I’ve been thinking a lot about clothes in the Harry Potter universe. There appears to be a discrepancy between how wizards dress as portrayed in the movies vs in the books, and as much as I hate to admit it, the movies actually make a lot more sense.
In the books, wizards only wear robes – they have a terrible time trying to imitate Muggle dress. In the very first book, Vernon Dursley recognizes bunches of people out and about dressed very oddly, and hates them for it – and we find out later on that they were all witches and wizards, in the Muggle world to celebrate Voldemort’s downfall. In Goblet of Fire, when the wizards are crossing England to get to the Quidditch World Cup, they all attempt to dress like Muggles, with varying degrees of success (remember the wizard in line for the well, who was dressed in a nightgown and refusing to put on pants?). Obviously, wizards wear robes – and cloaks – of varying degrees of formality for all occasions.
In the movies, witches and wizards are virtually undetectable from Muggles, because they’re always wearing Muggle clothing. Robes seem to be limited to Hogwarts – as a uniform of sorts, for the teachers as well as the students. Even at Hogwarts, the students only wear robes – i.e. their uniforms – for classes, and wear Muggle clothing for their free periods. Adult witches and wizards – excepting Hogwarts teachers – are never really seen in robes, for work or leisure time.
As much as it irritates me, the movies version MAKES MORE SENSE. Because wizards are clearly a minority in British society (hence the Statute of Secrecy). And while pure blood families seem to be at least partially insulated from muggle life – see Arthur Weasley’s combined obsession and inability to pronounce anything correctly – wizarding society as a whole can’t possibly be completely insulated – after all, muggle born & half blood witches and wizards are a thing. They must bring some muggle culture, right? After all, Dean Thomas brings posters of soccer players to Hogwarts, why wouldn’t he also bring jeans and sweaters? And while we’re on the subject, if wizards wear robes all the time, why is Molly Weasley knitting sweaters for all of her children?