Four Weddings and a Funeral (Hulu) – Review

So, most of my friends will tell you that I’ve been badgering them to watch the Four Weddings and a Funeral miniseries reboot on Hulu for a while now. I’m a big fan of Mindy Kaling, and this show definitely didn’t disappoint. I loved watching the characters develop, and watching their relationships develop. I haven’t seen the original, but I definitely have a lot to say about this reboot.

At the core of any good, believable rom-com, are well-written characters. And I really did come to love the characters in this reboot. So, I’ll go into the characters and what I love/didn’t love, as well as some other things I’ve noticed. While there were some things I missed, overall, there’s a lot to love, and if you haven’t watched this show, what are you waiting for?

Spoilers ahead. So, if haven’t seen the series, go watch it now, and then come back and read this. Enjoy!

Maya and Kash

Ok, I just have to start off by saying that I LOVE these two, and I was really rooting for them throughout the series. Nikesh Patel and Nathalie Emmanuel have such great onscreen chemistry. You can really feel those moments of tension before they admit their feelings to each other, and when they finally do get together, it’s magic—it’s that perfect combination of ease and fun, but still romantic. I thought the show did a great job of showing their romantic development—we’re shown why they’re perfect for each other, rather than told. I think a lot of shows make that mistake of telling rather than showing, which makes it hard for the audience to buy the romance (e.g., Barry and Iris in The Flash). Maya and Kash didn’t feel shoved down our throats; it didn’t feel like the writers were trying really, really hard to get us to root for this couple. We just did, because they felt so perfect for each other. It was just natural. I loved seeing the little bits of their lives that they shared with each other—like Kash introducing Maya to Pakistani food, Maya helping Kash practice his lines for an audition, and Maya sharing really personal family issues she deals with. These little bits really show us how Maya and Kash get to know each other and learn to work as a couple, and Maya’s sharing of her family issues is a rare glimpse into who Maya really is and the things she carries with her (more on that later).

I really liked Kash’s character development, for a number of reasons. I like Kash as a character. He’s not perfect, and he makes mistakes (sometimes, really big mistakes #wedding disaster). But, he learns from them, and he grows. He takes risks, and he follows his heart. But, he puts the people he loves before himself. He gives up his acting career prospects to stay in his banking job, to support his family when his father can’t work double shifts. He chooses to stay in London instead of going with Maya to New York when he realizes his family needs him. Kash isn’t selfish. He just does what he feels is right, even if the consequences might make people hate him, or might not be what makes him happiest. This is a big reason why it’s so satisfying to watch him finally succeed as an actor, and why it’s so heartwarming at the end to finally see him with Maya, without having to hide it or feel guilty about it. It’s nice to see a character get his own little piece of happiness, after spending so much time trying to put the happiness and consideration of others first.

With Maya’s character, it’s a bit more difficult. I like Maya’s character enough to root for her. Her heart is in the right place, but she’s also not perfect. She also makes mistakes. She makes decisions that, while definitely relatable, are also frustrating to watch. But what I got from Kash’s character that I was really missing from Maya’s, was insight into who she was. With Kash, we got great scenes with his father, his brother, his best friend Basheer, even the Imam from their mosque. We saw who he was outside of his relationships. We saw the things that shaped his character. We don’t really get that with Maya. We know about her mother’s death, and that gives us insight into certain things like why Maya is uncomfortable going to Quentin’s funeral, and why she loves Mamma Mia. But we miss those explanations of how else her mother’s death, and just her family life in general, shaped who she is. We miss those explanations of how her family shaped her values, her approach to love, her fears, her goals. With Kash, we know why he gets into investment banking (family and cultural pressure to make money and do well), and we also know what his true passion is (acting, which he ultimately pursues and succeeds at). We know the motivation behind his decisions. We know his passions; we know his struggles. But we don’t know what Maya’s passions are (aside from “helping people,” but that’s not specific enough). We don’t know her motivations. We don’t know the expectations she had from her family, the struggles she might have had growing up. We don’t really know that much about her, save for that little moment I mentioned earlier, where Maya opened up to Kash about her father. So, while I rooted for Maya’s character, it would have had a much bigger impact if we knew her character more, and if her character was given the same thorough development as Kash’s.

Duffy and Gemma

I was really surprised at how much I liked Duffy and Gemma’s character arcs, especially because I didn’t particularly like either of their characters in the beginning of the series. Duffy honestly seemed like a Nice Guy, mad at All Women for “not realizing how much of a nice guy he was,” while silently pining after the woman he loved from afar. But, I’m happy to say that Duffy’s character evolved SO well. In the beginning he’s far from perfect…he pines over Maya, and then when he breaks up with her because she starts to act sort of distant, he treats her pretty shittily—especially considering HE initiated the breakup. But, he eventually learns, and he grows up. I think Gemma had a really good effect on him, as she doesn’t really tolerate his crap. Duffy becomes a character that is an actual nice guy, not a Nice Guy. He learns to risk his ego to tell someone how he feels. He learns to take responsibility for his own happiness. He becomes a great role model for Giles. And we see some nice scenes that give us insight into who Duffy has become—like how great is with Giles, and how he cares for his mother.

With Gemma’s character, she seemed snooty in the beginning, but as the series went on, you really got to know her character—and I ended up finding her character really endearing, funny, and relatable. She had some of the best dialogue in the show. I loved how she learned to break away from what was expected of her, and do what she felt was best—especially after Quentin died and she had to take care of her son Giles on her own. I loved how she learned to stop truly caring about what her other rich friends thought of her, yet she still retained a bit of that social class humor that made her character unique. Gemma and Duffy balanced each other out really nicely. They brought out the best in each other. (Also side note: I had a feeling these two would end up together, after the following two scenes: the one where Gemma is the only one who recognized Duffy’s costume at Ainsley’s birthday party, and the one where Gemma tells Duffy that Maya’s letter wasn’t meant for him. Not gonna say I called it, but….I called it.)

Ainsley and Bryce

So, I found Ainsley’s character slightly grating and annoying at times, but in the end, I really liked how her character grew. I think out of all the characters, she experienced the most growth. From realizing that Kash really wasn’t right for her, learning to forgive Craig and going to his wedding in the end, learning to say “fuck it” to what she thought looked best and instead following her heart, and learning to forgive Maya and Kash and move on with her life—the girl grew UP. I also loved seeing the juxtaposition of her previous relationship with Kash, with her budding relationship with Bryce. With Kash, you DO get the sense that their connection is shallow, that they look great on paper but they don’t really know each other. With Kash, Ainsley is mainly focused on the appearance of a perfect relationship, a perfect wedding, a perfect life. She seeks external validation to fill something fundamental that’s missing in her romantic life and missing in the way that she perceives herself. But with Bryce, Ainsley doesn’t need all that. Ainsley is her best self when she’s with Bryce. She learns to not care what people think, as long as she believes she’s doing what’s best for herself. She doesn’t need other people to see how well she’s doing. She doesn’t need a perfect wedding. She no longer feels the need to prove anything to anyone, because she’s finally happy and at peace with herself, with her decisions, with her relationship. What I love the most about seeing Ainsley and Bryce, is that we see Ainsley for who she truly is. She may look a bit shallow, a bit spoiled, on the surface—but when we see her with Bryce, we see how great she actually is. How much she cares for her friends. How thoughtful she is. And we see that she really loves Bryce—she knows the little things about him, like his fascination with neat facts, the fact that he can’t keep a plant alive, and that his father designed Dallas Lovefield. The Ainsley we see with Bryce is a much more mature, thoughtful person than the Ainsley we see with Kash. Her character at the end of the series is miles and miles from the character she was at the beginning of the series.

Andrew Aldridge and Tony 2

I was not expecting Andrew and Tony 2’s characters to be a big part of the series, but I was pleasantly surprised. While their characters didn’t have as much screen time as the other characters, the writers (and actors) really made the most of the screen time they had, and no scene was wasted. Each scene, each line, did something to advance their characters and their story. I love that, while these two aren’t major characters, we still get a good glimpse into their background, which explains why they are the way they are. We get to know who these characters are. We see Andrew’s fellow Parliament members, and their conservative political views. We see Tony 2’s family, and the struggles they deal with as undocumented immigrants. And we see development from their characters—we see Andrew’s regret over his lost love (which is what pushes the main couple, Maya and Kash, back together). We see Andrew finally pluck up the courage to do the right thing, even though it may cost him politically. And one of my favorite scenes in the finale is when Tony 2 finally becomes a British citizen.

Honorable mention characters:

A few characters that deserve an honorable mention: Quentin, for being hilarious and an unexpectedly sweet and thoughtful husband to Gemma. He was gone too soon, and most definitely missed. Marcus, for being a great source of comedic relief AND for eventually becoming somewhat of a friend and ally to Maya. I actually really liked their relationship—it reminded me of the relationships I have with some of my coworkers. It’s a lot of playful, sibling-like bicker and banter, but underneath it all, quite a strong bond. Basheer and Fatima, for being another couple that I really rooted for. These two had great chemistry, and their wedding was my favorite in the entire series (and just one of my favorite scenes in the series, period). Also, Basheer is such a good friend to Kash. I loved watching their friendship grow. And Basheer was one of my favorite comedic relief characters. Craig and Zara, for being such fun to watch and for having a really cute relationship and character development. Both Zara and Craig had some great lines; both were hilarious. And I loved how Craig was a goofball with a big heart, and Zara was someone who, like Ainsley, might seem shallow and self-absorbed at first, but turned out to be quite thoughtful and understanding. I thought the scenes with Zara trying to get Molly’s mother to make amends with Craig were sweet, and I loved how in the end, they did come together as a family. And I also loved how Craig and Zara grew when they became parents. Fatherhood fits Craig so well, and it’s so like him to be really involved in the kids’ sports, and be an overprotective dad. These two were great fun to watch, and their wedding was one of my favorites as well.

The finale

The finale was great and wrapped the story up nicely, but I almost wish it had been longer. At times, the pacing felt choppy, and it almost felt like it tried to cram too much into one episode. It felt a little like the finale of The Vampire Diaries. The ending was good, but we needed to spend more time getting there, and we needed our big moments to have more impact. While I liked Maya and Kash’s reunion, I felt like it was a bit rushed. So much screen time was devoted to Duffy and Gemma, and I felt like we didn’t get enough time to organically work our way to Maya and Kash’s reunion. And while I thought their reunion was cute, I felt like Maya and Kash’s moment at Bash and Fatima’s wedding was so much more romantic and had much more of an emotional impact (seeing Kash in the mirror, making their way to each other). In the finale ending scene, you still did get the sense that these two felt like they were the only ones in the room, but the moment just didn’t feel quite as big and romantic as it did during Bash and Fatima’s wedding. For a happy ending reunion (and for the main couple in the show), it should have been a bigger, more impactful moment.

I think what would also have made the finale more satisfying was a bit more of a reconciliation with Maya’s friends. Before the ending, both Duffy and Craig kept saying that they “weren’t allowed to talk to Maya,” or “weren’t talking to Maya.” I get why her friends took Ainsley’s side at first, but they didn’t even bother to hear Maya’s side of the story—and I did think it was a little bit of a dick move to just stop talking to her altogether. First off, are they in high school?? Like, yes, it’s not a great move to date your best friend’s ex, but did anyone forget that Craig remained friends with Kash as well? What happened with Craig and Kash’s friendship? (And I’d just like to point out that Kash and Bash were able to remain good friends, even after Bash and Fatima started dating, got married, and had a kid.) Also, Duffy knew, before anyone else in the group, that Maya had feelings for Kash, and he also knew that nothing ever happened—but he never mentioned that during their big argument. I understand that Maya dating Kash did hurt Ainsley, but I don’t think it was necessary nor fair for all her friends to ice her out like that. I did like that they showed how Ainsley realized that Maya and Kash loved each other—but I wish Maya’s other friends had the same realization and forgiveness for her as well. I think a reconciliation was implied in the end, with the wedding dance scenes and everyone having fun together, but a reconciliation of this type, after a year-long exile from her friend group, deserved some more heartfelt dialogue and more of a resolution. Plus, we never see Maya dancing/interacting with Craig or Duffy in the final scene. I wanted to see the friend group back together, with Kash, and everyone getting along.

That said, I did like that it was Ainsley who brought Maya and Kash back together. And I like the way Ainsley and Kash mended things and were finally able to move on and just be friends. One thing I like about rom-coms is that, the main couple has to overcome some things where, if they hadn’t overcome them before, they may not have been as successful. Both Kash and Maya needed to get to a certain place before being together, and both of them needed to get together again, without the feelings of guilt or needing to hide or feeling like they were doing something wrong. With Ainsley being the one to bring them together, both Maya and Kash were able to reunite and start a relationship fresh, without the baggage that plagued them both before.

Some more things…

Ok, so this is the same dilemma I have with literally every movie/show that takes place in a big city. How does those people afford such a fancy apartment in a city with a ridiculously high cost of living, doing jobs that most likely pay UNDER the median income? Maya works for half-salary in London, and Ainsley runs a design shop that never really looks that busy. IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.

Also, I found it hilarious how the writers just skirted over the logistical issues Maya would actually face if she really did move to London and start working there. Like, forget about working visas and all that—it’s a rom-com! Ha.

And while I was really happy that Kash finally made it as an actor, let’s be real here. It takes way, way, way more than one year to work your way up as an actor and star in a play on the West End with Eddie Redmayne.

But hey, it’s a rom-com. When have rom-coms ever been realistic? That’s not the point. Rom-coms are fun, feel-good, and they give you hope. We don’t watch rom-coms because they’re realistic. We watch rom-coms to get away for a bit, so that for at least a short time, we can feel like there IS going to be a happy ending, and that things DO work out.

Would I recommend this show? Abso-fucking-lutely. Am I going to rewatch the whole thing? Yes, right now.

4 months later….

So I remember in this post, I gave a little update on my singing journey. I started taking voice lessons a few years ago, so I compared an old video with no training, to one I had done after a couple years of training. Since then, I’ve expanded my training, taken training with different instructors, and started studying other aspects of the voice, like resonance and breath control. So, here’s a before and after, about four months apart. The first one is when I had just started to learn more about resonance and breath control, and the second one is after a few months of really working on it, and that song, specifically.

Some differences between the before and after – the after, I feel like, has a stronger resonance and warmer tone. Also note that in the before video, I’m mic’ed, while in the after, I’m not. (TBH, I kind of hate mics….it throws me off ’cause I hear myself differently. I much prefer being un-mic’ed – which I guess also explains why I much prefer more intimate shows rather than big performances.) I changed up the melody a little bit as well, between the time of the before and the after recordings, so the after has some more variations and runs and that I had been working.

The after video is definitely not perfect, and I’m still working at improving, but I’m happy with my progress so far. It hasn’t been without its frustrations (especially considering it’s ME, and I’m a type-A perfectionist and also a bit impatient). But, I’ve been trying more and more to take the pressure off of myself to be perfect, right away, and instead focus on carving out time to practice, even if just a little bit, and focus on specific things–like my breath control, or my resonance, or my tone. I’ll put together some general things I’ve learned, as well as practice tips that I’ve learned, as I’ve spent more time taking singing lessons, ’cause I think that’d be a fun post. Honestly, singing lessons are super fun, and even if you’ve never sung a note in your life but still would like to learn to sing, I HIGHLY recommend it. A good singing teacher will create a really supportive space for you to feel encouraged and excited about learning to sing. But anyway, that’s another post. Here’s the before and after! (Note: The after is just a clip of the song, so to compare the same parts, jump to 1:52-3:10 in the before video.)

Before

After

Things I’ve Learned This Year: Mid-Year Edition (2019)

So I usually do these posts at the end of each year, but 2019 has been interesting so far, and I’ve already learned a lot. You can check out Things I’ve Learned 2017 and Things I’ve Learned 2018. Here’s the mid-year edition of Things I’ve Learned 2019. 

  1. Blood isn’t necessarily thicker than water. Just because they’re family, doesn’t mean you have to tolerate them if they’re toxic. Sometimes, your real family—the family that truly supports you and understands you—is your chosen family. They were chosen for a reason. 
  2. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries, with anyone. You can set boundaries with family. You can set boundaries with friends. You can set boundaries with yourself. Respect goes both ways, so if you are respecting somebody and respecting their boundaries, you should get that same respect in return. 
  3. It’s ok to have expectations. I hate that quote that says “if you want to be happy, then don’t have expectations, and you’ll never be disappointed.” No, fuck that. Have expectations. Expect adults to act like adults. Expect a man to treat you well. Expect to get compensated fairly for your work. If you don’t have expectations, three things happen: 1) you settle, 2) you get played/short-changed, and 3) you don’t hold anyone accountable for their actions. And that’s just bullshit. We are all responsible for our actions, and we all need to be held accountable. Society isn’t a free-for-all. 
  4. When in doubt, delete his number. And if you think you can’t, tell yourself that you can, and you will. And then just fucking do it. If you’re sad about it, don’t worry—you’ll live. And anyway, even if you didn’t have his number, if he was worth your time, his number would be near the top of your text messages or recent calls list. If his number isn’t near the top, then is he really worth it? Cut your losses and move on. There are better, bigger, more courageous fish in the sea. 
  5. Let them work for it. You are not free salsa. You are guac (or queso) for which you have to pay extra. Do not ever question whether you are too difficult, or too hard to read, or your standards are too high. No. You are worth the high standards. You are worth the extra effort. Weed out the weak ones now, so you can make room for the ones who don’t scare easily and who know your worth. 
  6. You are not responsible for other people’s emotions. Someone said you intimidate them? You’re not intimidating; they are intimidated. (There’s a difference.) And that’s not your problem. Don’t change yourself just to make someone more comfortable. Their comfort isn’t your problem. You can’t be expected to contort yourself just to fit into someone else’s idea of approachable, or friendly, or whatever. Be yourself, and own your untouchable-ness. 
  7. Ignore the positives; believe the negatives. So he opens doors for you? He shows up on time? Yeah, I do the same thing for my coworkers when we have a meeting. It ain’t that special. Know the difference between actions that are just basic human decency, and actions that are actually special. And if you spot a red flag, run. No matter how many doors he opens, no matter how much he texts you back, no matter if he’s paid for dinner—those are things that are standard, not special. And one red flag should outweigh all of that. 
  8. Your standards are not too high (and even if they are, who cares?). What do most of us really expect from a potential partner? That they take the initiative to show interest in spending time, to get to know us. That they actually take the time to get to know us. That they treat us with respect. That they learn to get along with our friends. That they remember important dates. (I mean if they can remember their own fucking birthday, or the date that a movie comes out, they can remember our birthdays, or anniversaries.) I mean—none of those things are actually that difficult. Most of those things are just basic human courtesy, and any polite, rational, decent human being would be more than capable of doing that. Anyone who says that those standards are “too high” has some serious issues, and you should just drop them like they’re hot. Except they’re not hot, so just drop them like they’re room temp. 
  9. One chance is plenty, and second chances are way too generous. It’s not that difficult to not fuck up, so one chance is really all anyone needs. It’s fine if someone apologizes and you give them another chance, but it’s better if they don’t fuck up to begin with. Apologizing isn’t the same as fixing. And if someone apologizes, and learns, and fixes on the second chance—great. But you still got hurt. In the end, you’re the one that gets hurt but forgives, and they’re the ones that screw up and get another shot. It’s not fair. Be fair to yourself. 
  10. It’s ok to be a little jaded. That’s called instinct, and it’s usually right. And being “jaded” is just another way of saying that you’re being realistic. If you don’t have much faith in people, it’s probably because people never gave you much reason to have faith in them to begin with. So why put faith in something that doesn’t deserve it? Your trust needs to be earned. 
  11. Be proud of your scars. Whether visible or not. Scars just show that you’re brave. And that you survived whatever hellfire you were put through. Be proud of the battle scars. Be proud of the armor that you’ve built up. Be proud of how much you’ve hardened. 
  12. I don’t have faith in much, but I have faith in one thing—and that’s faith in God. And the thing is, it doesn’t need to be proven to me that He exists. There’s evidence everywhere, if you just pay attention. So if you’re going have total, unconditional faith in one thing, have faith in God. God is the one constant, the one that will never fail you, the one that truly will love you unconditionally. He is the only One that you can, and should, trust unconditionally, even when you feel like everything is going to shit. Trust that you will get through it, and that there is a reason. Because you always do, and there always is. Because He never gives you more than you can handle. If life is throwing so much at you, it is because you are strong enough to handle it. Think of how badass you are with all those battle scars. God didn’t create a quitter. He created a warrior. 

Things I’ve learned this year… (2018 edition)

Man, 2018. This year was exactly what I needed. This year was full of growth, learning, love, and strength. This year had its ups, and it had its downs. Some of those ups were just ok; some of those ups were amazing. Some of those downs were just a little down, and some of those downs were downright heartbreaking. But in the end, this year left me better than I was before. And if there’s one, steadfast rule when it comes to anything, ever, it’s this: whatever you go through, whatever you do, whatever happens–it should leave you better than you were before.

Here are some things I learned this year (And here are the things I learned last year, in 2017):

  • Trust yourself.
  • Don’t feel bad about putting yourself first. If you won’t do it, who will?
  •  Give exactly zero fucks about what people think of you. They’ll think it whether you care or not. What they think says more about them than it does about you. And you don’t need their approval.  
  • It’s ok to trust someone, just not with everything.
  • You are your own best friend.
  • Learn to like being alone. It’s liberating.
  • “Talent” is just another way of saying “hard work.” “Opportunity” is also just another way of saying “hard work.”
  • You don’t need to be born with anything. What does “born with it” even mean? If you want to do something, you can do it. Anything can be learned and mastered if you put in the time and effort.
  • Hard work is better than natural talent.
  • In a world that caters to people who are ordinary, be extraordinary.
  • Go against the grain and dare to stay true to yourself and your dreams.
  • Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And you don’t need easy; you just need possible.
  • Nothing worth having ever comes easy.
  • Be prepared and willing to make sacrifices in order to have the life you truly want. Sacrifices are part of the deal, but it is always worth it in the end.
  • Do whatever it takes. You will get there.
  • Know what you want.
  • Always have the big picture in mind. Use that to guide your decisions.
  • Don’t ever give up your dreams for anyone. It’s not worth it.
  • The right people won’t make you choose between them and your dreams. The right people won’t make your life more difficult, sad, or lonely.
  • The right people also won’t make you wonder if they really care about you. Because you’ll know.
  • When in doubt, choose dignity. If someone cares, they’ll reach out without you having to ask.
  • You don’t owe anybody a second chance. Or a third chance.
  • Be picky. Surround yourself with people that already know how to be good friends, text back, and be decent human beings. You don’t have time to teach someone how to act. And it’s not your problem if they don’t know how.
  • Being “intimidated by you” is a shitty excuse for inaction. It’s a shitty excuse for not putting oneself out there. It’s a shitty excuse disguised as a compliment, designed to deflect from said person’s own shittiness. If someone says they’re intimidated by you, and that’s why they never said anything to you, or never tried to get to know you, or never tried to make the next move—how do you expect this person to respond when faced with any kind of difficult situation? Being intimidated doesn’t change anything and it sure as hell doesn’t excuse anything. You want to surround yourself with people who have courage, who can take action in spite of their fears. Thank you, next.
  • There are worse things to be than a “bitch.” And usually being labeled a bitch is just a reflection on the person who says you are one. Just do you, and don’t apologize for it.
  • The small things add up.
  • Anything is possible. Only you can write your story. And you can write whatever you want.
  • Above all else, love yourself unconditionally.

Hogwarts Inspired Style – Hufflepuff

So far, I’ve shared outfits inspired by Slytherin, Gryffindor, and Ravenclaw. We are now at our final House, Hufflepuff. Fun fact: I was actually sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore once, and I remained in Hufflepuff until I deleted my account so I could start fresh and get re-sorted (this time, I got sorted into Ravenclaw). But, for a good year, I was a proud Hufflepuff. I think I do identify a good bit with Hufflepuff (valuing hard work, fairness, and equality), and I love how Hufflepuff doesn’t care about whether students are pureblood, or more intelligent than average, or willing to fight–whatever the student’s aptitude and interests, they’ll be welcomed and taught all the same.

Hufflepuff Inspired Look

Jeans: J Brand / Sweater: BP / Boots: Valentino / Belt: Gucci / Bag: Louis Vuitton / Rings: Frasier Sterling / Earrings: Kendra Scott

I actually think Hufflepuff and Slytherin have more in common than people think (and I may be alone in this, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that JKR introduced those two Houses first, in HP1). Both Hufflepuffs and Slytherins value loyalty, and their members share a familial bond. Both Houses are often misinterpreted and misunderstood. Slytherin is often mistaken as “the evil house” while Hufflepuff is often mistaken as “the useless house.” Both Houses get a lot of negative attention when in reality, the traits that characterize both those Houses are incredibly important, valued traits to have. Loyalty, dedication, hard work, justice–those are important and require their own kind of courage, intelligence, and ambition. And both Houses represent different versions of the other three Houses. I like to think of Hufflepuff as a more selfless version of the other three Houses. Hufflepuffs can be brave, but their bravery is for the good of others, rather than for the glory or the thrill. Hufflepuffs are willing to put themselves in danger and fight for what is right, simply because it is what’s right. Hufflepuffs value knowledge, but not simply for the sake of knowledge but rather for the sake of helping others. Hufflepuffs are ambitious not for the sake of power or selfishness, but rather because their ambition is toward a selfless cause for the greater good.

Because of Hufflepuff’s subtle similarities to Slytherin, the outfits inspired by Hufflepuff do look a bit similar to the Slytherin outfits, but with their own unique, Hufflepuff-y twist. I didn’t want to create looks that were stereotypically girly or hippie-like or earthy. I wanted to stay away from those kinds of Hufflepuff stereotypes, and rather create looks that still felt like Hufflepuff but also captured their vastly underrated fierceness.

For this first look, I wanted to have a similar aesthetic to Slytherin, but with a cozier and more laid-back feel. Since the House colors are black and yellow, I wanted to do a black skinny jean, but instead of a clean, simple jean like the Slytherin look, I did a destructed jean with cool knee rips. Instead of pairing the jeans with a slim, clean-cut sweater, I chose a chunkier, more relaxed knit sweater, loosely tucked in at the front, and I pulled this all together with a statement Gucci belt. And, to add a subtle nod to Hufflepuff’s badassery, I added some Valentino rockstud booties.

Hufflepuff Inspired Casual Look

Jeans: Mother Denim / Hoodie: Beautiful Halo / Sneaker: Adidas / Backpack: Kate Spade / Sunglasses: Ray-Ban / Bracelet: Alex & Ani / Earrings: Halogen

For the casual look, I wanted to do a look that was more athleisure. Functional, but still cool. I think of this look as a sportier version of the Slytherin casual look. It has a lot of the same elements–a skinny jean, a sneaker–but the pieces have a different feel. Cooler, sportier Adidas sneakers, ripped skinny jeans, a cropped hoodie, a backpack instead of a handbag, and teardrop/hoop style earrings. The look is sporty, easy, effortless–but with a glam touch. It captures Hufflepuff so well–Hufflepuffs aren’t “what you see is what you get.” They’re multifaceted, often underestimated–but beneath the surface, they are brave, fierce, and powerful in their own way.

Hufflepuff Inspired Dressy Look

Dress: Ted Baker London / Shoes: Giuseppe Zanotti / Bag: Valentino / Ring: Kendra Scott / Ear cuff: Zoe Chicco

For the dressy look, I wanted it to capture Hufflepuff’s more formidable side (I mean, there are so many badass characters that were Hufflepuffs–like Tonks, Cedric, and Newt Scamander). I chose to use black as the dominant color, and add gold accents. I love the simplicity of this LBD–it’s not overtly sexy, but it is body hugging and the arm cutouts add interest while baring a little bit of skin in a different way. Plus, the simplicity of this dress works so well with a statement shoe, like this amazing sandal from Giuseppe Zanotti. Instead of traditional earrings, I went with a simple gold earcuff, as well as a gold two-finger ring from Kendra Scott. And finally, to complete the look, a black clutch with subtle gold-stud details.

So there it is–fashion inspired by all four Hogwarts Houses! Which House-inspired look was your favorite?

Hogwarts Inspired Style – Ravenclaw

So I’ve shared outfits inspired by Slytherin House and Gryffindor House, and now we’re moving on to my actual, official Hogwarts House (according to Pottermore, at least): Ravenclaw. 

Fun fact: On almost every sorting quiz I’ve taken, whether it’s the Myers-Briggs inspired one on Time Magazine, the official Pottermore one, the old official Pottermore one, or random ones on Buzzfeed, I have always, always gotten Ravenclaw. (Notable exceptions are a one-time Slytherin result on a Buzzfeed quiz and a one-time Hufflepuff result on my old Pottermore account….but I’ve since made a new account and retaken the sorting quiz–thrice!–and have gotten Ravenclaw twice and Slytherin once. So I officially consider myself a Slytherclaw.) By this point, whenever I take some kind of Hogwarts sorting quiz, I already know the result….and the result is always the same. I guess numbers don’t lie; I really am a true Ravenclaw.

Oh but wait!! It is our choices that determine who we truly are, far more than our abilities!! Either way–I am nerdy by nature. I love learning. I love reading. I love research, weirdly enough. I’m a bit eccentric. I will say–I do appreciate the ambition and resourcefulness that comes from Slytherin House (aka my favorite House), and I have been sorted into Slytherin officially as well, so I’d say I’m Slytherclaw (Raverin?). (Again, I really think this combination is basically Thunderbird–which is my Ilvermorny House.)

Ravenclaw Inspired Look

Dress: Ralph Lauren / Coat: T Tahari / Boots: Stuart Weitzman / Hat: Rag & Bone / Bag: Kate Spade / Ring: Kendra Scott / Earrings: Monica Vinader / Sunglasses: Gucci

So for Ravenclaw, I really wanted to create looks that were a bit more unique, a little more fashion-forward, and looks that took a bit more fashion risks. Ravenclaws are intelligent, they’re clever, they’re inquisitive. They value knowledge and wisdom. But they also can be a bit quirky, a bit eccentric. They tend to march to the beat of their own drum (aka, Luna Lovegood, Ollivander, Flitwick), and they see the world in a different way. They’re more perceptive than most. They see what others typically overlook. 

So to capture the essence of Ravenclaw, I wanted to create looks that bent the fashion rules a little. Still fashion-forward, still wearable, but a bit more unique, with unexpected silhouettes, or unexpected accessories, or unexpected combinations. And, I wanted to choose pieces that had both form and function. Pieces that were unique, but still functional–like larger bags, to carry books in, or pieces that felt more comfortable. After all, Ravenclaws need to be dressed comfortably for all those classes and all that research in the library. 

For this first look, I wanted to break away from the typical pieces/silhouettes I had been using for the other Houses. For both Slytherin and Gryffindor, the typical formula was some type of skinny pant, a sweater, topped off with a statement jacket, and finished off with some kind of heel. For Ravenclaw, I wanted the formula to be different. I wanted the look to be a departure from what the other Houses looked like. So, I picked a sweater dress because it was a piece that was both comfortable yet a little different. And I paired it with thigh-high heeled boots, because I love the combination of a mini-dress and thigh-high boots, and I thought it was a fitting combination for Ravenclaw–a different silhouette, but still comfortable. I topped off the look with a cozy, wool wrap coat–in my head, I see the coat worn open, rather than buttoned/tied. And I added a hat, because why not? It adds a bit of a cool, quirky factor. And of course, a large tote to carry all those books. I used rose gold jewelry since it’s the closest I could find to bronze. It’s like, an elevated, more feminine version of bronze. 

Ravenclaw Inspired Casual Look

Jeans: Mother Denim / Sweater: Madewell / Boots: Thursday Boot Company / Hat: Rag & Bone / Bag: Hermes / Sunglasses: Ray-Ban / Bracelet: Alex & Ani / Ring: Sofia Zakia / Earrings: David Morgan

Of all the looks I created for all the Houses, this one is one of my absolute favorites. It’s something I’d wear myself. I wanted the casual look to be a bit more rugged, and retain that unique, quirky factor. Think hipster, or coffee shop. So, since the Ravenclaw colors are blue and bronze, I really wanted to make use of denim. I went with a dark wash jean that has just a hint of distressing at the hem, and a navy chunky sweater. I paired these pieces with these cool suede Chelsea boots–they’ve got this really rugged, lived-in look that I love, yet they’re still chic. the way I see this worn is with the jeans cuffed a few times, to show off the boots. I added a wool hat ’cause it adds a little something extra to the look, as well as a large leather tote. The earrings are feathers–a subtle nod to the Ravenclaw mascot, the eagle. And a sapphire ring, as well as a bracelet with the Deathly Hallows charm–all nods to the Potter series and to Ravenclaw House. 

Ravenclaw Inspired Dressy Look

Jumpsuit: Leith / Shoes: Valentino / Bag: Chloe / Bangles: Monica Vinader / Ring: Wwake / Ear cuff: Joelle Jewelry

In keeping with the theme of unique pieces, for the dressy look, I decided to forego the usual dress and go for a jumpsuit instead. I love jumpsuits. Depending on the style, they can be either casual, modest, business-professional, or sexy and cocktail party-ready. I chose a navy jumpsuit with lace trim, and added bronze-ish accessories that were also more unique, like these Valentino Rockstud caged sandals, the layered upper arm bangles, and a statement ear cuff instead of earrings. 

Hogwarts Inspired Style – Gryffindor

Last time, I wrote a post on outfit ideas inspired by Slytherin House. Today, I’m sharing outfit ideas inspired by Gryffindor, aka, The Jock House. (Don’t @ me.)

Gryffindor Inspired Look

Jeans: Hudson / Coat: Burberry / Sweater: H&M / Bag: Kate Spade / Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Bracelet: Alex & Ani / Earrings: Gorjana / Rings: Gorjana / Sunglasses: Gucci

I wanted the aesthetic of the Gryffindor-inspired looks to be starkly different from that of Slytherin’s. Gryffindors are bold, fearless, sometimes reckless and hot-headed. They’re open books; what you see is what you get. They wear their emotions on their sleeve. They’re warriors; they itch for action and hate inaction. At their worst, they can be described as brutish, measuring their skill purely in physical strength and having a tendency towards self-righteousness. At best, they are courageous and self-sacrificing, putting the needs of others before themselves even at great personal cost.

When I thought of how I wanted to capture the spirit of Gryffindor House and translate it into fashion, I thought a really classy aesthetic would be fitting. I wanted to create looks that were classic, yet had hints of that fire that Gryffindors are known for. The colors were a great way to represent this; red and gold signify fire. I chose a more muted burgundy rather than a bright red–it’s a little more elevated, a little more sophisticated. And I chose to add pops of gold with jewelry and accessories.

This look is really classy, with the Burberry trench and nude Louboutin heels, but if you look more closely there are more subtle, edgy elements that add interest. I wanted to use a monochrome color scheme but play with texture and silhouette. I love the combination of a really luxe, cozy knit texture from the sweater, paired with the tougher, more edgy material of the leather pants. I also love how the pants have some cool details like the zippers on the front. The jewelry also has a touch of uniqueness. The drop earrings have a more imperfect shape, and the bangle and stacking rings add another hint of shine.

Gryffindor Inspired Casual Look

Dress: Rails / Cardigan: Treasure & Bond / Shoes: Madewell / Belt: Gucci / Hat: Rag & Bone / Bag: Alexander McQueen / Rings: Gorjana / Bracelet: Alex & Ani / Earrings: Argento Vivo / Sunglasses: Ray-Ban 

For Gryffindor, I was really conscious of the brands/designers I used in each look. I wanted to pick really classic designers–like Burberry, Gucci, Louboutin. For the more casual Gryffindor look, I wanted something quite preppy. I stuck with the same burgundy monochrome color scheme as the last look, but this time wanted shapes and silhouettes that were more relaxed. Rather than fitted pieces, a belted shirtdress topped with a big, cozy cardigan and paired with practical loafers. Gold jewelry and accessories (including one subtle reference to the Deathly Hallows). And a wool fedora, just to add a bit of interest.

Gryffindor Inspired Dressy Look

Dress: Katie May / Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Ring: Alex & Ani / Earrings: Halogen / Bag: Cult Gaia

As for the dressy Gryffindor look, I wanted to keep with the classy aesthetic, but add a bit of a Jessica Rabbit-esque feel. This look incorporates some really basic, cocktail/formal-dress elements. Simple LRD (little red dress) with some more daring details; gold jewelry and accessories; and minimalist heeled sandals. This look doesn’t take too many fashion risks, but it’s a classy, fail-safe look.