Fans mix Harry Potter and vintage fashion for Dressed to the 9 ¾ Day

Photo credit: Adrienne Aipia

Photo credit: Adrienne Aipia

By Lisa Granshaw

If you head to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks in Hollywood or Orlando this Sunday, you might see some rather dashing witches and wizards looking even more magical than usual. That’s because quite a few will be dressed in stylish vintage apparel for the second annual Dressed to the 9 3/4 Day!

The unofficial event encourages fans to combine their passion for Harry Potter with their love for vintage clothes. Fans wear dashing, dapper outfits inspired by the franchise as they enjoy the parks and meet each other, gathering together to explore and take photos throughout the day. The event is held by the Los Angeles Dumbledore's Army and Central Orlando Slug Club, taking place on both coasts on Nov. 12.

We spoke with the main organizer for the Los Angeles Dumbledore’s Army, Adrienne Aipia, to find out more about this fashionable Harry Potter event and how you can join the fun.

How did Dressed to the 9 ¾ Day start and why was it something you wanted to create?

Adrienne Aipia: We are the second largest Harry Potter fan group in the world and we do other events like Harry Potter roller skating night and things like that. It’s mostly women who help me run this group. There’s about 22 of us and most of us love vintage clothing and we thought now that we have the park here in Los Angeles, how can we tie that into vintage clothing? Disney has Dapper Day so we thought why don’t we do a Dapper Day for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? It’s unofficial, it’s a fan meet up, and last year we had about 400 people and this year it’s bananas. It’s going to be a good time.

How would you describe the day to someone who didn’t attend last year or hasn’t heard of it before?

Aipia: It’s fairly easy going because there’s people who are attending who have never been to the park before so we don’t want to make it so regimented where they can’t do other things. We meet in front of Hogsmeade at about 10 a.m. and then we take a picture with the [Hogwarts Express] conductor and it takes a little while to get everybody in place because there’s so many people. We take a photo there and then we let them know they’re free to do whatever they want. If they want to join us for a group picture in front of Hogwarts Castle [they can] just let us know and meet us there. Then we do an online Instagram contest and best Harry Potter vintage outfit contest, all online so we’re not disrupting the park. The outfit contest gets judged by 4:45 p.m. and then we announce the winners at the back of the Hogs Head Inn at 5 p.m. It’s Sunday, there are kids that go and we don’t want to get them home too late, so it’s a nice afternoon of dress up and Harry Potter magic.

Photo credit: Adrienne Aipia

Photo credit: Adrienne Aipia

This is the second year of the event. What was that first event like and were there challenges in putting it together that you’ve learned from for this second year?

Aipia: It went so smoothly. The Universal park staff, because it’s unofficial, they knew about it and were prepared for the numbers and it was super easy. I was surprised how easy it was herding that many people, but people were really excited and Harry Potter people in general are really easy going and nice and understanding and calm so I actually had no problems last year. This year is going to be quite big so we’ll see how this one turns out!

Where do you or where do you see others primarily find vintage fashion to use to put together your Harry Potter looks? What are some of your favorite shops?

Aipia: Being in Los Angeles, we have a lot of shops that specialize in vintage reproduction or vintage style clothes. Unique Vintage, Pinup Girl Clothing, they have a huge online presence but they also have retail stores in Burbank which is the next town over from Universal City. There is Re-Mix Shoes which specializes in vintage reproductions, high quality shoes, and a lot of the movie studios buy from there as well. For men, there’s Steady Clothing. They do a lot of rockabilly shirts and they’re in Orange County. I don’t believe they have a storefront, but you can order it and it comes to your door pretty quickly. That’s where we go, but there’s other people who just kind of go to Goodwill and figure it out like you go for Halloween so it’s kind of whatever inspires you.

Has Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them been an influence given its era in the Harry Potter universe?

Aipia: It absolutely has. In fact, last year I would say it was equal like 1920s style, because we hadn’t seen the movie yet because it happened in October, and let’s say ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘40s pin up style so I’d say this year it’s probably even more of an influence because we’ve seen the movie. We know what the style of dress is for the wizarding world in America so I’d say it’s going to be an even mix and there are stores like Unique Vintage that have 1920s to 1980s vintage that you can pretty much find whatever you want.

Photo credit: Adrienne Aipia

Photo credit: Adrienne Aipia

Can anyone take part in the event or do they have to join one of the groups and RSVP?

Aipia: No, if you have a ticket or an annual pass like many of the Harry Potter fans in Los Angeles do, you can absolutely attend. It’s free and we also will hand out our Harry Potter inspired Squibbler newsletter to the first few hundred that arrive as well so you’ll have a takeaway from the event.

Is there anything else people should know before Sunday’s event?

Aipia:: Get there early. I think the door’s open officially about 10 a.m. The people who get tickets the day of I think you can get in at 9 a.m. but annual pass holders that may have purchased tickets outside Universal Studios box office through their employer, they don’t get in until 10 a.m. so just try to get there early. Lines might be a little crazy, but I think it should be fine. It’s perfect weather. It’s going to be a great day!

You can find the schedule of events for Dressed to the 9 3/4 Day in Hollywood and Orlando on Facebook. Find out more about the event and where to find Harry Potter vintage style on the Dressed to the 9 3/4 Day Facebook page.

Don't forget to sign up for GeekFold so you can receive the week's essential geek fashion news every Friday!