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Dress for Hogwarts in Halifax 

Cloaks of desirability: You may not be living in one of the dorms at Hogwarts, but we can help you dress as though you are.

A Hufflepuff at Love, Me. - KRISTA COMEAU

Hufflepuff

More than any other attributes, Hufflepuffs value fair play, patience and loyalty. When applied to their wardrobes, this translates into non-exploitative manufacturing processes and eco-friendly, preferably recycled, fabrics.

Begin by sifting through the first rack left of the door into Lost and Found (2382 Agricola Street, 446-5986). Hanging there are some 20 loose-fitting boxy tanks and shirts handmade from recycled fabric courtesy of local designers Graceland Clothing. Next head downtown to Love, Me Boutique(1539 Birmingham Street, 444-3668), which stocks only independent, Canadian, handmade, small-run items including jewellery, clothing and decor. Peter Pan-collared shirts and jumpers from designer French Knots are back in stock, so drop in soon---nothing lasts long on the racks at Love, Me.

Kim Munson's Halifax-based Orphanage Clothing (orphanageclothing.com) line is one of the city's unique gems, made entirely from recycled post-consumer clothing, reconstructed by Munson herself into dresses, shirts, coats and more. This designer's edgy approach to asymmetrical cuts that sometimes use black fabric from Slayer tees proves Hufflepuffs aren't wimps but rather fiercely ethical in their fashion choices. Boys and girls will enjoy her old-is-new-again blazers and bottoms, sourced entirely from second-hand clothes. Buy pieces from her collection at Pro Skateboards and Snowboards (6451 Quinpool Road, 429-6788) and 24twentyeight (5181 Sackville Street, 405-4445).

Gryffindor

It's no wonder everyone wants to be in Gryffindor. The house is popular not only for its most famous member, but also for its emphasis on courage and leadership. Naturally its style requires the newest trends mixed with brave statement pieces, preferably in fall hues of gold, mustard and rusty red.

Find a combination of staples and fashion-forward items at Biscuit (1661 Argyle Street, 425-5436) including brands Free People, Tulle, Penguin and BB Dakota. The salespeople are always willing to suggest shapes for a range of styles and body types. Don't miss the bargain basement, where last season's items can be nabbed for 50 percent off, or the Canadian-made rack on the upper level.

Batwing sweaters and oxford shirts in hand, head onward to the horcrux of Halifax accessories: Dress in Time (5670 Spring Garden Road, entrance on Brenton Street, 488-7116) where purses dangle from the ceiling, felt hats sit atop every rack and true vintage shoes line the baseboards. Layer someone's old silk-backed vest over dresses or well-worn graphic tees. Forty-year-old campus boots will serve you well come rain or shine. Gryffindors aren't scared to barter, so speak up if you think the mark-up is too high on that dusty sorting cap.

Take those savings to Sweet Pea (1542 Queen Street, 423-0975), which offers Canadian-made options with a strong focus on dresses---formal, casual, structured, breezy. Its sale rack is not one to miss. Or Wildflower (5553 Clyde Street, 420-0364), where proprietor Jill Strong is like a Sorting Hat for fashion, knowing exactly what suits you.

Slytherin

Much like your typical parsle-mouthed business students, Slytherins wear ambition and persuasiveness on their well-tailored sleeves. And in the financial line of work, you've got to spend money to make money (think of the current philosophy on education).

Guys can look like a million galleons by dropping into Duggers (5476 Spring Garden Road, 425-2525) for tailored suits, slick silk ties and pocket squares, all folded and shelved like prized origami. Pick from sharp cuts by Hugo Boss Black Label, Jack Victor and Ted Baker.

Find the same refined look for women at Foreign Affair (1705 Barrington Street and 5639 Spring Garden Road), which carries loads of major designers from Valentino to Diane Von Furstenburg. Polish off your look with killer heels from Kick Ass Shoes (5457 Spring Garden Road, 444-7527). They'll be perfect for walking all over those filthy muggles.

For a more casual take on luxury, young purebloods can strut into HIM Boutique (1526 Dresden Row, 407-4446), aka His Image Matters, which apparently is "true for all men." Find Naked & Famous denim, Tiger and Cocky Brand among others, and walk out with a more laid-back professional look that will stupefy your competition.

For club- and casual-wear, Slytherins might like D2 (5476 Spring Garden Road., 425-2525), Duggers' downstairs store marked by the aroma of fresh popcorn (scoop a bag ---it's free). If you have the funds you'll have your pick of Diesel, Burberry, Fred Perry, Miss Sixty and Ben Sherman.

Ravenclaw

Horrified at the thought of wearing second-hand lace-collared dress robes to the Yule Ball, Ron begged, "Murder me, Harry!" But today such hand-me-downs garner the label "vintage." Gryffindor's Weasley family couldn't appreciate pre-owned robes, but Ravenclaws are clever enough to sport great style without sacrificing their student loans (or beer funds).

Find the bargains in the boutiques at the northernmost tip of Queen Street, just beyond Spring Garden Road, including Elsie's (1530 Queen Street, 425-2599), Put Me On (1532 Queen Street, 492-2572), and Encore (1528 Queen Street, 429-8788). FYI: The up-sell of curated second-hand clothing in Halifax is only about 50 percent of the original price compared to three times the price in bigger cities such as Toronto.

For even cheaper buys, try the Salvation Army's Halifax Thrift Store (5280 Green Street, 425-7684), just off the opposite end of Queen Street. There you'll find tweed jackets, blazers and trenchcoats that work for any gender. Cut the sleeves off and layer these over heavy cable-knit sweaters for a sharp take on Haligonian fashion. Across the street, wade through eroding stacks of buried treasures in 50 Hats (1086 Queen Street, 482-4287) and dig through the stuffed racks ---a goldmine of forgotten clothes discarded decades ago.

No bargain shopping trip is complete without a bike or bus ride to Value Village (375 Pleasant Street, Dartmouth, 463-4054). Take the Woodside Ferry across from the Halifax Waterfront. After your shopping experience, cross Pleasant Street to finish the day with the best fish and chips in the city at John's Lunch (352 Pleasant Street, 469-3074).

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Vol 25, No 12
August 17, 2017

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