop in his underwear? Much like Draco’s rejected robes, it simply does not fit. Therefore, there is some manner of difference between the robes that Draco, Ron, Hermione and Harry wear and the robes Snape was wearing. Was Snape just always the weirdest fucking kid? I was almost willing to accept this as the bemusing yet dissatisfying explanation, when Naomi and I remembered another clue: Snape always wore hand-me-downs. Has the style simply changed? Is wearing pants-less robes a thing that old-school wizards do? This is where the plot thickens rapidly: it all makes sense! For there is one thing we can definitely all agree on: Dumbledore sure as hell does not wear pants. Can you even conjure a convincing image of Dumbledore wearing pants in your head? It defies the mind.


Man-dress FTW bitches

Even when he goes into the Muggle world, Dumbledore’s just like fuck it! I’ma wear my long flowing midnight-coloured man dress because I’m goddamn Dumbledore.


Sup Vernon! May I take your nephew to my magic castle?

And then the convincing evidence just starts pouring in when you think about it.


[…]a pair of men were having a heated argument. One of them was a very old wizard who was wearing a long flowery nightgown. The other was clearly a Ministry wizard; he was holding out a pair of pinstriped trousers and almost crying with exasperation.

“Just put them on Archie, there’s a good chap, you can’t walk around like that, the Muggle on the gate’s already getting suspicious-”

“I bought this in a Muggle shop,” said the old wizard stubbornly. “Muggles wear them.”

“Muggle women wear them, Archie, not the men, they wear these,” said the Ministry wizard, and he brandished the pinstriped trousers.

“I’m not putting them on,” said old Archie in indignation. “I like a healthy breeze round my privates, thanks.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

An older wizard who likes a “healthy breeze round his privates”?


Harry, Ron, Seamus, Dean and Neville changed into their dress robes up in their dormitory, all of them looking very self-conscious, but none as much as Ron, who surveyed himself in the long mirror in the corner with an appalled look on his face. There was just no getting around the fact that his robes looked more like a dress than anything else.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Ron’s hand-me-down dress robes look like a woman’s dress??


“Talking about Muriel?” enquired George, re-emerging from the marquee with Fred. “Yeah, she’s just told me my ears are lopsided. Old bat. I wish old Uncle Bilius was still with us, though; he was a right laugh at weddings.”

“[…] before he went loopy he was the life and soul of the party,” said Fred. “He used to down an entire bottle of Firewhisky, then run onto the dance floor, hoist up his robes and start pulling bunches of flowers out of his-

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

!!!!!!!! Old-fashioned pants-less robes! It’s been subtly staring us in the face throughout the books! But wait:


“[…] Snape, Headmaster! Snape in Dumbledore’s study – Merlin’s pants!” [Hermione] shrieked, making both Harry and Ron jump. She leapt up from the table and hurtled from the room, shouting as she went, “I’ll be back in a minute!”


“[…] Oh here she is,” Ron added, craning round in his seat to watch Hermione re-entering the kitchen. “And what in the name of Merlin’s most baggy Y-fronts was that about?”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

…if Merlin, an ancient historical figure, wore pants, does that destroy our theory? What we must know now is: what exactly are Y-fronts?? Well, a simple google search will demonstrate something that many of you probably already realized: British people call underwear “pants.” So Merlin wore underwear, but not necessarily trousers! Excellent! Pantsless-old robes theory is back on the table. And if all of the previous evidence did not convince you, consider this: a memory from the days of Voldemort’s ancestors.


[…]Dumbledore was smiling.

“This time, you enter the Pensieve with me…and even more unusually, with permission.”

“Where are we going sir?” [said Harry.]

“For a trip down Bob Ogden’s memory lane[…]”

[Dumbledore and Harry enter the memory]

Some ten feet in front of them stood a short, plump man wearing enormously thick glasses that reduced his eyes to molelike specks[…] Harry knew this must be Ogden; he was the only person in sight, and he was also wearing the strange assortment of clothes so often chosen by inexperienced wizards trying to look like Muggles: in this case, a frock-coat and spats over a striped one-piece bathing costume.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Why do wizards from older times always seem to have such trouble dressing as Muggles? If they wore pants with their robes, it would be so very simple to just keep wearing pants because Muggles. Wear. Pants. Yet younger generations of wizards don’t seem to have this problem, because they. Wear. Pants. This even makes sense from a historical perspective:


“[Mudblood]’s a disgusting thing to call someone,” Ron said […] “Most wizards these days are half-blood anyways. If we hadn’t married Muggles we’d have died out.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

It is clear that intermarriage with Muggles is a relatively recent phenomenon, so it makes sense that more recent generations of wizards have a better understanding of Muggle culture and dress. Whereas older wizards were more likely to be brought up in a pureblood, traditional household that would employ traditional wizard clothing (PANTS-LESS ROBES), younger wizards are increasingly likely to be brought up in households with some Muggle traditions and therefore it makes sense that they would wear pants.

In conclusion: pants for the young, none for the old. BOOM. One of the greater HP mysteries of all time, solved. You’re welcome.

Of course, this should be a continuing discussion, because HP discussions are the best and most enthralling sort: if you recall any HP quotes that bring our conclusions into question, or that could further support this theory, please comment!! Or tweet me @nasonicus with #robegate, as it has become to be known among the Oh Witch, Please audience (because yes, there should be a hashtag). I am very interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this. I think this is one of the coolest things about the Harry Potter series: it’s a separate universe with so much depth to it that you can keep on pulling out new secrets and new understandings. That’s why Naomi and I have decided to embark on a never-ending loop of re-reading (and re-listening) the books (and audiobooks). I mean, for that reason, and also for the reason that we’re completely bonkers.

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I am a wildlife biologist from Alberta, Canada who has also been called a science gardener, a wilderdude, really short, and a rodent discovery technician. Apart from frolicking with animals for science, I have a problem with liking too many other things including writing, photography, and art.

One thought on “Do Wizards Wear Pants? #robegate, answered.”

  1. Pingback: New Project: The Friendly Podcast | sarah nason

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