Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Fashion of Doctor Who

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Next year Doctor Who will turn 50 and I'm really looking forward to seeing what the BBC has planned to celebrate it.
If you've never seen an episode of this cult classic, either the new version or the classic one, then you've truly missed seeing some great television.
What is it about tuning in every week to watch a daft old man fly around time and space in a magic box that has made it last for so long and to gain in popularity every year that it's been broadcast?
Well, it's more than just a children's show and it's more than a sci-fi show. Every week you can watch a brilliant adventure unfold before your eyes (or from behind the couch) as you watch the Doctor and his companions battle monsters and save the world. It's just good fun to watch, even when the budget only allowed to wobbly sets and aliens made out of tinfoil.
But I like to think that what has made Doctor Who last for fifty years is the Doctor's fashion sense. He is truly a unique style icon. Remember that every time the Doctor regenerates, he's never really himself until he has the time to select a new outfit that fits his new personality.

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One.

Ah yes, the befuddled and grumpy Edwardian grandfather look. The First Doctor wore plaid pants (almost all of the Doctors have worn plaid at least once) a frock coat and a string tie. He was also the first Doctor to experiment with hats, including a Stetson. Because Stetsons are cool. Perhaps because he was so young, this is the only Doctor who would regularly change his outfits in order to blend in the the local environment that the TARDIS had accidentally landed in. And this is not the last time that we will see the Doctor in an Edwardian style outfit, since it is ordinary enough to not seem too strange but unique enough to stand out in a crowd.

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Two.

The Second Doctor's look can best be described as a cross between a hobo and a clown. Or Chaplin's Llittle Tramp character in space. He is the first Doctor to have bigger on the inside pockets to hold useful objects, like a yo-yo and his flute. He would also wear a giant fur coat, and you know how I love my fur coats. While outwardly childish and forgetful, the Second Doctor was really quite cunning and forceful.

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Three.

I would like to describe the style of the clothes horse that was the Third Doctor as bitchin'. This is the rock 'n' roll Doctor. From his frilly shirts to his velvet suits and from his giant bowtie to his capes and fluffy hair, this is one cool cat! And let's not forget Bessie, his bright yellow car and his penchant for wearing fedoras. Plus, he's the only Doctor who would regularly change his outfit throughout a season. Watching a Third Doctor serial makes me scour the vintage shops even harder in my quest for the elusive perfect velvet suit.

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Four.

The most recognizable of all the Doctors, Four is also the most worthy of the label "style icon". The Fourth Doctor was the most unique in terms of looking like you would imagine a weird alien Time Lord type of chap to look. From his long coats (I need a purple frock coat! Why can't I find one?) to his tweed trousers, vests and crumpled fedora, he's really got a stylish look going on there. Plus you can dress up like him everyday and never get bored of wondering around town in it and offering jelly babies to random strangers.
But really, the Fourth Doctor is all about the scarf.
Tom Baker's long scarf really said a lot about the Doctor. Weird, slightly ridiculous, outwardly showing little purpose, but you'd be lost if it suddenly disappeared.

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Five.

The Fifth Doctor is my all-time favourite Doctor.
I love his cricket outfit, from the running shoes to the stripped pants to the celery in the lapel to the Edwardian frock coat. Seriously, what is it about the Doctor and his love of frock coats and why aren't they easier to find? At first glance, you might think that the Fifth Doctor would look ordinary walking down the street, but then you see the eccentric touch of the celery in the lapel and you think again.

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Six.

Oh, poor number Six. The Eighties were really hard on you. Just look at the patchwork coat you've got on. On second thought, best not to look. It burns my eyes!
As to the Sixth Doctor's time in the TARDIS:
No.
No.
Just no.
That regeneration did not go well.

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Seven.

The Seventh Doctor definitely had the look of the alien showman going on. It's theatrical while still being academic. He also brought back the plaid pants and I love his straw hat and his habit of wearing two scarves at once and always carrying an umbrella.
You may have noticed that throughout the Eighties, the four different Doctors had the motif of wearing a question mark (or multiple question marks) somewhere on their costume. The question mark refers of course to the ultimate question that we've been asking about the Doctor since the show started fifty years ago and that is: Doctor who?

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Eight.

Poor Eight. You had such an awesome Victorian dandy look going on, but you only had one Americanized TV movie to show it off in. It's such a wonderful outfit and I wish we'd been able to see that velvet frock coat for a longer period of time. Hopefully, they'll include the Eighth Doctor in that multi-Doctor they are planning for next year so you'll have more time to shine.

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Nine.

The Ninth Doctor was the first Doctor to not look like the Doctor. He didn't even wear a tie! Just that leather jacket and non brightly coloured sweater. Boring! This is why when you're reviving a series, you do not hire a non-fan lead actor, especially one who doesn't understand why the Doctor has to look uniquely eccentric.
On the other hand, you could look at this as the shell-shocked Doctor. He has just survived the Time War and destroyed his own people in order to save the entire universe and time itself and he just doesn't want to associate himself with any of his past selves, since to do so would bring back too many painful memories.
Or you could just see him as the boring to look at Doctor.

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Ten.

From the modern suit to the Converse, the super long coat and the cheeky grin, the Tenth Doctor is the second most recognizable Doctor look. You could also wear it everyday and not get a second glance, except from people you recognize the super long coat reference.

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Eleven.

If your high school science teacher were a tall and lanky young man, he'd look like that. At least the Eleventh Doctor is driving up sales of Harris Tweed by wearing a tweed jacket every week. And have you seen his stripped shirt cuffs? Awesome! Hopefully, his immense popularity will bring back the bowtie.
Bowties are cool!
Fezzes are cool!
Carrying a mop might never catch on though. Just saying.

Because you can find a fan video about also anything about Doctor Who, I found one about his fashion:


I think I'm going to have to write a post about some of the more stylish companions from the classic Doctor Who, not the ones from the new Doctor Who since they are a bit boring and interchangeable. Anyone of any favourite companion styles that they'd like to suggest?

2 comments:

charlesdusty10 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andi B. Goode said...

Great post! I do think that, while Nine's outfit is definitely bland in comparison, it suits the characterisation at that time. And I actually love that patchwork coat. Haha. It's the Doctor's amazing technicolor dream coat ;)
-Andi x