The annual Winter Ball is rapidly approaching us once again on December 14, 2026, the day before those who are returning home load the Hogwarts Express to spend time away from the castle. This is the formal event of the year so wixen are expected to dress in their best dress robes. According to the Hogwarts dress code, we are allowed to dress differently and are expected to dress in a formal fashion for the Winter Ball.
There are a couple of rules to keep in mind though. Gowns may be strapless but please keep the cleavage to a minimum. There are plenty of lovely gowns out there that meet this requirement. And between you and me, I wouldn’t want to be caught in something flashing more skin than a professor likes and be given one of their ancient (meaning, Iike older than the school is) shrugs to help you cover-up. (I know Professor Green has some ancient ones she saves for events like these and I am pretty sure they smell like mothballs.)
Shoes are also a sticking point for these things. A shoe can often make or break the outfit. So keep these in mind. Third years and down, you need to be in either what is called a kitten heel (an itty bitty heel) or a flat shoe. If you are in the fourth year or higher you can wear a heel around two inches but please no stiletto heels. The cobblestones of the castle of those heels make for rather disastrous moments, especially with our tricky stairs.
So, here are some tips based on your year as to what to wear.
For first and second years, the gowns can be between the knee to the floor and most gowns that I have seen tend to hover in that area. They tend to have sleeves, either a cap sleeve or long sleeve. However, I have seen a few that had a thick tank top strap as well. Go easy on the makeup and make sure you have your dancing (flat) shoes on! We’ll be dancing the night away.
Third and fourth years, you are somewhere in the middle of being an older student and being seen as a child here at Hogwarts. You are able to start being able to wear more elaborate gowns and many gowns that I witnessed in these years had a wide range of sleeves from long sleeves all the way to being sleeveless. But, most of these gowns are to the floor. These are the years that many start feeling bolder about wearing heels and do their best to survive the night in them.
Fifth through seventh years, we’re the older and wiser members of the school! Many gowns will be sleeveless so beware the cleavage! Otherwise, we’ll get the shawls and shrugs of doom handed out by the ever-watchful professors. Elegant and classic gowns are all the rage for this age range. Heels are optional but remember no more than a three-inch heel will be just fine.
Those who prefer not to wear gowns have it a bit easier. Find the snazziest suit you have, slip it on. Polish up your shoes and make sure your socks match. Make sure to tuck in your shirt and straighten your tie (and actually WEAR a tie) and you’ll be hitting the dance floor and schmoozing with the ladies (or gentlemen, whatever your preference is) before you can mutter Wingardium Leviosa.